The season is here and now we all have our Sundays booked up for the next five months. Hopefully you waited until closer to the season to draft your championship team because the rankings and ADP (average draft position) for some players have been going up and down like the weather on the East Coast. Now with Week 1 here, you finally get to put that lineup to the test and I’m here to help you start and sit the right guys so you can kick off the season right!
QB - Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos (@ Seattle)
If you are to play Wilson in any game this season, this has to be it. Going up against his former team in his former stadium with one of the loudest crowds of all time, the atmosphere is there for him to shine against his old team. The crowd might be loud but that Seahawk defense is far removed from their 'legion of boom' days. He’s got talent oozing out of this offense with an epic WR duo of Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, and a stud second-year back Javonte Williams. This game checks all boxes for Wilson to finish no less than a top 10 QB in Week 1.
RB - Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders (Vs Detroit)
As mentioned earlier, the rankings this year jumped around a bit during the month of August, and one of the biggest culprits was Antonio Gibson who dropped around 40 spots in ADP. The reason this happened was the emergence of rookie RB Brian Robinson who will now miss a minimum of 4 games due to being placed on IR. This makes Gibson the main back in a heavy run offense going up against a jags defense who gave up over 2,100 yards on the ground last year along with 22 rushing TDs. This is a prime game for Gibson to secure his place as the starting back for the Commanders, which means he should be starting in your lineup this week.
WR - Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens (@ NYJ)
Just like Russell Wilson, if you drafted Bateman this would be the week to play him. Everything is lined up for Bateman to take a big leap this season. With Marquise Brown in Arizona, Bateman is the man to be WR1 of the Ravens and the second favorite target for Lamar Jackson. As a rookie, Bateman had eight games with 5 or more targets and that’s with him missing 6 games last season. He’s got a nice matchup to start off the season going against a Jets defense who gave up the 3rd most receiving yards last year and a ridiculous 4:1 Int to TD ratio. Lock him in as a WR2 with big upside Week 1.
TE - Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (Vs Tampa)
I don’t know if you remember, but the tight end market last season was rough and only a handful of tight ends felt like a safe play. We all hope that’s different and I think Schultz will help with that trend. Last season Schultz had six or more targets in 11 games last season, which is more than guys like Darren Waller and George Kittle. He has the offense to flourish and now with Amari Cooper on the Cleveland Browns, Schultz's target share could be even larger. Start him this week with confidence as he will continue his solid connection with Dak Prescott.
Defense - New Orleans Saints (@ ATL)
As I always suggest, play the matchups when you play your defense. One of the best matchups of the week is the Saints against the Falcons. The Saints gave up the fewest yards per attempt last year in the run game with 3.7 yards per carry. They also forced a whopping 25 turnovers. They are up against a Falcons offense that kind of seems lost and has just the one bright spot in Kyle Pitts. Expect a double digit showing from the gold and black.
QB - Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams (Vs Buffalo)
Matt Stafford is a great quarterback. But in terms of fantasy football he’s just OK. With pretty much zero running impact and a high turnover rate (17 Int last year) he’s a solid back end QB1 at best. This week he ranks even lower playing arguably the best defense in football, the Buffalo Bills. They allowed the fewest passing yards and fewest passing TDs in the league last season. Cooper Kupp will get his catches, but Stafford will turn the ball over multiple times while being on your bench.
RB - Breece Hall, New York jets ( Vs Baltimore)
Rookie RBs are always risky to play early in the season because you don’t know how they will be implemented in the offense. I know you spent high draft capital on Hall but you shouldn’t play him this week. He’s also up against a stifling Ravens defense who allowed the fewest rushing yards last year along, allowing less than 4 yards per carry. Give it a week to see how the carries are split up in the Jets backfield and play it safe with Hall on your bench.
WR - Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars (@ Washington)
As long as you paid less for Kirk than the Jags did this season you should be fine keeping him on the bench to start the year off. Jacksonville brought in Kirk to be Trevor Lawrence’s number one target, but I would be hesitant to start him in Week 1. He’s going up against a solid defense in Washington and until we see a year-two jump from Lawrence it’s just to risky to play Kirk.
TE - Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills (@ Los Angeles)
Like most tight ends, last season Dawson Knox was TD dependent and not a viable weekly asset. He finished the year with 9 TDs. That might sound good, but out of 15 games played last season he only saw more than 5 targets twice. With a low target share and playing against a team that gave up less than 20 passing TDs last year, the best bet is to keep Knox on the bench this week.
Defense - Dallas Cowboys (Vs Tampa)
I know a lot of Cowboy fans playing fantasy football this year are gonna want to play their guys this season. Well you should without a doubt keep the Dallas D on the bench to start off the year. Yes they were great at forcing turnovers but at the same time they gave up over 4,000 yards through the air. Going up against the ageless Tom Brady and a stacked Tampa offense, you should wait for a better matchup to play this defense.