Fantasy Football Week 1: Start or Sit Fuller, Jeffery, or Westbrook?

king dede

It’s fantasy football week one, which means the first of sixteen weeks of agonizing over every single lineup decision. We at Football Absurdity want to help you with the hardest decisions you have every week. First up, we want to take a look at some wide receivers on the fringes of starting. Maybe they are your third receiver, or maybe you’re trying to talk yourself into a waiver claim. No matter how you ended up here, we hope you walk away knowing whether you should start or sit Will Fuller, Josh Gordon, or Dede Westbrook?

Start or Sit Will Fuller versus New Orleans?

Will Fuller is hard to trust because he spends half of his season on injured reserve.  Lucky for you, it is week one so he isn’t hurt yet.  Even better news for Will Fuller owners, he will be facing a New Orleans Saints team that gave up the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

If that isn’t enough for you, a closer look at Will Fuller’s stats in 2018 shows a guy who is being underestimated in fantasy leagues.  Last year, Fuller had 45 targets for 34 receptions and 503 yards.  Over the course of a season, Fuller was on pace to have 103 targets, 73 catches, 1149 yards, and 9 touchdowns.  His Yards Per Target ranked third in the NFL last year, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know he had over 100 yards or more in 43% of his games.

The only reason you shouldn’t like Will Fuller is if he is hurt.  Since he is healthy, it is pretty difficult to justify benching him.  In week one, Will Fuller is an outstanding start.

Start or Sit Alshon Jeffery at Washington?

Reviews are mixed on Alshon Jeffery.  On the one hand, he hasn’t cracked a 1000 yard season since 2014, so most experts are tempering their expectations for Jeffery.  However, in week one, Alshon Jeffery faces a Washington team that is in the throws of chaos it hasn’t seen in years.  With Jay Gruden on the hot seat and players not wanting to show up for Washington, it is hard to expect anything positive out of that football team.  But who can blame the players for not wanting to play in Washington?  If you don’t die on the field in Washington, their medical staff will try to finish the job.

So amidst the chaos of the Philadelphia/Washington match-up, a fantasy hero needs to emerge.  My vote is for none other than Alshon Jeffery.  In his career, Alshon has averaged 67 yards a game against Washington.  And he will be playing against a team that gave up the 9th most fantasy points to opposing receivers in 2018.  Alshon’s above-average production coupled with the fact that Washington appears to be imploding make this a very favorable fantasy match-up.

Start or Sit Dede Westbrook at Kansas City?

Last, but certainly not least, there is Dede Westbrook.  The Kansas City Chiefs spent 2018 dismantling a pretty mediocre defense.  The problem is how they are addressing their defensive issues that leads me to believe nothing has changed.  The Chiefs were bad on defense last year, so they hired Steve Spagnuolo who is also really bad. In his last five years of coaching, he’s only had a defense crack the top ten in major defensive categories once.  His defenses have finished 26th or worse in five of the last six years.

Perhaps most important of all, the Jaguars are going to need to throw the ball to keep up with the high-powered Kansas City offense.  Lucky for them, Nick Foles is a significant upgrade over Blake Bortles, so Jacksonville might have some production at the position.  Another place Jacksonville improved is on their coaching staff.  John DeFilippo is a significant improvement over Nathanial Hackett and will go a long way towards modernizing the Jaguars offense.  Moreover, Nick Foles already knows his offense, so that should help make the transition to the new system run smoothly.

All this leads to Dede Westbrook being a great week one value play. Dede Westbrook had a great offseason and has emerged as the number one receiver in Jacksonville.  Westbrook runs great routes and has already shown he can produce in a bad offense.  With all the positive changes in Jacksonville, it is hard not to like him as a guy who breaks out, not just in week one, but over the course of the 2019 NFL season.

The Verdict

All three of these players are decent options this week if you are looking for a big payoff at wide receiver.  While Alshon Jeffery had the highest ADP going into the fantasy season, Will Fuller and Dede Westbrook have the more favorable match-ups to start week one.  No matter which player you decide to go with, you are getting a solid fantasy football option in week one.

 

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