The Fantasy Football Season Week 1

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.  

Week 1 in fantasy football is crazy because everyone gets to select from any player they want as everyone is healthy. There are also no bye weeks until week 6.  

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 through week 5, we get to pick and choose from every NFL team before the bye weeks start, so there’s plenty of players to pick for starting lineups.  

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

The 2021 Fantasy Football Season 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

The 2021 Fantasy Football Season 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. 

The Fantasy Football Season Week 1