Week 1: The Start of the Fantasy Football Season
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Week 1: The Start of the Fantasy Football Season
2022 – 2023 Fantasy Season Week 1
Waiver Wire Targets
Before the season even begins players can be picked up off of the free agent list.
Most of these players who you could pick up have found themselves changing roles in the preseason due to some unforeseen injuries during training camp, or injuries that have lingered on from the previous season.
The first player to target is a quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky.
People forget that he had some good fantasy seasons on the Bears, and now he has been named the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh.
He has a chance now to be a top-20 quarterback and could be an upgrade in 12 team or two quarterback leagues.
His second year in Chicago he ran for over 400 yards and passed for over 3,200 in just 14 games.
A running back who is entering the season not as healthy as he could be is Miles Sanders.
Sanders has an injury that could limit or totally eliminate him from his week-one game.
The Eagles are high on Kenneth Gainwell also, and he could start week one or replace Sanders for good down the line this season.
There is still uncertainty around the Packers’ wide receiver group.
Someone has to emerge for them as the clear No. 1 option. Right now it is still up in the air, but one player who made a big splash in the preseason was Romeo Doubs.
Many people believe he can at least be a top three, if not the go-to option, this season for Aaron Rodgers.
Top Players Week 1
While Josh Allen was the consensus No. 1 quarterback taken in most drafts, that doesn’t mean he will be the best play every week.
In week one the best QB play may prove to be Lamar Jackson. Jackson has an exceptional matchup against the New York Jets.
It should be a great opportunity to run up the score in this matchup for Baltimore to show the league that they are legit Super Bowl contenders and that Jackson is an MVP candidate.
At running back it would be hard to go with anyone else other than Jonathan Taylor as the top play.
Taylor had a monster year in 2021 and was probably the top running back taken in most leagues this season.
His matchup for week one is sensational as well against the Houston Texans. They gave up the second-most yards per game on the ground last year.
There was a good amount of debate of who the top wide receiver would be this season in fantasy football.
Last year it was undoubtedly Cooper Kupp who led the NFL in catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns.
Until it is proven that he will slow down it makes sense to keep him as the highest-projected points scorer every week.
The Rams’ matchup could be one of the higher scoring affairs on the opening night kickoff as well as they take on the Bills.
Rookies to Target
Playing rookies early in the season when they are unproven could be a dangerous strategy or it could really pay off.
The last couple of years we have seen some extremely impressive rookies at wide receiver breakout as top fantasy players.
This year it might be the running backs turn to have some massive fantasy impact.
A running back, Etienne, who is still technically a rookie because he didn’t play a regular season snap last year for the Jacksonville Jaguars, could be huge.
James Robinson had some real success last year as the lead back for the Jaguars and Etienne projects to be way more talented and could get even more work than Robinson did last year.
He comes in between 15 and 20 on most running back rankings for week one but could prove to be even better.
While rookie running backs might steal the show this year, there still should be plenty of wide receivers that make a big impact this season in fantasy football.
Week one could be the week that we find out which wide receivers can make the biggest splash and have an early fantasy impact.
The first wide receiver that should instantly be their quarterback’s favourite target is Drake London of the Falcons. He has the potential to be a PPR monster but can also make big plays.
The rookie tight end to watch out for in week one is Trey McBride of the Arizona Cardinals.
Without DeAndre Hopkins the Cardinals may put McBride as one of the centers of their offensive attack.
Week 1 Busts
For week one of the NFL season people likely aren’t starting anything less than a top-12 fantasy quarterback.
The majority of owners drafted one of these QBs to start week one as there are no injuries or bye weeks.
Out of the top-12 ranked quarterbacks for week one, the one that sticks out as a potential bust is Russell Wilson.
The weight of an entire franchise is on Wilson and he is returning to Seattle where people may be reading too much into the narrative.
This game has one of the lowest point totals and Wilson will have his first game with arguably lesser talent to throw to compared to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
It could be in the game plan to not run him either early due to the large commitment they have made to him as well.
Wilson is ranked in the top 7 of most week one fantasy QB rankings, while others, such as on the right, have him barely in the top 10.
A backup running back was being drafted as a top-20 running back in fantasy drafts.
That player is AJ Dillon and he is likely slated to start for a good amount of teams.
Dillon out-snapped starter Aaron Jones in just four games last year.
