Week 1 WR & TE Rankings, Projections and Analysis
Week 1 Sleepers
Week 1 Start N' Sit
Fantasy Football Advice from NFL players

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Bears WR Alshon Jeffery
This is how we rank the WRs and TEs for Week 1 of the fantasy season. Our rankings aren't just based on name value or past performance - each week we take a comprehensive look at the match-ups and each receiver's past performance and factor that into our projections. Just click on the links to read our rationale behind the ranking. The ratings are based on a standard non-PPR league where 10 receiving or rushing yards equal 1 point, receiving and rushing TDs equal 6 pts., and fumbles deduct 2 points.

  1. Demaryius Thomas
  2. Alshon Jeffery
  3. Julio Jones
  4. Cordarelle Patterson
  5. Dez Bryant
  6. Brandon Marshall
  7. Keenan Allen
  8. Percy Harvin
  9. A.J. Green
  10. Andre Johnson
  11. Calvin Johnson
  12. Michael Crabtree
  13. Michael Floyd
  14. T.Y. Hilton
  15. Cecil Shorts
  16. Antonio Brown
  17. Julian Edelman
  18. Victor Cruz
  19. Jeremy Maclin
  20. Kendall Wright
  21. Eric Decker
  22. Mike Wallace
  23. Marques Colston
  24. Emmanuel Sanders
  25. DeSean Jackson
  26. Larry Fitzgerald
  27. Riley Cooper
  28. Tavon Austin
  29. Sammy Watkins
  30. Brandon Cooks
  31. Kelvin Benjamin
  32. Torrey Smith
  33. Pierre Garcon
  34. Roddy White
  35. Randall Cobb
  36. Vincent Jackson
  1. Jimmy Graham
  2. Vernon Davis
  3. Julius Thomas
  4. Jordan Cameron
  5. Rob Gronkowski
  6. Greg Olsen
  7. Jason Witten
  8. Charles Clay
  9. Zach Ertz
  10. Jordan Reed
  11. Antonio Gates
  12. Heath Miller
  13. Travis Kelce
  14. Martellus Bennett
  15. Dennis Pitta
  16. Kyle Rudolph
  17. Ladarius Green
  18. Dwayne Allen
  19. Tim Wright
  20. Delanie Walker
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts III
Paying attention to the match-ups each week can help you identify less heralded players with the upside to surprise and help you avoid some potential land mines. This is our list of players we expect to surpass expectations, along with a few stud WRs and TEs who may fail to deliver:

Cordarelle Patterson
Vikings WR Cordarelle Patterson
Patterson comes off a rookie year where he flashed the potential to be a gamebreaker. He faces a St. Louis defense that ranked just 25th in the league last year against the pass. With back-up Shaun Hill directing the Rams offense, there should be plenty of short-field scoring opportunities for the Vikings. We also expect Cassel to try and connect with Patterson on some deep balls, as the Rams allowed 11 passes of 40+ yards last year. Look for the Vikings to use the dynamic play-maker in a variety of ways and don't be afraid to start him this week as a WR1.

Keenan Allen
Chargers WR Keenan Allen
A lot of fantasy players will fear this match-up out of respect to the Cardinals defense but their secondary was pretty ordinary last year, giving up 29 TDs. We're predicting this game will be a high-scoring affair with both quarterbacks putting on an aerial show. Carson Palmer has never had a bad game in six previous meetings with his hometown Chargers and San Diego has the weapons on offense to hang in this one. Rivers gets Malcom Floyd back but we still expect Allen to remain his primary target. He's a solid start despite what looks like a so-so match-up on paper. Start him with confidence as a WR1.

Percy Harvin
Seahawks WR Percy Harvin
We're predicting a Seahawks romp in this contest so naturally we can't help but like their top receiver. Green Bay ranked 23rd in the league last year in receiving yards allowed and were as easy to score on as Miley Cyrus at a high school prom. Expect Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell to find some creative ways to get Harvin involved in the game plan and his speed should cause some problems for the Packers defense. Don't be afraid to start him as a WR1.

Victor Cruz
Giants WR Victor Cruz
Reuben Randle and Jerrell Jernigan have reportedly struggled during training camp, leaving Cruz as the only reliable target for QB Eli Maning entering the season. The Giants have a nice match-up against a Lions team that ranked 24th in the league in receiving yards per game last year. However, Manning has looked terrible this pre-season, the team has some real issues on the O-line and doesn't look in sync executing OC McAdoo's new West Coast offense, and as if this isn't enough Cruz is almost certain to get double-teamed. All good reasons to exercise restraint and sit Cruz on your bench this week until the G-Men get things straightened out.

Jordy Nelson/ Randall Cobb
Packers WR Jordy Nelson
We don't doubt that Nelson and Cobb will be productive fantasy starters this year but they go on the road to face the league's top-ranked pass defense and we don't see the Pack putting up a lot of points in that hostile environment. The last time they played in Seattle, Green Bay managed to score only 12 points, all on field goals. If you were going to pick one week this year to sit Nelson and Cobb, this is that week.

