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Thursday Night Football Fantasy Picks: Start 'Em, Sit' Em for Cowboys vs Buccaneers Week 1

Jason Schandl
Fantasy football start 'em, sit 'em picks for Thursday Night Football Buccaneers vs Cowboys in Week 1.
Fantasy football start 'em, sit 'em picks for Thursday Night Football Buccaneers vs Cowboys in Week 1. / Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The 2021 NFL season is finally here, and Week 1's Thursday Night Football matchup brings us a really interesting game for fantasy football purposes.

The defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 8.5-point favorites against the Dallas Cowboys, who finally have Dak Prescott back under center.

If you need some help with your fantasy football lineups, here's some start 'em, sit 'em advice for this Week 1 clash.

Michael Gallup Fantasy

Start Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys: The Tampa defense is a brutal matchup for the Cowboys to open the year with, and that's reflected in the lopsided point spread. Playing from behind could lead to an increase in passing volume though, opening the door for all three of the Cowboys' top wideouts to offer fantasy upside. Especially interesting for Gallup is the fact that Tampa, despite having a top-five defense in pass defense DVOA, actually checked in at only 22nd against opponents' No. 2 WRs.

Mike Evans Fantasy

Start Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: You're going to want to start just about all of your Bucs tonight, but Mike Evans is in a particularly good spot. His 12.1-yard average depth of target (aDOT) from last year tops the other big receiving threats (Gronk, AB and Godwin), which makes his upside especially exciting against a Dallas D that ranked No. 3 in DVOA against deep passes on 2020.

Ezekiel Elliott Fantasy

Sit Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys: Okay, maybe don't literally sit Zeke in your season-long leagues, but he's absolutely a fade in daily fantasy and someone you shouldn't expect much from this week. Offensive lineman Zack Martin has been ruled out. The Bucs led the NFL in run defense DVOA last season. As big underdogs the Cowboys may be forced to abandon the run. That all comes together to position Elliott for a highly disappointing start to the year.

Leonard Fournette Fantasy

Sit Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Leonard Fournette has a ton of upside this season if he continues to see the kind of role he earned during the 2020 postseason. Ronald Jones still looks like the leader of this backfield heading into 2021 though, so fantasy managers rolling the dice on Fournette will want to take a wait-and-see approach before they bank on getting Playoff Lenny.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.