Start ‘EM Sit ‘EM Week 1

Source: USA Today

The research is completed. The mock drafts are mocked, and the fantasy league drafts are wrapping up as we quickly approach the start of the NFL regular season and kick off the beginning of the fantasy season too. We’ve all been crunching the numbers, absorbing every bit of fantasy information to make the perfect rosters for the new fantasy season. I’ve done so many fantasy drafts this year that my head almost flew off my shoulders. But that’s part of the fun. 

Now here comes the hard part. Knowing which players should be in your starting lineup each week. Decisions, decisions. But don’t sweat it too much. This season I’ll be here to provide you with some insights to help you come to the conclusion on who you should be starting based on the matchups each week. The more information you have at your fingertips, the better you will be able to make a more informed decision on your fantasy lineups. 


You know the goal is to get you guys to a fantasy championship and with my help, we can accomplish that together for the 2023 season. And FYI, this column won’t have players on it like Stefon Diggs or Patrick Mahomes making appearances. If you see that, then you might as well move on. Those kinds of players are weekly starters even if they don’t perform on occasion. You’ve spent too much draft capital to have them off of your starting lineup as it is. The point is that I’ll try to provide you with some options that you might not have been thinking about. Maybe even a player or two that is still on the waiver wire. Whatever the case, this is going to be a fun season so let’s buckle up and kick off Week 1 and get that first W (so we can trash talk in our group chats for an entire week about how smart we are). 


Week 1 Start’EM

*Start Stat Percentage via ESPN 


Dak Prescott vs. NYG (45.2% Start) 

Dak Prescott gets a familiar opponent to start the regular season off with the New York Giants. The Giants finished the 2022 season ranking 18th in passing yards allowed and 15th in points allowed at nearly 22 PPG. Dak Prescott also gets a new weapon in wide receiver Brandin Cooks as well as a finally healthy Michael Gallup to start the season off and still has leading wide receiver CeeDee Lamb to pass to which should allow him to have a solid outing against the division rival Giants. The Giants allowed 15.6 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks during the 2022 season but Dak Prescott has proven more times that not to be able to put up solid numbers against the Giants defense over his career. 

Derek Carr vs. TEN (3.1% Start) 

Despite other fantasy players from the Saints being taken earlier in drafts, it seems like fantasy managers aren’t quite sold on Derek Carr just yet. But don’t be surprised if Carr is taken off waiver wires after this week. Carr gets the Titans in his first home game with his new Saints team and this should bode well in his favor. The Titans allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks last season and 274.8 passing yards per game in 2022. Carr is now armed with a healthy (fingers crossed) Michael Thomas and second-year receiver Chris Olave, who some have taken off draft boards in the top 25 among wide receivers. With Alvin Kamara suspended for the first three games of the season, the pass should be on display for the Saints in Week 1. 

Cam Akers vs. SEA (50% Start)

If you had Cam Akers on your fantasy rosters last season, you probably flipped a table or two after his extremely slow start. Whether it was the recovery from the Achilles injury or Sean McVay simply refusing to play him, his 2022 season was frustrating for fantasy managers. Now more removed from the Achilles, Akers is set to be in a prime spot for production in Week 1 against an NFC West division rival. The Seahawks weren’t great against the run in 2022, allowing the third-most rushing yards per game against the run and fifth-most fantasy points against running backs. Akers should have the Rams backfield to himself more times than not but looks to be in a good spot for starting lineups to kick the season off. 

Brian Robinson vs. AZ (16.2% Start)

This might be a strong reach but there’s reason to believe that the Commanders' ground game could be nice against a susceptible Cardinals defense. For starters, this offseason the Cardinals have been shipping off every other defensive player via trade. The offense is without franchise quarterback Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins is gone too. With unproven rookie QB Clayton Tune set to start, the Commanders DEF should be able to take advantage (wink wink, get the Commanders' defense off waivers now) and the run game should be established to help Sam Howell get into a grove. The Cardinals ranked the second-worst against fantasy running backs allowing 28 FPPG against the position in 2022. 

Courtland Sutton vs. LVR (16.7% Start) 

Courtland Sutton may not be the top option on most fantasy rosters. If anything he looks like a WR3 if you’re drafting wide receivers early. But Sutton is a fantasy wide receiver who is looking to rebound from his poor 2022 season. In this matchup, Sutton faces off against fellow AFC West rival, the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders haven’t been a strong defensive team as of late and that trend looks to continue into the 2023 season. The Raiders allowed nearly 33 FPPG to opposing wide receivers last season, while also allowing the 11th-most passing touchdowns last season. Another thing to consider is that fellow wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (hamstring) won’t be playing at the start of the season so more targets should be coming Sutton’s way. 