Antonio Brown
Steelers WR Antonio Brown
Brown has risen up fantasy draft boards based on his break-through season last year where his 1499 yards was 2nd-best in the league behind only Josh Gordon. This week though he faces a tough Browns pass defense that allowed only 233 receiving yards a game (6th best in the league). We're predicting the Steelers to prevail in a typical AFC North black-and-blue defensive battle and are therefore tempering our expectations for all the skill players in the game. It's a great week to start your Steelers or Browns defense, just not a great week to start Antonio Brown.

Zach Ertz
Eagles TE Zach Ertz
Ertz faces a suspect Jaguars pass defense that yielded 9.7 fantasy points a game to TEs last year. He's taken over as the primary tight end in the Eagles high-flying aerial attack and should get plenty of targets from Nick Foles in this contest. It doesn't hurt either that the Jags will be without starting OLB Dekoda Watson. He's a great start if you don't own one of the premier TEs.

Charles Clay
Dolphins TE Charles Clay
Clay came seemingly out of nowhere last year to post 759 yards and 6 TDs. Fantasy owners appear to be wary of the sudden rise in production but he's the clear starter at TE and we're confident he's no Johnny-Come-Lately. The Dolphins play host to a Patriots defense that allowed 8.3 fantasy points a game to opposing TEs so he makes a nice start.

Dennis Pitta
Ravens TE Dennis Pitta
Pitta faces a Cincinnati pass defense that was very stingy last year. The Bengals, who gave up only 6.5 fantasy points a contest to TEs, have replaced James Harrison, who was at 36 was a liability in pass coverage, with the younger and quicker Emmanuel Lamur. They should be even stingier toward opposing TEs this year. Pitta hasn't had a lot of success over the years against the Bengals, averaging just under 40 yards a game against them over the last 3 years and failing to record a stat twice. Sit him if you have other options.

Eric Ebron
Lions TE Eric Ebron
Ebron has loads of natural talent and may eventually become an elite TE in the league but reports out of camp suggest he's struggling with drops, a problem that also affected him at North Carolina. He has a fairly good match-up against a Giants defense that allowed 8.1 fantasy points a game to TEs but we'd sit him until we see how much the Lions use him.

Cecil Shorts III
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts III
The Jaguars will be in over their heads this Sunday go up against Chip Kelly's high-flying offense but we believe QB Chad Henne should rack up a bundle of yards playing catch-up. The Eagles pass defense was absolutely dreadful last year, allowing an NFL-worst 307 yards a game, so someone on the Jags is going to have a good day. Despite the hype surrounding rookies Marquise Lee and Allen Robinson, we see Shorts being the main beneficiary. He's a sneaky start as a WR2/Flex who has the potential to put up some number this week.

Eric Decker
Jets WR Eric Decker
The Jets play a woeful Oakland pass defense that ranked 27th in the league in receiving yards allowed. It's always scary to roll with any player on a Geno Smith-led offense but we think the Good Geno shows up this week and puts up some nice stats against a toothless Raiders secondary that gave up 33 receiving TDs last year. Decker stands to be the main beneficiary on a team that lacks receiving talent and is worth a start as a WR2.

Michael Crabtree
49ers WR Michael Crabtree
The 49ers have struggled on offense this pre-season but they play the Cowboys, whose horrid pass defense is a panacea for all offensive ailments. The Cowboys ranked 30th in the league in receiving yards allowed last year and will be without their best pass rusher (DeMarcus Ware who left in free agency) and best tackler (Sean Lee who's out for the year). We expect the Niners offense to be firing on all cylinders and like Crabtree as a WR2 in this match-up. The Niners have a talented group of receivers but we expect Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis to be the primary targets.

Travis Kelce
Chiefs TE Travis Kelce
Kelce, who inherits the starting TE job in Kansas City, is a total unknown who didn't record a single stat last year. As such, a lot of fantasy owners are staying on the sidelines and adopting a wait-and-see attitude. However, he has a very favorable match-up against a Titans team that gave up 8.8 points a game to TEs last year and it's not like Alex Smith has a wealth of receiving talent to throw to. Kelce is worth a flyer if you're desparate for a flex or your mediocre TE1 has a bad match-up.

Tim Wright
Wright is being labelled as the heir apparent to Aaron Hernandez. He's an agile move receiver who had a prolific rookie year with 571 yards and 5 TDs. Since it will probably take him a few weeks to learn the Patriot's playbook, we only recommend starting him if Gronkowski is held out of action this week. If that should occur, Wright would be next in line and has a nice match-up against a Dolphins defense that allowed 9.1 fantasy points a game to TEs.

Lions RB Reggie Bush
There's no better source of advice on fantasy receivers than the players who have to face them week-in and week-out. We're very grateful to the following NFL players who were kind enough to answer our questions and provide our readers with advice:

Alterraun Verner
CB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Buccaneers CB Alterraun Verner

Ryan Clark
FS Washington Redskins
Redskins DB Ryan Clark

Buccaneers TE Timothy Wright Tweet