Fantasy Football Week 1: Start and Sit

Fantasy Football Week 1: Start and Sit

By now you’ve read my fantasy football team profiles, picked your sleepers, avoided busts and executed a draft (or several). I’m managing six fantasy teams myself — seven if you count the Saturday Night Live fantasy league I’m in with my wife and stepdaughter where we draft hosts and musical guests, but our draft has been postponed until the WGA’s strike is over (and they hopefully receive a fair deal).

No matter how well you drafted, there’s always going to be tough calls to make when setting your lineup(s) throughout the season.

Because I’m a compassionate human being, my weekly “start and sit” column (normally posted online every Thursday morning or afternoon before the first game of the week) is back to help you deal with those difficult decisions.

My companion “add and drop” piece will also return next week (going live every Tuesday morning) to help you with your waiver wire decisions.

If your game is Daily Fantasy, I got you covered on Friday (for Sunday’s slate of games).

As per usual, the only thing I don’t do is drop kicker knowledge. You’re on your own with kickers.

Feel free to hit me up @UTEddieBrown on X, formerly known as Twitter, with any specific lineup questions I don’t cover in my posts.

Good luck this season!

Here’s my best bets for Week 1:


Obvious starters: Patrick Mahomes (KC), Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET).

Who to start: You’re starting Travis Kelce (KC) if he’s active (he’s currently questionable with a hyperextended knee) — Noah Gray (KC) would likely fill in as the Chiefs’ top pass-catching tight end, but I’d expect a majority of Kelce’s targets to go elsewhere. Skyy Moore (KC) would be one of the beneficiaries of Kelce being limited or out and I’d treat him as a WR3/flex option with upside. Jerick McKinnon (KC) would likely be the other and operate as a premium flex option, especially in PPR formats. Both Jahmyr Gibbs (DET) and David Montgomery (DET) are premium flex options with RB2 upside until we see how the timeshare will sort itself out. You probably shouldn’t be streaming the QB position this early in the season, but Jared Goff (DET) deserves consideration if you are — the Chiefs allow the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season.

Who to sit: I’m not trusting Kadarius Toney (KC) until he shows us he can stay on the field. Isiah Pacheco (KC) remains touchdown-dependent until further notice. New season, old song: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (KC) remains a boom-or-bust option. Neither the Chiefs D/ST or Lions D/ST deserve consideration in a potentially high-scoring affair. Marvin Jones (DET) looks like a boom-or-bust option in the opener. I’m fading rookie tight end Sam LaPorta (DET) until we get a glimpse of his target share.

Sleeper: Talented rookie receiver Rashee Rice (KC) isn’t a burner, but he consistently wins jump balls and was highly productive for SMU if you need a lottery ticket to begin the year.


Obvious starters: Bijan Robinson (ATL), Drake London (ATL), Kyle Pitts (ATL), Miles Sanders (CAR).

Who to start: An improved Falcons D/ST gets a rookie QB at home in his first start. Adam Thielen (CAR) deserves flex consideration in deeper formats and has WR3 upside after developing a solid rapport with his new QB. Hayden Hurst (CAR) has sneaky streaming value against one of his former teams.

Who to sit: Tyler Allgeier (ATL) is TD-dependent until we see how he’s utilized behind Robinson. Desmond Ridder (ATL) and Bryce Young (CAR) only have value in formats that utilize multiple quarterbacks. Both DJ Chark (CAR) — hamstring — and Terrace Marshall (CAR) — back — are dealing with nagging injuries to begin the season. I’m fading the Panthers D/ST in their road opener.

Sleeper: Jonathan Mingo (CAR) has strong, consistent hands and he’s hard to take down once he makes the catch — there could be some extra targets available this week with a banged-up Panthers receiving corps.


Obvious starters: Nick Chubb (CLE), Amari Cooper (CLE), Deshaun Watson (CLE), David Njoku (CLE), Ja’Marr Chase (CIN), Joe Burrow (CIN), Tee Higgins (CIN), Joe Mixon (CIN).

Who to start: Elijah Moore (CLE) has WR3/flex upside, primarily in PPR formats. Tyler Boyd (CIN) maintains his flex value in deeper PPR formats.

Who to sit: Donovan Peoples-Jones (CLE) remains a boom-or-bust option until further notice. I’m fading a talented Browns D/ST against Burrow and the Bengals D/ST on the road.