Jones had less than 10 carries in half his games played last year and just 34 catches on the season.
Denver’s Courtland Sutton is being ranked as a top-15 wide receiver in week one.
Sutton wasn’t being drafted as a top-15 wide receiver until the final week of drafts where he jumped up the boards of a lot of experts.
It could prove to be an uneventful season-opener for him in an expected low-scoring game where more targets could be going to Jerry Jeudy and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who is expected to be heavily involved.
2022 – 2023 Fantasy Season Week 1
The NFL season is officially upon us, and that means that fantasy football is back as well. So, it’s time to look at Sleepers and Busts for Week 1.
One of the most intriguing parts of fantasy football is to look at the expert rankings from top sports analysts and official websites.
Elite Fantasy Managers will pick through to find those sleepers that are being drafted or valued too low. They will also mark ‘Sell High’ players who are being ranked too high across the industry.
Most of these players are in new situations. This could be a new team or changes in the team’s roster. Such changes make them somewhat of an unknown of where they should be ranked.
In this article, we will look at every position. To evaluate if there are players who appear to be over or undervalued headed into sleepers and busts for week 1.
Determining busts for top players being drafted in the 1st few rounds in week 1 is dangerous. Often they will be sliding down drafts who could prove to be some of the top fantasy scorers at the end of the season.
Starting at the quarterback position, we have one of the deepest crops of quarterbacks in recent years. This means you can wait on drafting the position.
Often you can wait until beyond round 5. You will still draft a player who should come within a few points of the top 10 quarterback scorers.
The NFL passing game has been taking off the last few seasons as the game is changing. In the 2020 season, we saw an explosion in the passing game.
More passing makes for a plethora of good fantasy quarterbacks. Especially in most leagues where interceptions are only a negative point or two.
According to ADP, you can wait to select quarterbacks. With top 10 potential who are being drafted around pick 150 or later.
Our first QB sleeper is one quarterback who has put up massive stats and fantasy seasons in the past. He doesn’t get the recognition in the NFL or fantasy for that matter; a sleeper QB is Jameis Winston.
Jameis Winston Sleeper Outlook
Winston led the league in passing yards in 2019, his last season with Tampa Bay. He also threw 33 touchdowns that year but did lead the league in interceptions that year as well.
It was still a phenomenal fantasy quarterback season that ranked him in the top 5 of fantasy quarterbacks that year.
According to ADP Winston is now being drafted as the 17th quarterback. This is Winston’s second year as the starter in New Orleans.
Jameis had a tremendous preseason where he won the job against Taysom Hill in 2021. We expect Jameis to hold on to the job the whole year as the Saints have a good team.
If Saints Coach Dennis Allen unleashes Winston this year with all the offensive weapons such as Chris Olive, Alvin Kamara, Micheal Thomas and Jarvis Landry. look for Winston to push to be a top 10 fantasy quarterback at the end of the season.
With Winston being ranked so low, you could even find him as a free agent. get him a throw-in in a trade, or draft him as your 2nd quarterback.
Rookie QB Sleepers and Busts
While Winston looks like a breakout candidate in New Orleans, some younger quarterbacks look like they are being ranked too high in ADP.
If you’ve drafted a rookie QB they could be early-season trade chips for other interested owners.
Trey Lance or Justin Fields
In Trey Lance and Justin Fields, these two rookie quarterbacks are both being drafted around 15 or 16 but will not be the week 1 starters for their teams.
Drafting a rookie QB means instantly losing in week 1. Given it can take weeks for a rookie QB to get up to NFL level you don’t want them as your QB1.
Both of Lance and Feilds teams, the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears, are expected to be competitive teams.
With their current starting QB’s Jimmy Garrapolo and Andy Dalton, don’t expect them to change the rookies anytime soon.
These rookies have the potential to be excellent fantasy quarterbacks with their ability to run the ball as well as throw. However, seeing the field is an unknown at this point, which makes it hard to even draft them as one of the top backup quarterbacks on your roster.
Running Back Sleepers and Busts
Running back is one of the toughest players to predict, but there seem to be some players slated to have significant years this year.
The key is to look for players who will get many carries and get targets and catches in the passing game. For example, as great a player as Nick Chubb, he’ll unlikely ever be a top 5 RB due to not being involved in the passing game.
RB’s involvement in the passing game is especially crucial for most leagues nowadays, being a half-point-ppr or even full-point-ppr.
