You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em, Sit 'Em is here to help fantasy managers 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 the latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings.
I am starting this season just like I started last season -- telling you to start Kyle Pitts! He had a mixed bag against the Panthers in 2022, going for five catches, 80 yards and a touchdown on nine targets in the first game. He followed that up with just two catches for 28 yards on eight targets in the rematch. Still, the volume matters and the Falcons clearly saw a mismatch with Pitts against the Carolina defense. Add in that the Falcons threw more with Desmond Ridder than Marcus Mariota last year (see Drake London) and there are plenty of reasons to get excited. Plus, you paid a premium pick to get Pitts -- what are you going to do, bench him?
I don't think enough people realize that Tyler Higbee was the TE6 overall in fantasy last season. He opens 2023 with a great matchup against the Seahawks, who allowed the second-most fantasy PPG, most yards (1,177) and seventh-most touchdowns (eight) to tight ends last year. Higbee was held in check against Seattle in 2022, but the Rams' offense is in a much better position now than it was in those two games (Matthew Stafford missed both). He is in play as a streaming option for anyone that missed out on the top seven tight ends.
But wait, there’s another rookie tight end to start! Dalton Kincaid has what appears to be a tough matchup against the Jets, at least on paper. However, New York allowed the seventh-most fantasy PPG and fourth-most yards (1,063) to tight ends in 2022. The Jets also allowed a healthy 1,306 receiving yards to receivers lined up in the slot -- Kincaid will see some snaps as a traditional tight end, but could also be heavily featured as the Bills' slot receiver. He brings a low floor but sneaky upside in this matchup.
Juwan Johnson is a sleeper I liked heading into this season. From Week 7 on last year, he had seven touchdowns, which ranked fifth in the NFL. He also became a more consistent part of the Saints' passing attack. He opens up with a fantastic matchup against the Titans, who allowed the third-most fantasy PPG and yards (1,144) to the position in 2022. Johnson is in play for those looking to stream tight ends this season.
Starting a rookie tight end in Week 1 does seem risky, but Sam LaPorta is clearly going to be a part of the Lions' passing attack. He was held out with the starters this preseason and has very little competition behind him. Plus, this is a game where the Lions could have to pass a lot to keep up with the Chiefs. Last year, Kansas City ranked just outside the top 10 in fantasy PPG allowed to tight ends, but they gave up nine touchdowns to the position, which was the fifth-most. LaPorta is a TE1 in his first game in the NFL.
Dalton Schultz is typically more of a floor than ceiling play. But that floor is now in question for Week 1, given the matchup and the fact that it will be C.J. Stroud's first regular season game. Last year, the Ravens allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy PPG to tight ends. They also allowed just 319 yards and two touchdowns all season to in-line tight ends. There will be weeks to get Schultz in your lineup, but Week 1 feels like a risky proposition.
Chigoziem Okonkwo is a great talent, but he finds himself in a crowded passing game on an offense that still figures to be run-heavy. Plus, the matchup is terrible. Last year, the Saints allowed the fewest fantasy PPG to tight ends by a good margin. Okonkwo brings upside because he's a threat with the ball in his hands, but I would go in another direction in Week 1.
I was high on Greg Dulcich earlier this summer, but the preseason definitely wasn’t kind to him. We saw Sean Payton and the Broncos play Adam Trautman a lot on early downs, while Dulcich played in clear passing scenarios. Perhaps he will see enough volume to overcome a tight end time share. But in a passing game with big question marks, I would go with a different tight end in the opening week.
While Dalton Kincaid is a start, I would stay away from veteran Bills tight end Dawson Knox. Knox will be the more traditional tight end, while Kincaid plays all over the field. There is also the concern of Knox losing snaps to Kincaid in single tight end sets. Knox topped 50 yards just three times last season. Given the added competition for targets and the matchup, I would look elsewhere this week.