NFL Fantasy 2023 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 1: Wide receivers

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em, Sit 'Em is here to help fantasy managers make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes´╗┐. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out the latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

Chris Olave
New Orleans Saints

Chris Olave is my top breakout candidate this season. He was seventh in yards per route run among receivers (2.5) and fourth in air yards per target (14.2) in 2022. Despite that, he had the second-most unrealized air yards. The upgrade to Derek Carr, who is a better deep-ball thrower than any of the QBs the Saints started last season, should help. But the matchup also could not be any better for Olave. Last season, the Titans allowed the most yards (1,197) and touchdowns (11) on deep passes. I dubbed Olave "Mr. Air Yards" last season, and he should be able to convert them into even more solid production this year. His WR1 season begins with a bang in Week 1.

Jahan Dotson
Washington Commanders

Jahan Dotson is another breakout pick of mine. Last season, he averaged 2.1 fantasy points per target, which ranked third among wide receivers. His 14 air yards per target ranked fifth at the position. The Cardinals were tough against receivers and on downfield passes in 2022, which might hint at a reason to get away from Dotson. However, given his ability, new QB (Sam Howell) and play-caller (Eric Bieniemy) and the fact that Terry McLaurin is banged up (toe), Dotson is a strong start. Make sure to get him in your lineup, as his breakout season should get off to a hot start.

Drake London
Atlanta Falcons

Drake London is a target vacuum who should see safe volume on a Falcons team that jumped from 24.5 to 30.3 pass attempts per game after making the switch to Desmond Ridder last season. London was better with Ridder, averaging 13.6 fantasy PPG with him, compared to 9.6 with Marcus Mariota. Plus, Carolina allowed the fourth-most fantasy PPG and yards (2,947) to receivers last season. London had mixed results in his two matchups against the Panthers last year, but that should not scare you away from starting him in Week 1.

Mike Evans
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Godwin
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I was avoiding Bucs receivers in many of my drafts, but if you took a chance on them, Week 1 is a good time to get them in your starting lineup. Not only is this an indoor game, which usually boosts offensive numbers, but the Vikings struggled mightily against receivers in 2022. They allowed the most yards (3,266) and the second-most fantasy PPG to the position. They also gave up the most yards to receivers who lined up wide (2,338) and the fourth-most to those who lined up in the slot (1,475), per Next Gen Stats. Both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are in play in a game where the Bucs could be chasing points.

Potential Cooper Kupp replacement ...

Skyy Moore
Kansas City Chiefs

It's looking more and more likely that we will be without Cooper Kupp in Week 1 (amid lingering hamstring issues) and while there is no direct replacement, Skyy Moore is a decent alternative. Moore should operate plenty out of the slot for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, which bodes extremely well for him in this matchup. Last season, the Lions allowed the most yards (1,589) and fourth-most touchdowns (four) to receivers out of the slot. All in a game where a lot of points are expected. Moore is a solid start this week, especially if Travis Kelce misses the game with a hyperextended knee. Teammate Kadarius Toney is also a boom-or-bust option in this matchup, though he has been limited in practice by a knee injury.


EDITOR'S UPDATE: Rams head coach Sean McVay announced Kupp has been ruled out for Week 1.

Sit 'Em

Gabe Davis
Buffalo Bills

Gabe Davis was very boom-or-bust last year and I do not like his chances to "boom" in this game. The Jets secondary is extremely tough. Not only did they allow the fewest fantasy PPG and yards (1,857) to receivers in 2022, they were also especially strong against Davis' specific role. They allowed the fewest yards to receivers lined up out wide (1,104) and the seventh-fewest yards on deep passes (482). Plus, Davis saw a lot of Sauce Gardner last season -- facing him on 50 percent of routes in their first matchup and 36 percent in the second (both more than Gardner covered Stefon Diggs). There will be big weeks for Davis, but this just isn't one of them.

Michael Pittman
Indianapolis Colts

Michael Pittman Jr. was a player I went from loving last year to fading this season. Nothing against Pittman, but I'm expecting rookie QB Anthony Richardson to post a low number in passing yards per game. I know I recommended fantasy managers start Richardson in Week 1, but that decision was primarily motivated by the QB's rushing potential. Plus, the Jaguars limited receivers on the outside to the fourth-fewest yards in the league last year (1,462). Pittman has had success against the Jags in the past, but in a game plan that will likely be heavily focused on running the ball, I would get away from him.

Marquise Brown
Arizona Cardinals

I like Marquise Brown's talent -- I just hate all the circumstances around him this season. It will be one of Joshua Dobbs or Clayton Tune starting for at least the early part of the season -- we do not know which, and it could even be a rotation. The Commanders also figure to generate a ton of pressure on the QB, which makes it harder to set up deep shot attempts -- Brown's bread and butter. He is big-play reliant on a team that could have very few such plays. I would get away from him in this matchup.


EDITOR'S UPDATE: Dobbs is expected to start for the Cardinals in Week 1, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Rashod Bateman
Baltimore Ravens

As much as the Texans struggled against the run last year, they were strong against receivers. They allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy PPG to the position and just 366 yards on deep passes, third-fewest in the NFL. That's where you expect Bateman to make an impact. There's also uncertainty as to how the Ravens will spread the ball among their new wealth of receiving options -- including highly touted rookie Zay Flowers and veteran Odell Beckham Jr. Lastly, it's possible they just run the ball heavily in this game. I would leave Bateman on the bench until we know more about the Ravens' passing attack.

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