Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings - The Blueprint

Sep 7th 2022

Hayden Winks

Every site has a fantasy football rankings column. None of them will be as charted up on a Thursday afternoon up as this one. I'll go position-by-position with the charts, matchup notes, and injury nuggets that I view as worth your time. If you just want the best plays instead of reading the column, I'll have this table up at the top.

Last updated the table: Friday, 8:00pm EST, but the written rankings were updated Sunday 12:00am EST. ... Rankings Show on Sunday, 10:30am EST.

Week 1 QB Rankings

1. Patrick Mahomes - Chiefs @ ARI (29.75 implied points, -6 spread)

Mahomes has essentially traded Tyreek for a top-3 OL and more depth at the skill group, which is pretty close to a wash in general. This Week 1 matchup is awesome to debut what should be an offense that incorporates more traditional dropbacks/concepts. Considered a very aggressive defense, Arizona played in a two-high shell at the 6th-lowest rate and blitzed at the 4th highest rate last year per SIS. Mahomes had the 3rd-highest success rate against single-high shells and was 2nd in success rate against 5 or more pass rushers. The Chiefs also happen to catch Arizona with their CB2 on the shelf. More importantly, these offense both rank top-7 in neutral situation pace, so there will be plays and points exchanging hands frequently.

2. Josh Allen - Bills @ LAR (27.5, -2.5)

It's hard to rank Allen any lower after the season he had last season. He was drafted a full round ahead of any other QB in best ball drafts this summer. The only issues here are the cross-country travel and the Rams' No. 6 fantasy QB defense; both Aaron Donald (suspension avoider) and Jalen Ramsey (shoulder) will be active, while Bills LG Ike Boettger (PUP) is out. It's time to see if Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie can fill the shows of more veteran-type receivers this Buffalo offense has been accustomed to. Buffalo has the 3rd-highest implied team total (27.5) of the week.

3. Justin Herbert - Chargers vs. LV (27.75, -3.5)

The Raiders defense has studs at edge and won't be plagued by ex-DC Gus Bradley's single-high shell anymore, but Herbert gained another potential stud to the OL in 1st-round G Zion Johnson. Herbert could have an MVP season now that he has a top-10 OL and is in his 2nd year in the new system. In four games against the Raiders, Herbert has averaged 311 yards with 10 TDs and 1 INT, and his Week 18 performance against the Raiders last year (383-3-1) was littered with Sports Center level throws. It's not a surprise to see the Chargers with the 2nd-highest implied team total (27.75) of the week.

4. Jalen Hurts - Eagles @ DET (26.25, -4)

The Eagles analytics-based front office wants to be pass first. Through 6 games last season, they were 6th in neutral pass rate, but Hurts was struggling with mediocre weapons. The trade-and-signing of A.J. Brown and the Eagles' extreme pass-heavy preseason suggest they'll try to rebound in the passing department. If so, look out. The Eagles have the No. 1 consensus OL and now have 3 above-average pass-catchers, in addition to Hurts' 52.3 rushing yards per game. The Lions are missing underrated EDGE Romeo Okwara (IR, achilles) and other defensive starters, and were 29th in adjusted sack rate last season. Hurts will have time to survey the field. It's no surprise to see Philly with the 6th-highest team total of Week 1.

5. Lamar Jackson - Ravens @ NYJ (25.5, -6.5)

Everything points to a bounce back season for Lamar. His OL will eventually be healthier, with stud LT Ronnie Stanley (out) back from a broken ankle soon and 1st-round C Tyler Linderbaum added. At the same time, his top-2 RBs are in injury purgatory, which could influence more passing or more QB runs in general. The matchup is pristine, too. The Jets defense was 32nd in passing efficiency and 25th against fantasy QBs last year. I'm not sure why Baltimore's implied team total isn't slightly higher. This should be all systems go for Lamar, Mark Andrews, and Rashod Bateman. We'll see how often they use Isaiah Likely versus Devin Duvernay.

6. Tom Brady - Bucs @ DAL (26.75, -2.5)

Brady will work around it and the tackles are strong, but the Bucs interior OL is in shambles with Pro Bowl LG Ali Marpet retired and Pro Bowl C Ryan Jansen and veteran RG Aaron Stinnie out long-term. Even if he's under pressure more than he was last year with Micah Parsons and company on deck, Brady's matchup is relatively strong. These offenses were 1st and 2nd in neutral pace last year, and offenses facing the Cowboys had the 7th-highest neutral pass rate. The Bucs have the 4th-highest team total of the week.

7. Kyler Murray - Cardinals vs. KC (23.75, +6)

A matchup of two offenses with top-7 neutral pace, Murray has play volume and home garbage time potential on his side, but this is an uphill battle in general. LG Justin Pugh (limited) is a "game-time decision" and most of the rest of the Cardinals' OL is sub-par. The Chiefs added George Karlaftis and Carlos Dunlap to bump up their No. 26 adjusted sack rate defense, so pressure could be an issue for the tippy-toe QB. Throw in the obvious DeAndre Hopkins suspension and both Zach Ertz and Rondale Moore injuries, and it's easier to see why Arizona only has the 18th-highest team total. At the end of the day, however, Murray's big-play ability and career 38.8 rushing yards per game averages are too good to tank his fantasy rank too much.

8. Joe Burrow - Bengals vs. PIT (25.5, -6.5)

The Bengals go from a bottom-5 OL to a league average one after their 3 primary offseason additions; C Ted Karras, RG Alex Cappa, and RT La'El Collins. They'll be tested immediately with the Steelers No. 2 adjusted sack rate defense. Last year, Burrow had his lowest and 3rd-lowest pass attempt games of 2021 against these Steelers last season, but if he's confident post-appendix and with a better-suited OL, then this should be a neutral matchup for him. The Bengals have the 8th-highest team total of the week.

9. Matthew Stafford - Rams vs. BUF (25.0, +2.5)

If Stafford has elbow issues, they likely wouldn't surface in Week 1. The matchup is the bigger concern, but even that could be overblown. Buffalo's defenses was 1st in passing efficiency and 1st against fantasy QBs last season, but they are without CB1 Tre'Davious White and will be starting a 1st-round rookie in his place. Stafford also gets the benefit of playing at home against an offense projected for the 3rd-most points on the week and who plays with top-8 neutral pace and pass rate. Overall play volume works in Stafford's favor here. Don't worry about the matchup too much. The Rams are 10th in Week 1 team total and Stafford has the 7th-highest Underdog Fantasy Pick'em projection for passing yards.

10. Trey Lance - 49ers @ CHI (24.0, -7)

As a baseline, the Underdog Fantasy Pick'em projection for Lance is 212.5 passing yards and 38.5 rushing yards. Those are fringe fantasy QB1 yardage numbers, paired with the 49ers' 14th-highest team total of the week. Lance will be an inconsistent player most likely, especially in meh matchups like this one. Both offenses are bottom-12 in neutral pace, and the Bears defense (which is now slightly worse to be fair) was 4th against fantasy QBs last season for game-environment reasons. If George Kittle (questionable) can't play, the 49ers potentially worrisome OL could take a hit. Lance is a wildcard QB1/2.

