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USATSI

The start of every NFL season is exciting. Fans feel like their team can win the Super Bowl -- even the Jets. And Fantasy managers feel like they can win a championship following a great draft. There is optimism everywhere leading up until the opening kickoff for Week 1.

And then it happens.

The breakout player you were counting on struggles. Your star player -- gasp -- suffers a significant injury. The player everyone told you to avoid has a monster game, and of course he's on your opponent's roster.

Brace yourself, everyone, because this is going to happen. It might not be in Week 1, but not everything this season is going to be perfect. That's just life.

The hope, for Fantasy managers, is that your team stays healthy, first and foremost. That's the biggest key. Then you just have to believe that the roster you built can deliver, along with some luck and key waiver wire moves, and you can compete for a championship.

We'll be with you, right here, for the entire season. You can count on us giving you winning lineup suggestions all year, including the players to start and the ones to avoid. It's all about the matchups, and we'll do the homework for you to make those decisions easier. At least that's the theory.

It's awesome that the start of the season is here. We've been waiting for this since the Rams beat the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI in February. You should be excited about everything that's about to happen once the action is live. And even when things don't go your way, please don't panic. We'll get you back on track so that the 2022 campaign is fun -- and hopefully successful for your Fantasy teams.2022.

Start of the Week
Projections powered by Sportsline
SF San Francisco • #5
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Fantasy Breakdown (PPR)
OVERALL RNK
105th
QB RNK
11th
PROJ PTS
342.8
SOS
ADP
99
2021 Stats
PAYDS
603
RUYDS
168
TD
6
INT
2
FPTS/G
12.5

I always like to recommend a Start of the Week for Week 1 based on someone I've touted all offseason. And I expect Trey Lance to be a top-10 Fantasy quarterback this year -- with top-five upside. He will be the breakout quarterback of 2022 based on his dual-threat ability.

Last year, Lance appeared in three games where he played the majority of the snaps. He averaged 53.7 rushing yards per game in those outings, and he scored at least 22 Fantasy points in two of those games.

He's facing a Bears defense this week making the transition to a 4-3 scheme under new coach Matt Eberflus, so there could be some growing pains, and Chicago lost star pass rusher Khalil Mack this offseason in a trade with the Chargers. I expect Lance to make a splashy debut in this matchup.

The Bears were also among the league leaders last season in rushing touchdowns allowed to quarterbacks with five, and ironically two of those came from Jimmy Garoppolo when these team's met in Week 8. It would be fantastic if Lance scored two rushing touchdowns as well in the rematch.

I'm excited to see how Lance does as the full-time starter for San Francisco. And he should start the season on a high note with a big game against the Bears in Week 1.

