Fantasy Football Week 1 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: Wide receivers

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Editor's note: Welcome to Week 1! We're handling Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em column a bit differently this season. You're still getting the same in-depth analysis as always, we're just presenting a bit differently, in an effort to get it out to you earlier in the day. This column takes a long time to write, and in the past, we've usually gotten it out to you in the evening. This year, we're going to publish it position-by-position, to get it into your hands quicker. Here's Jamey's take on wide receivers for this week. 

Don't worry: If you want the classic Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, we'll still be publishing that at the end of the day with every position included. For now, here's wide receivers. 

Wide receiver

Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.

Start 'Em
13.0 projected points
JuJu Smith-Schuster Pittsburgh Steelers WR
The last time Smith-Schuster faced the Browns was Week 17 last year when he went off for nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. Antonio Brown didn't play in that game because of a calf injury, but he's healthy now. Still, don't buy that narrative that Smith-Schuster can only produce when Brown is out. This will be a big year for Smith-Schuster and a big game for him this week at Cleveland.
11.8 projected points
Chris Hogan New England Patriots WR
The storyline we've been telling you about all offseason starts now for Hogan with Cooks and Danny Amendola gone, as well as Edelman out. Hogan should see plenty of targets, and he was great against the Texans last year with four catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns on six targets in Week 3. He's one of my favorite breakout candidates this season, and I'm expecting him to start off his season playing well against Houston at home.
11.1 projected points
Brandin Cooks Los Angeles Rams WR
This could be the guessing game again of picking the best Rams receiver out of Cooks, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, but I wouldn't be surprised if coach Sean McVay wants to show off his new toy on Monday night. Goff should have all day to look for Cooks, and he's worth starting in the majority of leagues.  And in two career games against the Raiders in each of the past two seasons, albeit with different teams, Cooks has 12 catches for 292 yards and three touchdowns. I would also consider Kupp and Woods sleepers for this week since this should be an offensive bonanza for the Rams in this matchup.
10.7 projected points
Emmanuel Sanders Denver Broncos WR
Sanders seems to have the better rapport with Case Keenum right now over Demaryius Thomas, and I like Sanders' matchup better this week against Seattle. He had seven catches for 88 yards in the preseason compared to three catches for 18 yards for Thomas. Now, I'm still starting Thomas this week, but don't be surprised if Sanders ends up with the better stat line. Both are quality No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues given the matchup with this revamped Seahawks' secondary.
13.4 projected points
Golden Tate Detroit Lions WR
This has a chance to be a Tate game compared to his teammates in Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. The outside receivers for the Lions have the tougher matchup against Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne, while Tate should see softer coverage against Buster Skrine. In his past five home games, Tate has three outings with at least 15 PPR points. He also has at least 13 PPR points in two career meetings against the Jets.

Sleepers

  • Will Fuller (at NE): In four games with Watson last year, Fuller had at least 14 PPR points in each outing, and he averaged 20.3 PPR points over that span. The Texans should be chasing points in this game, and Watson should lean on DeAndre Hopkins and Fuller quite a bit. Now, if Fuller doesn't score, he might not do much. But he's a sleeper for a reason given his high ceiling and low floor.
  • John Ross (at IND): Like Fuller, Ross has a high ceiling and low floor, and look for Dalton to take a couple of shots to Ross down the field against the Colts. He had a big play in the third preseason game against the Bills with a 57-yard touchdown on the first play of the game, and hopefully another moment like that happens in Week 1.
  • Josh Gordon (vs. PIT): Gordon falls into sleeper category this week, hopefully for the last time ever, because of the report that he's not expected to start. He'll play, and he should play a lot if the Browns want to win. In a scenario where Cleveland is likely chasing points, don't be afraid of Gordon, and keep him active in all leagues.
  • Kenny Stills (vs. TEN): Stills will operate as the No. 1 receiver for the Dolphins this season with Jarvis Landry gone, and look for Ryan Tannehill to lean on him in this matchup. Danny Amendola is also an option in PPR leagues whenever he's healthy, but Still has the chance to be a star this season and a quality starter this week.
  • Jamison Crowder (at ARI): I'm excited about Crowder's outlook this season, and hopefully he can stay healthy for 16 games. He will avoid Patrick Peterson playing in the slot, and expect Alex Smith to lean on him as a prime target in this passing game. Last year against the Cardinals in Week 15, Crowder had five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown on seven targets.
Sit 'Em
12.0 projected points
Marquise Goodwin San Francisco 49ers WR
I'm excited about Goodwin's outlook for the season as the No. 1 receiver for the 49ers, but I don't like his matchup this week against the Vikings. He could see plenty of coverage from Xavier Rhodes, and that's a scenario that Fantasy owners might want to avoid. In 2017, Minnesota was one of five teams along with Jacksonville, Baltimore, Buffalo and Detroit to allow fewer than 10 touchdowns to opposing receivers.
14.3 projected points
Robby Anderson New York Jets WR
With Darnold making his first NFL start on the road, it's hard to expect his receivers to have quality opportunities to make plays this week. For Anderson, we also have yet to see Darnold drive the ball down the field in his preseason outings. And Anderson should see plenty of coverage from Darius Slay, which is a tough matchup for him. I'd only use Anderson as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.
12.1 projected points
Doug Baldwin Seattle Seahawks WR
I'm hopeful Baldwin will be fine with his knee injury, but he's already said he'll be playing this season at 80-85 percent. And this week, he's facing a tough matchup against Denver cornerback Chris Harris. Since we didn't see Baldwin in the preseason, it's tough to trust him in Week 1 as anything more than a No. 3 receiver in most formats. Consider Baldwin more of a bust alert since it's hard to outright bench him given the investment you made in him on Draft Day.
12.0 projected points
Corey Davis Tennessee Titans WR
This might seem like a favorable matchup if you didn't watch the Dolphins last season, but cornerback Xavien Howard has developed into a matchup most Fantasy owners want to avoid. And Davis, while oozing with upside, isn't on the level yet of someone who is a must-start Fantasy option. He also loses some target upside with Rishard Matthews (knee) expected to play this week, and I would only use Davis as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in most formats.
10.10 projected points
Sammy Watkins Kansas City Chiefs WR
Watkins was awful in the preseason with one catch for 15 yards, and he never seemed on the same page with Patrick Mahomes. It's hard to trust him in any format this week until we see him start to produce on a consistent level. Maybe that never happens this season. For now, just stash Watkins on your bench, especially in a tough matchup with the Chargers. As you can probably tell, I'm not excited about Watkins' outlook in 2018.

Bust Alert

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Amari Cooper OAK • WR • 89
WEEK 1 PROJECTION13.9

Like most of the bust alerts, you're probably not sitting Cooper this week. And maybe there's a chance for some garbage-time production against the Rams. But this secondary will be tough on Cooper since he has to face Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, and he doesn't have a good track record against either cornerback. Gruden says he plans to feature Cooper in the passing game, and we'll see if that develops in Week 1. I'd treat Cooper as a low-end starting option at best this week, but I'm not excited about using him given this matchup with the Rams.

So who should you sit and start this week? And where does every player stack up? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 1 Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking TE is going to finish in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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