2023 NFL Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings

Below you’ll find my 2023 Week 1 fantasy rankings for points per reception (PPR) and half-PPR leagues. Included are my top-32 quarterback, top-54 running back, top-71 wide receiver and top-24 tight end rankings.

For each player, you can view their ranking, matchup and implied team total according to Las Vegas sportsbooks. For example, the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers have a Vegas game total of 51, with the Chargers favored by three points (27 points implied for the Chargers, 24 points implied for the Dolphins). Seeing the implied point totals can help you understand which games are projected to be high-scoring.

Detailed player write-ups will be added through Wednesday night and will appear below each set of positional rankings.

Join our FREE Discord for help each week with start-sits, trades, and general fantasy advice. We’ll also drop player prop bets and DFS strategy in there throughout the season.

Be sure to check out our Week 1 Waiver Wire article here

Week 1 Fantasy Rankings

Top 32 Quarterbacks

Rank Name Pos Team Opp Team Total
1 Lamar Jackson QB BAL HOU 27
2 Jalen Hurts QB PHI NE 24.5
3 Josh Allen QB BUF NYJ 24.5
4 Patrick Mahomes QB KC DET 30.5
5 Justin Herbert QB LAC MIA 27
6 Joe Burrow QB CIN CLE 25
7 Geno Smith QB SEA LA 26
8 Justin Fields QB CHI GB 22
9 Trevor Lawrence QB JAX IND 25
10 Dak Prescott QB DAL NYG 25
11 Deshaun Watson QB CLE CIN 22.5
12 Tua Tagovailoa QB MIA LAC 24
13 Jared Goff QB DET KC 24
14 Daniel Jones QB NYG DAL 21.5
15 Kirk Cousins QB MIN TB 25.75
16 Russell Wilson QB DEN LV 24
17 Aaron Rodgers QB NYJ BUF 22
18 Derek Carr QB NO TEN 22
19 Sam Howell QB WAS ARI 22.5
20 Anthony Richardson QB IND JAX 20
21 Brock Purdy QB SF PIT 22
22 Ryan Tannehill QB TEN NO 19
23 Baker Mayfield QB TB MIN 19.75
24 Matthew Stafford QB LA SEA 20.5
25 Desmond Ridder QB ATL CAR 21.5
26 Jimmy Garoppolo QB LV DEN 20
27 Jordan Love QB GB CHI 21
28 Kenny Pickett QB PIT SF 19.5
29 Bryce Young QB CAR ATL 18
30 Mac Jones QB NE PHI 20.5
31 C.J. Stroud QB HOU BAL 17
32 Josh Dobbs QB ARI WAS 15.5

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

While Lamar Jackson was the consensus QB4 in fantasy drafts all summer, Jalen Hurts (Patriots) and Josh Allen (Jets) both have difficult matchups for Week 1. The Baltimore Ravens have the second-highest implied team total on the slate, and I expect a raised floor and ceiling for Jackson in this contest. He will rise further to QB1 overall should Travis Kelce (knee) miss Week 1.

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

In the past two seasons, Joe Burrow is the only quarterback to average more than nine yards per attempt against single high coverage. The Cleveland Browns have given Burrow trouble in the past because of Joe Woods’ used two-high coverages. Woods is gone now, and new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will utilize a ton of single-high coverage. I am expecting a blow-up week from Burrow.  — Jordan Vanek

Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks

Eight of the Los Angeles Rams’ 11 projected starting defenders are either undrafted rookies or were taken in the sixth round or later of the NFL Draft. This is comfortably the worst secondary in the NFL, and Geno Smith should shred what looks to be one of the worst defensive units of the past decade.

Justin Fields, Chicago Bears

The Green Bay Packers should have an above-average pass defense, and this Chicago Bears offense has a lot of moving parts. This game has a projected total of around 43, the fourth-lowest of Week 1. Justin Fields‘ floor isn’t as high as the other quarterbacks ranked ahead of him.

If you’re bullish on the Bears pass attack and want to start Fields over a player like Smith, I wouldn’t have any true pushback. However, this divisional matchup likely results in an underwhelming amount of total fantasy points.

Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos have the 10th-most projected points via their team total in the betting markets, facing a Las Vegas Raiders secondary that was ranked as a bottom-tier unit by our DFS team (Jordan Vanek and Mark Garcia).

Javonte Williams will probably be eased in after tearing his ACL (along with a few other knee ligaments) less than a year ago, and the Broncos may lean on Russell Wilson more for this contest. He’s a desperation streamer for those in a serious pinch.

Anthony Richardson, Indianapolis Colts

In his first NFL start, he’ll play behind a below-average offensive line without RB Jonathan Taylor. The Jacksonville Jaguars can key in on Anthony Richardson’s inexperience (393 pass attempts in college).

Richardson has little to work with beyond Michael Pittman in the passing game. Richardson could emerge as a fantasy-relevant option during this season, but Week 1 is too early to start him in 12-team fantasy leagues.

Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New offensive coordinator Dave Canales served as the quarterbacks coach in Seattle a season ago, where he oversaw Smith’s breakout. Baker Mayfield will have the best-supporting cast of his career this season and gets what could be the softest matchup he will see all season in Week 1 against a Minnesota Vikings defense now helmed by ultra-aggressive defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

Minnesota’s secondary is vulnerable on the perimeter. Mayfield can leverage the talent of Mike Evans and speedster Trey Palmer out wide. The game environment could force the Buccaneers into increased pass volume. Looking for a deep sleeper for Week 1? Mayfield could be your huckleberry. — Mark Garcia

Austin Ekeler Trade

Top 54 Running Backs

Rank Name Pos Team Opp Team Total
1 Christian McCaffrey RB SF PIT 22.00
2 Austin Ekeler RB LAC MIA 27.00
3 Nick Chubb RB CLE CIN 22.50
4 Tony Pollard RB DAL NYG 25.00
5 Saquon Barkley RB NYG DAL 21.50
6 Derrick Henry RB TEN NO 19.00
7 Bijan Robinson RB ATL CAR 21.50
8 Joe Mixon RB CIN CLE 25.00
9 Jahmyr Gibbs RB DET KC 24.00
10 Travis Etienne RB JAX IND 25.00
11 Rhamondre Stevenson RB NE PHI 20.50
12 Josh Jacobs RB LV DEN 20.00
13 Kenneth Walker RB SEA LA 26.00
14 Aaron Jones RB GB CHI 21.00
15 Rachaad White RB TB MIN 19.75
16 Raheem Mostert RB MIA LAC 24.00
17 David Montgomery RB DET KC 24.00
18 Alexander Mattison RB MIN TB 25.75
19 J.K. Dobbins RB BAL HOU 27.00
20 Jamaal Williams RB NO TEN 22.00
21 Najee Harris RB PIT SF 19.50
22 Brian Robinson RB WAS ARI 22.50
23 Isiah Pacheco RB KC DET 30.50
24 Dameon Pierce RB HOU BAL 17.00
25 Miles Sanders RB CAR ATL 18.00
26 Isiah Pacheco RB KC DET 30.50
27 Cam Akers RB LA SEA 20.50
28 James Conner RB ARI WAS 15.50
29 Khalil Herbert RB CHI GB 22.00
30 D’Andre Swift RB PHI NE 24.50
31 Breece Hall RB NYJ BUF 22.00
32 Dalvin Cook RB NYJ BUF 22.00
33 James Cook RB BUF NYJ 24.50
34 Javonte Williams RB DEN LV 24.00
35 Samaje Perine RB DEN LV 24.00
36 Deon Jackson RB IND JAX 20.00
37 Kenneth Gainwell RB PHI NE 24.50
38 Jerick McKinnon RB KC DET 30.50
39 Antonio Gibson RB WAS ARI 22.50
40 AJ Dillon RB GB CHI 21.00
41 Tyler Allgeier RB ATL CAR 21.50
42 Zach Charbonnet RB SEA LA 26.00
43 Gus Edwards RB BAL HOU 27.00
44 Damien Harris RB BUF NYJ 24.50
45 Ezekiel Elliott RB NE PHI 20.50
46 Salvon Ahmed RB MIA LAC 24.00
47 Chuba Hubbard RB CAR ATL 18.00
48 Tank Bigsby RB JAX IND 25.00
49 Jaylen Warren RB PIT SF 19.50
50 Elijah Mitchell RB SF PIT 22.00
51 Jerome Ford RB CLE CIN 22.50
52 Devin Singletary RB HOU BAL 17.00
53 Evan Hull RB IND JAX 20.00
54 Ty Chandler RB MIN TB 25.75

Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions

Jahmyr Gibbs is an undersized rookie playing in his first NFL game. He’s also a sublime pass-catcher who averaged more than 400 receiving yards per season during his three years in college. The Detroit Lions lack a true WR2 with Jameson Williams suspended for the first six games, and they’ll need to throw to stay competitive against the Chiefs.

I already posted a receiving yards OVER I took in our free Discord, and wouldn’t be surprised if Gibbs finishes behind only Amon-Ra St. Brown for receptions on the team. The Kansas City Chiefs allowed the most receptions to running backs last year, along with the fourth-most receiving yards. There’s also a chance the Chiefs will be without star interior defensive lineman Chris Jones, who is currently holding out for a new contract.

Kenneth Walker, Seattle Seahawks

We know this Rams defense is challenging for the worst on-paper unit of the previous decade. We also know coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron have a propensity to turn their attention to the run in positive game environment situations.

The major pause with Kenneth Walker for Week 1 is not the matchup or talent but his uncertain role considering the selection of Zach Charbonnet in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. That said, we should feel relatively confident in Walker seeing the bulk of the rushing work, considering previous coaching tendencies exhibited by this coaching staff. This is the softest matchup this team will see all year. — Mark Garcia

Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins

He faces a Chargers defense that was the league’s worst unit last season, allowing 5.6 yards per carry to running backs. The Chargers’ defense once again looks like a unit better suited to defending the pass than the run. Raheem Mostert reached 14 carries in six games last year, and he reached 64 yards in all but one of those contests.

