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Image for Ryan Sullivan Ryan Sullivan - Updated November 9, 2022

Who Should I Start in Fantasy Football?

Who Should I Start In Fantasy Football
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When it comes to who you should be playing in fantasy football your choice should be based on who you have on your roster.

If you’ve selected starting players in the league to start on your roster, obviously, you’re going to want them to get the first-team reps for you rather than sit on your bench.

Likewise, if you’ve got a fringe player that may see some snaps, like a second running back or second or third-string wideout, you could be a little pickier with your starting set.


To avoid the player usage dilemma, you should first take a closer look at any notable injuries heading into the week and who will be the next man up. Sure, if there’s a first-string point-getter in your free agent pool, you should snap him up quickly.

However, if there are only bubble guys leftover on the wire because you’re in a deeper league altogether, you’re going to need to do a little homework.

Find the guys who have the best odds of touching the pigskin the most times.

Depth Chart Spot

Not only does it depend on the player’s spot on the depth chart, but the defense they’re playing also makes a huge difference. If you’re looking to play a running back, but he’s going up against the best run defense in the league, you should probably look down your bench for some other options.

Perhaps the team your wideout is up against is one of the best teams against the deep ball and your guy is a downfield threat.

Once again, you should maybe look for other options or perhaps move that guy to the flex spot and open your starting spot for a more legitimate contender that week.


Perhaps the biggest factor is what position your guys are in. If they’re wideouts, you’ll likely have options. If they’re running backs, your options may be limited. Likewise, if they’re a quarterback or tight end, you may be plum out of options altogether. Now, with all of that said, things do operate a little differently in Daily Fantasy Sports.

Let’s take a closer look at both fantasy styles and the importance that position plays.


Let’s start from the top. At quarterback, it won’t be hard to find a starting arm with good potential. However, taking a closer look at who they’re up against can make a huge difference.

If you’re playing against a suffocating pass defense, then maybe switching things up and looking for a QB with better mobility may be a more solid option for you.

In DFS, the quarterback is key and you’ll have a pick of the litter. Yes, obviously, running backs and wideouts are important positions too.

Nobody can run up the board quicker than a QB sitting on a heater though. If you can find a solid slinger going up against a brutal defense, you’re laughing.

Running Backs

The running back position has evolved heavily over the years.

They were always pretty key in fantasy, but their value has exploded these past few years with the rise in popularity of PPR – Points Per Reception.

Most leagues offer a 0.5 point per touch from a back, so if you can find a dual-threat running back that also gets targeted half a dozen times (or more), you’ll be sitting pretty.

Meanwhile, in DFS leagues, backs are just as valuable and especially if they are the dual-threat type as mentioned.

DFS is built on stats. Receptions are stats. The more use your running back gets, the happier you’ll be as the sportsbook pays you out the next day.

Wide Receivers

Similar to running backs, wide-outs are a key piece to the fantasy puzzle.

They can fill your heart with joy or break it in an instant. A lot of it comes down to matchup and offensive style. If your receiver is lined up against Jalen Ramsey or another elite cornerback, you should maybe think twice about starting him.

With that said, if your guy is a deep threat only or if he’s guaranteed a ton of targets, but only on the inside or out of the backfield like a Jamison Crowder, you could be laughing.

It comes down to their amount of use and if you can try and determine that magically beforehand, you’ll be the king of the castle.

On the DFS side of things, wideouts shouldn’t require too much of your budget. You have to pick multiple wideouts and you should’ve already spent the majority of your dough on your QB and RB spots. Wideouts are just an added sweetener.

You should generally be able to afford one solid WR and then maybe roll the dice on a few WR2’s.

Tight End

Much like selecting a team defense, the TE position is a total crapshoot. It’s a boom or bust spot that shouldn’t require a lot of your time.

Yes, there are a few elite tight ends in the league that are total game changers, but the smarter play is to put more importance on an RB or WR.

Unless you have a Travis Kelce or a George Kittle, don’t burn too much time deciding on this roster spot. It’s not a make or break and here’s a spoiler – nobody will let you down more often in fantasy than your tight end. Sorry, but it’s true.

In DFS, everything you just read applies. Don’t burn your budget on this spot unless you can get a Kelce or a Kittle in a scintillating matchup.

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Team Defense

This is an easy one.

Check the statistics and see how the defense plays against the run and the pass. If they’re elite, take them. If they’re not, see ya. If they’re playing a bad team, take them. If they’re not, leave them.

Team defense is very straightforward and the same advice applies to DFS.

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Ryan Sullivan

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Ryan has worked as a sports writer for the past decade and sports journalism for almost 15 years. He has worked in television, radio, print, digital, and podcasting since 2006. He is also the former co-host of the NFL Weekly Pick 'Em and Best Bets Podcast along with the Prop Drop on WSN.com.

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