Welcome to NFL Sunday, friends! It’s been a long time coming, but we are officially going to have football back on the TV for essentially the entire day, and I’m looking forward to it!
This means that we’re going to need to make some tough lineup decisions as we look to dominate our fantasy football matchups! Who should you be looking to start? Who should you be looking to avoid?
Let’s take a look at my favorite options going into Week 1, along with some key things to watch for fantasy purposes.
Top RBs To Start in Week 1
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon came at an incredible discount in fantasy football drafts, and there should be zero hesitation in plugging him into your starting lineup here as a top-10 option. The Browns allowed 635 rushing yards over the last four weeks of the season in 2022, and they didn’t make a ton of major upgrades to this unit over the offseason.
Start Mixon with confidence here.
J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
J.K. Dobbins missed the majority of the offseason program for Baltimore, but that shouldn’t play any factor in getting him into our starting lineups here in Week 1. The Houston Texans gave up 462 rush attempts to opposing RBs in 2022, and this defense doesn’t exactly figure to be a ton better in 2023. Dobbins could end the week with multiple touchdowns, and he’s a top-12 RB in my rankings.
Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears
If you’re looking for a fill-in or Flex option this week, Herbert’s in a great spot to return value. The electric runner may end up losing some touches to other options in this backfield down the line this season, but he’s set to inherit a major workload in Week 1 against a Packers defense that has struggled to contain opposing RBs in the past. He’s at RB28 in my rankings.
Top RBs To Sit in Week 1
Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots
You drafted Rhamondre Stevenson as a top-15 option at the RB position, but there are plenty of warning signs surrounding him here in Week 1.
MORE: Start/Sit Optimizer
Stevenson’s currently dealing with a stomach illness that could hinder him while also going up against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that’s as dominant as they come. He has the talent to make up for it, but Stevenson’s a risky option in this matchup.
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris is going up against a stout 49ers defense this week that just got back Nick Bosa. While we already had concerns about Harris seeing enough volume to make up for his lack of explosive plays, there’s an insanely difficult matchup to add on top of that, and that gives me some concern about playing him here in Week 1.
Harris is RB17 in my rankings, but he has to find the end zone for you to feel comfortable playing him.
Top WRs To Start in Week 1
Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints
Chris Olave’s in a prime spot to come out swinging here in Week 1 against a Tennessee Titans defense that allowed 4,671 passing yards in 2022, which was the most in the NFL. With an upgrade at QB in Derek Carr, Olave could easily finish this week as a top-five wide receiver.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers
If you drafted Mike Williams, he needs to be in your starting lineup this week in a matchup that is going to see points fly up on the board. We’ve heard the reports about how new OC Kellen Moore wants to open things up on offense, and Williams is going to be at the center of that. He’s at WR19 on the week for me currently.
Zay Flowers, Baltimore Ravens
Zay Flowers is a rookie WR, and that’s always hard to trust right out of the gate, but this matchup dictates that he should be in your Flex spot. The Houston Texans are going to struggle to slow down this new high-powered Ravens offense, and Flowers has been drawing rave reviews in camp. He’s a perfect Flex play in Week 1!
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 16, 2023
Top WRs To Sit in Week 1
Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders
Davante Adams is a fantastic receiver, and there’s no world in which you’re actually benching him. However, this is an incredibly tough matchup on paper to start the season, and we should at least be concerned.
The Broncos’ secondary is among the best in the NFL, and we still have major questions regarding Jimmy Garoppolo and what this offense will look like in 2023.
Drake London, Atlanta Falcons
Drake London has all the talent in the world to be a force for fantasy football, but can we guarantee that he’s going to see more than six targets this week?
In an offense that would love to throw the ball 10 times in a game if they could, there’s no way we can confidently say that. He’s at WR27 for me this week.
Top QBs/TEs To Start in Week 1
Geno Smith, QB, Seattle Seahawks
It’s interesting how quickly Geno Smith has moved up my QB rankings the further the week has moved along. He now sits at QB10 on the week for me due to the matchup that’s in front of him.
This Rams team is going through a massive reset right now, and they’re rolling out a very inexperienced secondary. With all of the playmakers Smith has at his disposal, we shouldn’t be surprised to see a solid performance from the veteran QB.
Isaiah Likely, TE, Baltimore Ravens
Fantasy managers that drafted an early-round TE this year are going through it heading into Week 1! Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews are both set to miss their matchups and that is sending fantasy managers panicking to the waiver wire.
If Isaiah Likely is still sitting there on your waiver wire in your league, he’s a solid addition to plug into your starting lineup due to the projected volume and the matchup against the Texans’ defense. He’s currently at TE15 on the week for me.
Top QBs/TEs To Sit in Week 1
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott was drafted as a top-12 QB in fantasy drafts this year, but we should have some level of concern over plugging him confidently into our starting lineup this week.
The Giants’ secondary has some incredibly talented players, but the key part is the decline in Prescott’s rushing attempts. He needs to be efficient as a passer to crack the top 12, but the passing volume also might not be there now that Mike McCarthy has complete control of the offense.
Dalton Schultz, TE, Houston Texans
We have no idea what to expect from this offense here in C.J. Stroud’s first NFL start. He could end up locking onto Dalton Schultz over the middle of the field and peppering him with targets or he could be incredibly shaky up against a tough defense and complete 50% of his passes. Schultz is still a top-15 TE in my rankings, but he’s not someone you need to view as a must-start option.
Fantasy Football Players To Watch in Week 1
D’Andre Swift, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
We have no clue how this backfield is going to shake out in Philadelphia. Could D’Andre Swift dominate the touches and be a top-15 option for the remainder of the year? Yes. Could he also be involved in a complete three-man committee with Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Gainwell? Also Yes.
I’ll be watching this situation closely to find out the plans that the Eagles’ coaching staff has for this backfield moving forward.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
We’re all incredibly excited for Calvin Ridley to be back on the field after a long hiatus, but will he see enough volume to be a reliable top-15 play? Or will Christian Kirk maintain his stranglehold on the WR1 title for this offense moving forward, which will prevent Ridley from seeing the volume needed to return value on where he went in fantasy football drafts?
This is a situation I’m going to be monitoring this Sunday to see who Trevor Lawrence favors and features in this passing game.
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