Is Barkley a Sleeper or Bust?
One of the most slept-on players during this year’s drafts was Saquon Barkley.
People are quick to forget that Saquon Barkley, just last year, was most fantasy league’s 1st overall pick and his rookie year. Barkley led the entire league in yards from scrimmage with 15 total touchdowns.
A lot of drafts had Barkley going as the 10th to 15th running back drafted. Barkley is also an elite pass-catching running back. Barkley had 91 catches in his rookie season and 52 in his last somewhat entire season in 13 games.
This New York Giants team looks to be the best team Barkley has ever been a part of, which should help him not be keyed in on so much to get more space to produce.
Barkley should be a top 5 fantasy running back when the season is all set and done if he remains healthy. Injuries have been a struggle for Barkley after playing 13 games in his sophomore season and then going down with an early season-ending injury last year.
The biggest problem with Barkley is if the Giants will limit his workload, but if they are making a playoff run, it will be impossible to keep him off the field.
Is Miles Sanders a Sleeper or Bust?
One player who isn’t in a new situation is Miles Sanders. However, he should be in line to be the go-to running back in Philadelphia.
Sanders has been drafted at about the mid 20th ranked running back, but Sanders produced at least 818 rushing yards in each of his 1st 2 seasons, where he only received 11 starts in each of those years.
After averaging just over 13 carries per game and 5.3 yards per carry last season, Sanders could be in line for 15+ carries per game and more work in the passing game.
Sanders also has one year of 500+ yards receiving and 50 catches.
Those numbers are worthy of at least a top 15 fantasy running back, and this season it looks like he will only have more opportunities to produce than in the past.
Is Ezekiel Elliot a Sleeper or Bust?
While the NFL is becoming a passing league, some running backs that fantasy owners have relied on for years are becoming irrelevant but are still being drafted as if they are in their primes.
The 1st player here is Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot has a lot of miles for a running back in this era’s NFL coming into his 6th season as he has gotten at least 244 carries in all 5 of his seasons thus far in his career.
The production has also dropped off every year since 2018 and Elliot failed to run for 1,000 yards for the 1st time in his career last season.
Elliot also only has 1 season since his rookie year, where he has had at least 10 total touchdowns.
With the Cowboys loading up on receivers and paying Dak Prescott big money, it looks like Elliot may be an afterthought in many games this season.
Still, Elliot is being drafted in the 1st round and in many leagues within the top 5. It could be a good idea to test the trade market while it’s still early in the year for Elliot to get the most value out of him while he is still seen as worthy of a 1st round pick.
Is Nick Chubb a Sleeper or Bust?
Nick Chubb is another veteran running back who has never had an entire season as the lone starter getting the bulk of the carries each game.
Chubb is being drafted as the 10th running back overall but still can get sidelined for Kareem Hunt in Cleveland, which can turn into poor fantasy performances for him as it has in the past.
Chubb is also not a big pass-catcher which hurts his value in PPR leagues. He has never had 300 yards receiving in a season or 40 catches.
Joe Mixon, Saquon Barkley, or Najee Harriss look to be better draft options around that pick or early-season trade targets for Elliot or Chubb.
Wide Receiver Sleepers and Busts
In a passing league, there are more wide receiver options than ever. So it should be easy to draft receivers late who can produce or pick up ones as free agents early in the season.
There are a lot of sleepers out there in the late part of drafts, but one guy mainly sticks out as a player who is being slept on but not necessarily a sleeper.
Chris Godwin a WR Sleeper
That player is Chris Godwin whose ADP is sliding outside of the top 20 wide receivers in the rankings.
This is disrespectful to Godwin, who is still playing with a hall of fame quarterback. Brady put up ridiculous passing numbers last season and doesn’t look like he is slowing down.
Brady threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns last year, with 7 of those going to Godwin.
Godwin is Brady’s security blanket, but he also provides an all-around receiving game in the red zone and also as a deep threat.
The year previous, Godwin had a career-best 1,313 yards, which he still seems capable of producing.
Godwin is plagued with the same fantasy issue that great teams face: they have so many weapons and can blow teams out that sometimes they are not needed in the game.
Still, he should be considered in the top 15 of wide receivers due to the high-powered offense and his ability to do it all as a receiver.
Is Courtland Sutton a Sleeper or Bust?