11. Dak Prescott - Cowboys vs. TB (24.25, +2.5)

Prescott's YPA was 1.1 yards higher with LT Tyron Smith (out) in 2021, and the offense's pressure rate climbed from 29% to 35%. Prescott's YPA was also 0.3 yards higher with current Brown Amari Cooper on the field, too. The bottom line is Prescott's supporting talent has never been worse. The good news is the matchup is solid, as offenses choose to pass at the highest rate in neutral situations against the Bucs by a wide margin. Even with the Bucs playing good defense in general, they were still No. 29 against fantasy QBs due to garbage time. The Cowboys are 15th in team total this week, and most of the scrimmage yards will be coming from Prescott's arm.

12. Russell Wilson - Broncos @ SEA (25.25, -6.5)

Revenge game, let's ride. Revenge game, let's ride!!! The Broncos open the season with the 9th-highest team total of the week against a defense that plays into Wilson's negatives as a passer. No team played as much zone defense, specifically two-high shell zone, as the Seahawks did last year, and no QB with at least 100 passes against Cover 2, Cover 4, or Cover 6 had a lower success rate (39%) than Wilson per SIS. His former team will know how to defend him best, so this could be a slightly tighter matchup than the chart's adjusted sack rate (No. 29) and passing efficiency allowed (No. 24) stats would indicate. I'm very curious to see what the Broncos' neutral pace and neutral pass rate look like with the new coaching staff. We should learn a lot about Wilson's fantasy appeal in short order.

13. Derek Carr - Raiders vs. LAC (24.25, +3.5)

Carr's average depth of throw has gone from 6.7 in 2018-19 to 8.1 in 2020-21. He's been more aggressive, and thus more efficient. Now equipped with the best weapons and play designing of his career (by far), the only weakness of the offense is the OL (by far). And that's the potential issue in this matchup with Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack in town. The Raiders cut 1st-round RG Alex Leatherwood, placed RT Brandon Parker on season-ending IR, and lost starting talent on the interior in recent offseasons. From RG to RT, the Raiders have a combined 2.5 years of starting experience and none of them were drafted before Round 4 in their drafts. Carr and Josh McDaniels will have to opt into a quick-hitting passing offense to keep up with the Chargers.

14. Aaron Rodgers - Packers vs. MIN (24.25, -1.5)

Rodgers won the damn MVP but was still fantasy's QB8 per game last year. He'll need to somehow remain top-5 in passing efficiency without Davante Adams to overcome the Packers' 2nd-slowest neutral offensive pace. Vegas seems to be making overall adjustments, as they hand the Pack the 14th-highest team total of Week 1 despite being at home. For Rodgers individually, there's evidence that the Packers could really run the ball. Offenses facing the Vikings last year ran the ball in neutral situations at the 3rd-highest rate, partly because they were 29th in rushing efficiency allowed. The good news is the OL looks decent, presuming LT David Bakhtiari (questionable) and RT Elgton Jenkins (questionable) don't have last-minute setbacks. Expect a balanced, RB-heavy approach here, one without Allen Lazard (doubtful).

15. Kirk Cousins - Vikings vs. GB (22.75, +1.5)

The Vikings have been 17th & 26th in neutral pace and 16th & 26th in neutral pass rate over the last couple of seasons. New coach Kevin O'Connell's offenses have been top-12 in each category in each season. There's room for more overall volume this season. Cousins lit up these Packers at home last year (343-3-2 in a 34-31 win), and Green Bay was only 25th against fantasy QBs last year, but that doesn't give the Packers stingy defense enough justice. It's a damn good defense, and Vegas agrees. Minnesota only has the 20th-highest team total of Week 1. Cousins is firmly a QB2. Consider it a long-term win if the efficiency is forgettable, but the offense is simply playing faster and throwing more in neutral situations.

16. Matt Ryan - Colts @ HOU (26.5, -7)

The Falcons had the highest blown block rate on passing snaps per SIS last year, and Matt Ryan now plays behind a consensus top-10 OL. The Texans still don't have edge horses, so Ryan should be able to sit back and dice up Houston's zone-heavy (No. 6), 4-man rush (No. 2) defense. Obviously Jonathan Taylor projects very well as 7-point favorites, but Ryan sneaks into the upside QB2 range with the Colts' 5th-best Week 1 team total.

17. Tua Tagovailoa - Dolphins vs. NE (25.0, -3.5)

The Dolphins traded for Tyreek Hill for man-heavy matchups like this one; Tagovailoa has a 2:5 TD:INT ratio with 152 passing yards per game in 3 contests against the Patriots, who played man coverage at the 5th-highest rate last season. There's more talent around him this season with LT Terron Armstead also in town, but there are potential ceiling concerns if coach Mike McDaniel brings the slow-paced, run-heavy offense he learned from Shanahan. With uncertainty here, it's best to stick with Vegas, who give the Dolphins the 10th-highest team total of the week. ... Keep an eye out on the weather. It's hot, but there are thunderstorms in the forecast.

18. Jameis Winston - Saints @ ATL (24.0, -5.5)

Winston only averaged 25 pass attempts per game last year, but the return of Michael Thomas (limited) and the additions of 1st-round WR Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry leave room for more passing upside this season, assuming left tackle isn't a disaster with Terron Armstead gone and 1st-rounder Trevor Penning (foot) out. Winston should be more than fine protection-wise this week; Atlanta was last in adjusted sack rate and is missing LB1 Deion Jones, slot CB Isaiah Oliver, and DT Marlon Davidson.

19. Trevor Lawrence - Jaguars @ WAS (20.75, +2.5)

Even with Chase Young (ACL/patella) out and with the Commanders defense already ranking 27th in passing efficiency, the Jaguars rank 24th in team total. There is some rain in the forecast, but it's disappointing to see Jacksonville only projected for 20.25 points. The good news is coach Doug Pederson's offense plays fast and passes the ball, something that aligns with how offenses attacked Washington last year. In neutral situations, teams passed at the 3rd-highest rate, leading to the most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. I'm hoping Lawrence plays less robotically and can improve his sometimes spotty accuracy. If so, he could be an upside QB2 this year. Expect some gradual improvements throughout the year.

20. Jared Goff - Lions vs. PHI (22.25, +4)

Goff's projection always starts with the trenches. Even with RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai on IR, the Lions OL looks like a top-10 unit, but they'll be tested with a very deep Eagles pass rush that added 1st-round unicorn Jordan Davis. It should be an even battle, as evidenced by the Lions' middle of the road 22.25-point team total. There's some unaccounted for upside if the Lions' upgraded pass-catching options make them play with more neutral pace (29th) and neutral pass rate (28th), especially when we know the Eagles (5th in neutral pace) will play fast. Goff is fine as a low-end QB2 streamer in superflex.

