It is week one of the 2020 NFL season, and that means we need to figure out who we should start or sit this week. We are going to look at three running backs who are at the edge of startability, the place where the tough start or sit questions usually end up. But the moral of my start or sit this week is DON’T PANIC! Week one is where your drafting dreams go to die and you realize that every choice you made was the wrong one. As we kick off week one, we need to figure out who we should start or sit in week one between Leonard Fournette, Antonio Gibson, and James Robinson.
Start or Sit Leonard Fournette versus New Orleans?
Leonard Fournette was a very popular target by many people experts at the start of the season. He finished 2019 as an RB1, but people took him off the board in the fourth round in most drafts. Savvy fantasy experts were penciling in their championships…. And then the Jacksonville Jaguars released Leonard Fournette.
Just like that, his ADP plummeted. In week one, he was the 39th-best starting option according to FantasyPro’s Expert Consensus Rank. I understand that Fournette is on a new team, but that number seems way off. While Tampa Bay has a murky situation, Fournette is also undoubtedly their best running back. We have been told Ronald Jones is going to be good since he entered the league, and this has yet to be proven true. Was RoJo productive last year? Yes. Was he good? Eh.
However, Fournette has a less-than-ideal week one matchup. Last year, New Orleans gave up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Also, there is no getting around the fact that Fournette hasn’t been with Tampa Bay that long, meaning that he might not be a relevant part of that offense for a couple of weeks. Remember is to look at where you drafted him. If he is your RB2 or RB3, then you definitely need to start him, but if you have safer options, don’t be afraid to take a wait and see approach. Let him sit on your bench for a week or two and then decide if he should be in your lineup.
Start or Sit James Robinson versus Indianapolis?
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and the Jacksonville Jaguars definitely treated Leonard Fournette like trash. The problem is, with Ryqell Armstrong on COVID-IR, James Robinson is now the starter for Jacksonville. So whichever way you look at it, the Jacksonville Jaguars are starting trash.
What you have to remember is that James Robinson is starting by default. Even Jacksonville doesn’t really want to start him. Not to win games. The Jaguars are the 2019 Miami Dolphins: they are clearly trying to tank. So if you decide to start the running back on a team that is clearly trying to lose on your fantasy team, I can only assume you are trying to tank your fantasy season. Oh, and they are playing an Indianapolis Colts defense that gave up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to running backs last season, so it isn’t like Robinson has a favorable matchup.
No matter which way you look at it, you should sit James Robinson. If you have no option but to start Robinson, something has gone very wrong with your fantasy life and you probably will not recover from it.
Start or Sit Antonio Gibson versus Philadelphia?
And then there was everyone’s favorite fantasy darling. Have you heard how good Darwin Thompson Antonio Gibson has looked in training camp this year? He did a good enough job that the Washington Team Who Shall Not Be Named cut Adrian Peterson. Some are taking this as a sign that Gibson is poised to break out. I’m telling you to slow your roll.
Antonio Gibson was one of the more popular deep sleepers in fantasy drafts this year. He was such a deep sleeper that he got promoted to just regular sleeper really quickly. With Ron Rivera taking over in Washington, and Antonio Gibson built in the mode of a Christian McCaffrey, it is easy to see why people are excited about Gibson. Except that Christian McCaffrey was a stud running back in college and a top-ten NFL draft pick, whereas Antonio Gibson played 370 snaps in two years in Memphis.
You have to remember that you drafted Antonio Gibson as a high-upside lotto pick. He has an incredibly high ceiling, but his floor is also about the Earth’s molten core. If he goes bad for you, he will go really bad for you. In week one, you definitely do not want that, unless you have no good options. Especially since Philadephia gave up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2019.
What it comes down to is that Antonio Gibson is an unpredictable commodity with an unfavorable matchup. You definitely want to sit Antonio Gibson, unless you think you will need insanely big numbers to beat your opponent this week. Even then, I’d think twice.
So what now…
So your bench is full of fliers are running back and you are wondering what you should do in week one. The answer is easy: go with the safe picks. Fantasy football is an unpredictable mess and week one is even worse, so try not to take any risks you don’t have to. However, sometimes those risks are unavoidable and you need to make the best of a bad situation. If you find yourself having to choose between Leonard Fournette, Antonio Gibson, and James Robinson, you should start them in the order I just listed.
Fournette has the worst match-up, but he is also the most established guy in the strongest offense. Gibson is a lotto pick, but he is one that can pay off big if he hits. And James Robinson is…. Well, he’s James Robinson. I’m sure he’s a wonderful person, but I’d like him more if he weren’t on my fantasy roster.
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