Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em is the ultimate look at the best and worst matchups based on a PPR scoring system in fantasy football. This column will not cover the elite players in the NFL like Josh Allen, Jonathan Taylor or Cooper Kupp. Instead, I’ll look at the players you have questions about who could exceed or fail to meet expectations at each position. For all of your final fantasy lineup decisions, be sure to check out my weekly player rankings which will be updated daily throughout the NFL season.
Fabs Top 10
1. Justin Jefferson vs. Packers
2. Cooper Kupp vs. Rams (TNF)
3. Ja’Marr Chase vs. Steelers
4. CeeDee Lamb vs. Buccaneers
5. Davante Adams at Chargers
6. Stefon Diggs at Rams (TNF)
7. Michael Pittman Jr. at Texans
8. AJ Brown at Lions
9. Keenan Allen vs. Raiders
10. Deebo Samuel at Bears
Complete Week 1 rankings: QB | RB | WR | THE | FLEX | K| DST
Week 1 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: QUARTERBACKS | RUNNING BACKS | WIDE RECEIVERS | TIGHT ENDS | KICKERS & TEAM DEFENSES
Week 1 Start ‘Em: Wide Receivers
Start of the Week
Michael Pittman Jr. at Texans (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Pittman is my favorite breakout wide receiver, so this might be the last time I can feature him in this column (too obvious)! But this week, I’m projecting him as a top-10 fantasy wideout in a positive matchup against the Texans. The last time he faced Houston, Pittman recorded a solid six receptions for 77 yards and scored 17 PPR fantasy points.
Marquise Brown vs. Chiefs (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): Brown will be the No. 1 option in the passing game for Kyler Murray until DeAndre Hopkins returns from suspension, so fantasy managers should take advantage. He has a great matchup in what will be a high-scoring game against the Chiefs, too. SI Sportsbook has the over/under at 53.5, and the Chiefs struggled to stop wide receivers last season.
Courtland Sutton at Seahawks (Mon., 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): I have Russell Wilson listed as a start ’em, so it only makes sense that his projected No. 1 wideout should also be in a good position to succeed this week. While Jerry Jeudy is also in the mix, I see Sutton as the better of the two Broncos wideouts this week (although both are nice starters in Seattle). Sutton should be a No. 2 receiver or flex option.
Adam Thielen vs. Packers (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox): This week’s Packers-Vikings game could be a shootout, so Thielen should be in starting fantasy lineups as a No. 3 wideout or flex options. He’s had plenty of success against the NFC North rival, averaging 18.5 points in his last seven games against them. That includes posting 22-plus fantasy points in two of his last three contests against the Pack.
Christian Kirk at Commanders (1 p.m. ET, Fox): If money talks, Kirk should see more than his share of targets after signing a huge contract in the offseason. The Commanders won’t have a great pass rush without Chase Young, which is good news for Trevor Lawrence and his top option in the passing game. Washington also allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in 2021.
• Rashod Bateman at Jets (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
• Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. Eagles (1 p.m. ET, Fox)
• Allen Lazard at Vikings (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox)
• JuJu Smith-Schuster at Cardinals ($5,200)
• Brandon Aiyuk at Bears ($5,200)
• Christian Kirk at Commanders ($5,100)
Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Wide Receivers
Sit of the Week
Amari Cooper at Panthers (1 p.m. ET, CBS): I’m going to be concerned about the value of Cooper with Jacoby Brissett (and not Deshaun Watson) under center, and I’ll be even more worried when the matchup isn’t favorable. That’s the case this week, as the Browns face a Panthers defense that allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers last season. At best, Cooper is a risk-reward flex option.
Tyler Lockett vs. Broncos (Mon. 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Lockett’s stock has sunk since the Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to Denver, and it got worse when Geno Smith was named the starting quarterback. He failed to score a single touchdown in Smith’s starts last season, and a matchup against the Broncos makes him even less attractive for fantasy fans. I would start DK Metcalf, but I’d beware Lockett.
Drake London vs. Saints (1 p.m. ET, Fox): London has been dealing with a minor knee injury, and he missed a bunch of camp and part of the preseason. That means he’s lost time to gain a rapport with Marcus Mariota, so a slow start to the season is possible, if not likely. If you have depth at the position, I’d err on the side of caution and keep the No. 1 rookie wideout on the bench against the Saints.
Robert Woods vs. Giants (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox): Woods figures to be the top option in the passing game for Ryan Tannehill and the Titans, but can he have a quick start to the season coming off an ACL repair? Tennessee will also be leaning on Derrick Henry and the run, and the Giants’ defense could be better than projected against the pass. In what should be a low-scoring game, I’d beware Woods.
Chase Claypool at Bengals (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Claypool has succeeded against the Bengals, averaging 14.7 points in four career matchups. Of course, those were with Ben Roethlisberger and not Mitchell Trubisky under center. Claypool will also have to deal with upstart rookie George Pickens, who could take snaps and targets from the veteran. Unless Diontae Johnson (shoulder) is limited, I’d sit Claypool.
• Chris Godwin at Cowboys (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)
• Elijah Moore vs. Ravens (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
• DeVante Parker at Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
• Tyreek Hill vs. Patriots ($6,800)
• Amari Cooper at Panthers ($5,900)
• Robert Woods vs. Giants ($5,600)
Fabiano’s Week 1 PPR rankings: QUARTERBACKS | RUNNING BACKS | WIDE RECEIVERS | TIGHT ENDS | FLEX | KICKERS | TEAM DEFENSES
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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. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTubeand Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business to help you win a fantasy championship!