A sleeper outside of the top 20 ranked wide receivers is a player going under the radar heading into the 2021 season.
A player jumping up draft boards heading into 2021 is Jerry Jeudy, who is going around the 20th ranked fantasy wide receiver, while Sutton is outside the top 30th WR’s drafted.
That player is Courtland Sutton, who suffered an unfortunate injury early last season but is now being downgraded in the fantasy rankings.
Sutton looked to have star ability when he went for 1,112 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2019. He also has the big body frame at 6′ foot 3″ and 216 to be a big go-to target for Teddy Bridgewater.
Sutton was known for his big play ability and hopefully will pick up where he left off before the injury.
With all the preseason hype going to Jeudy, Sutton could be a good sleeper pick-up. Sutton could prove to ultimately be the number 1 wideout in Denver when the season gets underway.
Which Steelers WR is a Sleeper?
An excellent young wide receiver out of Pittsburgh is being drafted inside the top 20 wide receivers while sometimes being taken as high as a top 15 wide receiver. And no, it isn’t Juju Smith Schuster or Chase Claypool. It’s Diontae Johnson.
When all 3 wideouts are healthy in Pittsburgh there are a lot of mouths to feed and Ben Roethlisberger has continued to regress.
Last season Roethlisberger didn’t look good and it was especially noticeable that he lacked arm strength.
Many expected Big Ben to retire this year after how bad he looked but he is back for this season, and it could hurt the fantasy value of his wide receivers.
Which Bengals WR is a Sleeper?
Another interesting wide receiver situation comes from the AFC North in the Cincinnati Bengals.
The ranking order of their 3 receivers has been going like this: Tee Higgins, Ja’mmarr Chase, and finally Tyler Boyd.
All 3 of these receivers should be valued higher than Smith Schuster and Claypool, with a couple arguably higher than Johnson too.
The Bengals should have a more dynamic passing attack than the Steelers with Joe Burrow behind center.
This is cause for concern with all 3 Steelers wide receivers but it seems risky to take any of them ahead of 20 other wide receivers this year.
Higgins has been going as high as the 23rd overall wide receiver, which is not a crazy overdraft but will be part of that 3 headed monster competing for targets.
The more exciting ranking is Tyler Boyd being the last drafted Bengals receiver out of the 3. Boyd was the leading receiver for the Bengals in 2019 with 1,000+ yards and then was arguably the number 1 receiver last season.
Boyd seems like the better value in this situation with his potential to still be the number 1 receiver in Cincinnati and he is being valued outside of the top 30 wide receivers.
Tight End Sleepers
Tight end is another challenging position to predict. There are probably 5 tight ends who are going to be consistent every week.
Outside of the top 5 TE’s, you are looking for one who can get the majority of the snaps and receive a good number of targets.
Tyler Higbee the TE Sleeper of 2021
One tight end who continues to be undervalued and a little slept on is Tyler Higbee. This year, Higbee seems to be one of these consistent tight ends after putting up good production in a tight end split last year.
Higbee now has the full reign of the tight end position for the Rams and a new quarterback to improve his numbers further.
Higbee is rarely being drafted as a top 10 tight end but could prove to be top 6 by the end of the year. He not only will get a lot of snaps and targets but has big-play ability similar to a George Kittle. Both Higbee and Kittle have the ability to run after the catch in a high-powered passing offense in Los Angeles.
Adam Trautman a TE Bust
A big surprise in drafts was New Orleans Saints tight end Adam Trautman. He doesn’t possess the athletic ability of top tight ends such as Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, or even Higbee.
Trautman has done pretty much nothing in his career so far but was being drafted ahead Higbee at about the 10th ranked tight end.
Trautman had 171 receiving yards in his rookie season, albeit as a backup, but expectations are high for him in the 2021 season.
Some poor preseason play from Trautman and an early injury are more reasons he should be outside of the top 20 tight ends drafted.
In Conclusion, Sleepers are hard to find
Finding these sleepers and also overrated players can make for some interesting early-season trades.
If you reached for some of these players or passed on some potential sleepers, consider offering up some of these big names while their value is high. Doing this at the beginning of the year to get some players with high potential can pay dividends.
The fantasy football season is here, and now is the time to draft high-potential players and be smart about taking some of these players in new good situations.
2021 – 2022 Fantasy Season
The 2021-2022 fantasy football season is upon us! The first game kicks off Thursday, September 9th. The Cowboys go to Tampa Bay to take on the reigning Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers.
