Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate weekly look at the NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Fantasy superstars such as Patrick Mahomes and Christian McCaffrey will not be featured in this column. All player matchups are based on a PPR scoring system. For your final lineup decisions, be sure to check my weekly fantasy football lineup rankings.
Week 1 Start 'Em: Wide Receivers
Start of the Week
Terry McLaurin vs. Eagles
McLaurin is one of my favorite breakout candidates this season, and he should open on a high note against the Eagles. Last season, no team in the NFL allowed more fantasy points to receivers lined out wide than Philadelphia, and McLaurin ran most of his routes out wide. While the Eagles did add Darius Slay, he’s not guaranteed to shadow McLaurin. In fact, he could see more of Avonte Maddox in this NFC East battle.
Julian Edelman vs. Dolphins
Edelman doesn’t have Tom Brady throwing him the football, but Cam Newton has reportedly targeted him a ton in Patriots camp. The veteran pass-catcher also has a nice matchup against the Dolphins, who allowed the fifth-most points to slot receivers last season. Edelman has been successful throughout his career against Miami, scoring 17 or more fantasy points in five of his last eight games, including 23 or more in two of his last four, against the AFC East foe.
D.J. Chark vs. Colts
The Jaguars could end up being in a lot of garbage time points games this season, and being eight-point underdogs on their home field means this could be one of those games. That's good news for Chark, who faces a Colts defense that surrendered ten touchdowns and an average of 14.4 yards per catch to opposing receivers lined out wide in 2019. Chark should see more than enough targets from Gardner Minshew to thrive this week.
Stefon Diggs vs. Jets
The Bills added a shiny new toy in Diggs this offseason, and I’ll guess they’ll show him off in Week 1. The matchup is a positive one, as the Bills host a Jets defense that doesn’t look all that formidable against the pass. Last season, the Men in Green allowed 13 touchdowns and the seventh-most fantasy points to receivers lined out wide. That’s good news for Diggs and John Brown, who could end up being a nice under-the-radar option.
DeSean Jackson at Washington Football Team
The Eagles will be without Alshon Jeffery this week, so Jackson should benefit in terms of his target share in the offense. That’s good news for his statistical prospects. He also has a favorable matchup versus Fabian Moreau and a defense that allowed 11 touchdowns to road wideouts last year. Furthermore, Jackson has historically smashed in matchups against his former NFL teams.
- DK Metcalf at Falcons
- Diontae Johnson at Giants
- Marvin Jones Jr. vs. Bears
- John Brown vs. Jets (DraftKings: $5,600)
- Henry Ruggs III at Panthers (DraftKings: $5,100)
- DeSean Jackson at Football Team (DraftKings: $4,900)
Week 1 Sit 'Em: Wide Receivers
Sit of the Week
DeVante Parker at Patriots
Parker busted out in the second half of last season, averaging more than 18 fantasy points per game over the final eight weeks. That included a 21.7-point effort against Stephon Gilmore and the Patriots in Week 17. Still, New England mostly shut down receivers who lined out wide last season (15.4 PPG), and Gilmore sure would like to get revenge on Parker this week. With Preston Williams also back, the veteran could disappoint.
A.J. Green vs. Chargers
Green didn’t play all of last season due to injuries, and he’s played just nine games over the last two seasons. He also dealt with hamstring issues during camp that limited his reps with new quarterback Joe Burrow. If the veteran does line up in Week 1, he’ll do it against a Chargers defense that allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to receivers lined out wide in 2019. At this point, Green is difficult for fantasy footballers to trust.
Jarvis Landry at Ravens
Landry is coming off hip surgery, so you have to wonder if he's going to be limited in his Week 1 matchup against the Ravens. It's a tough matchup at that, as this Baltimore defense allowed just 6.4 catches and 16.6 fantasy points per game to slot receivers a season ago. I know Landry has had some monster games against the Ravens in the past, including last season, but any limitations in his snaps are a red flag this week.
Sterling Shepard vs. Steelers
Shepard is healthy and ready to roll for the G-Men this season, but starting him in a brutal Week 1 matchup against the Steelers isn’t advised. Pittsburgh's defense was tough on wideouts a season ago, allowing the sixth-most points to the position. If Shepard is forced outside more with Golden Tate in the slot, well, that would be an even worse scenario since the Steelers allowed the fourth-fewest points to outside receivers in 2019.
Amari Cooper at Rams
I get it! You probably can’t sit Cooper in Week 1 (or in any week). However, an upcoming matchup against the Rams, and more notably shutdown CB Jalen Ramsey, is anything but attractive. The last time these two players lined up against each other was in Week 15 of last season, and Cooper was targeted just twice and held to one reception for 19 yards and no TDs. So, if you’re deep at wideout or can flex a RB with a solid matchup, it is a good idea to put Cooper on the bench.
- Brandin Cooks at Chiefs (TNF)
- Deebo Samuel vs. Cardinals
- Christian Kirk at 49ers
- DeAndre Hopkins at 49ers ($6,800)
- Parker at Patriots (DraftKings: $6,000)
- Emmanuel Sanders vs. Buccaneers ($5,700)
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for the latest news and analysis!
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