Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Wide Receivers: Week 1

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Getty JuJu Smith-Schuster celebrates a touchdown.

Welcome to Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Wide Receivers for Week 1 of the NFL season. This week’s edition features a top-15 pick with speed to kill and a former top-10 fantasy receiver looking to bounce back after a down 2019 campaign.

* Reminder: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em is intended to present you with the non-obvious choices for your fantasy lineup. We dig deep into player matchups, scoring trends, and other factors to best help you with your fantasy decisions. Superstars such as Julio Jones and Michael Thomas will not be found in this column. If you’re looking for players of their caliber check out our weekly fantasy football wide receiver rankings.

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WR: Start ‘Em

Start of the Week: JuJu Smith-Schuster at NYG

Expect Smith-Schuster to look a lot more like his WR8 self from 2018 rather than his WR62 self from a year ago, now that Big Ben is back under center. The Giants, who still don’t know who their second cornerback will be, allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers a season ago. That includes a 20-plus point outing to at least one wideout in all but one game after the Week 11 bye.

Stefon Diggs vs. NYJ

If John Brown can be a top-15 fantasy wideout with Josh Allen at quarterback, there’s no reason to think Diggs can’t emulate a similar output at the very least. In 2019, from Week 4 on the then-Viking receiver ranked as WR9. The Jets allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to WRs last season, including an average of 30.65 points between Buffalo’s two top-leading receivers over their two matchups.

Terry McLaurin vs. PHI

After a slight midseason slump, the McLaurin-Haskins combo began to pick up heat during the latter parts of 2019, as the wideout crept back up into the top-20 point-getters at his position over the final five weeks of the fantasy season. McLaurin’s 14.1 ppg over that span was more than Keenan Allen, Odell Beckham Jr. and Deebo Samuel, just to name a few. The Eagles allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to WRs last season, thanks in large part to McLaurin’s multiple 125-yard-plus, one-touchdown performances against them.

Anthony Miller at DET

Miller showed glimpses of brilliance last season, posting either a touchdown or receiving nine-plus targets in all but one game from Week 11 through Week 15. He’s a high volume playmaker with a matchup right up his ally, as Detroit allowed the eighth-most completions in football a season ago. It also doesn’t hurt that the last time these two met, Miller torched Detroit’s secondary to the tune of 140-receiving yards and 23.0 fantasy points.

Sleeper: Henry Ruggs III at CAR

The Panthers allowed the fifth-most yards per completion a season ago while playing at home. Certainly an intriguing statistic for a rookie in Ruggs, who boasts 4.27 speed and was just named a starter on Monday. Carolina surrendered the ninth-most fantasy points to WRs in 2019.

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WR: Sit ‘Em

Sit of the Week: DeVante Parker at NE

Parker ranked as the WR11 in fantasy a season ago over a 17-week slate. We stretched it to 17 instead of the typical 16-week fantasy season to highlight his eight reception, 137 yard outing against the Patriots during the final week of the year. That type of production may give Parker owners enough ammo to plug him into their lineup, just remember no team surrendered fewer fantasy points to receivers a season ago.

AJ Green vs. LAC

AJ Green is now 32-years-old and hasn’t played in an NFL game since Week 13 of the 2018 season. In his return, he’ll go head-to-head with a defense who allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to receivers in 2019, and that added four-time Pro Bowler Chris Harris Jr. this offseason. All the while catching passes from a rookie quarterback making his NFL debut.

Marvin Jones vs. CHI

Jones’ nine touchdowns a season ago made him a decent fantasy option last season. However, 2019 marked the first time he had topped five touchdowns in a season since 2013, and only the second time in his eight-year career. Chicago allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points and just 0.6 touchdowns to the position (third-fewest) on a per-game basis last season.

Buyers Beware: Marquise Brown vs. CLE

Brown bulked up this offseason, 23 pounds to be exact. The idea would be that Hollywood will now be able to man a larger role as an intermediate receiving option. However, expect Baltimore’s tight ends to continue to dominate that facet of the game. Brown averaged just 2.5 receptions and 14 yards receiving over his two games vs. Cleveland a season ago.

    1. *Check out our other Week 1 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Ems to further optimize your lineups
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