START 'EM & SIT 'EM
Quarterbacks
Start 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
DEN Denver • #3
Age: 34 • Experience: 11 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ SEA DEN -6.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS QB
10th
PROJ PTS
21.8
QB RNK
8th
2021 Stats
PAYDS
3113
RUYDS
183
TD
27
INT
6
FPTS/G
20.9
It's the ultimate revenge game for Wilson, who starts his Broncos tenure with a trip back to Seattle. He spent the first 10 years of his career with the Seahawks, and this homecoming should be successful for him. I expect Wilson to put on a show against his former team, and he could easily be the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in Week 1.
LAR L.A. Rams • #9
Age: 34 • Experience: 14 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs BUF BUF -2.5 O/U 52
OPP VS QB
1st
PROJ PTS
19.3
QB RNK
11th
2021 Stats
PAYDS
4886
RUYDS
43
TD
41
INT
17
FPTS/G
24.2
The concerns about Stafford's elbow are valid, but as long as he's playing he has the chance for huge numbers, including this week against the Bills. In eight home games last year, Stafford had four with at least 29 Fantasy points and six with at least 23 points. This game has one of the highest-implied point totals of the week at 52.5, so look for Stafford and Josh Allen to put on a show. Stafford has top-10 upside on Thursday night.
MIN Minnesota • #8
Age: 34 • Experience: 11 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs GB GB -1.5 O/U 47
OPP VS QB
17th
PROJ PTS
19.8
QB RNK
13th
2021 Stats
PAYDS
4221
RUYDS
115
TD
34
INT
7
FPTS/G
22.9
I'm bullish on Cousins this season that he will be a quality No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in all leagues, and I expect him to do well at home against the Packers, even in a tough matchup. He went for 31 Fantasy points against Green Bay at home last year in Week 11, and he also had 25 Fantasy points against the Packers in Week 1 at home in 2020. Let's hope he keeps that home streak of standout performances against Green Bay for a third year in a row.
LV Las Vegas • #4
Age: 31 • Experience: 9 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAC LAC -3.5 O/U 52
OPP VS QB
11th
PROJ PTS
19.3
QB RNK
15th
2021 Stats
PAYDS
4804
RUYDS
108
TD
23
INT
14
FPTS/G
17.8
Like Cousins, I expect Carr to have a big season in 2022 following the addition of Davante Adams, and Carr should start off playing well against the Chargers in Week 1 even though this is a tough defense. But this game has shootout potential with an implied total of 52 points, and Carr vs. Justin Herbert should be fun to watch. I like Carr as a low-end starter in all leagues.
NO New Orleans • #2
Age: 28 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ATL NO -5.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS QB
27th
PROJ PTS
20
QB RNK
17th
2021 Stats
PAYDS
1170
RUYDS
166
TD
15
INT
3
FPTS/G
20.8
We'd love for Winston to repeat his Week 1 performance from 2021 in this matchup against the Falcons. Facing the Packers last year in the season opener, Winston only attempted 20 passes, but he threw five touchdowns on his 14 completions. He loves facing the Falcons also. In his last seven games vs. Atlanta (all when he was with Tampa Bay), Winston is averaging 30.1 Fantasy points per game. Winston is a great start in Superflex and 2QB leagues, but he's also worth using as a streamer in deeper formats.
Sleepers (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
JAC Jacksonville • #16
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS WAS -2.5 O/U 44
OPP VS QB
31st
PROJ PTS
19.1
QB RNK
18th
2021 Stats
PAYDS
3641
RUYDS
334
TD
14
INT
17
FPTS/G
13.1
I'm excited to see what Lawrence can do this season with a revamped receiving corps and new head coach in Doug Pederson. He should have the chance to make plays against Washington this week, especially if Jacksonville struggles to run the ball. Last season, the Commanders allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and hopefully that continues for Lawrence.
IND Indianapolis • #2
Age: 37 • Experience: 15 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ HOU IND -7 O/U 46
OPP VS QB
14th
PROJ PTS
21
QB RNK
20th
2021 Stats
PAYDS
3968
RUYDS
82
TD
21
INT
12
FPTS/G
15.5
Ryan was terrible in his final season in Atlanta last year, but he gets a fresh start with the Colts in 2022. By all accounts, he's been fantastic, and he should start off his Indianapolis tenure with a quality game against the Texans. Houston was top 10 in Fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks last year, and Ryan will likely be given plenty of chances to make plays in his Colts debut. He's a good option in Superflex and 2QB leagues.
TEN Tennessee • #17
Age: 34 • Experience: 11 year
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYG TEN -5.5 O/U 43.5
OPP VS QB
7th
PROJ PTS
18
QB RNK
21st
2021 Stats
PAYDS
3734
RUYDS
270
TD
28
INT
14
FPTS/G
18.3
This game could easily be all about Derrick Henry as he makes his comeback from last year's foot injury, and he should be able to run through the Giants defense. But Tannehill can still make enough plays against this secondary to have success as an option in Superflex and 2QB leagues, and I'm curious to see how he'll perform with his revamped receiving corps, which features Robert Woods, Treylon Burks and Ryan Philips. I wouldn't be shocked to see Tannehill with a top-15 Fantasy finish this week.
Bust Alert (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CIN Cincinnati • #9
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs PIT CIN -6.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS QB
24th
PROJ PTS
21.6
QB RNK
12th
2021 Stats
PAYDS
4611
RUYDS
118
TD
36
INT
14
FPTS/G
23.9
It sounds like Burrow will be fine following the appendectomy he had in late July, but he missed a lot of practice time in August. I'd be nervous trusting him against the Steelers, and he averaged just 19.5 Fantasy points per game against Pittsburgh last season. He did have multiple touchdowns in each outing against the Steelers, but he averaged just 181 passing yards per game over that span. Burrow is just a low-end starter in Week 1.
GB Green Bay • #12
Age: 38 • Experience: 18 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ MIN GB -1.5 O/U 47
OPP VS QB
