Week 1 WR Start, Sit Fantasy Strategy: Henry Ruggs To Start Rookie Season Strong

Week 1 is here, and you might already be looking at your lineups and debating between a few players. The purpose of the start and sit article is to find some more middling or fringe players that could benefit from a good matchup or could flop in a tough one. We also want to take volume into account, which is why targets are always so important. Rarely will you find me listing top options in this article because you are going to start them when they are healthy regardless. Flip through our rankings and projections if you are debating on players not listed below, or shoot me a message on Twitter.

Start Em

Henry Ruggs III @ Carolina Panthers

Henry Ruggs was the first receiver off the board in the NFL Draft, and out of the rookies drafted, he will open up against a bottom-five pass defense in Week 1. With Tyrell Williams out for the year, both he and Bryan Edwards are exciting options in these types of matchups. Losing key members of their secondary over the offseason, their overall numbers against the pass are going to be misleading if you look at last season. Ruggs is a significant threat to turn any play into a touchdown, but the volume should be there in Week 1.

Diontae Johnson @ New York Giants

Pittsburgh’s offense fell apart last season, and with Ben Roethlisberger back, we can feel a bit more comfortable. Diontae Johnson saw 91 targets, catching 58 of them for 680 yards and five touchdowns. New York ranked 28th against short routes in 2019, which plays into Johnson’s favor. While the Steelers have a deep cast, Johnson has established himself as the number two in this offense. New York allowed the 5th most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers last season and allowed 1.4 touchdowns per game.

Marquise Brown Vs. Cleveland Browns

Cleveland battled injuries on the defensive side last season, and it has already begun with Grant Delpit out for the season. Marquise Brown got off to a strong start in 2019 before battling injuries himself in the second half. Baltimore will certainly still remain run-heavy, and even with some passing game regression, Brown still remains the wide receiver I have the most interest in. He had 23% of Baltimore’s air yards despite being limited at times last season and ranked 45th in PPR points.

Brandin Cooks @ Kansas City Chiefs

Brandin Cooks is coming off of his worst season in the NFL. This is the first time in four years he has finished below five touchdowns, and he also had a career-low in yards and targets if you remove his rookie season. Moving to Houston is just another pitstop in the journey of his career. Moving to Houston, he will join Will Fuller and Randall Cobb as the primary wide receivers, and Cooks targets, should bounce back. Cooks will find himself in a great spot for volume in Week 1 with the Chiefs projected to pummel Houston.

DeSean Jackson @ Washington Football Team

Philadelphia is already battling injuries, and their wide receiver depth is near what it was last season. DeSean Jackson is healthy, for now, and gets a Washington secondary that allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. Jackson should see an extra few targets, and while his season outlook is questionable due to his durability, he draws a great Week 1 spot.

Sit Em

Breshad Perriman @ Buffalo Bills

I will not be starting many wide receivers against the Buffalo Bills this season. They have one of the best defenses in the game, and their secondary is off the charts. Breshad Perriman is already battling some knee issues, and add that to the fact he and Darnold have to face the Bills? I will pass. Buffalo allowed the 5th fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers last season.

Golden Tate Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

While I believe the Giants offense will be solid for fantasy purposes this season, it won’t come in Week 1 against the Steelers. This defense top-to-bottom is one of the best in the business, and the secondary is tough to target. The Steelers allowed the 7th fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers and also ranked inside the top half against shorter passing routes. This is not a great matchup for Golden Tate.

Allen Lazard @ Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota was not as stout against the pass last season and have revamped their secondary a bit with some younger names. Green Bay failed to get weapons for Aaron Rodgers, so Allen Lazard will open up as the WR2 for the Packers. It is hard to get excited about an unproven wideout in an offense that has struggled to move the ball through the air. While this Minnesota secondary has some new faces, they should still find themselves ranked in the top half against the pass.

Preston Williams @ New England Patriots

Both DeVante Parker and Preston Williams have had a lot of buzz this offseason. Both should deliver as long as they stay healthy, but delivering against one of the top secondaries in Week 1 is unlikely. While New England had a few names on the defensive side drop out, this is still a very good unit. They ranked 1st against WR2s last season and allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. They allowed only four receiving touchdowns and 3 100+ yard games last season.

Larry Fitzgerald @ San Francisco 49ers

Larry Fitzgerald continues to keep plugging along in his career, but we have started to see the drop-off. While he still posted a respectable 75-804-4 line, the targets have dropped four a second straight year. With DeAndre Hopkins now in town and Christian Kirk still in the mix, Fitz’s targets are not the safest bet on a week-to-week basis anymore. He also draws a defense that ranked 2nd vs. short routes in 2019. The temptation might be there, but the third option on the Cardinals in this matchup is not ideal. They also will have a strong running game with Kenyan Drake. There are a lot of mouths to feed in this offense, and Fitz won’t be at the head of the table.

Jason has been playing fantasy football for 20 years, starting back when Marshall Faulk was the top fantasy pick. He is well versed in various fantasy formats, from dynasty to super-flex. Jason not only enjoys playing, but helping others further their game.

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