Game 1 of the season will showcase the long-anticipated return of Dak Prescott. Dak went down with a severe injury and took his last snap on October 11th, 2020.
The game features many top fantasy players who will be in many team’s starting lineups in week 1.
The Cowboys feature a top 5 week 1 quarterback in Prescott. CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are top 25 wide receivers. Ezekiel Elliot is a top 10 running back.
The Bucs feature a top 10 week 1 quarterback in Tom Brady. Two top 5 wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, with potential sleeper Antonio Brown.
There should be plenty of fantasy points to go around in this one!
Fantasy Football Week 1
The Bucs Cowboys is just the beginning of week 1 as we have 14 more games Sunday and 1 on Monday night.
The unknown is who will be getting the most snaps and have a surprising impact on their team that people did not see coming.
There is a lot to get to in week 1. For Fantasy Managers, this is where we can predict who will be getting touches. Players to start and sit week 1, compare players 1 on 1 to see who will be in line to perform better in week 1.
Top Picks for Week 1
To start, let’s look at the players who are in line for big week 1 showing.
These are some guys at every position who should outperform their preseason ranking based on an excellent matchup.
Week 1 QB’s to Start
At quarterback, we have some excellent options at the top. Patrick Mahomes is a must-start every week, and week 1 is no different.
In somewhat of a tougher matchup against the Cleveland Browns Mahomes should not be slowed down. The game may even be better for Mahomes to play against a team that will keep the score close.
2 of Mahomes’ down games last season came in blowout wins against the 5-11 Broncos and the 7-9 Patriots. In these games, Mahomes only threw for 436 yards and 3 touchdowns in those games combined.
The 2nd quarterback to start is Jalen Hurts. Hurts has the ability to put up massive fantasy games. In just 1 of 3 starts last season, he put up one of the highest-scoring weeks of any fantasy quarterback.
The matchup in week 1 is juicy for Hurts, as the Falcons have. Historically over the past couple of seasons, given up a ton of fantasy points to opposing running quarterbacks.
While giving up tons of points, the Falcons also have the firepower on offense to make it a close game. Meaning Hurts will continue to have to push the ball downfield.
Week 1 QB’s to Sit
Some sits at quarterback are some players who are going into the toughest matchups of week 1.
The one who jumps off the page here is Justin Herbert. Herbert’s ADP shows that he is being drafted as high as the number 6 quarterback off the board. However, in week 1 looks like he may be outside of the top 10 scorers at quarterback by week’s end.
The Chargers and Herbert come into Washington to face one of the most formidable defenses in the league.
He is also way worse on the road than at home. Herbert threw for 434 fewer yards and ran for less than half of what he did at home.
Big Ben Roethlisberger is another sit. While Big Ben’s ADP shows he is being drafted around the 16th quarterback, he may not be your 1st choice regardless.
However, if the other quarterback you drafted was just ahead of him, it should be an easy choice this week. Ben faces the Buffalo Bills, who have had a standout defense the past few years, and he also comes in on the road here.
The last sit is previously mentioned, Dak Prescott. He might not even play, but if he does, he faces one of the league’s best defenses on the road in Tampa Bay.
Also, in the case of a blowout, he could see himself on the bench for the 4th quarter to ensure his safety coming back from injury.
Week 1 RB’s to Start
Running backs can also be heavily affected by matchups, both positively or negatively. Game script has a lot to do with the number of touches they will receive and ultimately how many points they will put up.
Gus Edwards is the first player who is now set for a breakout in 2021 and should get started early in week 1 against the Las Vegas Raiders. After losing 2nd year back JK Dobbins in the preseason, the run-heavy Ravens will look to Edwards as their RB1.
Dobbins split carries for most of his rookie season. However, he was rumored to be the lead guy and who Fantasy Managers were hoping would push for 20 carries every week.
Now the hope is this work goes to his handcuff Gus Edwards.
It’s no secret the Ravens love to run the ball, and Edwards should punish a Raiders defense that gives up a ton of yards.
Expect the Ravens to be up in this one. Edwards will run down the clock with first down after first down and a couple of touchdowns.
Etienne out – James Robinson RB1
James Robinson is another back whose ADP is flying up draft boards with the season-ending injury to rookie Travis Etienne.