Michael Thomas vs. TEN (14.6% Start)

Folks will be leery of having Thomas in their lineups after he played just three games in 2022 before missing the rest of the season. It’s understandable. But now reportedly over his injuries, Thomas looks to reassert himself as the Saints WR1 this year. Remember, even over the first three games of the 2022 season, Thomas did put in work scoring three touchdowns and averaging 17 FPPG. He gets a vulnerable Titans defense at home that allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers last season, giving up a whooping 40 FPPG to the position. Even if Thomas isn’t your top two options, sliding him into that flex spot should be more than helpful. 

Nico Collins vs. BAL (1.8% Start)

Nico Collins gets a fresh start at quarterback after the Texans drafted CJ Stroud this offseason and reports are that Collins has been Strouds’ top target during camp. Now we get to see it in action against a Ravens team that has been susceptible to the pass. Last season the Ravens allowed the seventh-most yards per game and 34 FPPG to enemy wide receivers. If Collins is the top target for the Texans this season, he’ll be one of the main cogs in the Texans' passing game in 2023. 

Gerald Everett vs. MIA (43.1% Start)

Gerald Everett had a nice 2022 season as a fantasy tight end. Everett was eighth in targets among tight ends last season and finished as the TE13. Now he’ll get placed in a system under new OC Kellen Moore that allowed now-Texans tight end Dalton Schultz to thrive during their tenure with the Dallas Cowboys. Everett gets matched up against a Dolphins defense that allowed 56 yards per game to the tight end position and allowed the third-most fantasy points as well. Everett should see solid work in an offense that throws the ball a ton. While Everett may not be the sexist pick, he has the ability to get the job done when he’s involved. 


Van Jefferson vs. SEA (0.5% Start)

With the news that Cooper Kupp is expected to miss Week 1 (and possibly longer), the Rams will need an experienced number-one wide receiver to step in and fill the void. Enter Van Jefferson. Jefferson looks to assume that WR1 role for as long as Kupp misses time and with it comes potential volume. The Rams also don’t have a ton of options behind Jefferson as it is, so the ball should be coming to Jefferson pretty often to start the season. Seattle is a bit tougher on wide receivers but a few good chunk plays should be 


Week 1 Sit’EM


Daniel Jones vs. DAL (22.4% Start)

Daniel Jones has been receiving quite a bit of hype this offseason with some even saying that Jones belongs in the Top 10 among quarterbacks heading into the 2023. While that’s a subject for another time, Jones starts off the regular season against a tough Cowboys defense that allowed just 200 yards passing per game (eighth-fewest). Considering the fact that the Giants didn’t do much to bolster the wide receiver room outside of rookie wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, Jones may have a tough time passing on a defense that sure up its backend by adding Stephon Gilmore opposite of Trevon Diggs. This is a matchup I would avoid to start my fantasy season on. 

Dalvin Cook vs. BUF (35.4% Start)

I know some thought that Dalvin Cook’s signing to the Jets this offseason was a sign that he was taking over the backfield away from Breece Hall. I think that this line of thinking is incorrect. But again, another topic for another day. Cook has only recently been able to practice with the team after working his way back from shoulder surgery. Meanwhile, Breece Hall has been practicing in 11 on 11s in training camp to this point. The Bills are also a tough matchup as they were one of the better run defenses in the league in 2022, allowing the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game. I’d watch the news out of Jets camp heading into Week 1 but this is a guy I would avoid for now. 

D’Andre Swift vs. NE (21.3% Start)

D’Andre Swift is a running back I really like this season because his potential is high in an offense that likes to run the ball with the Philadelphia Eagles. The issue is that we don’t know how the running back room will shake out just yet. Swift and Penny are likely the top options but Jalen Hurts is also a big part of the running machine with the Eagles. The Patriots head into the matchup as one of the better run-stopping teams in the league, allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2022. For this week, at least until I have an idea of what the Eagles plan to utilize their backfield, I’m leaving him on the bench. 

Adam Thielen vs. ATL (3.5% Start) 

Adam Thielen finds himself in a new team this season as one of the top options for the Carolina Panthers. But with new teams come new turnovers as the starting quarterback is rookie Bryce Young. Add to the fact that the Falcons made significant strides to boost their defense this offseason, this could be a tough matchup against a division rival. The Falcons allowed the 13th-fewest receiving yards to wide receivers in 2022. While the Falcons have been caught by big performances by receivers in the past, a rookie quarterback on a brand new offense with an aging wide receiver having a top-end performance may be a tall order to ask. Find a better option this week. 

Chigoziem Okonko vs. NO (7.6% Start)

I know this tight end has been getting a lot of praise this offseason for his production last year but I think people should keep in mind how bad the Titans’ pass-catchers were and the fact that they had NOBODY out there to catch passes. 

With the addition of DeAndre Hopkins and the expectation that Treylon Burks should take the next step after a rocky rookie season in a low-passing offense, there may not be enough meaningful work to go around this year. The Saints present a tough challenge for the Titans' tight end position as the Saints allowed just 7.38 FPPG to the position, the fewest in fantasy in 2022. This might not be the move in Week 1. 


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