At the beginning of this week we thought Seattle would be without Jaxon Smith-Njigba in Week 1 due to the fact he had wrist surgery last month. On Wednesday we learned that's not true, which means the ranking of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett for Week 1 is going to be closer to their draft ranking than we suspected.
Smith-Njigba was a surprise selection for Seattle because they already had one of the best receiver duos in the league. But make no mistake about it, he's a truly elite wide receiver who could snatch the No. 1 WR role in Seattle as soon as this season. For Week 1, we're being more cautious, ranking the rookie as a No. 4 wide receiver. Even the best rookie receivers often get off to slow starts.
- Week 1 position previews: | |
A slow start for one Seahawk could mean more volume for Metcalf and Lockett early in the year. That's why you'll see them both ranked inside my top 24 at the position this week even though they weren't top-24 options for me in draft season. Lockett seems like the most likely to take a step back, as he's on the wrong side of 30, but it's hard to be too down on him considering he's exceeded expectations for half a decade. Statistically, there's been very little separation for the Seahawks top-two wide receivers since Metcalf joined the team.
So start Lockett and Metcalf this week, but watch Smith-Njigba too. If he gets off to a good start we may be starting all three by next week. If he struggles early, he'll be one of our buy-low targets.
Here is the rest of the Week 1 WR Preview:
Week 1 WR Preview
The following players are not being projected to play Week 1 at this time. Here's what it means:
Cooper Kupp WR
LAR L.A. Rams • #10
Age: 30 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Van Jefferson is our favorite Rams wide receiver, but we don't love any of them.
Jerry Jeudy WR
DEN Denver • #10
Age: 24 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Courtland Sutton is a solid No. 3 receiver and Marvin Mims is a sneaky flex if Jeudy is out.
Romeo Doubs WR
GB Green Bay • #87
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Christian Watson, Jayden Reed, and Luke Musgrave all benefit if Doubs is out.
Numbers to Know
- 24.8 -- Cooper Kupp averaged nearly 25 FPPG last season. He could miss a month and still deliver Round 2 value if he returns and posts those numbers.
- 17 -- Michael Thomas averaged 17 FPPG last year. As long as he stays healthy he's a starter.
- 1,606 -- Jaxon Smith-Njigba led Ohio State with 1,606 receiving yards in 2021. Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave were both on that team. The rookie could supplant DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett by midseason.
- 281.5 -- Calvin Ridley finished as WR5 with 281.5 PPR Fantasy points in his last full season, which was 2020.
- 184 -- The Packers have 184 wide receiver targets to replace from last year. There's plenty of room for both Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs to hit.
- 726 -- Tom Brady averaged 726 pass attempts the past two seasons. There is no way Tampa lets Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask air it out like that. It's hard to imagine Mike Evans or Chris Godwin can be more efficient either.
89.1 -- Jaylen Waddle averaged 89.1 yards per game with Tua Tagovailoa, but just 57.4 without him.
21.6 -- DeAndre Hopkins scored 21.6 FPPG in four games with Kyler Murray last year. He may fall off a cliff because of his age, but he didn't show signs of it last year.
Matchups that matter
Waiver Wire Targets
BAL Baltimore • #7
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Bateman played three healthy games with Jackson last year and scored more than 40 Fantasy points in those three games. Lamar Jackson said earlier this offseason that Bateman is his WR1. Todd Monken's offense should be more receiver friendly and the Texans defense should not provide much resistance.
Jayden Reed WR
GB Green Bay • #11
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
If Romeo Doubs misses Week 1 then Reed would slot in as quite possibly the No. 2 target earner for Jordan Love. Reed profiles as an excellent short-area target to balance Christian Watson's big-play profile and could be in line for as many as seven or eight targets in Week 1.
ATL Atlanta • #15
Age: 27 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Jefferson scored double-digit Fantasy points in four of his final nine contests last year and that was playing mostly without Matthew Stafford. With Stafford back and Cooper Kupp out, Jefferson should be the clear WR1 for an offense that is likely playing behind against the Seahawks. That makes him a boom/bust WR3 who is better served as a flex.
Tank Dell WR
HOU Houston • #13
Age: 24 • Experience: Rookie
Dell won't start Week 1 and his size is a concern, but he has elite separation skills and the favor of his quarterback C.J. Stroud. Dell flashed those skills in the preseason and it shouldn't surprise anyone if he forces his way into the receiver rotation very early in the season. He's the only wide receiver on this roster that I could see producing truly elite target numbers.
Justyn Ross WR
KC Kansas City • #8
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Ross is similar to Dell in that he was one of the stars of training camp and his QB raves about him. But Ross actually has NFL size as well and his quarterback is Patrick Mahomes. If Ross hits his upside, he's a top 12 wide receiver in the NFL. That's worth a stash for at least a month.
CIN Cincinnati • #1
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Chase is WR1 this week and he's worth the pay-up in DFS. He's averaged 20.6 FPPG over his last 17 games and he's at 23.98 in his last seven. Chase is still just 23 years old. His quarterback has only started 42 regular season games. This is an ascendant duo. Stack them before the pricing reflects that.
JAC Jacksonville • #13
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
I'm sure Calvin Ridley will get his chances in his debut, and no doubt he'll be more popular in DFS. I still expect Kirk to be a high-target earner in the slot. Last year he scored 38.6 PPR Fantasy points in two games against the Colts. Old friend Gus Bradley is still in Indianapolis running the defense and Kirk should still be a primary target in Week 1 for Trevor Lawrence.
My full set of Week 1 Fantasy football projections for every position are now available on SportsLine. Find out which of my favorite plays are projected to score higher than consensus rankings and which don't live up to their draft hype, at least in Week 1. Projected stats for all starting wide receivers are available, so be sure to check out the full set of projections at SportsLine.