Robinson was a 1,000-yard rusher in his rookie season. He looks like he will be in line to get most of the carries again this year.
JRob also gets maybe the best matchup to put points up against in the Houston Texans.
Sit DeAndre Swift for Week 1
Another 2nd year backs to avoid as a week 1 play is DeAndre Swift. The Detroit Lions back has a preseason injury that could limit him in their opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
However, the matchup is not great for Swift regardless of injury. The 49ers are one of the best run defenses in the league. This matchup could see the 49ers up the entire game forcing the Lions to throw downfield more.
Expect the 49ers to be in control of the clock most of the game.
Sit Darrell Henderson Week 1
One more running back to sit who has gotten a lot of preseason praise is Darrell Henderson of the Los Angeles Rams.
Henderson was thought to take over for injured Cam Akers. However, other backups on the roster emerged to be in competition with Henderson for touches.
Now the Rams added veteran Sony Michel, who should eat even more touches, and it’s hard to see Henderson hitting above 15 total touches in week 1.
Week 1 WR’s to Start
Wide receiver in week 1 may be the most challenging position to predict.
WR’s that have been longtime consistent contributors on their team, such as Devante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Calvin Ridley.
Beyond tier 1 WR’s we have to look deeper at some guys who will have an unknown role on their team.
Start Corey Davis Week 1
One of the most intriguing free agency signings was Corey Davis to the New York Jets.
Davis was an excellent weapon for the Titans but had to fight for targets with AJ Brown when throwing the ball and not pounding it downfield with Derrick Henry.
Now with the Jets, he is the clear number 1 receiver and has excellent chemistry in the preseason with rookie Zach Wilson.
Start DJ Chark Week 1
Another start, as we continue to pick on the Texans, is DJ Chark. Chark has been the number 1 receiver on the Jaguars for the past 2 seasons, with somewhat of a down year on a terrible offense last season.
A player that is sliding down draft boards that I want to like but have to go with the masses on this one is Julio Jones.
This year, he gets the golden boy Trevor Lawrence throwing to him and a pretty sweet matchup in week 1.
Julio still looks like he could be dominant but will have to split work similarly to what Corey Davis did in Tennessee.
Davis looks like a great PPR play but may struggle to find the end zone as the Jets are not a good offense yet. The downside of the Jets offense makes Davis less of a good play in standard leagues but still playable.
Julio also has historically been afraid of the end zone. He hasn’t had a 9+ touchdown game since 2012 and already has been dealing with injuries in the preseason.
He could get lost in a new system in the opener while the Titans go with what worked so well last season, Derrick Henry and AJ Brown.
Start Julio Jones Week 1
While it is risky to sit your 4th or 5th round pick, Julio could go out there and have a line around 4 catches for 50 yards in his Titans debut but always has the ability to break off a big touchdown.
Week 1 TE’s to Start
The tight end position is easy to find sits as only about 5 to 10 tight ends will most likely end up with 10+ fantasy points.
The key is finding these players who you should start in week 1. The top 4 tight ends are automatic starts when healthy in Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Darren Waller, and Mark Andrews.
However, TE starts to get more interesting after that if you don’t have one of the elite TE’s on your roster.
The 1st is Dallas Goedert or Zach Ertz. One of them is looking likely to be traded before the season. Many people think it will be Ertz, but rumors have said Goedert could be shipped out after an impressive Ertz training camp.
If one of the Eagles TE’s is gone by week 1, the other could be in line for a massive game against a good matchup in the Atlanta Falcons.
Start Jared Cook Week 1
A severely slept on tight end who has big shoes to fill is Jared Cook, now in the Charger’s baby blue.
Cook has produced everywhere he has been, and Justin Herbert loved his tight end, Hunter Henry, last year.
It’s a bit of unknown with Cook, but he has a decent matchup, can make big plays as a tight end, and seems like a contender for 10+ fantasy points in week 1.
Draft Tyler Conklin for Week 1
The Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr.’s ADP has been rising draft boards and sometimes is being drafted as high as the 7th tight end. Unfortunately, in his final preseason game, an injury may prevent Smith from taking the field in 2021.
Smith split tight end duties with Kyle Rudolph last season, but now that Rudolph is gone, he was in line for more work.
With the Smith injury, the Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin is next up on the roster. There were rumors that Conklin would split work the same as Rudolph did last season with Smith.
