Week 1 Fantasy Picks: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Colts vs Texans

Fantasy football picks for the Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans Week 1 matchup, including the Colts defense and Brandin Cooks.
Fantasy football picks for the Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans Week 1 matchup, including the Colts defense and Brandin Cooks. / ASSOCIATED PRESS

A pair of AFC teams meet head-to-head in Week 1 as the Indianapolis Colts visit the Houston Texans on Sunday. FanDuel Sportsbook's NFL odds have the Colts listed as 7.5-point road favorites in a game that is full of playmakers on both sides of the ball.

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

Colts D/ST Fantasy

Start Colts, D/ST: The Colts are set up with a pair of fantasy stars on offense with running back Jonathan Taylor and wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. Outside of those names, the Colts' defense is a must-start in Week 1. This is a unit that was the No. 7 D/ST in fantasy last year and has a prime matchup against perhaps the worst offense (on paper) in the NFL. Houston ranked 30th in overall offensive DVOA, 29th in pass-offense DVOA and dead last in rush-offense DVOA last year. Not much has changed, and that means the Texans could be in for a long Week 1 affair. Just look at the 7.5-point spread, which is the largest on this week's slate of games. After averaging just 16.5 points per game (30th) last year, Houston's offense offers zero value on paper.

Brandin Cooks Fantasy

Start Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans: While we just trashed the Texans' offense, there is one bright spot. It starts and ends with Brandin Cooks. One of the most consistent fantasy football options since 2015, Cooks has put up at least 1,000+ receiving yards in six of his past seven years despite playing for four different teams. He tallied 90 receptions for 1,037 yards and six touchdowns a year ago, even with the mix of Davis Mills and Tyrod Taylor under center. The WR20 a year ago, Cooks is a consistently safe option for the WR2 or FLEX spot in a fantasy lineup. Indianapolis is also a much better defense against the run than through the air. The Colts ranked just 20th in pass-defense DVOA last year after allowing the 13th-most PPR points to opposing wideouts.

Matt Ryan Fantasy

Sit Matt Ryan, QB, Indianapolis Colts: Don't get us wrong, Houston's secondary is not intimidating. But there are better options at QB than sliding Matt Ryan into the starting lineup (unless this is a 2QB league). Ryan was wildly inconsistent for the Falcons a year ago and ranked as just QB20. He's got a much better supporting cast, but the presence of Jonathan Taylor and the league's second-best rushing attack means a lighter load for him to carry. If the Colts jump out to an early lead, they'll likely go run-heavy to milk the clock and limit Ryan's attempts.

Dameon Pierce Fantasy

Sit Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans: Dameon Pierce has been a bit of a buzzy fantasy name since the Texans opted for his talents at running back ahead of Marlon Mack. Don't fall for the hype, though, at least not yet. He ranks just RB30 in The Duel's Week 1 PPR rankings because he plays behind an offensive line that put up the least amount of rushing yards and second-fewest rushing touchdowns a year ago. Pierce will also concede passing-back duties to Rex Burkhead, dashing his PPR value. Then there's the Colts factor. This is one of the best front-seven units in the entire league, ranking second in rush-defense DVOA and allowing the fourth-fewest PPR points to opposing running backs. Add in a lengthy 7.5-point spread, and this doesn't seem like the best opportunity for Pierce to rack up 20+ carries.

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Adam Taylor McKillop is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Adam Taylor also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username atmckillop. 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 their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.