21. Justin Fields - Bears vs. SF (17.0, +7)

While FS Jimmie Ward (IR) and CB Jason Verrett (PUP) will be out, the 49ers defense still looks strong, especially up front. The Bears OL does not. Thus, it's not a surprise to see Chicago with the lowest team total of the week (17.0 points). In addition to the general talent mismatch -- 4th in adjusted sack rate versus 32nd -- Fields will have to overcome both offenses playing with bottom-10 neutral offensive pace. The season-opener likely won't be pretty in the box score, but I was encouraged by the Bears' play-calling in the preseason. More play action, pre-snap motion, bootlegs, and deep concepts out of 5- and 7-step drops all play to Fields' strengths; Fields was 26th in play action rate and 34th in screen rate last year out of 38 QBs. Thanks, Nagy.

22. Carson Wentz - Commanders vs. JAX (23.25, -2.5)

The Jaguars embarrassing 2021 defense drafted EDGE Travon Walker and LB Devin Lloyd in Round 1 and added starters LB Foyesade Oluokun, DT Folorunso Fatukasi, and slot CB Darious Williams via free agency. They'll still be relatively bad, but maybe not No. 31 pass efficiency bad. Meanwhile, Wentz's setup is a net wash from Indy to Washington, who had an underrated solid OL last year and now has a deeper WR group featuring Terry McLaurin and 1st-rounder Jahan Dotson. All told, the Commanders are 19th in team total this week. It's possible this offense increases their neutral pace (20th) and neutral pass rate (16th) now that there's better players altogether. Wentz is a low-end superflex QB2.

23. Mac Jones - Patriots @ MIA (21.5, +3.5)

The Dolphins were 4th in stacked box rate (aka: stop the run looks) and played with man coverage at the 6th highest rate last year. While aggressive, it's not a complicated defense and could be more exposed with notable outside CB2 Byron Jones (foot/achilles) out. In Week 1 last year, Mac Daddy dropped back 39 times in a tight game, the 4th-highest total of his rookie season. I could see more dropbacks than normal here, especially with DeVante Parker rounding out the receiver room. We'll see if the Patriots' suspect training camp storylines carry over, but I'm somehow in the minority that MFin Bill Belichick won't let Matt Patricia completely nuke this operation. Jones is a superflex QB2 with New England ranking 23rd in projected points this week.

The Patriots are my DOG OF THE WEEK.

24. Daniel Jones - Giants @ TEN (19.0, +5.5)

Vegas doesn't believe in the Giants this week, handing them the 27th-highest team total on the road. They won't have LG Shane Lemieux and will debut 1st-round RT Evan Neal, but the Titans' pass-rush took a hit when EDGE Harold Landry tore his ACL in camp and offenses facing the Titans' defense last year had the 2nd-highest neutral pass rate. With coach Brian Daboll adding more pace and pass rate, there should be enough volume for Jones to be on the superflex radar with Kadarius Toney, Wan'Dale Robinson, Kenny Golladay, and Sterling Shepard all expected to play. Tennessee was 22nd against fantasy QBs last year.

25. Marcus Mariota - Falcons vs. NO (18.5, +5.5)

In 5 full games with Arthur Smith as his play-caller, Mariota averaged 25 rushing yards per game and in his latest start with the Raiders, he broke off for 9-88-1 rushing. If he keeps that up or if he surprises with more aggressive style passing, then Mariota could eventually be trusted as a superflex option. This matchup could be too tough of an ask, however. New Orleans was 3rd in passing efficiency and 1st in rushing efficiency allowed, leading to the No. 9 defense against fantasy QBs. They are slightly worse talent-wise, but the Falcons offense is a wait-and-see unit with Drake London (knee) working his way back.

26. Baker Mayfield - Panthers vs. CLE (22.0, -2.5)

Almost all of Carolina's 2021 stats can be thrown out with improved QB play, the return of CMC, and the additions of 1st-round LT Ikem Ekownu and veteran RG Austin Corbett on the OL. Even new OC Ben McAdoo's offense was top-4 in neutral pace in 3-of-4 seasons in New York, which is a fantasy positive all around. The matchup, however, isn't as clean. The Browns, who were 7th against fantasy QBs last year, obviously know what makes Baker tick and EDGE monster Myles Garrett tees off against a rookie tackle here. Vegas' 22.0-point team total for Carolina ranks 22nd on the week.

27. Ryan Tannehill - Titans vs. NYG (24.5, -5.5)

The Titans want to run the ball, and the Giants defense was dead last in rushing efficiency last season. It'll take time for Tannehill to break in his new receiving weapons (Robert Woods, Austin Hooper, Kyle Phillips, and Treylon Burks), so a run-heavy attack with the fully healthy Derrick Henry makes sense as Week 1 home favorites. On tape, I'm curious to see how this OL holds up, particularly 2nd-year RT Dillon Radunz.

28. Davis Mills - Texans vs. IND (19.5, +7)

The Colts were 7th in middle of field open coverage (two-high coverage shells) last year. New DC Gud Bradley's Raiders, dead last. The defense will look different in Indy, so I'm mostly ignoring the Colts' turnover-driven 2021 metrics. As for Mills, his OL should be improved. Laremy Tunsil (5 games last year) had the lowest blown block rate among 43 LT qualifiers per SIS, and the Texans also spent a 1st-rounder on LG Kenyon Green. That's a starting point, but Mills 4.1% TD rate has a long way to climb before getting onto the QB2 radar. Houston is 25th in team total this week.

29. Mitch Trubisky - Steelers @ CIN (19.0, +6.5)

We are officially in the mid-game benching territory if things go poorly. It's not good to have the same Week 1 team total as the Jets and Giants, but here we are. Trubisky's skill group is rock solid, assuming Diontae Johnson (shoulder) plays. His OL,,, well, not great. Establish The Run ranks it as the NFL's worst. Meanwhile, the Bengals defense only allowed 21.25 points per game, including NFL Playoffs, following their Week 10 bye last year and return a large chunk of their starters.

30. Joe Flacco - Jets vs. BAL (19.0, +6.5)

The Ravens defensive metrics should rebound with two potential rookie contributors, veteran additions of S Marcus Williams, outside CB2 Kyle Fuller, and DT Michael Pierce, and the eventual return of outside CB1 Marcus Peters (questionable). Meanwhile, the Jets identity is to play balanced offense, so play volume will be an overall issue for the Jets' passing offense with the Ravens playing with the 6th-slowest offense, too. New York is 27th in implied team total.

31. Geno Smith - Seahawks vs. DEN (18.75, +6.5)

Geno Smith + the Broncos No. 4 fantasy QB defense = superflex bench.

32. Jacoby Brissett - Browns @ CAR (19.75, +2)

Starting C Nick Harris (IR) is out, and RT Jack Conklin (knee) is questionable. This would matter more if Brissett was anywhere near a starting fantasy option. The Panthers were No. 3 against fantasy QBs last year and might have a better secondary this year.