Sleeper: Injuries have plagued Irv Smith Jr. (CIN) the last two seasons, but he’s only 25, and the former second-rounder has teased his talents while on the field.


Obvious starters: Trevor Lawrence (JAC), Travis Etienne (JAC), Calvin Ridley (JAC), Evan Engram (JAC).

Who to start: I’m fine with using Anthony Richardson (IND) in deeper leagues — his running should provide a safe enough floor. Some expect Christian Kirk (JAC) to take a step back with the addition of Ridley, but I don’t see it (there should be enough volume in this pass offense to support multiple wide receivers). An ascending Jaguars D/ST gets a rookie QB with accuracy issues in his first professional start.

Who to sit: I’m fading Michael Pittman Jr. (IND) until we see what type of volume he’ll be working with this season. Zack Moss (IND) will be TD-dependent if he plays. Zay Jones (JAC) will be TD-dependent as a WR3 in the Jaguars offense.

Sleeper: Deon Jackson (IND) deserves flex consideration in PPR formats.


Obvious starters: Justin Jefferson (MIN), TJ Hockenson (MIN), Alexander Mattison (MIN), Chris Godwin (TB), Mike Evans (TB), Rachaad White (TB).

Who to start: Kirk Cousins (MIN) is a borderline QB1 to begin the season. Rookie receiver Jordan Addison (MIN) features WR3/flex upside with Jefferson drawing all the attention.

Who to sit: KJ Osborn (MIN) will have value this season, but there’s no reason dig this deep in the beginning. I’m fading the Vikings D/ST regardless of the matchup. Something went terribly wrong in your draft if you’re starting Baker Mayfield (TB) the first week (outside of Superflex formats).

Sleeper: Cade Otton (TB) should benefit from an abundance of dumpoffs from Mayfield — about 30 percent of his passes targeted tight ends his last two seasons as a full-time starter in Cleveland.


Obvious starters: Chris Olave (NO), Derrick Henry (TEN), DeAndre Hopkins (TEN).

Who to start: Jamaal Williams (NO) should see 15-20 touches and has legit TD upside with Alvin Kamara suspended to begin the season. Derek Carr (NO) deserves streaming consideration in his first home start for the Saints. Juwan Johnson (NO) was the overall TE8 in standard formats (TE15 in PPR) last season and Carr targets his tight ends frequently in high-leverage situations. I expect a big rebound this season from a very good — and much healthier — Saints D/ST.

Who to sit: Let’s see Michael Thomas (NO) produce consistent health before we get him in our lineups. Treylon Burks (TEN) remains a boom-or-bust candidate in a low-volume passing game until further notice. Ditto for Chigoziem Okonkwo (TEN), who I consider TD-dependent to begin the season. Ryan Tannehill (TEN) only has value in Superflex formats and I’m fading the Titans D/ST on the road.

Sleeper: Rashid Shaheed (NO) is dynamic with the ball in his hands and will get a significant upgrade at quarterback with Carr, who likes to take shots down the field.


Obvious starters: Najee Harris (PIT), Diontae Johnson (PIT), Pat Freiermuth (PIT), Steelers D/ST, Christian McCaffrey (SF), Deebo Samuel (SF), George Kittle (SF), 49ers D/ST.

Who to start: Brandon Aiyuk (SF) maintains WR3/flex value despite the difficult matchup.

Who to sit: I’m fading Kenny Pickett (PIT), George Pickens (PIT) and Jaylen Warren (PIT) against the NFL’s best defense in 2022. Elijah Mitchell (SF) opens the season as a TD-dependent option.

Sleeper: Brock Purdy (SF) having a big game in his return to Pennsylvania (after the way last season ended) wouldn’t surprise me at all.


Obvious starters: Commanders D/ST, James Conner (ARI).

Who to start: Jahan Dotson (WAS) maintains WR3/flex upside to begin the season. A steady diet of carries (and the lead) should help Brian Robinson (WAS) maintain his flex value in standard formats, while I’d favor Antonio Gibson (WAS) in PPR.

Who to sit: I’m fading Terry McLaurin (WAS) until we see how he handles his turf toe injury. I’m fading Marquise Brown (ARI) with a hamstring injury and a fluid quarterback situation. I’m also fading Zach Ertz (ARI) until we see how healthy his knee is. Rondale Moore (ARI) could develop flex value as the season progresses depending on how high his target share is.

