2023 Fantasy Football Week 1 Start Sit

by Dennis Sosic
2023 Fantasy Football Start-Sit

Welcome Fantasy friends and foes to the kickoff of my weekly Start and Sit advice column, with the 2023 Fantasy Football Week 1 Start Sit.

Once your drafts are completed, you can concentrate on your weekly strategies, including who to insert in your starting lineups. Equally important is who to avoid placing in your lineups. Sometimes, these are painful decisions.

Every week, I will provide required reading for Fantasy Football managers to assist them in making the most educated decisions with their weekly lineups.

Let's kick it off with the Fantasy Football Week 1 Start Sit.

2023 Fantasy Football Week 1 Start Sit

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Quarterbacks

Start - Geno Smith, Seahawks vs Rams

Geno Smith won the Comeback Player of the Year with his breakout 2022 season. Smith led the NFL with a 69.8% completion percentage, throwing for 4,282 yards and 30 touchdowns. Smith enters the 2023 season with a new weapon, with the Seahawks drafting Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round. JSN completes arguably the best wide receiver trio in the NFL with D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Smith and his elite weapons take on the poor Los Angeles Rams defense in Week 1. Last season, Smith threw for 580 yards and four touchdowns across two games. Look for Smith to kick off this season with an impressive showing in Week 1, leading to a QB1 finish and making this an easy Week 1 start.

Other QBs to Start: Sam Howell, Commanders vs Cardinals; Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins vs Chargers

Sit - Anthony Richardson, Colts vs Jaguars

You can't deny the potential and excitement of Anthony Richardson. He showcased his talent and athleticism this preseason, and dynasty managers had dreamy eyes trading to move up to select Richardson. However, the injury and subsequent PUP list designation for Jonathan Taylor forced him out for four games. Without Taylor, the Jacksonville Jaguars will focus even more intently on Richardson. Richardson will experience growing pains in his NFL debut but will have some splash plays and not enough of them to trust in your Week 1 lineup.

Other QBs to Avoid: Jimmy Garoppolo, Raiders @ Broncos; Brock Purdy, 49ers @ Steelers

Running Backs

Start - J.K. Dobbins, Ravens vs Texans

The Ravens offense should look a lot different, with Todd Monken calling the plays instead of Greg Roman. We should see Lamar Jackson throwing the ball, including passes to J.K. Dobbins. The Ravens should quickly whip on the Houston Texans in their Week 1 matchup, leading to Dobbins showing that he is entirely healthy after returning from the PUP a month ago. Dobbins, who averages a career of 5.9 yards per carry, is a huge sleeper this week and should surpass his current RB16 ranking.

Start - Miles Sanders, Panthers @ Falcons

Some of the steam of Miles Sanders went dry when news came out that he had a groin injury. The concerns continued as we didn't see Sanders for the remainder of the preseason. All indications are that Sanders is just fine, and this was a prudent move by head coach Frank Reich and the Panthers. Sanders believes he is fully healthy and ready for Week 1, and that is an excellent sign for fantasy managers who invested an RB2 price for the former Eagle. Sanders proved last season that he can handle an RB1 load, scoring 11 touchdowns and rushing for 1,269 yards. He steps into the RB1 role in Carolina, where he is reunited with his former RB coach, Duce Staley. Sanders should feast behind a Panthers offensive line that made D'Onta Foreman look good last season. Sanders starts this a bang in the Panthers uniform in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, who coughed up 4.4 yards per carry last season. There will be plenty of mad fantasy managers who didn't take the plunge with Sanders after Week 1.

Other RBs to Start:  Kenneth Walker, Seahawks vs Rams; Brian Robinson & Antonio Gibson, Commanders vs Cardinals. 

Sit - Najee Harris, Steelers vs 49ers

There was plenty of buzz surrounding a Pittsburgh Steelers running back, but it wasn't about Najee Harris. Jaylen Warren shined this preseason with breakaway runs and splash plays that make you believe that Warren earned more touches coming out of the Steelers backfield. The Steelers welcome the San Francisco 49ers to Pittsburgh on Sunday against the top run defense last season. Granted, Harris improved after their Week 8 bye to being the RB5 in fantasy scoring. However, his inefficiency makes me quite nervous. He averaged only 3.8 yards per carry, some of which can be attributed to a below-average line, but Harris only produced 4.0 yards per touch. That lack of efficiency landed Harris 52nd among all running backs, which pales compared to his running back mate Jaylen Warren, who produced 5.6 yards per touch, which was good for 11th among all running backs. There has been plenty of buzz about how Warren outplayed Harris this preseason and last season. There even have been rumblings of Warren taking over for Harris as the Steelers RB1. Harris continues to produce based on volume alone, but when the volume subsides with Warren outgaining Harris,  the loud cries for Warren could be justified. The competition commences Week 1.

