Texans vs. Chiefs: Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em for Week 1 Thursday Night Football

When it comes to fantasy football, it’s always fun to have some of your players going in prime time. Sunday and Monday night showcases are great, but there’s something about Thursday night and trying to get a jump on your opponents in the first game of the entire week. That always starts with making the right start ’em, sit ’em decisions, and in Week 1, that goes to a whole other level because it’s the first game of an entire season. It ratchets up another notch for the 2020 NFL opener given that it’s a matchup between two of the most explosive offenses in the league, the Texans and Chiefs.

When Houston and Kansas City meet this Thursday night (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC), get ready to for some big plays and plenty of points. But does that mean everyone is a viable fantasy play in the matchup? Here’s breaking down whom to consider for starts and sits in this week’s “mini-Decider”:

WEEK 1 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Texans: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night

Start: QB Deshaun Watson

The dude will keep getting it done with his passing and running even without DeAndre Hopkins. Plus the Texans’ defense now stinks, and he’ll be throwing often in the second half in either catchup or shootout mode.

Start: RB David Johnson

Look, you may not have been enthused about drafting him after the end to his Cardinals’ career, but the Texans’ backs have proved to be reliable RB2s under Bill O’Brien because of their versatile usage (see Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller). Johnson is fully healthy right now and has good receiving and red-zone value facilitated by Watson. The Chiefs’ linebackers are still the weak spot of their defense.

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Sit: RB Duke Johnson

Duke might have some value later in the season but David takes away his checkdown worth, something Watson has raised for his running backs of late. He’s a forced flex in the opener with David starting, even in PPR leagues.

Start: WR Brandin Cooks (if Cooks plays)

Cooks, when healthy, has been a solid and sometimes spectacular fantasy producer in all of his stops. If he can go with the quad injury that has limited him in practice, he should get several targets from Watson in the short-to-intermediate passing game, plus a few downfield shots. He is a tough cover for the Chiefs’ cornerbacks, who are better at stopping vertical big plays.

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Start: WR Will Fuller (if Cooks doesn’t play)

There’s a perception that Fuller is fully Watson’s new No. 1, but his durability issues and inconsistency make his massive upside hard to trust. If he’s the undisputed No. 1 in the game with targets all over the field, he’s definitely worth a go, but if Cooks plays, then Watson won’t force it to Fuller deep, having limited time against Chris Jones and the Chiefs’ pass rush. The Chiefs contained Fuller well opposite Hopkins last season, so consider him a boom-or-bust WR3, at best.

Sit: WRs Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills

Cobb is the new slot receiver and Stills is still around for Watson, but they don’t carry any standalone value, and both are risky to deploy behind Fuller should Cooks sit.

Sit: TEs Darren Fells and Jordan Akins

You never know when the Texans tight ends will do something of note. You mostly know they will do nothing of note. Thursday night has been good for them in the past, but you should have better TE1 options in Week 1 with everyone healthy and no byes.

Sit: Texans D/ST

Don’t be fooled by J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Bernardrick McKinney. This is a bad defense in the making, especially on the back end. They could easily put up negative fantasy points on the road.

Sit: K Ka’imi Fairbairn 

It’s fair to say the Texans will need to eschew field-goal tries by the second half.

WEEK 1 PPR RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Chiefs: Who to start or sit in fantasy football on Thursday night

Start: QB Patrick Mahomes

This game could be played underwater against actual sharks and you are still playing him.

Start: WR Tyreek HIl

Hill is a very fast receiver and the Texans’ secondary stinks. Next.

Start: TE Travis Kelce

Kelce loves giving Houston problems, too.

Start: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

You drafted him as a first-round RB1. Let him rip early en route to a big rookie season, even though his workload may not go nuts at first. Around 15 touches will get you plenty out of the leader of an Andy Reid backfield against a bad defense.

Start: RB Darrel Williams

Here’s a sneaky deep-league flex option. The Chiefs don’t want to give Edwards-Helaire anything close to 25 touches, and they should be playing with a big second-half lead against a weak, worn-down defense.

Start: WR Mecole Hardman

This feels like a nice complementary game for at least one of the sChiefs’ wideout. There’s a good chance it’s Hardman to open a breakout Year 2.

Sit: WR Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson

Really, Mahomes doesn’t even need to go here to put up massive downfield digits. Hardman has higher upside, too.

Start: Chiefs D/ST

They will be playing with a lead and can pin their ears back to go after Watson in the second half. There should be some sacks and a key takeaway or two.

Start: K Harrison Butker

There are no ifs, ands or Butkers about it.

Texans-Chiefs DraftKings Showdown lineup for Thursday night

Captain: Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($13,200)

FLEX: Patrick Mahomes ($12,600)

FLEX: David Johnson ($7,600)

FLEX: Travis Kelce ($9,200)

FLEX: Mecole Hardman ($5,200)

FLEX: Darrel Williams ($1,800)

The Texans have some uncertainty at wide receiver we’re avoiding here, and we simply want to invest big in Mahomes over Watson. Johnson will get some checkdown garbage production to help in a losing cause.

Edwards-Helaire, Kelce, and Hardman give us good parts of the Chiefs’ passing game beyond Mahomes. Williams is our bottom-barrel bargain, hoping for like 40 yards and a touch in the second half.

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