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Fantasy Insider: Running Backs, Wide Receivers & Quarterbacks To Start In Week 1

Scott Engel at offers advice on who to start during the NFL's opening week of 2018.


Scott Engel of has more than 20 years of experience in the Fantasy industry and is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. This is his seventh season providing Fantasy Football coverage and advice on

Hopefully you have been satisfied with your draft results, although there is always the unrelenting urge to tinker with your roster. Don't second guess yourself too much, as you should have a very good idea of your core starters for Week One, while some other decisions will be the satellite ones that we will help you with here as the new Fantasy Football season opens. You are not going to bench guys like Russell Wilson no matter the matchup, which certainly is a challenging one vs. a staunch Denver defense on the road this week. But Fantasy superstars such as Wilson earn such pedigrees because they produce adequately or even better when the matchups seem tough. Each week in this space we will advise you on who to start when the lineup decisions are not quite as easy to make. So let's Raise Your Fantasy 12 Flag and get this thing kicked off en route to another league championship for you.

Running Backs To Start

Dion Lewis vs. Miami: With a new season dawning, there are not any real trending stats to go on, but some friendly matchups for Fantasy purposes are readily apparent. Lewis is going to do very well against the Dolphins linebacking crew as both a runner and receiver. He will be especially effective in PPR formats as he makes an impressive initial all-around splash with Tennessee.

Tarik Cohen vs. Green Bay: This divisional matchup does have the look of a high-scoring affair, and if the Bears have to play catch-up or keep pace with the Pack, they will involve Cohen a lot, especially for PPR purposes. Here is another situation where a versatile RB will really test the opposing LBs. Cohen is an electric playmaker who can score from anywhere on the field and beginning this week, he will be unleashed by new head coach Matt Nagy.

James White vs. Houston: The Patriots are looking thin at WR as the season opens and also have some RBs on the mend. White may be leaned on a lot as both a receiver and runner. Tom Brady will certainly look to get him the ball quickly on flat and screen passes against a very aggressive Texans front.

James Conner vs. Cleveland: After a strong preseason, Conner appears set to start the season opener. He plays behind one of the premier offensive lines in the league and on an offense that should put him into position for some scoring chances as well. Conner can also contribute in the passing game if needed.

Wide Receivers To Start

Cooper Kupp vs. Oakland: Last year as a rookie, Kupp emerged as an instant favorite for Jared Goff as the Rams offense put together a breakthrough campaign. He should take another step forward this season on his way to possibly becoming another Golden Tate, as a possession receiver with outstanding after the catch abilities. It all begins with a very enticing matchup vs. the Raiders.

Donte Moncrief vs. New York Giants: There is a wait-and-see approach on determining who may step forward as a pass-catcher for the Jaguars. I will bet on the veteran Moncrief, especially in the opener. Jacksonville may not be able to establish the run as hoped against NT Damon Harrsion, and may use the passing game as a more consistent method of moving the ball. Moncrief is a sneaky play if you are in a larger league.

Mike Williams vs. Kansas City: Big things were expected from the rookie last year, but he never quite made his mark as hoped because of injuries. Now he is ready to assume a key role in the Chargers offense, especially as a TD threat. The Chiefs secondary is one of the best units for any opposing QB to attack, and the duo is going to hook up for some key plays this week as the Chargers roll up a lot of points.

Jaron Brown vs. Broncos: This seems to be a most daring and unusual pick, and is a gusty one for those in larger leagues. A very formidable Denver secondary will be heavily concerned with Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Brandon Marshall, who showed he is not quite done during the preseason. Brown is a unique deep threat who will make his presence felt right away in the first game with his new team.

Quarterbacks To Start

Andy Dalton vs. Indianapolis: The Bengals offense showed renewed sparks during the preseason, and with an improved offensive line, Dalton should be afforded a lot of quality time to throw in a friendly matchup. The Colts secondary is going to have a lot of trouble with A.J. Green this week, and TD machine Tyler Eifert is ready to go for the season opener.

Tyrod Taylor vs. Pittsburgh: The new-look Browns will come out with a point to prove against one of their prime rivals. Taylor always had a propensity for minimizing turnovers and for adding rushing totals as well. Now he has his most diverse pass-catching crew ever and if you waited very late to draft a QB or play in a two QB format, you can expect a good opener from Taylor as a starter.

Tight Ends, Defenses & Kickers To Start

Jordan Reed is healthy to start the season and must be treated as a TE1 while available. … Trey Burton will be busy as a pass-catcher against the Packers. … The Tennessee defense is a top stream vs. Miami. … Carolina is a respectable option vs. Dallas. … Adam Vinatieri may boost your team to a victory with three or more field goals. … Graham Gano should be good for at least two to three FGs with some extra points.

Seahawks Fantasy Focus

Wilson will not be deterred by the Denver pass defense, with many quick hitters to the likes of Marshall and Brown, with also working in his running backs and tight ends. He will not hesitate to take a few downfield shots, while connecting with Brown on a big play or two. Chris Carson is a viable start for volume as a flex play. This will ultimately be, though, a most interesting game to see who emerges as the prime new playmakers at WR. You may want to add Brown or Marshall this weekend, as one of them will likely become a popular Fantasy pickup in the weeks ahead. Get ahead of the pack now and make the move.

For more Week One advice and tips from Scott Engel and the RotoExperts team, get theXclusive Edge Fantasy Football Packageon Use promocode "seahawks" at checkout for a special discount.

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