Fantasy Week 1 WR Start/Sit: Top Options Include Mike Evans, DK Metcalf, and Others

Week 1 is here and fantasy football managers need to set their lineups! Who are some of the WRs you should look to start -- and sit -- in the first week?

Have you ever come away with so many great WRs in your fantasy football draft that you find yourself stressing over who to start or sit for Week 1?

Fear not, my friend, I’m here with some strong start/sit options at the WR position for Week 1 of the NFL season. Let’s take a closer look.

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Which WRs Should You Start in Fantasy This Week?

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may no longer have Tom Brady under center, but they still boast one of the best WR duos in the NFL.

Baker Mayfield draws a season-opening matchup against a secondary that gave up an average of 265 passing yards a week last year.

While I understand it’s popular to fade the Buccaneers’ offense in 2023, this matchup against a Vikings pass defense certainly means Mike Evans should be in FLEX consideration for your lineup to start the season.

Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders

Jahan Dotson enters his sophomore season coming off of a solid rookie campaign and an encouraging preseason. Terry McLaurin is dealing with a toe injury, which could open up more looks for Dotson to start the season against the Arizona Cardinals.

MORE: Week 1 Start/Sit — QB/TE | RB

While we don’t quite know what to expect from the Washington Commanders’ offense, the Cardinals’ defense — and secondary in particular — don’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of opposing passing offenses.

DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

The injury to Jaxon Smith-Njigba has his status for the season opener in question, which means we could see more of what we saw last year from DK Metcalf to start the year.

Metcalf torched this Los Angeles Rams secondary in Week 13 of last season to the tune of eight receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown. And that was with CB Jalen Ramsey in the lineup. Now with Ramsey in Miami, I don’t see a cornerback that is going to give Metcalf many problems in this match. Start him with confidence.

Which WRs Should You Sit in Fantasy This Week?

Drake London, Atlanta Falcons

Drake London is a popular Year 2 breakout WR candidate, and I’m mostly on board with that narrative. However, I’m looking to steer clear of deploying London into my lineup in Week 1 for a couple of reasons.

First off, it will be the first start for QB Desmond Ridder with both London and talented TE Kyle Pitts in the lineup together. Then, throw talented all-purpose RB Bijan Robinson into the mix, and I want to take a wait-and-see approach with this passing attack.

MORE: Consensus Rankings

Not to mention, London does draw a matchup against CB Jaycee Horn, who has only given up one TD through his first two seasons. London’s talent is always tempting to put into your lineup, but I’d go in a different direction for Week 1.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, New England Patriots

JuJu Smith-Schuster landed with one of the neediest WR teams in the league this offseason, but consider me a bit concerned about his Week 1 outlook against one of the best pass defenses in the league from last season.

The Philadelphia Eagles have cornerbacks Darius Slay and James Bradberry, who form arguably the best duo in the NFL. Not to mention, the Eagles’ embarrassment of pass-rushing riches along their defensive front is sure to make life difficult for New England Patriots QB Mac Jones. I would look to go in other directions for your FLEX spot than Smith-Schuster in Week 1.

DeAndre Hopkins, Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans’ passing game wasn’t exactly a unit that produced a ton of fantasy value in 2022, but the arrival of DeAndre Hopkins has some believing that pure volume alone will produce another WR1 season. But I’m a bit skeptical of his Week 1 outlook.

First off, Hopkins draws a matchup against CB Marshon Lattimore and a quality New Orleans Saints defense.

Second, Treylon Burks has returned to practice and could be involved to start the season. In an offense that is still expected to be one of the run-heaviest teams in the league and a matchup against one of the most physical players at the CB position, I’d consider fading the talented WR to start the year.

Trending Searches for WR Start/Sit

Did you know that we have a Start/Sit Optimizer here at Pro Football Network?! It’s completely free to use and it allows you to enter in up to six players to find the best player to plug into your starting lineup!

It also allows us to see the most popular trending searches, which we’ve jotted some of them down here to help provide some clarity on!

Should You Start Zay Flowers or George Pickens?

The Baltimore Ravens are expected to open up the playbook this season more than we have become accustomed to over the past four years with Lamar Jackson. In addition, I am a believer in Zay Flowers being the highest-scoring fantasy WR wearing a Ravens uniform in 2023.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it is going to be necessary for the Ravens to air it out a whole lot against a Houston Texans offense that will feature the NFL debut of rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and a Texans rush defense that struggled against opposing rushing attacks last season.

MORE: Dynasty Rookie Rankings

Sure, the San Francisco 49ers defense is among the most talented groups in the league, but if there is a place to attack this unit — it would be on the outside.

Not to mention, if the Niners don’t settle the contract dispute with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Nick Bosa, they may be without one of the most elite pass rushers in the league in Week 1. This could help Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett have a bit more time to push the ball down the field to Pickens, who finished seventh in the league last year with an average depth of target (aDOT) of 14.5.

Pickens is already one of the best contested catch players in the league and is sure to see plenty of looks in what should be a competitive game. I’m higher on Flowers for the season, but I’ll go with Pickens for Week 1.

Should You Start Tyler Lockett or DJ Moore?

The preseason debut of DJ Moore in a Chicago Bears uniform was nothing short of electric. He took a poorly thrown ball on a screen, made the first defender miss, and finished with a 62-yard house call.

Moore is an electric playmaker after the catch and should be heavily targeted as the featured player in this passing attack.

However, if Jaire Alexander is available for the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, I’m a bit more inclined to go with Tyler Lockett to start the season.

The Rams’ secondary is littered with young, unproven players and will face one of the best WR duos in the league to start the season.

Not to mention, Lockett found the end zone in both games against the Rams last season while totaling 13 receptions for 182 yards in those contests.

Even if talented rookie WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba is active, he is unlikely to see a significant role to start the season while he recovers from a wrist injury. Both are quality options, but I feel more comfortable with Lockett’s floor in Week 1.

Should You Start Courtland Sutton or JuJu Smith-Schuster?

Reports from Albert Breer about Smith-Schuster’s knee have cast doubt heading into his first season with the Patriots.

Whether you give credence to those reports or not, Smith-Schuster’s outlook in a matchup against a talented Eagles secondary to start the season probably won’t give you a whole lot of optimism either.

And while Courtland Sutton hasn’t given us much reason for optimism after his lack of production over the past couple of seasons, at least his Week 1 matchup is a bit more favorable.

The Las Vegas Raiders defense gave up an average of 242 passing yards per game in 2022.

If that isn’t reason enough, Sutton is likely to see plenty of work in Week 1 with Jerry Jeudy still being hampered by a hamstring injury.

While Smith-Schuster should be the focal point of the Patriots passing attack this season, Sutton is a better play for Week 1.

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