Week 1 RB Rankings

These are half PPR rankings, make minor adjustments as needed.

  1. Christian McCaffrey - Rare volume, and new OC Ben McAdoo historically plays very fast offense. Throw in the Browns defense's No. 28 rushing efficiency, and we are back baby.

  2. Jonathan Taylor - You see the chart, it's an "Eruption Spot".

  3. Derrick Henry - Longevity and game script concerns are best left for another day. The Titans are 4.5-point home favorites against the league's worst rush efficiency defense from last year. Only JT has a higher total yardage Pick'em projection in the Underdog Fantasy lobby.

  4. Austin Ekeler - The Raiders were 27th against fantasy RBs, and Ekeler had at least 99 total yards and 2 total touchdowns against them last season. Oh yeah, the Chargers OL is even better this year.

  5. Alvin Kamara - Already pretty brutal defensively, the Falcons will be without LB1 Deion Jones, DT Marlon Davidson, and slot CB Isaiah Oliver, who are all on injured reserve.

  6. Joe Mixon - The goal-line back on the team projected for the 8th-most points, Mixon offers plenty of TD and run-out-the-clock upside. He had 28 and 18 carries against the Steelers last year in big wins.

  7. Dalvin Cook - Only four RBs have a higher rushing + receiving yardage projection in the Underdog Fantasy Pick'em lobby.

  8. James Conner - In five games without Chase Edmonds last year, Conner averaged 23.4 half PPR points on 18.4 expected half PPR points. Nobody bankable is in the Edmonds role this year, and the Cardinals look like they'll be without DeAndre Hopkins (suspended), Rondale Moore (out), and Zach Ertz (questionable). Conner gets all goal-line work, and potentially more receiving work than normal while playing catch-up to the Chiefs at home.

  9. Leonard Fournette - Rachaad White is now listed as the RB2 and reports suggest the rookie will have a role. How much is the question. Treadmill Lenny played the entire first drive with the 1st-team offense in Preseason Week 3, so I'm projecting him to have a big workload initially, perhaps before White earns more work later on. It certainly doesn't hurt for the Bucs to have the 4th-highest implied team total.

  10. Najee Harris - I'm not worried about the foot injury after he played in Preseason Week 3. After leading the position by a wide margin in snaps, Harris' RB1 floor is secured. His ceiling is stunted by the Steelers' bottom-7 team total and potentially by the QB change after Big Ben, who moved in the pocket like he was installing a refrigerator, spammed him check-downs.

  11. Saquon Barkley - The Titans were 1st against fantasy RBs last season and offenses opted to pass against them at the 2nd-highest rate in neutral situations, so Barkley's production may have to increasingly come via targets. That may not be a bad thing with pass-heavy designer Brian Daboll running the show.

  12. D'Andre Swift - It's the best trenches battle of the week with 1st-round DT Jordan Davis in house. Swift will catch passes, but we'll learn just how involved beloved vet Jamaal Williams is and if more passing options negatively effects Swift's 5.3 receptions per healthy game.

  13. Nick Chubb - Only projected for 20.25 points, Chubb will have to hog goal-line touches to sniff RB1 work. In 5 healthy games together, Chubb barely edged Kareem Hunt in inside the 5-yard line opportunities, 6 to 5.

  14. Aaron Jones - He had a career-high 7 screens in the lone game Davante Adams missed last year and has averaged 2.0 more receptions in the 8 games without him since 2017. That provides him a floor. The ceiling debate will be settled by goal-line opportunities. In their final 7 games with both active last year, including NFL Playoffs, Dillon out-touched Jones inside the 5-yard line, 11 to 1.

  15. Javonte Williams - Broncos beat reporter Benjamin Allbright projects this to be a 55/45 split, which would be similar to the 50/50 split this backfield had last year. The difference, of course, is there will be more volume and goal-line opportunities this time around. Somewhere around 13.5 and 11.0 half PPR points is my projection.

  16. David Montgomery - The Bears have the lowest implied team total of the week, but there's no evidence that Khalil Herbert (who struggled on passing downs in the preseason) will actually steal work from this NFL Top 100 player. Montgomery handled 20-of-22 first-team snaps in Preseason Week 3 and had the most high value touches per game from Week 10 on last season. In total last year, Montgomery was the RB16 per game on RB8 fantasy usage.

  17. Eli Mitchell - In the 11 games with the Post Bye Rookie Bump, Mitchell averaged 14.3 half PPR points on 13.4 expected half PPR points. Those are rock-solid RB2 numbers. He was called the "shoo-in starter" by beats all training camp. A 6.5-point favorite spread is the cherry on top.

  18. Travis Etienne - James Robinson (Achilles) will play, so we'll finally see if Etienne will see goal-line carries or not. If not, Etienne will be capped at mid-RB2 status. As for the matchup, teams facing Washington's defense last year ran the ball at the 3rd-lowest rate in neutral situations. With stud EDGE Chase Young (ACL) sidelined, the matchup is neutral.

  19. Ezekiel Elliott - Offenses facing the Bucs last year ran the ball at the lowest rate in neutral situations, probably because DT Vita Vea and the fellas in their front-7. Zeke stumbled for 33 scoreless yards on 11 carries against them in Week 1 last year, so this is clearly a tough individual matchup, especially with LT Tyron Smith out. Zeke has averaged 2.6 fewer half PPR points per game in the 28 games Smith has missed over the last four years per RotoGut. The lone good pieces of news for Zeke are 1) Jerrrrry loves him, 2) his PCL injury is healed and clearly effected him last year, and 3) Jerrrrrrrrrry loves him. The Cowboys No. 14 ranked team total is enough to rank Zeke as a TD-or-bust RB2.

  20. Antonio Gibson - The Commanders clearly don't view Gibson as a consistent between-tackles rusher. Even with presumed starter Brian Robinson out, beat speculation is that Jonathan Williams could mix in on early downs, while Gibson handles all the big-play rushing concepts. He'll be a TD-or-bust RB2/3 until there's more evidence he's out of the doghouse.

  21. Miles Sanders - The RB Matchups chart from above calls this an "Eruption Spot". Philly was 3rd in rushing EPA last year, and the Lions defense was 25th in rushing EPA allowed. With a full practice under his belt and with Kenny Gainwell not doing much in the preseason to separate, Sanders should have plenty of efficient, early-down volume as 4-point favorites. His upside will be tied to him being the goal-line back. That last part remains unclear.

  22. Rashaad Penny - Kenneth Walker (groin) is very likely out, so Penny will handle almost all early-down work with Travis Homer (or DeeJay Dallas) playing on passing downs. Penny is legit good when healthy, and all indications are that he's healthy.

