You know what’s harsh? When you draft exactly the wide receivers your preseason research said you should and then we tell you to sit them in Week 1. But we’re going to do it anyway, along with recommending some players with an ADP of WR11 and higher to replace them with. (We shouldn’t have to tell you to play the top ten… except for a couple you’ll find below.)
START THIS GUY: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (at Detroit)
When a teammate announces his goal is to finish the season with 1,000 yards receiving and another 1,000 yards rushing, defenses tend to focus on him. A healthy John Brown will draw even more defensive traffic away as the old man of the receiving group runs relatively free in a potential shootout in Detroit.
Arizona believes last year’s diminished passing game was a fluke and that 2017 will be much better. Fitzgerald helps prove their case with seven receptions, 101 yards, and a touchdown.
SIT THIS GUY: Dez Bryant, Dallas (vs. New York Giants)
We know Dez Bryant was a little banged up last season, but that doesn’t totally explain two catches (on 14 targets) for 15 yards over two games. To add insult to injury, the Giants forced a fumble on one of the catches, leaving Bryant with a NFL fantasy score of -1 over two games.
Not to scare Bryant, but the Giants defense believes they fixed their only weak spot from last season. Bryant does better, but not enough to start him ahead of your WR3. Week 1: three catches for 37 yards and no scores.
START THIS GUY: Stefon Diggs, Minnesota (vs. New Orleans)
Last season’s top fantasy defense, Minnesota’s D/ST is probably is better than they looked in preseason. Conversely, New Orleans’ defense is better, but probably not as good as they looked in preseason. This game will still come down to Minnesota’s passing game trying to keep up with Drew Brees and his minions.
Diggs will get targets and convert enough of them to have a nice day that a long touchdown makes even better. Put Diggs down for seven catches on 12 targets, 119 yards, and a touchdown.
SIT THIS GUY: Odell Beckham, Jr, New York Giants (at Dallas)
There is nobody on the Dallas defense who can stop Odell Beckham… but Eli Manning can. Beckham will get enough targets to keep the double team in play, but touchdowns are more likely to come from Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard, along with rookie tight end Evan Engram. And that’s providing that he sees the field. He is currently absent from practice with an ankle injury.
Odell breaks out next week. This week, he is held to four catches for 65 yards.
START THIS GUY: Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh (at Cleveland)
Martavis Bryant could barely contain himself after being cleared to play in the 2017 season. The Cleveland Browns will not be able to contain him, either. The Pittsburgh offense will remind Cleveland this is the regular season and they are still the Browns.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shows Sammie Coates what could have been by hitting Bryant eight times for 106 yards and a touchdown.
SIT THIS GUY: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City (at New England)
By now, we all know how things work in New England. Each week, they pick a guy to take completely out of the offense. This week, they will allow the rookie Kareem Hunt to run with the ball and take away the Chiefs’ deep receiving threat. Alex Smith will find Travis Kelce here and there in the middle, but not much else in a long day.
Hill leaves New England with one catch for six yards to start his season.
The too-easy-to-write-about top five
Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, AJ Green, Doug Baldwin.
Week 1 flash in the pan prediction
The Jets’ Robbie Anderson hauls in a 60-yard touchdown from Josh McCown against the Buffalo Bills. Anderson catches two other passes for 88 total yards and the score for 14 fantasy points.
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