21st
PROJ PTS
20.8
QB RNK
14th
2021 Stats
PAYDS
4115
RUYDS
101
TD
40
INT
4
FPTS/G
25.5
I hope Rodgers has Allen Lazard this week against the Vikings, but his status was up in the air as of Tuesday afternoon. Without Lazard, in the first game without Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, it will be tough to trust Rodgers against what should be an improved Vikings defense. I'd only prefer to start Rodgers in larger leagues this week if Lazard is out.
CHI Chicago • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF SF -7 O/U 41.5
OPP VS QB
29th
PROJ PTS
13.9
QB RNK
16th
2021 Stats
PAYDS
1870
RUYDS
420
TD
9
INT
10
FPTS/G
11.7
I'm hopeful that Fields can overcome tough matchups like this against the 49ers, but I want to see it first. I want to see how Chicago's offensive line holds up under duress. I want to see if the Bears receiving options not named Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet can make plays. I want to see how much Fields will use his legs. He's still worth starting in Superflex and 2QB leagues, but Fields likely doesn't have a high ceiling in this matchup with San Francisco.
Avoid in Superflex/2QB (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CAR Carolina • #6
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CLE CAR -1.5 O/U 42
OPP VS QB
9th
PROJ PTS
14.3
QB RNK
23rd
2021 Stats
PAYDS
3010
RUYDS
134
TD
18
INT
13
FPTS/G
15.4
I'm typically a fan of the revenge game narrative, and Mayfield will likely be motivated facing the team that traded him away. But I'm a believer in this Browns defense, and Mayfield could be running for his life from former teammate Myles Garrett. Eventually, I expect Mayfield to make plenty of plays for the Panthers, especially if Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore stay healthy. But this isn't a good week to trust Mayfield, even at home.
ATL Atlanta • #1
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NO NO -5.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS QB
2nd
PROJ PTS
13.4
QB RNK
NR
2021 Stats
PAYDS
4
RUYDS
87
TD
1
INT
0
FPTS/G
1.5
By the end of the season, if Mariota holds onto the starting job in Atlanta, we're likely going to regret not drafting him higher in Superflex and 2QB leagues. He'll make plenty of plays with his legs, and he should connect well with Kyle Pitts and Drake London to boost his production. But this week could be tough for all the Falcons, especially Mariota, against a potentially dominant Saints defense. I'm not ready to trust Mariota as a starter yet, especially when the matchup is tough like he has this week.
DET Detroit • #16
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs PHI PHI -4 O/U 48.5
OPP VS QB
22nd
PROJ PTS
17
QB RNK
NR
2021 Stats
PAYDS
3245
RUYDS
87
TD
19
INT
8
FPTS/G
16.6
This Eagles defense has the potential to be nasty, especially with an upgraded secondary featuring James Bradberry and C.J. Gardner-Johnson joining Darius Slay. Goff could always find his way to quality production, including some likely garbage-time stats, but I don't expect him to have a huge outing this week against Philadelphia. In 2021, Goff had just five games with more than 21 Fantasy points in 13 starts. He also had five games with eight Fantasy points or fewer.
START 'EM & SIT 'EM
Running Backs
Start 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
JAC Jacksonville • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS WAS -2.5 O/U 44
OPP VS RB
12th
PROJ PTS
12.4
RB RNK
18th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
0
REC
0
REYDS
0
TD
0
FPTS/G
0
James Robinson (Achilles) is expected to be active for this matchup with the Commanders, but I'm still counting on Etienne to have a huge role, especially in the passing game. The Jaguars aren't going to rush Robinson back on the field, and they don't have to because of Etienne. He should be a popular target for Trevor Lawrence, especially if the Washington pass rush is an issue and Lawrence needs to dump the ball off. If he scores, Etienne could be a top-10 running back in all leagues this week.
HOU Houston • #31
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs IND IND -7 O/U 46
OPP VS RB
3rd
PROJ PTS
12.8
RB RNK
20th
2020 Stats
RUYDS
448
REC
53
REYDS
402
TD
5
FPTS/G
10.5
The status of Colts star linebacker Shaquille Leonard (back) could determine if Pierce is good or great for this week. You should be starting him regardless given his expected role as the lead running back for the Texans. He has 20-touch potential, and hopefully Houston uses him in the passing game. Leonard missed Week 16 last year against the Cardinals, and Chase Edmonds went nuts with 16 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown, along with eight catches for 71 yards. Hopefully, Pierce could have a huge game as well if Leonard is out.
GB Green Bay • #28
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ MIN GB -1.5 O/U 47
OPP VS RB
18th
PROJ PTS
11.3
RB RNK
22nd
2021 Stats
RUYDS
803
REC
34
REYDS
313
TD
7
FPTS/G
10.9
We're going to find out this week just how much the Packers will use Dillon in tandem with Aaron Jones, and I expect it will be a lot, especially if Allen Lazard (undisclosed) is out. In Week 17 last year against the Vikings, Dillon played great with 14 carries for 63 yards and two touchdowns, along with two catches for 20 yards. In that same game, Jones had eight carries for 76 yards, along with five catches for 30 yards. Let's hope history repeats itself in the rematch, with both finding the end zone this time, and Dillon is worth trusting as a No. 2 running back in all leagues.
SF San Francisco • #25
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CHI SF -7 O/U 41.5
OPP VS RB
8th
PROJ PTS
12.7
RB RNK
14th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
963
REC
19
REYDS
137
TD
6
FPTS/G
15
Mitchell is expected to be healthy after dealing with a hamstring injury in training camp, and he should be started in all leagues when he's playing in a favorable matchup. Last year in Week 1 at Detroit is when Mitchell became a household name after he took over for an injured Raheem Mostert (knee) and had 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. He was San Francisco's best running back in 2021, and hopefully he can do that again this year, starting against the Bears.