Irv Smith is out for week 1. Given the depth, there will be no split. The question is, will the Vikings still look to have a pass-catching TE?
If TE were Deeper TJ Hockensen would be a sit
TJ Hockensen’s ADP has him being drafted as a top 5 tight end; however, he faces the 49ers defense in week 1. This tough defense is not a great matchup for Hockensen, but it would be hard to sit him with him being drafted so high.
It could be wise to play your TE backup on your roster if you have any TE depth.
This brings us into the next segment of 1 on 1 player comparisons for week 1.
Player vs. Player Comparisons Week 1
Logan Thomas or Tyler Higbee
Some tight ends you may have on your roster in addition to TJ Hockenson are Logan Thomas or Tyler Higbee.
Both Thomas and Higbee look like they can outscore Hockenson in week 1 due to their matchups. The more significant question mark for week 1 is how much they will be featured in their offenses?
Evan Engram or Mike Gesecki
Other backups such as Evan Engram or Mike Gesecki can be left on your bench for TJ Hockenson.
An undervalued tight end in Robert Tonyan should be a top 10 tight end in week 1, making him a better play than the unknown Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Higbee.
Noah Fant or Dallas Goedert
However, Tonyan doesn’t come in as highly ranked as Noah Fant or Dallas Goedert in week 1. Given the Ertz uncertainty Fant is the better play in week 1.
Quarterback Comparisons for Week 1
Going back to quarterback again, let’s look at one of our sit quarterbacks in Dak Prescott.
It’s hard to sit him as you probably drafted him pretty high, but he gets a real tough matchup.
Jalen Hurts or Trevor Lawrence
If your backup is Jalen Hurts or Trevor Lawrence, you should consider swapping him in week 1.
Matt Ryan or Ben Roethlisberger
Some other popular backups in Matt Ryan or Ben Roethlisberger would not look to be as good as rolling with Prescott, however.
Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady
Aaron Rodgers has a decent matchup against New Orleans, but Tom Brady and Jalen Hurts are the guys who are near him in week 1. Both Brady and Hurts look more dynamic plays for week 1.
Ryan Tannehill or Justin Herbert
Rodgers should come in above Ryan Tannehill and Justin Herbert, though, in week 1 scoring.
Running Back Player Comparisons
Myles Gaskin has had an up and down preseason for the Dolphins but has an explosive upside.
Mike Davis or Damien Harris
Comparing him to other backs ranked around him in week 1, such as Mike Davis and Damien Harris, Gaskin looks to be a better play.
Chris Carson or Josh Jacobs
Chris Carson has a fairly tough matchup in week 1 vs. the Colts. He should be in a position to get a decent amount of rushing work.
Carson appears to make a better play than some other backs ranked ahead of him in week 1, such as Josh Jacobs, who will share work with Kenyan Drake, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who has very inconsistent touches every week.
Gus Edwards and James Robinson are two backs ranked below Carson who are in better spots to put up big numbers than Carson in week 1.
Miles Sanders or James Robinson
James Robinson has such a good matchup and looks to be in line for a better week than Gaskin and Miles Sanders.
Wide Receiver Player Comparisons
At wide receiver, Allen Robinson draws an extremely tough matchup vs. the Rams and Jalen Ramsey.
The Bears will force the ball to Robinson, though, and he should still be a better play than Julio Jones or the inconsistent Tyler Lockett.
Allen Robinson or Chris Godwin or Terry Mclaurin
Some guys who should be in lineups ahead of Robinson are Chris Godwin and Terry Mclaurin, as they are highly targeted every week and have better matchups.
Odell Beckham Jr. or Kenny Golladay or Robert Woods
Odell Beckham Jr. struggled last season for the most part and gets the Chiefs in week 1. The Chiefs do allow decent production to wide receivers, and with the upside of Beckham, he should be in lineups ahead of Kenny Golladay and Robert Woods, who are both slated to be in low-scoring games.
DJ Moore or Adam Thielen
DJ Moore will be heavily targeted vs. the Jets. Adam Thielen is a big-time touchdown threat vs. the Bengals and are two plays that appear to have more upside than hoping Beckham gets a garbage-time touchdown which is entirely possible.
Week 1 Fantasy Season Summary
There is so much unknown in week 1 of the NFL. The safe bets are to go with players who have no evident competition or are in similar situations as they were in last season. Use week 1 to gauge how each team will use their weapons in 2021 and go from there.
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