Sleeper: Sam Howell (WAS) needs to improve his patience within the pocket and dig deeper in his progressions on early downs — but he flashed dynamic ability as a passer and runner as a rookie last season.


Obvious starters: Lamar Jackson (BAL), Mark Andrews (BAL), Ravens D/ST, Dameon Pierce (HOU), Dalton Schultz (HOU).

Who to start: A healthy JK Dobbins (BAL) has RB2 upside if he gets 10-15 carries. Odell Beckham Jr. (BAL) and rookie receiver Zay Flowers (BAL) both feature WR3/flex upside in a revamped pass offense.

Who to sit: I’m fading Rashod Bateman (BAL) until we see how the target share sorts itself out. Gus Edwards (BAL) begins the season TD-dependent. I’m fading CJ Stroud (HOU) in his first professional start on the road. You should have better options at your disposal this week than either Nico Collins (HOU) or Devin Singletary (HOU).

Sleeper: Tank Dell (HOU) possesses game-changing ability as a receiver or punt returner and should fit offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik’s version of Kyle Shanahan’s offense perfectly — the scheme emphasizes run-after-catch gains.


Obvious starters: Justin Fields (CHI), DJ Moore (CHI), Aaron Jones (GB).

Who to start: Khalil Herbert (CHI) has had at least 20 touches and produced at least 101 total yards in all three of his career starts. Cole Kmet (CHI) is a borderline TE1 and makes sense in deeper leagues. Christian Watson (GB) has missed two practices with a hamstring injury, but I’d start him if he’s active if you don’t have a better/healthier option. AJ Dillon (GB) is a premium flex option with RB2 upside considering his high-leverage touches in the Packers offense.

Who to sit: Darnell Mooney (CHI) is a boom-or-bust candidate. Chase Claypool (CHI) and D’Onta Foreman (CHI) are both TD-dependent. Jordan Love (GB) only has value in the deepest leagues and Superflex formats to begin the season. I’m fading Romeo Doubs (GB) unless Watson is inactive — Doubs is dealing with his own hamstring issue. Rookie tight end Luke Musgrave (GB) is likely TD-dependent in his first profession start.

Sleeper: Jayden Reed (GB) is starting in the slot from day one, where his route running and physicality could help him thrive with Love at quarterback.


Obvious starters: Javonte Williams (DEN), Davante Adams (LV), Josh Jacobs (LV).

Who to start: Courtland Sutton (DEN) will likely be the top target in the Broncos offense on Sunday. Samaje Perine (DEN) maintains flex value in Sean Payton’s offense, regardless if Williams is 100 percent. I anticipate Russell Wilson (DEN) wanting to put last season behind him in a big way. The Broncos D/ST could be a sneaky streaming option at home. Jakobi Meyers (LV) maintains flex value in PPR formats.

Who to sit: I’d be surprised if Jerry Jeudy (DEN) plays, but give him a week regardless. Both Greg Dulcich (DEN) and Adam Trautman (DEN) are TD-dependent. I’m fading Jimmy Garoppolo (LV) in his first start with the Raiders. With Adams and the addition of Meyers, I’m not sure there’s enough volume for Hunter Renfrow (LV) to maintain any value in fantasy. Rookie tight end Michael Mayer (LV) is TD-dependent in his professional debut.

Sleeper: Rookie receiver Marvin Mims Jr. (DEN) is a field-stretcher and could see decent target share if Jeudy is out.


Obvious starters: Rhamondre Stevenson (NE), Jalen Hurts (PHI), AJ Brown (PHI), DeVonta Smith (PHI), Dallas Goedert (PHI), Eagles D/ST.

Who to start: JuJu Smith-Schuster (NE) should see enough volume to maintain flex value in PPR. The last time Bill O’Brien was the offensive coordinator for the Patriots, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez combined for 169 receptions (on 237 targets), 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns — O’Brien’s return bolds well for Hunter Henry (NE) and Mike Gesicki (NE). D’Andre Swift (PHI) begins his Eagles career as a premium flex option with RB2 upside.

Who to sit: Ezekiel Elliott (NE) begins his Patriots career as a TD-dependent option. Mac Jones (NE) only has value in Superflex formats. I’m fading the Patriots D/ST against Hurts. Rashaad Penny (PHI) should get double-digit carries, but will need to score to be worthy of a flex play.