WAS Washington • #24
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs JAC WAS -2.5 O/U 44
OPP VS RB
14th
PROJ PTS
13.5
RB RNK
17th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
1037
REC
42
REYDS
294
TD
10
FPTS/G
14.3
With Brian Robinson Jr. (lower body) on the NFI list and out for the first four weeks of the season, Gibson should get plenty of touches as the lead running back in Washington. J.D. McKissic will also play a role on passing downs, and he's worth using as a sleeper in PPR this week against Jacksonville. But Gibson should be a must-start option in all leagues, and hopefully he doesn't fumble away his chance to get back in the good graces of his coaching staff. The Commanders were ready to replace Gibson with Robinson, but now Gibson could get 20-plus touches in a favorable matchup. Last season, the Jaguars were top five in rushing touchdowns allowed to running backs with 17.
Sleepers (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
CLE Cleveland • #27
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CAR CAR -1.5 O/U 42
OPP VS RB
4th
PROJ PTS
11.6
RB RNK
25th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
386
REC
22
REYDS
174
TD
5
FPTS/G
13.8
I'm counting on Hunt to play a pivotal role in the passing game for the Browns this week and likely for as long as Jacoby Brissett is the starter. He's not going to challenge downfield often and with a lot of success, and Cleveland has a suspect receiving corps behind Amari Cooper and David Njoku, which should give extra targets to Hunt. While Nick Chubb will be heavily involved in the game plan as the lead running back for the Browns, so will Hunt. He's at least a flex in the majority of leagues for Week 1.
DAL Dallas • #20
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TB TB -2.5 O/U 51
OPP VS RB
17th
PROJ PTS
11.5
RB RNK
33rd
2021 Stats
RUYDS
719
REC
39
REYDS
337
TD
2
FPTS/G
10.4
We'll find out this week just how much the Cowboys will use Pollard in the passing game, and it's a great matchup for him against Tampa Bay. Last year, the Buccaneers were second in the NFL for receptions allowed to running backs with 118, and they were first in 2020 with 104. It's difficult to run on Tampa Bay, which is why I'm concerned for Ezekiel Elliott. But if Pollard is deployed as a receiver he could be useful as at least a flex in PPR.
BUF Buffalo • #20
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ HOU IND -7 O/U 46
OPP VS RB
24th
PROJ PTS
9.9
RB RNK
31st
2021 Stats
RUYDS
276
REC
40
REYDS
310
TD
3
FPTS/G
6.6
If you've followed me this offseason you know how much I love Hines, and I expect him to have a significant role in tandem with Jonathan Taylor, starting in Week 1 against the Texans. Now, the concern for him will be if Indianapolis is up big against Houston that Hines won't need to do much in the passing game. But I expect Matt Ryan to lean on Hines as a weapon out of the backfield, and he could be second on the team in targets behind Michael Pittman -- all season. Hines is a great flex play in PPR this week.
MIA Miami • #31
Age: 30 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NE MIA -3.5 O/U 46.5
OPP VS RB
19th
PROJ PTS
6.9
RB RNK
41st
2021 Stats
RUYDS
20
REC
0
REYDS
0
TD
0
FPTS/G
2
I'm starting Chase Edmonds as a No. 2 running back in all leagues this week, but I would also consider Mostert as a flex, especially in non- and 0.5-PPR leagues. When healthy, he could lead the Dolphins in carries, and Mike McDaniel likely has a lot of trust in Mostert from their days together in San Francisco. If the Dolphins are playing with a lead -- and they are 3.5-point favorites at home -- then look for Mostert to help kill the clock and rack up some cheap production late in the game.
BAL Baltimore • #17
Age: 28 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYJ BAL -7 O/U 44.5
OPP VS RB
32nd
PROJ PTS
8
RB RNK
39th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
254
REC
30
REYDS
291
TD
3
FPTS/G
8.5
This posting could change if J.K. Dobbins (knee) is ready for Week 1, but Drake and Mike Davis have the chance to be flex plays this week if Dobbins is out. The Jets were No. 1 in Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs, and they gave up the most touchdowns to the position by a glaring margin with 28 in total. The defense should improve this season, but Baltimore is going to run the ball no matter who lines up at running back. I'll give a slight edge to Drake given that he should be more talented -- and hopefully get more opportunities -- than Davis in Week 1.
Sit 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #20
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs BAL BAL -7 O/U 44.5
OPP VS RB
5th
PROJ PTS
11.6
RB RNK
30th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
1065
REC
33
REYDS
238
TD
12
FPTS/G
15.4
I hope that I'm wrong by putting Hall in this spot, and in full disclosure, I'm starting him in several leagues. I drafted him to be a No. 2 running back, and I hope he can overcome some of the negatives working against him. For starters, I don't want to see Michael Carter play ahead of Hall, and that could be the case for the Jets based on the preseason. And in a secondary role against a good run defense for Baltimore, you should only consider Hall as a flex at best. He'll have big days this season, but if you can sit him this week then that's the right move.
LAR L.A. Rams • #3
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs BUF BUF -2.5 O/U 52
OPP VS RB
15th
PROJ PTS
10.7
RB RNK
29th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
3
REC
3
REYDS
10
TD
0
FPTS/G
4.3
Like Hall, I'd love to see Akers come out and smash in Week 1 against the Bills. I'd like him to keep Darrell Henderson on the bench and prove, without a doubt, he's the best running back for the Rams this year. But it seems like we're going to see too much of Henderson and potentially rookie running back Kyren Williams as well. And if Williams plays on passing downs then Akers could be in trouble all season. The Bills are a brutal matchup as well, and this should be a game where the Rams are throwing a lot. Let's see how Akers does, and hopefully he's back to being a weekly starter in all leagues as early as Week 2 against Atlanta.

