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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 1: Wide receivers

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'Em

Kenny Golladay
Detroit Lions DET · WR

Cue the sad-sax music because Kenny G. has become a Bears killer. He had a solid 57 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with Chicago last year. But crushed them with four receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown on Thanksgiving with David Blough at quarterback. DAVID BLOUGH. The quarterback equivalent of tepid coffee you get at Jiffy Lube while you are waiting for an oil change. I love the Bears defense this season. And believe the Lions would love to run the football more. But there is no way to sit Golladay in this contest.

UPDATE: Golladay was listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Marvin Jones could see an uptick in targets in this game. But if you want to hit the waiver wire, see if Emmanuel Sanders or DeSean Jackson are available in your league. And if you have to go super-deep sleeper, look at Van Jefferson of the Los Angeles Rams. The last three meetings between the Cowboys and Rams have resulted in an average of a combined 65 points.

DK Metcalf
Seattle Seahawks SEA · WR

I’m very excited about Metcalf this season, even though it’s one of things where the Seahawks offense could be so great if they just threw the ball more. Watching the Seahawks offense is a lot like watching Superbad on basic cable. Like, it’s still good. And I’ll spend some time watching it. But it’s so much better on a premium channel. The Seahawks are like that. The Falcons pass defense was fine last year. Desmond Trufant is now a member of the Lions. The team selected A.J. Terrell at cornerback. You might remember him from his forgettable night against LSU in the championship game, but he’s good. But the Falcons also have new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris who has been with the team since 2016 coaching the (checks notes) receivers. True story. But my feeling is this will be a high-scoring game and I’m loading up on all of the receivers in this game. And we can all be collectively upset when Josh Gordon has a pair of TDs.

T.Y. Hilton
Indianapolis Colts IND · WR

I was tempted to look at Hilton’s career totals against the Jaguars, but what would that prove? The Jaguars once had one of the best (if not the best) cornerback tandem in the recent past with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Both guys, gone. The Jaguars did draft talented C.J. Henderson out of Florida. But like every rookie, we haven’t seen him on an NFL field yet. I’m willing to take veterans like Hilton in this situation. Hilton was 11th among WRs last year with 12.51 fantasy points per game. 

D.J. Chark
Jacksonville Jaguars JAX · WR

The defensive secondary situation for the Jaguars should also impact Jacksonville’s offense. Meaning, I expect a game-script of heavy passing (thanks in part to the defense and the loss of Leonard Fournettte). Chark had 118 targets last year in a breakout-type of season and expectations are even higher this year. The Colts held him to 34 yards in Week 17 last year, but that was after he had eight receptions for 104 yards and a pair of scores in the first game. If this was AEW booking, Chark would go over here. 

Diontae Johnson
Pittsburgh Steelers PIT · WR

I don’t need to tell you to start JuJu Smith-Schuster, do I? I mean, I certainly will if I need to. I just don’t want to. Because it seems obvious. But I not only love the outlook for Johnson this season, he opens with a great matchup against the Giants, who improved the secondary this offseason as they spent $45M on James Bradberry. Meaning the team shouldn’t give up the second-most points to receivers this year. Still, I’m confident Johnson could be a good value for you this week. 

Sit 'Em

DeVante Parker
Miami Dolphins MIA · WR

Parker had eight receptions (11 targets) for 137 receiving yards as the Dolphins shocked the world and sort of ended the Patriots dynasty for the time-being. Monster game for sure. And then he went and took a shot at Stephon Gilmore on Instagram. And you just don’t do that stuff against the Patriots. Because not only did Gilmore brush it off. You also have Bill Belichick, who might not be great at the FaceDeck or InstaBook, but that stuff isn’t going to fly. And it’s not like Gilmore didn’t hold Parker to ZERO receptions in Week 2 last year.

Amari Cooper
Dallas Cowboys DAL · WR

Here’s the thing with no preseason games, we don’t know much about how new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley will deploy Jalen Ramsey in this contest. Ramsey said earlier this offseason that he’s going to be asked to do something nobody else has been able to do. But people have shutdown Cooper in the past so it won’t be that unusual. Cooper failed to gain 100 receiving yards over his last seven games of the season. He scored just one touchdown in that stretch. And the most-damming is his two targets that resulted in one 19-yard reception against the Rams last year. 

Odell Beckham
Cleveland Browns CLE · WR

It’s a new year for the Browns and I’m not down on Odell for this season. Don’t care for this matchup to open the season, though. He was a combined six receptions for 66 yards in TWO games against the Ravens last year. Marlon Humphrey is one of the best corners in the game. I’ll take a pass here. Jarvis Landry had a monster game in the Week 4 win over the Ravens last year. And I’m completely aware Kevin Stefanski brings a new offense to Cleveland. I’m going to give it a minute to see how the targets are distributed. 

Julian Edelman
New England Patriots NE · WR

Edelman has had some good games against the Dolphins in the past. I mean, not last year. But in the past. But I’m worried about a number of things, including his chemistry with quarterback Cam Newton. The Dolphins have invested a lot in the secondary with Xavien Howard and free-agent signee Byron Jones. I’m not sure either will travel into the slot to shadow Edelman, but the secondary is the strength of the defense. I expect the Patriots to run heavy against the Dolphins in the opener. The Dolphins couldn’t stop the run last year, and the strength of the Patriots line is up the middle. Don’t expect a lot of volume for Edelman in the opener. 

Christian Kirk
Arizona Cardinals ARI · WR

Kirk was one of my favorite low-key players to add in drafts this season, with folks so excited about DeAndre Hopkins arrival, they kind of overlooked Kirk. All of that said, I don’t like the matchup this week against the 49ers. Richard Sherman is one of the best corners in the game. But a matchup against Emmanuel Moseley could prove to be problematic. Hopkins is matchup proof in traditional fantasy leagues. But I won’t be starting Kirk in Week 1.

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