  23. AJ Dillon - See RB13 Aaron Jones.

  24. Clyde Edwards-Helaire - Jerick McKinnon spelled CEH on passing downs in the preseason, but the former 1st-rounder is expected to handle goal-line duties with Isiah Pacheco and healthy-scratch candidate Ronald Jones mixing in for leftover carries. The Chiefs OL is a consensus top-3 unit, CEH's between-tackles rushing ability is underrated, and he has multi-TD upside with Kansas City 1st in projected points this week.

  25. Cordarrelle Patterson - The Saints' defense was 1st in rushing efficiency last season, and the Falcons OL hasn't improved from last year. Patterson's usage will determine how valuable he is this week. He basically didn't play in the preseason and was used in so many different roles last year that projecting him this week is nearly impossible. My guess is a mini-bellcow role with Damien Williams or Tyler Allgeier spelling him on some early downs. Atlanta has the 2nd-lowest team total of the week.

  26. Josh Jacobs - Zamir White threatens Jacobs' long-term stability, but Jacobs should have the early-down role early in the season with Ameer Abdullah complementing on passing downs. Jacobs' issue right now is the OL; LG Simpson (4th round, 1-year starting experience), C James (UDFA, 1-year starting experience), RG Cotton (UDFA, 0-year starting experience), and RT Eluemunor (5th round, career backup). The Chargers' putrid run defense from last year is vastly improved, so ignore those 2021 metrics.

  27. Chase Edmonds - He'll lose some early-down work to the currently healthy Raheem Mostert, but it's unclear if that will include at the goal line. If so, then Edmonds' upside is capped. If not, then Edmonds is an every-week RB2/3, especially in full PPR. The Patriots were 19th against fantasy RBs last season, but could be better in 2022 as stud DT Christian Barmore develops.

  28. Cam Akers - Both Akers and Darrell Henderson were left off the injury report on Tuesday, so we should have everyone at full health for the opener. All camp reports indicate a RB by committee approach, potentially with pass-blocking rookie specialist Kyren Williams (who rested with the vets in preseason) mixing in, too. Akers has the most upside given his bellcow profile, but McVay may have learned his lesson with using one RB too much.

  29. Dameon Pierce - The Texans release of Marlon Mack further solidifies Pierce as the unquestioned starter on early downs and at the goal-line. He'll likely get subbed out on passing downs, however, and this is the Texans' No. 26 team total offense still. He'll be relatively TD-or-bust unless he surprisingly plays passing downs over Rex Burkhead, too.

  30. Devin Singletary - Based on preseason usage, there will be 3-RB rotation in Buffalo; Singletary on early downs, Zack Moss potentially vulturing at the goal line, and Day 2 rookie James Cook on passing downs. As a team last year, the Bills RBs were 21st in fantasy points per game and that could be chopped between three backs this year. Not the best combination, especially against Aaron Donald this week. Los Angeles' defense was 6th in rushing efficiency and 9th against fantasy RBs last year.

  31. Michael Carter - The beats and the preseason usage indicates Carter will enter Week 1 as the Jets 1a. Breece Hall will certainly get plenty of action, and perhaps still be the goal-line back, but Carter is too good and too versatile to not play somewhere near 50% of snaps while Hall develops. Based on tape, Carter is the more consistent ballcarrier at this point in their careers. We'll see who plays on passing downs.

  32. Damien Harris - Harris held onto the starting job all preseason and should get the first drive before Rhamondre Stevenson mixes in. It's unclear if Ty Montgomery (questionable, limited all week) will play and if he does play, it's unclear if he will 1) rotate drives as the 3rd RB, 2) play the James White role, or 3) not play much at all. Worst case, Harris sees about half of the goal-line opportunities.

  33. Melvin Gordon - See RB15 Javonte Williams.

  34. Kareem Hunt - See RB14 Nick Chubb.

  35. Rhamondre Stevenson - See RB30 Damien Harris.

  36. Tony Pollard - See RB18 Ezekiel Elliott.

  37. Breece Hall - See RB29 Michael Carter.

  38. Mike Davis - JK Dobbins (ACL/PCL) is coming back from a rare knee tear and is still clearly rehabbing based on camp videos and reports. Dobbins could easily miss this game or be on a major pitch count; I'm assuming out right now because this is a forward-thinking organization that will play things for the long-haul. Davis probably handles most early-down and goal-line work, with Kenyan Drake available for passing downs. OC Greg Roman said the infamous words on Thursday: "Hot hand."

  39. Darrell Henderson - See RB24 Cam Akers.

  40. Nyheim Hines - The matchup is neutral. Yes, the Texans were 30th against fantasy RBs last year, but Hines projects best in negative game scripts and the Colts are 8-point favorites. In general, expect more receptions from Hines this year, simply going from big-play hunter Carson Wentz to pocket-savant Matt Ryan. Obviously move him up in full PPR leagues.

  41. Raheem Mostert - See RB23 Chase Edmonds.

  42. Jamaal Williams - See RB12 D'Andre Swift.

  43. J.D. McKissic - The inverse of the RB40 Nyheim Hines blurb. Expect McKissic's role to decrease with the QB swap and the WR upgrades, especially as 3-point home favorites against the Jaguars, who's defense could surprise people this year.

  44. Kenyan Drake - See RB38 Mike Davis.

  45. James Robinson - Only 8.5 month removed from a torn Achilles, it's a huge win just to be active for Week 1. But it's safe to assume that Robinson will be eased back early in the season after just practicing at full speed a couple of weeks ago. Robinson versus Etienne at the goal line will be a fantasy storyline to monitor.

Week 1 WR Rankings

These are half PPR rankings, make minor adjustments as needed.

  1. Cooper Kupp - The Bills were No. 1 against fantasy WRs last year, but CB1 Tre'Davious White (ACL) isn't in the lineup and this game isn't played in chilly Buffalo weather.

  2. Justin Jefferson - Potentially more pass volume with Sean McVay disciple Kevin O'Connell could send Jefferson to the Kupp zone. He'll have to overcome one of the league's best defenses and secondaries in Week 1, but even the Packers were 17th against fantasy WRs last year because teams are often in catch-up mode against them. I'm on Team #NeverFadeJefferson.

  3. Ja'Marr Chase - He had 3-39-0 and 4-65-2 lines against the Steelers last year. The targets were low because the Bengals had their 2nd- and 6th-lowest neutral pass rate games of the season, including NFL Playoffs, against these Steelers.

  4. Davante Adams - Splash free agent signee CB1 J.C. Jackson (foot) is on the wrong side of questionable for Week 1, leaving Adams with a quality individual matchup in a potential shootout. While his target share and maybe efficiency drops, there's a chance the Raiders simply pass way more than the 2021 Packers. The demise seems overblown to me.

  5. CeeDee Lamb - Offenses facing the Bucs had an outlier neutral pass rate. The Cowboys, likely without Michael Gallup (ACL), have few options for targets. He'll get fed.

  6. Stefon Diggs - Star CB1 Jalen Ramsey has rotated between playing in the slot or out wide in recent seasons. It's possible he moves outside because his shoulder isn't 100% and the Bills don't run often, giving the Rams fewer reasons to have Ramsey near the ball. Even then, there should be plenty of passing volume here with both offenses playing with pace and pass rate, and Ramsey doesn't shadow often.