NE New England • #37
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ MIA MIA -3.5 O/U 46.5
OPP VS RB
13th
PROJ PTS
9.9
RB RNK
34th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
929
REC
18
REYDS
132
TD
15
FPTS/G
14
The Patriots backfield remains somewhat of a mystery for Week 1 at Miami. Ty Montgomery (ankle) traveled with the team, and he could surprise us by playing after getting hurt in the preseason. If he's active then he should have a role in the passing game, and we know Rhamondre Stevenson is also going to get his share of touches. Harris will likely need to score to reward Fantasy managers, which he did often last year with 15 rushing touchdowns. He also had 117 total yards against Miami in Week 1 last year, and he had 73 total yards and a touchdown (with four catches) against the Dolphins in Week 18. I just don't want to trust Harris if he's not dominating touches, and he could be in trouble if the Patriots are chasing points. Consider Harris just a flex, with his value higher in non- and 0.5-PPR leagues. As for Stevenson, he's also a flex, but his value will increase in PPR if Montgomery is out.
ATL Atlanta • #84
Age: 31 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NO NO -5.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS RB
1st
PROJ PTS
10.2
RB RNK
32nd
2021 Stats
RUYDS
618
REC
52
REYDS
548
TD
11
FPTS/G
14.7
One of the backfields I'm curious to see in Week 1 is the Falcons. We expect Patterson to still be the lead running back, but Damien Williams and Tyler Allgeier are expected to also have a role. In a tough matchup against the Saints, this is likely a situation you want to avoid. The hope for Patterson is that he's involved in the passing game, and he had a monster performance against New Orleans in Week 9 last year with six catches for 126 yards to go with nine carries for 10 yards. In Week 18 in the rematch, Patterson was held to four carries for 11 yards and one catch for 1 yard. At best, Patterson should be considered a flex play in PPR.
Bust Alert (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
DAL Dallas • #21
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TB TB -2.5 O/U 51
OPP VS RB
17th
PROJ PTS
11.6
RB RNK
24th
2021 Stats
RUYDS
1002
REC
47
REYDS
287
TD
12
FPTS/G
14.8
I hope Elliott can reward the Fantasy managers who drafted him in Round 3 in the majority of leagues this year, but I'm concerned about his role in tandem with Pollard and the offensive line. Without left tackle Tyron Smith (hamstring), Elliott could find it tough to get additional rushing yards, and Pollard could take him off the field in obvious passing situations. This week, you probably want to only use Elliott as a flex in most leagues. Tampa Bay has arguably the best run defense in the NFL, and the Buccaneers limited Elliott to 11 carries for 33 yards in Week 1 last year, along with two catches for 6 yards. If Elliott can have a role in the passing game then he could still be productive this week, but asking him to find success against this run defense on the ground is a tall task.
START 'EM & SIT 'EM
Wide Receiver
Start 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
KC Kansas City • #9
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ARI KC -6 O/U 53.5
OPP VS WR
26th
PROJ PTS
12.6
WR RNK
28th
2021 Stats
REC
15
TAR
28
REYDS
129
TD
1
FPTS/G
7
The sliding scale for the Chiefs receivers this week is start Smith-Schuster as a No. 2 Fantasy option in all leagues, Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a boom-bust flex with sleeper appeal and use Skyy Moore and Mecole Hardman as desperation plays in deeper leagues. Smith-Schuster made Fantasy managers nervous by missing practice time with a knee injury, but he's fine now. And he should help Patrick Mahomes exploit this Cardinals secondary while making a big splash in his Kansas City debut.
DEN Denver • #10
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ SEA DEN -6.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS WR
9th
PROJ PTS
14
WR RNK
32nd
2021 Stats
REC
38
TAR
56
REYDS
467
TD
0
FPTS/G
8.5
Courtland Sutton is a must-start Fantasy receiver in all leagues this week against the Seahawks, and Jeudy isn't far behind. You want pieces of the Broncos passing game in your lineup this week for Russell Wilson's return to Seattle, and Jeudy should start his breakout third season with a big outing in Week 1. Wilson is going to provide plenty of fireworks this week, with Sutton and Jeudy leading the way.
BUF Buffalo • #13
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ LAR BUF -2.5 O/U 52
OPP VS WR
32nd
PROJ PTS
11.3
WR RNK
30th
2021 Stats
REC
35
TAR
63
REYDS
549
TD
6
FPTS/G
7.9
There are five receivers to start in Thursday's game with Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson for the Rams and Stefon Diggs, Davis and Isaiah McKenzie for the Bills. There is going to be plenty of passing in this matchup, and despite both teams having great defenses, it will be hard to stop Josh Allen and Matthew Stafford. For Davis, his breakout third season starts this week, and he already scored a touchdown in his lone preseason game against Denver with two catches for 47 yards on three targets. If you're keeping score at home, that's six touchdowns in his past six times on the field going back to the playoffs. He has the chance to be a monster this week -- and every week moving forward.
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #8
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs BAL BAL -7 O/U 44.5
OPP VS WR
24th
PROJ PTS
12
WR RNK
29th
2021 Stats
REC
43
TAR
77
REYDS
538
TD
6
FPTS/G
12.6
I'm disappointed we won't get the chance to see Zach Wilson (knee) in Week 1 against Baltimore, but Joe Flacco starting for the Jets is good news for Moore. Joe Flacco appeared in two games for the Jets last year, and 13 of his 42 pass attempts went to Moore. He caught 10 of them for 149 yards and two touchdowns. This could be a fantastic week for Moore, who could thrive with Flacco while Wilson is out. He's now a must-start Fantasy receiver in all leagues.
JAC Jacksonville • #13
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS WAS -2.5 O/U 44
OPP VS WR
23rd
PROJ PTS
12.7
WR RNK
34th
2021 Stats
REC
77
TAR
103
REYDS
982
TD
5
FPTS/G
12.2
Kirk should see plenty of passes from Trevor Lawrence this week as the Jaguars will attack this Washington secondary. And if the lone preseason appearance for Lawrence and Kirk is any indication, Kirk could be in line for a monster campaign. They played one half against Pittsburgh in the preseason, and Kirk had eight targets for five catches and 54 yards. Let's hope that's a sign of things to come in Week 1 and all season.
Sleepers (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
SF San Francisco • #11
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CHI SF -7 O/U 40.5
OPP VS WR
13th
PROJ PTS
10.8
WR RNK
36th
2021 Stats
REC
56
TAR
84
REYDS
826
TD
5
FPTS/G
10
All we've heard all preseason is that Aiyuk has a strong connection with Trey Lance, and hopefully that carries over to the games that count, starting this week against Chicago. Last year, Aiyuk started in coach Kyle Shanahan's doghouse, but he worked his way out of it and played great to close the season, scoring at least 13 PPR points in four of his final five games in the regular season. If he can pick up where he left off, as well as Lance maximizing his potential, Aiyuk could be in line for a huge third year.
