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Who to start and sit in Week 1 Buccaneers vs. Cowboys Thursday night

Fantasy football is back and we have your start/sits for opening kickoff!

Will Tampa cover the spread against Dallas on Opening Night?

Fantasy football is back tonight! The defensing champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys in what could be a high-scoring affair. DraftKings Sportsbook has the over/under set at 51/5 points with the Buccaneers favored by a big 8.5-points.

This is a game where you aren’t going to have too many definitive “sits” in a start/sit article. These teams should shake off the rust and put up fantasy stats without much trouble and are you really going to sit Ezekiel Elliott even in a tough matchup where OT Zach Martin will miss the game? No, you aren’t. You may drop his projections, but unless you’re in a 4-team league, Elliott is starting.

Start

Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Ezekiel Elliott are all must starts.

Antonio Brown, WR, Bucs

Brown was strictly the No. 3 receiver last year, starting in just four of his eight games played. This year it appears that Brown has stepped his game back up after going off the grid there for a while. Even head coach Bruce Arians says that Brown is “playing at a speed I saw four or five years ago,” per ESPN. If we have that Brown, then we have someone who needs to be starting on your fantasy teams.

Rob Gronkowski, TE, Bucs

Gronk isn’t close to the same player he was, but he still gets looks from Brady in the red zone with consistency. Tight ends drafted in Gronk’s range aren’t going to be consistent from week to week, so you’re taking some risk by starting them. But that’s just the way it’s going to be. His range of outcomes is wide and likely dependent on him scoring a touchdown, but we know that’s his specialty.

Sit

Giovani Bernard, RB, Bucs

This Bucs backfield is going to be tough to decipher early on. I could see sitting all three of Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette and Bernard depending on your options. Hopefully we’ll get a better feel for their individual workload after this game, but until then, I’m skittish.

Bernard didn’t see any work other than on third downs in the preseason. And when Brady and company scored two quick touchdowns against the Texans in their last preseason game, they only had a few third downs, so in turn, Bernard barely saw the field. Of course he gets the whole game this time around, but his ability after the catch hasn’t been good over the last couple years and we’re likely looking at a game where he catches a handful of passes and doesn’t put up many yards.

Blake Jarwin, TE, Cowboys

I’m on the fence with Jarwin, as I think he wins this tight end battle with Dalton Schultz, but like the Bucs backfield, I’d like to wait until playing time becomes clearer between the two. That means bnoth Schultz and Jarwin are sits for me in Week 1.