  7. Michael Pittman - The Texans were 26th against fantasy WRs last year, and while they did add 1st-round CB Derek Stingley, rookie CBs are routinely picked on with targets. Indy's 26.5-point team total will be among the highest it'll be all year. I'm curious to see if it'll be Parris Campbell or Alec Pierce alongside him in 2-WR sets. Both just missed my top-60 WR cutoff.

  8. Mike Williams - He had 9-119-1 on 17 targets in Week 18 last year against the Raiders.

  9. Marquise Brown - DeAndre Hopkins (suspended), Zach Ertz (calf), and Rondale Moore (hamstring) all could be out, and 34-year-old A.J. Green only averaged 5.25 targets per game last year. There will be targets for Brown. Potentially lots of them. The Chiefs were 22nd against fantasy WRs last year.

  10. Mike Evans - Updated: Chris Godwin (ACL/MCL) is "expected to play", so I've moved Evans down a few spots. Still, he gets the clean matchup against overrated coverage corner Trevon Diggs, who allowed the most yards per coverage snap (9.9) among outside corners facing WRs last year per SIS.

  11. Keenan Allen - His YPRR has dropped in 5-consecutive seasons, but he should fare better early in the season, and the Chargers project for the 2nd-most points on the week.

  12. A.J. Brown - He'll be shadowed by CB Amani Oruwariye, who was 69th out of 100 CBs in yards per coverage snap allowed to WRs.

  13. Tee Higgins - The WR15 per game last year, Higgins needs Chase to miss time or the Bengals to pass more to sneak into WR1 ranks. For now, upside WR2 status feels best.

  14. Tyreek Hill - Coach Bill Belichick managed to hold Tyreek to 64 and 62 receiving yards in his latest two matchups, and Tua has only averaged 152 passing yards against New England in 3 career starts. Bracket coverage is expected here. Hill will have to create in tight spaces, leaving him with a boom-bust WR2 label to start the year.

  15. D.J. Moore - Buoyed by baller CB1 Denzel Ward, the Browns were 8th-best against fantasy WRs last year. Moore's underlying yardage metrics are awesome, but it always comes down to TDs. My regression model hints at more TDs this year, even before knowing there's a QB upgrade.

  16. Terry McLaurin - It's simple. If Carson Wentz can hit McLaurin on his deep targets more than Taylor Heinicke could, then he's an upside WR2. Last season, Wentz's catchable ball rate on 15+ yard targets was 12th out of 30 qualifiers. Heinicke, 26th.

  17. Brandin Cooks - A notorious deep ball WR, Cooks gets a friendly scheme-based matchup against new DC Gus Bradley's single-high shell, which invites more deep passes. He'll take on nearly 32-year-old CB1 Stephon Gilmore individually. I'll bet on Cooks' WR23 per-game finish from last year, especially with elite LT Laremy Tunsil back in the lineup. He averaged 20 more receiving yards per game with Tunsil in last year.

  18. JuJu Smith-Schuster - Fully healthy, JuJu has bounce back appeal as a volume sponge and 2-WR set starter, something he didn't have recently with Pittsburgh. The Chiefs are projected for the most points on the week (by a wide margin) and Arizona was 29th against fantasy WRs last season. Throw in the absence of outside CB2 Antonio Hamilton (burn wounds from a cooking incident), and we're in a very good spot.

  19. Allen Robinson - Just my eyes, but I didn't think A-Rob was that cooked last year. He was simply asked to play underneath more than his skillset would suggest doing. A-Rob should be better-suited as an intermediate and red zone target, similar to how Odell Beckham was used late last season. The Rams project for the 10th-most points, and while good in general, Buffalo's defense is missing CB1 Tre'Davious White. That leaves Robinson against rookie CB Kaiir Elam.

  20. Courtland Sutton - The Seahawks played a two-high shell based defense last year, one that is best defending deep passes and one that has given Russell Wilson troubles, specifically. Sutton is the team's deep ball threat, so it's not a great matchup for him (SEA was 6th versus fantasy WRs). That said, beat speculation has Sutton pegged as the No. 1 receiver based on camp chemistry, so he can only be dropped so far. Pre-ACL, Sutton was on a stud fantasy WR path. I believe he'll return to it this year in general.

  21. Deebo Samuel - The current Underdog Fantasy Pick'em projection: 4.0 receptions, 51.5 receiving yards, and 0.5 total touchdowns. Yikes ... Among WRs with more than 3.0 targets per game, Deebo had the highest percentage of targets over the middle section of the field, which lines up with Jimmy G's strengths and Trey Lance's weaknesses. Add on the TD, yards after the catch, and deep target regression, and we end up with these low projections.

  22. Gabriel Davis - It's hard to go wrong as a full-time WR in an offense that was top-9 in total receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs. Because Gabe won't play the slot too often and because he's not the No. 1 target, Davis should dodge Jalen Ramsey.

  23. Rashod Bateman - Unhealthy RBs and a healthy OL is a good formula for the Ravens' pass game, especially with the Jets' No. 32 pass efficiency defense on schedule. Bateman has the skills I look for when predicted breakouts. Catching a rookie CB in individual coverage doesn't hurt either. Baltimore is 7th in team total.

  24. Amon-Ra St. Brown - The Eagles secondary is loaded with Darius Slay, James Bradberry, and now Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who could see ARSB in the slot at times. We also haven't seen him with Hockenson, Swift, and Chark all in the lineup since his breakout. This is a wildcard ranking and projection. His Underdog Fantasy Pick'em projection is set at 60.5 yards. That's WR2/3 territory.

  25. DK Metcalf - Because of their two-high defense and stud CB1 Patrick Surtain II (don't forget Ronald Darby, too), offenses tend to run the ball against Denver (6th in neutral run rate), and Pete Carroll will obviously oblige. Metcalf has to overcome a plethora of negatives to be a WR3 this week; Seattle is 26th in team total. The good news ... he's DK MFin Metcalf.

  26. Jaylen Waddle - Tua has averaged 152 passing yards against New England in 3 career games, and the Pats were 4th-best against fantasy WRs last year. It's unclear how often the Dolphins will run the ball under new (typically run-first) coaches. We'll see.

  27. Jerry Jeudy - See WR20 Courtland Sutton.

  28. Diontae Johnson - Left off the final injury report, DJ should be a full-time player in the opener. He'll play outside and stick with his primarily underneath and intermediate targets, while Chase Claypool kicks into the slot and George Pickens stays outside as the primary deep target. It's unclear if Claypool or Pickens joins DJ in 2-WR sets. Whoever does is probably the one to consider for flex starts. Long term, my bet is on Pickens.