PHI Philadelphia • #6
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET PHI -4 O/U 48.5
OPP VS WR
15th
PROJ PTS
12.6
WR RNK
39th
2021 Stats
REC
64
TAR
104
REYDS
916
TD
5
FPTS/G
10.9
I'm excited about the Eagles passing game this season with the addition of A.J. Brown, and he should open up the offense for Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert. Jalen Hurts is poised for a big year, and Smith has the chance to perform like a low-end starter in all leagues. For this week, Smith should be viewed as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside, and the Eagles will hopefully have plenty of volume in the passing game. The Lions secondary should struggle to stop all of Philadelphia's weapons in this matchup.
KC Kansas City
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ TEN TEN -5.5 O/U 43.5
OPP VS WR
29th
PROJ PTS
10.6
WR RNK
37th
2021 Stats
REC
39
TAR
57
REYDS
420
TD
0
FPTS/G
8.2
As long as Toney is healthy, he should have the chance to help Fantasy managers in a big way, and I like him as a high-end No. 3 receiver in this matchup with the Titans. We'll see what happens with Sterling Shepard (Achilles) and how the Giants use rookie Wan'Dale Robinson, but Toney should be the go-to option for Daniel Jones in the passing game. Last year, the Titans were No. 2 in most Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers, so Toney could have a bigger game than expected if Jones gives him enough opportunities to make plays.
TB Tampa Bay • #6
Age: 33 • Experience: 12 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DAL TB -2.5 O/U 51
OPP VS WR
22nd
PROJ PTS
9.7
WR RNK
NR
2021 Stats
REC
31
TAR
48
REYDS
434
TD
1
FPTS/G
8
I'm not sure what's going to happen with Chris Godwin (knee) this week, so look for Tom Brady to lean on Jones and Russell Gage if Godwin is out or limited. Both should be heavily involved anyway, along with Mike Evans, and we'll see if we get an answer on if Jones or Gage will be the preferred Fantasy option moving forward. Most likely, while Jones is healthy, he should have an edge. For this week, consider him a high-end No. 3 Fantasy option, especially if Godwin can't play.
NO New Orleans • #12
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ATL NO -5.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS WR
21st
PROJ PTS
9.8
WR RNK
NR
2021 Stats
REC
0
TAR
0
REYDS
0
TD
0
FPTS/G
0
With Michael Thomas possibly limited after dealing with a hamstring injury in training camp, Olave could emerge as the top target for Jameis Winston in this matchup with the Falcons. Thomas will likely command plenty of attention anyway if he's on the field, and hopefully we can see Olave in some favorable matchups against a Falcons defense that was No. 6 in Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers last year. He's worth using as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in deeper leagues.
Sit 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
ATL Atlanta • #5
Age: 21 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NO NO -5.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS WR
14th
PROJ PTS
9.8
WR RNK
43rd
2021 Stats
REC
20
TAR
32
REYDS
338
TD
2
FPTS/G
13.2
London is ready to go after suffering a knee injury in Atlanta's first preseason game against Detroit. While we hope he makes plenty of plays -- this week and all season -- let's give him at least a week before starting him in the majority of leagues. The Saints defense is tough, and London hasn't proven to have a strong connection with quarterback Marcus Mariota yet. At best, use London as a low-end No. 3 receiver in three-receiver leagues.
CLE Cleveland • #2
Age: 28 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CAR CAR -1.5 O/U 41.5
OPP VS WR
5th
PROJ PTS
11.6
WR RNK
38th
2021 Stats
REC
68
TAR
104
REYDS
865
TD
8
FPTS/G
13.5
I'm probably not going to love Cooper much while Jacoby Brissett is filling in for Deshaun Watson, and that's expected to happen for the first 11 games. Cooper will have to prove me wrong before I use him as a starter in the majority of leagues, and I'm not willing to trust him in Week 1 against the Panthers. Carolina was actually solid against opposing receivers last season, ranking No. 6 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to the position, and the Panthers should be able to contain Cooper because of Brissett's limitations.
TB Tampa Bay • #14
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DAL TB -2.5 O/U 51
OPP VS WR
22nd
PROJ PTS
13.8
WR RNK
23rd
2021 Stats
REC
98
TAR
127
REYDS
1103
TD
6
FPTS/G
17.3
Even if Godwin plays against the Cowboys, I'll likely lower expectations for him given some of the things being said from him -- and about him -- this week. He's talking about wanting to be at full strength for the end of the season and not wanting to rush his comeback from last year's knee injury. That could lead to a limited snap count if he's active, or he might not play at all. Tampa Bay has plenty of options at receiver with Evans, Jones and Gage, and while the Buccaneers would love to have a healthy Godwin on the field, they aren't going to risk him suffering a setback. You should plan on finding another Fantasy receiver instead of Godwin this week.
TEN Tennessee • #2
Age: 30 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NYG TEN -5.5 O/U 43.5
OPP VS WR
11th
PROJ PTS
11.4
WR RNK
40th
2021 Stats
REC
45
TAR
69
REYDS
556
TD
5
FPTS/G
15.2
I'm curious to see how Woods does in his first game back from last year's torn ACL, as well as his rapport with new quarterback Ryan Tannehill. I wouldn't be surprised if Woods has a quality stat line given that the Giants secondary will likely struggle. But we don't expect a lot of volume for Woods because of Derrick Henry, and the Titans will likely spread the ball around to Treylon Burks, Kyle Philips and Austin Hooper. At best, consider Woods a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week, with his value slightly higher in PPR.
NE New England • #1
Age: 29 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ MIA MIA -3.5 O/U 46.5
OPP VS WR
10th
PROJ PTS
10.6
WR RNK
48th
2021 Stats
REC
40
TAR
73
REYDS
515
TD
2
FPTS/G
10.4
We have another revenge game narrative at play here with Parker facing his former team in Miami. But that could also mean a matchup with cornerback Xavien Howard, and Parker will likely struggle in that scenario. Mac Jones has been inconsistent according to reports in training camp, and the only Patriots receiver I would be comfortable using this week is Jakobi Meyers in a deep PPR league. Parker is, at best, a desperation starter in 14-team leagues or larger.
Bust Alert (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
SEA Seattle • #14
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DEN DEN -6.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS WR
7th
PROJ PTS
12.5
WR RNK
27th
2021 Stats
REC
75
TAR
129
REYDS
967
TD
12
FPTS/G
14.4
