who to start fantasy

Fantasy Football Faves and Fades: Who to Start and Sit in Week 1

Our weekly breakdown is the ticket to staying a snap ahead.

The wait is over, football fans! With your fantasy football draft locked in and the 2023 NFL season underway, the real fun finally begins: setting that perfect lineup. In this ongoing series, we'll unearth the rookies poised for a breakout week and shed light on some starters who might be better off on your bench this time around. Whether you're chasing that early-season win or plotting long-term league domination, our weekly breakdown is the ticket to staying a snap ahead. We've got NFL insiders and self-proclaimed fantasy pros on staff, plus access to players, coaches, and executives, making FanBuzz the go-to destination for anyone wondering who to start in fantasy football each week. Check back here every week for the top picks—our faves—and those we're cautiously side-eyeing—our fades. (Because "start 'em, sit 'em" is getting old, don't you think?)

Week 1 Faves: Who to Start

Calvin Ridley v. Indianapolis Colts (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

One of the most favorable matchups of the week against the Colts' secondary, Ridley is poised for a quick start. Despite sitting out last season due to suspension, we expect Ridley to quickly become the focal point for Jacksonville's passing offense. 

JK Dobbins v. Houston Texans (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

Dobbins is coming off a strong finish to 2022 and faces a rushing defense that finished at the bottom of the league, making him an easy pick for who to start. Even with a new OC calling the shots in Baltimore, the game script is likely to favor Dobbins, with plenty of touches coming his way.

Jahan Dotson v. Arizona Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

Fresh off an impressive rookie season, Dotson looks primed to pick up where he left off. His connection with QB Sam Howell shined during training camp and with Terry McLaurin's Week 1 status uncertain due to a turf toe injury, we can expect Dotson to be the primary receiving threat.

Darren Waller v. Dallas Cowboys (8:20 p.m ET, NBC)

Although Dallas should have a top of the league defense this season, we're banking on Waller making a splashy debut for Big Blue. Under Brian Daboll's direction, expect Waller's versatility to shine; he's undeniably the most talented receiving threat he's had during his time with the Giants. The preseason teased the Giants' intent: they plan to move Waller all over the formation and use him in a number of unique ways.  

Joe Mixon v. Cleveland Browns (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

This is a great matchup on paper for Mixon, made better by the fact that Cincinnati will likely lean on the run as Joe Burrow comes back from his training camp injury. All signs point to Burrow suiting up for the opener, but this could still be a 20-touch game for Mixon.  

Week 1 Fades: Who to Sit

Najee Harris vs. San Francisco 49ers (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

If you own shares of Najee, he probably landed as at least your RB2—which means benching him may not be an option. Still, temper your expectations for Week 1. San Francisco has one of the league's premier run defenses and with whispers of Jaylen Warren taking a bigger role in the offense, it's wise for fantasy managers to tread lightly with this matchup.

DeAndre Swift vs. New England Patriots (4:25 p.m ET, CBS)

While Swift is undeniably the most talented back on Philadelphia's roster, the team's backfield strategy remains unclear. Philly might ride the hot hand among Swift, Rashad Penny, or Kenneth Gainwell until someone takes the top spot. Until a clear leader emerges, it might be best to sideline Swift.

Mike Evans vs. Minnesota Vikings (1 p.m. ET, CBS)

Minnesota's defense last season left much to be desired, but we're still staying away from Evans for this matchup. With a new QB under center, it may take a few games for Evans and Baker Mayfield to gel. Add to that the ongoing contract extension drama between Evans and the Buccaneers, and we'd head into Week 1 with caution.

Javonte Wiliams and Samaje Perine v. Las Vegas Raiders (4:25 p.m ET, CBS)

On paper, this matchup looks promising—but with Williams returning from last year's season-ending knee injury, we're not sure how many snaps he'll get. We can see an early-season scenario where where this is a true 50/50 split and both running backs produce decent performances, but neither establish themself as the bell cow. We suggest waiting this one out.

Marquise Brown v. Washington Commanders (1 p.m. ET, Fox)

Our reservations here are more about Arizona's offense than the matchup itself. With a new coaching staff in town and Kyler Murray out with injury, fantasy managers would be wise to bypass this matchup and seek alternatives.

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