The wait is finally over! The NFL is at long last set to return and it brings with it a brand new season! If you utilized the FlurrySports Fantasy Football Draft Kit, you have undoubtedly assembled a high-quality team heading into the season. The strategy doesn’t stop there, however. Each week throughout the season, making accurate fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em calls can be the difference between your team contending for a championship or missing the playoffs entirely.
Of course, there are a number of fantasy football superstars who are clearly going to be rolled out in starting lineups on a weekly basis. You don’t need us to sit here and tell you to start Justin Jefferson over Tutu Atwell. What we will be doing in our fantasy football start/sit columns each week is honing in on players who could be considered over or under-ranked at their given position. Our goal will always be to help your team score as many points as possible!
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our Week 1 fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em candidates at the running back position.
Fantasy Football Start ’em, Sit ’em: Week 1 RBs
Start: Raheem Mostert Fantasy Outlook vs. Chargers
At 31 years of age, one could argue that Raheem Mostert is firmly in the twilight of his career as an NFL running back. As things stand now, however, the veteran has a clear path to being the lead ball carrier for what is a loaded Dolphins offense. With Jeff Wilson Jr. being placed on IR to begin the year, Mostert’s only competition for touches will come from Salvon Ahmed and rookie third-rounder, Devon Achane. He is listed as RB28 in the FantasyPros ECR ahead of Week 1.
Speaking of Week 1, Mostert and the Dolphins will be up against a Los Angeles Chargers defense that was a sieve against the run last season. L.A. surrendered well over 2100 rushing yards on the year and also allowed the seventh-most PPR fantasy points (22.72) to opposing RBs on average. Mostert still has plenty of speed to kill and could emerge as a focal point on Sunday if Miami does indeed prioritize running the football to a greater extent in year two under Mike McDaniel.
Start: Antonio Gibson Fantasy Outlook vs. Cardinals
Entering the 2023 fantasy football season, there is a great debate as to who will emerge as the lead back for the Commanders. We certainly won’t be asking Ron Rivera which of Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson will play more snaps in Week 1 as he likely has no clue. What we can do is consider why Gibson has a great chance to exceed his current FantasyPros ECR ranking of RB30.
It’s no secret that Gibson can be utilized as a weapon both on the ground and in the passing game. This bodes very well for his outlook in Week 1. Washington will be facing an Arizona Cardinals defense that gave up the fourth-most PPR points (24.71 per game) to opposing RBs last season. What’s more, Arizona allowed the fourth-most receptions and the second-most receiving yards to RBs. Second-year QB Sam Howell could utilize Gibson as a primary safety valve on Sunday.
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Sit: Isiah Pacheco Fantasy Outlook vs. Lions
One running back who really stands out as being ranked too high in the FantasyPros ECR ahead of Week 1 is Isiah Pacheco (RB25). For our fantasy football rankings, he is currently at RB30. By no means is this analysis a slight of his talent. Pacheco took the fantasy football world by storm last year when he emerged as the Chiefs’ top RB as a rookie despite being drafted in the seventh round. He figures to reclaim that top slot in 2023, but Week 1 could be a different story.
Based on his ECR ranking, one can be forgiven for forgetting that Pacheco was only cleared for contact a couple of weeks ago following offseason shoulder surgery. When he finally did get on the field in the Chiefs’ final preseason game, he was the third back behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon. More than likely, this will be a true “running back by committee” situation, especially early in the year. Pacheco just doesn’t figure to see enough touches against the Detroit Lions on Thursday night to warrant what is essentially an RB2 ranking.
Sit: James Cook Fantasy Outlook vs. Jets
The hype surrounding second-year pro, James Cook is real heading into the 2023 fantasy football season and for good reason. The former Georgia Bulldog is a prime candidate to break out now that he has ascended to the top of the Bills’ backfield depth chart. Despite all that is working in his favor, there is reason to doubt that he will live up to his Week 1 ECR ranking of RB24.
Cook and the Bills are set to face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. Needless to say, this matchup will be far from a cakewalk. The Jets’ defense was solid against opposing RBs last year and figures to be even stiffer going forward. In addition, Cook is hardly the only mouth to feed in Buffalo’s backfield. He may be on top of the depth chart, but Damien Harris, Latavius Murray and Josh Allen will each receive opportunities and thus, cut into Cook’s workload.