Sleeper: Kenneth Gainwell (PHI) is the most trusted option in Philly’s three-headed monster of a backfield.


Obvious starters: Austin Ekeler (LAC), Justin Herbert (LAC), Keenan Allen (LAC), Mike Williams (LAC), Tyreek Hill (MIA).

Who to start: Jaylen Waddle (MIA) expects to play with an oblique injury and he’s an obvious start if he’s active, assuming he isn’t limited in any way. If you drafted Tua Tagovailoa (MIA), then you’re not scared easily, and you’re not worried about his concussions, so continue to go all-in on a potentially top-tier fantasy QB. Raheem Mostert (MIA) is a premium flex with RB2 upside with Jeff Wilson on the IR. De’Von Achane (MIA) is a sneaky flex option in deeper leagues.

Who to sit: Rookie receiver Quentin Johnston (LAC) is TD-dependent in his professional debut. I’m fading both the Chargers D/ST and Dolphins D/ST against two high-powered offenses.

Sleeper: Gerald Everett (LAC) was the overall TE14 in standard formats (TE13 in PPR) in his first season with the Bolts, and they will likely remain one of the NFL’s most pass-heavy teams with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who has a history of featuring tight ends in his offense.


Obvious starters: DK Metcalf (SEA), Kenneth Walker (SEA), Tyler Lockett (SEA), Geno Smith (SEA), Cam Akers (LAR), Tyler Higbee (LAR).

Who to start: Matthew Stafford (LAR) could flashback to his days in Detroit, where he was always fantasy relevant based on sheer volume (considering how bad the Rams could be). The Seahawks D/ST open with an offense that allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing defenses in 2022.

Who to sit: Jaxon Smith-Njigba (SEA) has practiced fully, but I’d like to see how they utilize the first receiver drafted in April’s NFL Draft before I lock him into my lineup. Another talented rookie, Zach Charbonnet (SEA) is TD-dependent this week, with some possible value in the deepest PPR formats. Noah Fant (SEA) remains TD-dependent in an offense now teeming with talent. Both Van Jefferson (LAR) and Tutu Atwell (LAR) are boom-or-bust candidates. Sans Aaron Donald, the Rams D/ST could be one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

Sleeper: Puka Nacua (LAR) made quite an impression in the offseason after GM Les Snead selected him in the fifth round and he shares a similar skillset to Robert Woods, who thrived in Sean McVay’s offense — he could especially benefit for Cooper Kupp’s absence.


Obvious starters: Saquon Barkley (NYG), Darren Waller (NYG), CeeDee Lamb (DAL), Tony Pollard (DAL), Dak Prescott (DAL), Cowboys D/ST.

Who to start: Daniel Jones (NYG) was the overall QB9 in fantasy last season and the Giants added more talent around him in the offseason. Brandin Cooks (DAL) maintains WR3/flex upside in his Cowboys debut.

Who to sit: Darius Slayton (NYG), Parris Campbell (NYG), rookie receiver Jalin Hyatt (NYG) and Isaiah Hodgins (NYG) are all boom-or-bust candidates. A healthy Michael Gallup (DAL) remains TD-dependent until further notice as is first-year starter Jake Ferguson (DAL) at tight end.

Sleeper: You couldn’t find a more exciting lottery ticket than rookie running back Deuce Vaughn (DAL) in his pro debut.


Obvious starters: Garrett Wilson (NYJ), Stefon Diggs (BUF), Josh Allen (BUF), James Cook (BUF).

Who to start: Aaron Rodgers (NYJ) and Dalvin Cook (NYJ) are both worthy options in their Jets debut in a potentially high-scoring environment. Both the Jets D/ST and Bills D/ST could be matchup-proof this season. Rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid (BUF) could be peppered with targets out of the slot in his pro debut.

Who to sit: I’m fading Breece Hall (NYJ) until we see there are no longer limitations associated with his knee injury from last season. Both Allen Lazard (NYJ) and Tyler Conklin (NYJ) are TD-dependent options if you want to pair either with Rodgers. Gabe Davis (BUF) is a boom-or-bust candidate with this difficult matchup. Dawson Knox (BUF) remains TD-dependent, especially after the Bills drafted Kincaid.

Sleeper: Damien Harris (BUF) has scored three TDs in his last three games against the Jets.

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