Fantasy Football Start or Sit Week 1: Larry Donnell


Fantasy football is officially underway with the New England Patriots defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. The game was sluggish at times, but fantasy football owners with players in the game were glued to the screen throughout despite the Patriots seemingly wrapping it up early in the fourth quarter.

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Fantasy football will be a key in many people tuning in to watch the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys face off on Sunday night football as well. While they are two of the most recognizable teams in the league in two massive markets, not everyone cares about the Giants and Cowboys. But, if one of those people who don’t normally tune have someone like Eli Manning or Tony Romo on their roster, they will tune in.

The game between the Giants and Cowboys is projected to be one of the more exciting ones in terms of scoring, at least according to Las Vegas; the 51 point over/under is the second highest of Week 1, trailing only the 55 of the Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles game on Monday night football. That is the kind of thing that will get fantasy football owners giddy, as high scoring games equal big outputs for their rosters.

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While the Giants and Cowboys are both loaded with big names, including Manning, Romo, Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant to name a few, there is still plenty of value to be found other places. One of those places is at tight end.

The Giants have an underrated tight end in Larry Donnell. Last season Donnell burst onto the scene, winning the job over the summer and running with it throughout the season. He was up-and-down during the year, but still managed to finish the season with 63 receptions for 623 yards and six touchdowns. Those numbers won’t jump off the page, but in his first year that is solid and put him right on the cusp of TE1, depending on your league size.

This season the Giants are hoping Donnell can continue to grow, especially as a blocker. While blocking stats won’t help your fantasy team, if Donnell improves there it will result in more playing time, which will equal more production. He is a little off the radar in fantasy this season, but a matchup with the Cowboys Week 1 could put him on the map right away.

Last season, the Cowboys were the worst team defending tight ends, surrendering the most points to opposing tight ends in fantasy football. Against them last season, Donnell went for nine receptions, 114 yards and zero touchdowns. That is solid production in both PPR or standard leagues based on the yardage alone.

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This season things could be a little more difficult to score on the Cowboys via the tight end though. Sean Lee is healthy and back in the lineup which will boost their unit. But, this unit will still be shorthanded against the Giants, as Rolando McClain is suspended the first four games of the season.

That, along with Victor Cruz being announced out for the game, means Donnell should have some opportunities to produce. He will most likely be behind only Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle for targets Sunday night, which is nice for a game that should see as much scoring as this one.

Donnell has the size to be a problem in the red zone, standing 6-feet-6 inches tall and weighing 265 pounds. That lone gives Donnell weekly appeal depending on the matchup, as the Giants don’t have a reliable ground game near the end zone.

So, the opportunity and matchup this week make Donnell an intriguing play. Without many sure things at tight end, you could do much worse than Donnell during the season. If he is on your roster and has a matchup like the one he has in Week 1, it will be tough to sit him. Get Donnell in your lineup as this matchup has shootout written all over it and the Cowboys have to prove themselves in slowing down tight ends.

Next: Giants vs. Cowboys 5 Bold Predictions

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