We have another revenge game narrative at play here with Parker facing his former team in Miami. But that could also mean a matchup with cornerback Xavien Howard, and Parker will likely struggle in that scenario. Mac Jones has been inconsistent according to reports in training camp, and the only Patriots receiver I would be comfortable using this week is Jakobi Meyers in a deep PPR league. Parker is, at best, a desperation starter in 14-team leagues or larger.
START 'EM & SIT 'EM
Tight End
Start 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
CHI Chicago • #85
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SF SF -7 O/U 40.5
OPP VS TE
9th
PROJ PTS
9.4
TE RNK
9th
2021 Stats
REC
60
TAR
93
REYDS
612
TD
0
FPTS/G
7.1
I'm going to start Kmet despite the tough matchup, and we'll see if he can take advantage of 49ers safety Jimmie Ward (hamstring) being out. Last year, Kmet faced San Francisco in Week 8, and he was limited to three catches for 24 yards on six targets. I'm expecting him to be much better than that in the rematch, and Kmet should be a prime target for Justin Fields all season.
CLE Cleveland • #85
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CAR CAR -1.5 O/U 41.5
OPP VS TE
10th
PROJ PTS
9.1
TE RNK
12th
2021 Stats
REC
36
TAR
53
REYDS
475
TD
4
FPTS/G
6.7
Njoku is going to soak up targets from Jacoby Brissett, and he should finish this week -- and hopefully all season -- as a low-end starter in PPR. The Panthers only allowed six touchdowns to tight ends last year, so keep that in mind with the matchup. But I expect Njoku to see a lot of volume in the passing game because of Brisset's inability to throw downfield, and that's why Njoku is listed here.
DEN Denver • #85
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ SEA DEN -6.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS TE
24th
PROJ PTS
8.4
TE RNK
15th
2021 Stats
REC
33
TAR
40
REYDS
330
TD
2
FPTS/G
5.4
Okwuegbunam dealt with a lower-body injury in practice last week, but he's fine for Week 1. And he should hopefully be part of the fireworks from Russell Wilson in this matchup against Seattle. The Seahawks were among the league leaders in touchdowns allowed to tight ends last year with nine, and Wilson should know how to exploit this secondary better than anyone. Okwuegbunam is a low-end starter in all leagues.
Sleepers (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
JAC Jacksonville • #17
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ WAS WAS -2.5 O/U 44
OPP VS TE
16th
PROJ PTS
9.5
TE RNK
13th
2021 Stats
REC
46
TAR
73
REYDS
408
TD
3
FPTS/G
6.9
Safety Kamren Curl (thumb) might play this week, which would help the Commanders secondary, but I'll still use Engram as a low-end starter in deeper leagues. He should be a primary target for Trevor Lawrence, and tight ends have always been a staple of Doug Pederson's offenses. I expect a lot of passing from Jacksonville this week, and Washington was one of nine teams to allow over 1,000 receiving yards to tight ends last season.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #7
Age: 28 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LV LAC -3.5 O/U 52
OPP VS TE
29th
PROJ PTS
9
TE RNK
16th
2021 Stats
REC
48
TAR
63
REYDS
478
TD
4
FPTS/G
7.9
Everett is expected to be a go-to option for Justin Herbert, and this is a matchup the Chargers can exploit. The Raiders were one of three teams to allow at least 10 touchdowns to tight ends last season and one of the nine teams to allow over 1,000 yards to the position. We haven't heard much about Everett in the preseason, but Herbert leaned on his tight ends last year a lot (137 targets to the position). He's a sneaky starter in deeper leagues this week.
BAL Baltimore • #80
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NYJ BAL -7 O/U 44.5
OPP VS TE
26th
PROJ PTS
7.7
TE RNK
NR
2021 Stats
REC
12
TAR
16
REYDS
119
TD
3
FPTS/G
4.2
We'll see if his strong performance in the preseason can carry over to this week, and Likely is someone to use as a streaming option in deeper leagues. In his final two preseason games, Likely had 12 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets. It wasn't from Lamar Jackson, so keep that in mind, but Baltimore needs playmakers in the passing game, and Likely should play a lot in tandem with Mark Andrews. Last year, the Jets were also No. 3 in Fantasy points allowed to tight ends.
Sit 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
LAR L.A. Rams • #89
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs BUF BUF -2.5 O/U 52
OPP VS TE
6th
PROJ PTS
8.1
TE RNK
11th
2021 Stats
REC
61
TAR
85
REYDS
560
TD
5
FPTS/G
9.8
I liked Higbee coming into Week 1 when Bills safety Jordan Poyer (elbow) looked like he was going to be out. With Poyer in, and Buffalo having question marks at cornerback without Tre'Davious White (knee), look for Matthew Stafford to challenge the perimeter instead of the middle of the field. Buffalo has been among the best teams at defending tight ends under coach Sean McDermott, and Higbee could be asked to block a lot in this matchup. He could find the end zone, but the Bills allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends in 2021.
ARI Arizona • #86
Age: 32 • Experience: 10 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs KC KC -6 O/U 53.5
OPP VS TE
19th
PROJ PTS
8.8
TE RNK
21st
2021 Stats
REC
74
TAR
112
REYDS
763
TD
5
FPTS/G
10.6
Ertz is dealing with a calf injury that has left his status for Week 1 against the Chiefs in doubt. Fantasy managers should look for an alternative because even if he plays he likely won't be 100 percent. It's too bad he's hurt because he has an opportunity for plenty of targets with DeAndre Hopkins suspended for the first six weeks. When healthy, Ertz will be a low-end starter in the majority of leagues.
SEA Seattle • #87
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs DEN DEN -6.5 O/U 44.5
OPP VS TE
3rd
PROJ PTS
8.4
TE RNK
22nd
2021 Stats
REC
68
TAR
90
REYDS
670
TD
4
FPTS/G
9.9
This is a revenge game for Fant after the Broncos traded him to the Seahawks as part of the Russell Wilson deal this offseason, but Fant isn't worth starting in the majority of leagues. He had a suspect preseason with limited involvement, and it's hard to trust Geno Smith's third target at best behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Let Fant prove himself before starting him as a Fantasy option, and hopefully you can find someone more productive for Week 1.
Bust Alert (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
MIA Miami • #88
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NE MIA -3.5 O/U 46.5
OPP VS TE
2nd
PROJ PTS
9.1
TE RNK
18th
2021 Stats
REC
73
TAR
112
REYDS
780
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.7
The Patriots have been in the top three of fewest Fantasy points allowed to tight ends over the past two seasons. Over that span, New England has allowed just seven touchdowns to tight ends, and Gesicki has faced the Patriots three times. His stat line in those games is five catches for 52 yards and no touchdowns on 11 targets. Given his struggles with his new role under Mike McDaniel this preseason, as well as the tough matchup, it's easy to bench Gesicki in most leagues this week.
START 'EM & SIT 'EM
DST
Starts

