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Start your studs. Start your studs.

One more thing: start your studs.

I’ll relax; I get it, going into Week 1 we really don’t know who the “studs” are going to be this year. And yes, that receiver you or I took in the 11th round could go off for 150 yards and TD while your first round receiver watches him team run the ball incessantly on its way to victory.

But it’s not worth the gamble. You spent heavy draft capital, auction dollars, or keeper costs to have the studs on your team. You spent that because studs are typically “match-up proof.” And just like we don’t know who the studs are, we don’t know who the best defenses are this year either.

Houston was one of the Top 3 defenses in 2014, so Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce owners might have been reluctant to start their studs in Week 1. Well, all those two studs did was combine for over 200 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 last year. At least give your studs a couple weeks to prove they are NOT start-worthy. But I’ll play along. Let’s go through the reasons you might be thinking about not starting your studs and once you are done here, check out our Week 1 rankings.


Strategy Sessions: Why You Always Start Your Studs in Week 1


Why you might not Start your Studs

1. “Look who my opponent is starting!”

Let’s look at one game in particular for this article. For that game, the reason sounds something like this: “I was going to start Ben Roethlisberger, but he’s starting Antonio Brown. Maybe I’m better off starting Jameis Winston against the Falcons?”

No…no…No! I love Winston this year and Atlanta is not known for its strong secondary. Moreover, I’ve been the coachmen on the Big Ben is overrated bandwagon, but if you own him, he’s likely your No. 1 QB. You have to start him in Week 1.

First off, don’t you think the Redskins might know that Brown can dominate a game? Don’t you think they might actually try to game-plan against him, especially with LeVeon Bell not playing in that game? Let’s even assume they don’t do a good job and Brown goes off for 175 yards and two TDs.

Guess what, you just left two TD passes on your bench by not starting Big Ben. Nonetheless, you can also minimize the damage that Brown does by having the other piece of the equation and pick up the difference elsewhere.

Furthermore, there is probably a pretty good chance that some of the other Steeler weapons bolster the passing game and you will be getting those points while your opponent, who started Brown, does not.

Finally, if we are talking about that specific example, I’d like to point out that Josh Norman is now playing for the Redskins. Last time I checked he was a pretty good cornerback. Don’t be surprised if Norman shuts Brown down. That, of course, brings us to the next excuse I’ve heard as to why you are not starting your studs….

2. “My stud’s match-up is horrible”

Match-ups are not so much for deciding whether or not to start a stud but for 1) setting your expectations—your studs are more likely to go off when the match-up is great than when it is a tough match-up and 2) helping decide a last minute injury replacement or decide between two non-studs. Let me give you a true story why you “Never count on the match-up” from Fantasy Football lore.

The year was 2000 and the Bengals were once again struggling, entering Week 8 with an 0-6 record. Their opponent that day was the playoff-bound Denver Broncos who oh yeah, just happened to have the second ranked rushing defense at the time. If the Bengals were going to have any offensive success, it would be through the air, right? Well….not only did Bengals running back Corey Dillon have two touchdowns of 65 and 77 yards, but he broke the single game rushing record that day.

I have yet to hear about a league where that kind of performance does not score well. So, please…..PLEASE don’t worry about a match-up. So even if you have Antonio Brown in the situation above, keep your expectations in check, but don’t leave him off your team.


At least the match-up concern is a rationale one. There is another reason based on fear, albeit a stupid one, that might cause you to not start your studs in that game:

3. “It’s a Monday night game. My team always blows it on Monday night!”

Wow is right. Maybe you’ve never heard that one, but I’ve definitely heard this before. I’ve heard it not once, but multiple times. And it is spirit-deflating every time. First off, even if an owner did have a crappy record on Monday Night Football last year, it’s a brand new season! Where’s your optimism? Don’t you know past performance is not a guarantee of future results?

Secondly, this is a perfect example of “confirmation bias.” An owner suspects one thing and uses a small and often recent example to confirm their delusional thinking. The outcome is the outcome. Are you actually trying to say that if the game was on Sunday, than the result would be completely different? That’s like saying “if I had DVR’d the game instead of watching it live, it would have been a different outcome”.

Of course there’s always one more very common reason I hear why people might not start Antonio Brown that week….

4. “I’m a Skins fan and I don’t want to have to root against them or Brown”

This might be the most irrational reason there is. Let’s suppose you’re a Skins fan and your team loses. Wouldn’t you at least want to get the bright side of knowing you did well even if your team did not?

Secondly, you know Brown can go off and your team can still win, right? I could continue arguing rationally, but why? This is about sentiment, not a rationale thought. You put your team allegiances above your Fantasy Football team allegiances? Okay. I can’t fault you for that. But hopefully you know that going in and accept it. Please don’t be “that guy” on Tuesday morning complaining how you “Woulda won this week, but….” you neglected to start your studs.


Don’t forget to check out our Week 1 rankings, which will help you dominate your league in Week 1.

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