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NFL Fantasy 2022 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

Marquise Brown
Arizona Cardinals ARI · WR

Brown is the new top receiver for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals, and the effects of that are being overlooked by many. We already know Brown has speed for days and is one of the best downfield burners in the league. But what’s being overlooked is the fact that Murray throws a much better deep ball than Lamar Jackson. On passes of 20-plus air yards last year, Murray had a 47 percent completion rate, 111.1 passer rating and averaged 15.7 yards per attempt. Jackson had a 29 percent completion rate, 63.8 passer rating and 10.5 yards per attempt. Plus, the Cards won’t run nearly as much as Baltimore. Brown, who has chemistry with Murray as the two played in college together, brings weekly WR1 upside and should be started in what could be the highest scoring matchup of the week against the Chiefs. 

Michael Thomas
New Orleans Saints NO · WR

Thomas is back in our fantasy life after missing all of the 2021 season and much of 2020. It will be fun to see Thomas play with a QB other than Drew Brees, who struggled to take advantage of Thomas’ downfield ability at the later point of his career. While Thomas has more target competition around him than ever in Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry, not to mention Alvin Kamara, he should still be the top target out the gate. That volume could lead to a big day as the Falcons allowed by far the most fantasy PPG to receivers last year at 38.95 per game. No other team was over 36.5 per game. Thomas has also averaged 18.4 fantasy PPG and 95 yards per game in his career against the Falcons. Start him. 

Gabe Davis
Buffalo Bills BUF · WR

Davis is a popular breakout pick by many, myself included, and that begins in Week 1 in what could be a high-scoring matchup against the Rams. The last time we saw Davis he was on his way to becoming the only receiver in NFL history to top 200 yards and score four touchdowns in a playoff game. Last season, in a limited role, Davis was eighth among receivers in end-zone targets (13) and 12th at the position in air yards per target (13.3). This year he will play in a full-time role opposite Stefon Diggs as the Bills' and Josh Allen’s No. 2 target. It’s a role that comes with so much upside, especially when you factor in Davis’ strength as a field-stretcher and his red-zone presence. Additionally, the Rams allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to receivers last season (35.4). Plus, while Jalen Ramsey doesn’t travel around the field, you have to anticipate he will see a lot of Diggs, meaning more volume could go Davis’ way. Davis should be started in Week 1. 

Rashod Bateman
Baltimore Ravens BAL · WR

Bateman is the new WR1 for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. Bateman is a big-bodied receiver who can win downfield and is a contested-catch monster whom Jackson has never had before. He should see a large target share behind only Mark Andrews. He opens the season against an improved Jets defense, but still one that allowed the fifth-most fantasy PPG to receivers last season (34.4). Bateman should not only see enough volume to warrant starting, but he also always has a shot at scoring a touchdown. He is a top-30 receiver this week who can be trusted in a favorable matchup. 

Sit 'Em

Amari Cooper
Cleveland Browns CLE · WR

Cooper left the Cowboys' high-powered offense and joined a Browns one that offers not much help to take defensive attention away. Cooper became a much more consistent force with the Cowboys, but prior to that, he was one of the more boom-or-bust receivers in the league. That seems to be the Cooper we will be getting early on this season with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. Teams will game-plan to make anyone but Cooper beat them in the passing game, plus, the Browns are likely to be one of the more run-heavy teams in the NFL. It likely comes down to whether Cooper will catch a long ball and score a potential TD or not. While the Panthers were middle of the pack against receivers last season, it's still an overall poor environment for Cooper. He remains purely a boom-or-bust WR3 who comes in outside the top-30 receivers in the Week 1 rankings. 

Robert Woods
Tennessee Titans TEN · WR

Woods is playing his first game back from a torn ACL, which also happens to be his first game on a new team and with a new quarterback. Bobby Trees was always reliable in Los Angeles, but the move to Tennessee is a downgrade both in scheme and QB. Although Woods may be suiting up, the first game back after a severe injury is always a dicey bet. The Giants ranked in the middle of the pack against receivers last season, but given the circumstances, I would still look to get away from Woods. This could be a game where the Titans have a lead and rely on the run and grinding out the clock. And even if Woods has a good game on your bench, that just means you can feel confident about him moving forward! 

Hunter Renfrow
Las Vegas Raiders LV · WR

Renfrow was the surprise of the 2021 season, but that was largely because he was the last man standing in the Raiders' receiver room. This year, there is new target vacuum in Davante Adams, who joins another heavily targeted player in Darren Waller. Renfrow figures to be third in the pecking order for targets in Vegas. That is a tough role to be in for a player like Renfrow, at least for fantasy purposes. Renfrow is not a field-stretcher, nor should he be expected to score touchdowns at a high rate, meaning that he cannot score fantasy points in chunks. Rather than rely on efficiency, Renfrow’s role is one that relies on volume, which he is no longer guaranteed to see. Renfrow figures to be one of those players who is much more useful to his real-life football team than to fantasy ones. This week he goes against a Chargers defense that ranked middle of the pack against receivers, but greatly improved its secondary in the second half. Stay away. 

Tyler Lockett
Seattle Seahawks SEA · WR

Lockett suffered a big QB downgrade this offseason going from Russell Wilson to Geno Smith. The Seahawks were always a team that ran a balanced offensive attack, but could rely on Wilson to make up for a lack of passing volume with efficiency. Smith will not be able to shoulder the same load. There is no reason to expect Seattle to suddenly start throwing it more, so there will not be a boost in volume to mitigate the likely boost in efficiency for Lockett and the Seahawks offense. Add in that they face a Broncos defense that allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy PPG to receivers last season and there are plenty of reasons to sit Lockett in Week 1.

Follow Michael Florio on Twitter @MichaelFFlorio.

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