  29. Elijah Moore - He averaged 2.0 half PPR points per target from QBs not named Zach Wilson and 0.9 half PPR points on targets from Wilson. It’s also worth noting that Moore’s aDOT was at 12.8 with Wilson and 10.3 with the rest of the QBs, a sign that his total target count is likely higher sans-Wilson. He'll face Kyle Fuller and either post-ACL Marcus Peters or his backup in Week 1.

  30. Darnell Mooney - Byron Pringle is back, but Day 2 rookie Velus Jones (hamstring) is out. Mooney has a top-10 target share projection, just on a team projected to score the fewest points. The 49ers are missing CB Jason Verrett and FS Jimmie Ward, so the matchup isn't as scary for him individually.

  31. Christian Kirk - Washington was 28th against fantasy WRs last year, will be without EDGE1 Chase Young, and offenses facing them had the 3rd-highest neutral pass rate.

  32. Michael Thomas - He practiced on Wednesday (hamstring) and should be near full speed in the season opener. There's more target competition, a worse QB, and Thomas is older in general, so we shouldn't expect elite production. Still, Thomas has a ceiling to chase. He'll battle with stud CB A.J. Terrell on the outside, who was the outside CB1 in yards per coverage snap allowed (2.4) against WRs last season per SIS.

  33. Adam Thielen - The WR13 per game last year (TD regression warning), Thielen projects best early in the season when he's healthier, but we'll have to grind the tape post-game to see how cooked he is in his age-32 season. In his 3 games against Green Bay with Justin Jefferson in house, the veteran has averaged 73.0 receiving yards. To be fair, those were all high-scoring contests and Minnesota is only projected for 22.75 points this week.

  34. Amari Cooper - The target share will be very strong, but QB play could be tough against an underrated Panthers defense that was 7th against fantasy WRs and 3rd in adjusted sack rate last season. C.J. Henderson, Jaycee Horn, and Dontae Johnson is low-key nasty.

  35. Hunter Renfrow - He averaged 2.2 more half PPR points per game without Darren Waller last year, but this isn't the week to be overly concerned with them, as the Chargers offense will push pace and the Chargers EDGE-built defense could influence even more quick-hitting passes.

  36. Drake London (Questionable) - He began the week "limited", which puts him on track to play. A matchup with Marshon Lattimore awaits the rookie. I believe London is a baller, but a full practice on Friday would go a long way.

  37. Brandon Aiyuk - The Underdog Fantasy's Pick'em lobby has Aiyuk's projection set for 3.5 catches and 53.5 yards.

  38. DeVonta Smith - See QB5 Jalen Hurts, but his Underdog Fantasy Pick'em projection is only set at 49.5 yards this week.

  39. Chris Godwin (Questionable) - Updated: ESPN's Adam Schefter reported late Saturday night that he's "expected to play" but "Tampa could remain cautious and slightly limit his reps." This is earlier than some beat reporters expected. Godwin, however, did go full-DNP-full in practice this week, so there are signs that he'll get a somewhat normal snap count. It's important to remember that receivers coming off torn ACLs usually aren't as productive initially, but an 80% Godwin is better than most.

  40. Marquez Valdes-Scantling - The preseason and his 3-year, $30M contract indicate he'll be a near full-time player and 2-WR set starter. With the Chiefs projected for nearly 30 points, MVS has TD and long-bomb upside as the team's clear-cut deep threat. Arizona's CB2 is out, and they already allowed the 4th-most points to WRs last year.

  41. Tyler Lockett - See WR25 DK Metcalf.

  42. Kadarius Toney - I didn't include Kenny Golladay, Wan'Dale Robinson, or Sterling Shepard (limited Wednesday) in my top-60 WRs. If Shepard plays, it's likely at the expense of Robinson in the slot and perhaps a bit of Golladay on the perimeter. 4 WRs in an offense projected for 19.0 points is a tough combination. For Toney, this is a bet on his own talent and the soft individual matchup. The Titans were 2nd-worst versus fantasy WRs last year and slot CB Elijah Molden (DNPx2) may not suit up.

  43. Robert Woods - I project Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (X) and Woods (Z) to be the 2-WR set starters, with rookie Kyle Phillips playing in the slot only. We'll see how much boom-bust 1st-rounder Treylon Burks eats into NWI and/or Woods' snaps.

  44. Tyler Boyd - With Chase and Higgins staying healthy all last year, Boyd still managed WR41 per game numbers. It's possible they pass more with a better OL, and it's possible more two-high shells pivot more targets to the slot. Boyd is a full-PPR WR4.

  45. George Pickens - See WR31 Diontae Johnson.

  46. Chase Claypool - See WR31 Diontae Johnson.

  47. DeVante Parker - These are your 2-WR set starters. Parker draws the bigger-named matchup against CB1 Xavien Howard, but slot CB Nik Needham allowed fewer yards per coverage snap against WRs last year (CB15 out of 94 qualifiers) than Howard (CB74). Noah Igbinoghene, who couldn't even sniff the field last year, will start in place of Byron Jones at outside CB2.

  48. Sammy Watkins - Allen Lazard (ankle) is very likely out. Who runs the most routes in Green Bay this week is a wildcard. Week 1 folklore Sammy Watkins is the veteran on the outside, with rookies Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson competing for deep targets and Randall Cobb operating the slot. ESPN's Rob Demovsky tweeted, "Watkins could be the No. 1 option."

  49. Isaiah McKenzie - The starting slot WR for the Bills averaged 8.9 half PPR points on 9.8 expected half PPR points last season.

  50. Mecole Hardman - He was ahead of 2nd-rounder Skyy Moore all preseason, but Hardman will be hard to trust if he's only playing in 3-WR sets and splitting any snaps with the rookie.

  51. Nico Collins - A 2-WR set starter in a single-high defensive matchup that plays to his deep ball traits, Collins is a favorite cheap dart throw of mine this week.

  52. Jahan Dotson - Locked into 2-WR sets already, Dotson is already ahead of many 1st-round rookies. Can Wentz keep more than 1 fantasy WR upright though?

  53. Chris Olave - This assumes Michael Thomas (limited) plays and tentatively projects Olave for 2-WR sets over Jarvis Landry. If the latter is true, it'll be nearly impossible for the 1st-round rookie to be a fantasy starter. It's also possible that Olave catches some A.J. Terrell, who led all CBs in yards per coverage snap allowed.

  54. DJ Chark - The deep threat on an offense projected for a solid 22.25 points, Chark has big-play dart throw appeal at home. The issue, coverage from Darius Slay and James Bradberry.

  55. Julio Jones - Updated: Chris Godwin is "expected to play", so I've moved Julio and Gage down about one dozen spots. It's unclear if this trio will split 3-WR set snaps, or if Julio or Gage separated from one another in camp. There has been little beat speculation on this rotation so far, but I'll be trusting what Tampa reporters suggest on Sunday morning. For now, I'm anticipating 40-70% route shares from Julio and Gage.