Dolphins (vs. NE)

All we've heard for weeks in training camp is how the Patriots offense has struggled. The offensive line has been a mess, Mac Jones has been inconsistent and the receivers have struggled to make plays. It could be that the Patriots defense is just that tough in practice. Or, maybe, having Matt Patricia as the offensive coordinator is a bad idea. Either way, the Dolphins DST is a good play this week at home, and I consider this unit a top-10 Fantasy option in all leagues.

Sleepers
  • Eagles (at DET)
  • Titans (vs. NYG)
  • Browns (at CAR)
Sits

Cowboys (vs. TB)

The Cowboys DST was amazing in 2021, but one of the worst games for this unit was Week 1 at Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries in that game but also allowed 31 points and 431 total yards, with no sacks. We'll see how Tampa Bay's revamped offensive line holds up in this matchup, but I'm not trusting the Cowboys DST in a matchup against Tom Brady.

START 'EM & SIT 'EM
KICKERS
Start 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
MIN Minnesota • #1
Age: 28 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs GB GB -1.5 O/U 47
OPP VS K
4th
PROJ PTS
7
K RNK
6th
I'm excited about this Minnesota offense this season, and I expect the Vikings to score against the Packers in Week 1, giving Joseph plenty of chances to produce. Last year against Green Bay at home, Joseph was 2-of-2 on field goals, including a 51-yarder, and he made 2-of-3 PATs.
Sleepers
Projections powered by Sportsline
ARI Arizona • #5
Age: 38 • Experience: 16 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs KC KC -6 O/U 53.5
OPP VS K
11th
PROJ PTS
7
K RNK
10th
MIA Miami • #7
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NE MIA -3.5 O/U 46.5
OPP VS K
2nd
PROJ PTS
7.8
K RNK
11th
PHI Philadelphia • #4
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ DET PHI -4 O/U 48.5
OPP VS K
30th
PROJ PTS
8.3
K RNK
8th
Sit 'Em
Projections powered by Sportsline
ATL Atlanta • #7
Age: 28 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs NO NO -5.5 O/U 42.5
OPP VS K
14th
PROJ PTS
7
K RNK
18th
We'll see how successful the Falcons offense will be this week against the Saints, but I'm not optimistic. That could leave Koo with minimal scoring chances. Now, he did convert both field goal attempts against New Orleans in Week 18 at home last year, including a field goal from 54 yards, and he made both PATs. But I'm not expecting him to have that much success again in Week 1, even at home.