Sit - Breece Hall/Dalvin Cook, New York Jets

There was plenty of hesitation in selecting Breece Hall coming into this season after suffering a torn ACL last season. There were conflicting reports on how Hall was progressing. However, the light was at the end of the tunnel for his fantasy value. If that wasn't enough, the buzz about the Jets adding Dalvin Cook after his release from the Minnesota Vikings would not die down. It finally happened. The Jets signed Cook, and now Aaron Rodgers and the Jets are happy. However, the move raises plenty of question marks for fantasy managers. Who will get the bulk of the carries? Who will get the goal-line work? Questions must be answered on your bench and not in your starting lineups in Week 1. Depending on your roster construction, it might be challenging, but hopefully, you have better options.

Other RBs to Sit: Jamaal Williams, Saints vs Titans

Wide Receivers

Start - Calvin Ridley, Jaguars @ Colts

One player, I believe, who will want to make a huge splash this weekend is the Jaguars' wide receiver, Calvin Ridley. The Jaguars acquired Ridley at the NFL Draft after being suspended for gambling. I realize that Ridley has not played in almost two seasons, but all signs point to Ridley developing chemistry with quarterback Trevor Lawrence in camp, and they look to form a dynamic duo. A combination that will produce WR1 numbers for Ridley to kick off the 2023 NFL Season.

Start - Van Jefferson, Rams @ Seahawks

The unfortunate news of Cooper Kupp likely being out Week 1 due to a hamstring injury has opened the door for Van Jefferson to walk in and be in your Week 1 starting lineup. Matthew Stafford will spread the ball around, with Van Jefferson being one of his main options. Jefferson has not produced incredible fantasy numbers in his career. However,  he could easily contribute this week when the Rams take on the Seattle Seahawks, which should be a high-scoring matchup. Jefferson has big-play ability, while the fantasy buzz centers around rookie Puka Nacua. Look for Jefferson as a deep-league option and a hot commodity off the waiver wire after this week.

Other WRs to Start: Jahan Dotson, Commanders vs Cardinals; Courtland Sutton, Broncos vs Raiders; Tyler Lockett, Seahawks vs Rams

Sit - Marquise Brown, Cardinals @ Commanders

The Arizona Cardinals are still trying to figure out who their starting quarterback will be in Week 1. Whether it is Joshua Dobbs or rookie Clayton Tune, it's hard to get excited about inserting any player in the Cardinals passing game in your Week 1 starting lineup. Marquise Brown has always been a boom-or-bust wide receiver, but the quarterback situation takes it to another level. It is a level that is so incredibly high that I am not resting my Week 1 lineup on Brown cashing in on a splash play.

Other WRs to Sit: Mike Evans, Bucs vs Vikings; Adam Thielen, Panthers @ Falcons

Tight End

Start - Tyler Higbee, Rams @ Seahawks

The latest updates for Rams WR Cooper Kupp provide plenty of uncertainty that we will see Kupp in Week 1. The Rams kick off this season with a trip to Seattle to take on the Seahawks, who couldn't figure out how to cover tight ends last season. The Seahawks allowed the most fantasy points to the tight end position by a wide margin. Matthew Stafford should be in a negative game script with a poor Rams defense vs. an explosive Seattle Seahawks offense. The Rams are five-point road dogs, so look for Stafford being required to pass plenty and the Seahawks' defense coming after him, leading to a massive game for tight end Tyler Higbee. Higbee produced TE6 numbers last season based on his volume, including fifth in targets and receptions among all tight ends. Higbee and the aforementioned Van Jefferson should be Stafford's main target options, leading to Higbee being a must-start Week 1 tight end.

Other TEs to Start: Juwan Johnson, Saints vs Titans

Sit - Chigoziem Okonkwo, Titans @ Saints

Chig Okonkwo was the main pass-catcher late last season for the Titans with the glutton of injuries on the Titans offense. However, the offense should have more weapons for the rejuvenated veteran signal-caller Ryan Tannehill. The Titans signed dynamic wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins this offseason. Hopkins steps in as the alpha receiver in an offense that desperately needed weapons. The Titans could not consistently win games by forcing to run the ball with Derrick Henry in every game, so they acquired DHop to tandem up with sophomore wideout Treylon Burks, ready to take the next step as an NFL wideout. Look for Chig to be further down on the totem pole of the Titans' offensive options, which leads to a disappointing Week 1 output, especially since he will be playing against the Saints' defense, who allowed the second-fewest points to tight ends last season.

Other TEs to Sit: Kyle Pitts, Falcons vs Panthers


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