  56. Russell Gage (Questionable) - See WR56 Julio Jones.

  57. Jakobi Meyers (Questionable) - See WR47 DeVante Parker. ... From ESPN's Mike Reiss, "It would surprise many if he doesn't play in the season opener, although his snaps might have to be managed."

  58. Corey Davis - 1st-team snaps in the Jets' most pivotal preseason game: Elijah Moore (9-of-9), Davis (8), Braxton Berrios (6, all in 3-WR sets), and Garrett Wilson (1). The rookie can't be started right now.

  59. Joshua Palmer - One of just a handful of No. 3 WRs to crack the top-60, Palmer's versatility will eventually shine once Mike Will or Keenan miss time. For now, the ranking can only be justified by Herbert's greatness.

  60. Robbie Anderson - The QB upgrade will help, but the Anderson experience comes with more downs than ups.

  61. A.J. Green - DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Antoine Wesley are out. Zach Ertz (calf) may join them on the sideline, too. There's simply too many routes attached to Kyler Murray at home to not have Green ranked as a deep-threat dart throw.

Week 1 TE Rankings

These are half PPR rankings, make minor adjustments as needed.

  1. Mark Andrews - He led all TEs in yards per game last year, and the Jets were 3rd-worst at defending TEs last season. It's go time.

  2. Travis Kelce - His snap rate has dropped from 96% to 92% to 88% to 82% over the last four seasons. I'm very curious to see where it is during his age-33 season and if the Chiefs indeed use more 2-TE sets as they showcased during the preseason. Even if he's not as elite, it's hard not seeing him as one of the top fantasy TEs in the league. This week, Kelce gets 2021's top defense against fantasy TEs after Arizona spent the last half decade searching for athletic linebackers and safeties.

  3. Kyle Pitts - Including WRs, Pitts was 7th-best in SIS's yards per route run versus man coverage metric.... and he was a 21-year-old rookie TE. That's probably my favorite offseason nugget. As for this week, the Saints defend the position well in general, but they just traded stud DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, CB2 Paulson Adebo (questionable) didn't practice Wednesday, and the unit played man coverage at the 2nd-highest rate last year.

  4. Dalton Schultz - Offenses facing the Bucs passed the ball in neutral situations at the highest rate in the league. Expect check-down receptions sans-Michael Gallup (ACL). As a cherry on top, Tampa Bay was 4th-highest in zone coverage rate last year, and Schultz yards per route run climbed from 1.1 against man to 1.9 against zone.

  5. Darren Waller - Nelson Agholor was the leading receiver the last time Waller was an elite TE, so a return to mid-range TE1 status would be a win now that Hunter Renfrow has proved himself and Davante Adams is in the building. This week's matchup is tough to gauge. The Chargers LBs remain rough and the overall unit was the worst against fantasy TEs last year, but Derwin James has shut-down potential if the two match up. Waller went a combined 6-72-1 on 16 targets (4.5 YPT) in two games against James and Co last year.

  6. Dawson Knox - A Must Draft Player for me this offseason, Knox was handed the 5th-most money at TE right before Week 1. He's about to breakout after finishing 5th in routes run per game and 2nd in expected touchdowns as a 3rd-year pro.

  7. Dallas Goedert - The Lions defense has cluster injuries over the middle of the field.

  8. T.J. Hockenson - Vanilla TE1 production incoming.

  9. Tyler Higbee - The Underdog Fantasy Pick'em lobby sets his fantasy projection at 8.5 points. If you're in TE streaming hell, it's best to take that with other top-10 options dropping like flies.

  10. David Njoku - He played on 39-of-42 first-string snaps this preseason, and per Scott Barrett, 29.4% of Jacoby Brissett's throws since 2017 were to TEs, the 3rd-most over this span.

  11. Cole Kmet - The 49ers are strongest at EDGE and LB, so Kmet may have to block more this week than we'd like, something he did plenty of during the preseason. Throw in the slow-paced offenses and the Bears' week-low team total (17.0 points), and Kmet is only a TE2 option.

  12. Albert Okwuegbunam - He played into the 4th quarter in preseason to get more blocking reps, but he rested with the starters in Preseason Week 3, where it mattered most. Albert O should run a route on most passing downs, even if he splits time with blocking types. The floor is non-existent, but so are the rest of these TEs.

  13. Gerald Everett - No Donald Parham solidifies Everett's red zone share. Jared Cook, who Everett is replacing this year, was the TE5 in routes run in the red zone last year. If you're in TD-or-bust hell, might as well be attached to the team projected for the 3rd-most points.

  14. Irv Smith - Left off the injury report, Irv should play his usual snaps as the 4th or 5th target in a good offense.

  15. Robert Tonyan - Left off the final injury report, Tonyan suddenly projects better, earlier than anticipated. Someone has to catch passes.

  16. Hunter Henry - Jonnu Smith will play more this year, but a lot of that will be at the expense of the Pats' old FB and at WR3 in general. Henry is the primary end zone TE.

  17. Pat Freiermuth - He's probably the 4th or 5th target in a bad offense, though I do think he's a baller himself.

  18. Evan Engram

  19. Austin Hooper

  20. Mike Gesicki

  21. Cameron Brate - A near full-time player with the 1st-team offense this preseason, Brate projects well in the red zone as long as Tom Brady is around.

  22. Mo Alie-Cox - This has been a TE-by-committee previously, but he's clearly the best option on the depth chart and there was a QB upgrade in general. The Colts team total could be the highest of the season in Week 1.

  23. Hayden Hurst - You're hoping for C.J. Uzomah production here.

  24. Zach Ertz (Questionable) - Kliff Kingsbury called Ertz (calf) a game-time decision after going limited to DNP in practice. He also said even if he plays they’ll “be smart” with him Week 1. Even though he veraged 8.4 targets on a 22% target share in the 8 games without DeAndre Hopkins (suspended) last season, Ertz is a very risk play if available. ... This is about where I'd rank Trey McBride if Ertz is out.

  25. Brevin Jordan - Pharoah Brown, who was considered the starter before his camp injury, is back.

  26. Logan Thomas (Questionable) - He appears on track to play, but some of the video I saw of his practice didn't look fully right. I'd expect Thomas to not have his entire role right now.

  27. George Kittle (Doubtful) - He suffered a groin injury on Monday and didn't practice all week. Odds are quite good that he'll miss.

Week 1 Fantasy Defenses For Sickos

The 49ers, Panthers, Broncos, Saints, Ravens, Colts, Titans, and Bengals are all decent streamers. The Steelers' logo isn't accounting for the Bengals' upgraded OL, so I'd move them down compared to where they show up here.

Underdog Fantasy "Battle Royale" DFS

To me, this is the most beatable DFS game out there, as drafters too often go off the default rankings. Simply add one or two players who are commonly undrafted to get a unique DFS team. And of course, stack. I truly believe my readers/followers would enjoy the game theory (and the edge) of this contest. Here are my downloadable rankings. Save this as a CSV, change "ID" to "id", and upload them on the Rankings tab on Underdog desktop. Good luck!