Top 10 Lineup Busts for Week 1

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It's time! Football is here. You're setting your lineups and getting pumped up about your Week 1 matchups. You're looking over your lineup and thinking about how it has absolutely zero holes in it and you are going to be undefeated and all your starters are definitely must starts right now and always.

I'm going to be here all season to tell you to stop, wait, and take that one dude out of your lineup because he is actually going to be bad this week. There are obviously some players who are still must starts under all circumstances--if I tell you to bench David Johnson, you have my permission to send me mean Tweets about it--but sometimes y'all have to temper your expectations.

Below are 10 players who I'm not expecting huge things for in the opening game of the 2017 season. That doesn't necessarily mean bench them, but it means to be careful with placing too much trust in them.

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Top 10 Busts - NFL Week 1

Leonard Fournette (RB, Jacksonville Jaguars)

If you believe that volume > anything else, go ahead and roll with Fournette against the Texans since he'll be receiving the bulk of the team's carries, but don't expect a breakout game in his first NFL contest. Houston's defense--and their front seven in particular--is stout. J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney can stop opposing run games. Fournette's chances this week are dependent on how many carries he receives, because he's not going to be busting out any huge gains.

Joe Mixon (RB, Cincinnati Bengals)

Say it with me. Joe Mixon isn't actually starting for the Cincinnati Bengals. I'm sorry, but I don't know how anyone is trusting him right now.  Head coach Marvin Lewis is going to feed the ball to Jeremy Hill twenty-five times and then they'll throw a few dump off passes to Gio Bernard and Joe Mixon will barely see the field because MARVIN LEWIS. (In all seriousness, Mixon will likely get a handful of carries, but it won't be enough to justify a start.)

Melvin Gordon (RB, Los Angeles Chargers)

Just a warning--this list is heavy on Chargers players. Los Angeles is on the road against Denver. It's a tough match up for the Chargers against a Broncos team that should be among the top defenses in 2017. Like with Fournette, the volume should be there, but the production might not be. Gordon should be in your lineup for Week 1, but you shouldn't be too shocked if he puts up 60 yards and no scores.

Ty Montgomery (RB, Green Bay Packers)

The Packers have a tough game against the Seahawks. Ty Montgomery's usage in 2017 has a chance to be very, very unpredictable. I know Mike McCarthy has used the phrase "every down back" more times than I can count, but when has Green Bay's running game ever been a thing to rely on? Montgomery's receiving skills give him a decent floor, but he really seems like a player whose value this season will depend on who his opponent is--in easier games, Green Bay will give him the ball ten to fifteen times, but in the tougher match ups they'll likely abandon the run and take to the air.

Jordy Nelson (WR, Green Bay Packers)

But Justin, you literally just said the Packers will abandon the run game and throw the ball a lot this week. Yes, I just said that. And yes, that probably happens. But Jordy will likely be shadowed by Richard Sherman all game and the Packers other receivers--Davante Adams and Randall Cobb--will steal more targets than normal. Jordy is still the top receiver in one of the NFL's best offenses, but I'm not sure Jordy will perform up to where you drafted him.

T.Y. Hilton (WR, Indianapolis Colts)

I've got two words for you: Scott Tolzien. Two touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's started three games and played most of a fourth in his career. He threw for over 300 yards in one of those games, but he also threw three of those career interceptions. So...yeah, I like Hilton a lot once Andrew Luck gets back but I'm not really sure he's going to get the ball very much. There are bad quarterbacks who help their top receiver because they just funnel them the ball and then there are bad quarterbacks who hurt their receivers because they're unable to funnel them the ball. Tolzien is the latter.

Keenan Allen (WR, Los Angeles Chargers)

Another Charger! Same reasons apply as with Gordon, but let's add on to that the fact that Keenan Allen hasn't played an NFL game in a long time and we have no idea how his relationship with Rivers will look. I'm not willing to bet on Allen this week against a strong Broncos team. FLEX him if you like his upside--it's definitely there--but be aware that you're taking a risk.

Matthew Stafford (QB, Detroit Lions)

Stafford takes on a good Cardinals defense without last season's top receiver, Anquan Boldin. I think Stafford will be fine in 2017--especially as the season wears on and the team's WR3 spot settles down--but I'm looking the other way this week. There are better plays that you either have on your bench or can stream. Like...I don't know, maybe his opponent this week, Carson Palmer?

Philip Rivers (QB, Los Angeles Chargers)

I don't hate the Chargers! I know it looks that way since I've placed three of them on this list, but I'm just not feeling it against the Broncos. Could Philip Rivers have a serviceable day? Sure. But he wasn't great against Denver last season--in the Chargers road win against the Broncos, Rivers was efficient but only threw for 178 yards, and in their home loss he tossed three interceptions. I don't trust him this week.

Eric Ebron (TE, Detroit Lions)

I know people are high on Ebron this year, but I'm not buying it at this point. He's almost never been used in the red zone--pretty important for an NFL tight end--and the Cardinals defense in 2016 gave up less fantasy points to TEs than any other team. It's a recipe for Ebron to end up with three catches and about 35 yards.

 

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