While his 31 receptions last year were a career-high, rookie De’Von Achane should be the team’s preferred pass-catching back this season. However, Achane missed the majority of the preseason with an AC joint sprain and is inactive for Week 1. Volume is king for running back fantasy points, and Mostert projects to be a workhorse in the game with the second-highest total projected by Vegas sportsbooks.

David Montgomery, Detroit Lions

Historically, first-round rookie running backs average 4.5 points in Week 1. I’m not saying to bench Bijan Robinson or Gibbs, but there is a steep learning curve to the NFL.

There’s a good chance David Montgomery gets the passing game work. Last year, he averaged three targets per game. No one is doubting he’ll have more carries than Gibbs in Week 1. I’d be comfortable firing up Montgomery as a high-end RB2. — Ben Wolby

Najee Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

The San Francisco 49ers‘ strong run defense is a recipe for a lower floor. It’s not crazy for running back-heavy drafters to sit Najee Harris for a better option in Week 1. The 49ers allowed just 14 total half-PPR points per game to running backs in 2022. While the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line has improved, they’ll be starting a rookie offensive tackle — growing pains for this unit should be expected.

Brian Robinson, Washington Commanders

He quietly averaged more than 17 carries per game as a rookie and now faces an Arizona Cardinals team on the fast track for the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. The Washington Commanders could easily win this game by multiple scores, and a heavy dose of Brian Robinson is what I anticipate. 

Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook

This is a situation to monitor, and ranking them back-to-back is most certainly a cop-out stance. Ultimately, I’d expect Dalvin Cook to receive slightly more total volume, with most of it coming on the ground. Breece Hall should be the preferred pass-catcher in this contest and can out-score Cook in fantasy on fewer touches.

I’ll adjust quickly for Week 2 depending on their usage against Buffalo. If you’re strictly concerned with volume and floor, James Cook from that same game is a worthy substitute.

Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine

The Broncos should dominate the Raiders in most facets of this game. I’d expect close to 15 touches for each back. Samaje Perine likely gets slightly more work on the ground. Javonte Williams flashed as a pass-catching weapon in limited action last year (only five backs had a higher target share than Williams’ 16.7 percent) and should lead the backfield in targets. 

D’Andre Swift, Rashaad Penny, Kenneth Gainwell

This is one of the messier backfields in fantasy, with three candidates who could lead this team in running back touches for Week 1. Based on Week 1 usage, all three of their rankings are likely to shift dramatically ahead of Week 2.

For those wondering why the headache is worth it, the Philadelphia Eagles finished with 32 rushing touchdowns in 2022 (33 percent more than any other team) and also delivered the fifth-most rushing yards as a team. For this matchup, I’d expect six-to-12 carries and three-to-six targets for D’Andre Swift; 12-to-15 carries for Rashaad Penny; three-to-eight carries and two-to-five targets for Kenneth Gainwell.

De’Von Achane

Editor’s note: Achane is inactive for Week 1

With Jeff Wilson on IR, fantasy managers should rightfully be excited about De’Von Achane’s 2023 outlook. However, Week 1 is probably too early to start him. There have been 22 rookie running backs taken in Round 3 who played in Week 1 over the past 10 seasons. The median PPR fantasy points from that group is 4.5. The average is being propped up by Kareem Hunt’s 45.6 fantasy point debut with the Chiefs. After Hunt, none of the other 21 running backs reached 15 points, and just three of those 21 even topped 10 PPR points.

Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints WR

Top 72 Wide Receivers

Rank Name Pos Team Opp Team Total
1 Ja’Marr Chase WR CIN CLE 25.00
2 Justin Jefferson WR MIN TB 25.75
3 Tyreek Hill WR MIA LAC 24.00
4 Amon-Ra St. Brown WR DET KC 24.00
5 CeeDee Lamb WR DAL NYG 25.00
6 DK Metcalf WR SEA LA 26.00
7 Stefon Diggs WR BUF NYJ 24.50
8 Keenan Allen WR LAC MIA 27.00
9 Garrett Wilson WR NYJ BUF 22.00
10 A.J. Brown WR PHI NE 24.50
11 Davante Adams WR LV DEN 20.00
12 Jaylen Waddle WR MIA LAC 24.00
13 Chris Olave WR NO TEN 22.00
14 Calvin Ridley WR JAX IND 25.00
15 Tee Higgins WR CIN CLE 25.00
16 Amari Cooper WR CLE CIN 22.50
17 DeAndre Hopkins WR TEN NO 19.00
18 DeVonta Smith WR PHI NE 24.50
19 Tyler Lockett WR SEA LA 26.00
20 Mike Williams WR LAC MIA 27.00
21 Chris Godwin WR TB MIN 19.75
22 Deebo Samuel WR SF PIT 22.00
23 DJ Moore WR CHI GB 22.00
24 Courtland Sutton WR DEN LV 24.00
25 Brandon Aiyuk WR SF PIT 22.00
26 Diontae Johnson WR PIT SF 19.50
27 Christian Kirk WR JAX IND 25.00
28 Michael Thomas WR NO TEN 22.00
29 Brandin Cooks WR DAL NYG 25.00
30 Terry McLaurin WR WAS ARI 22.50
31 Skyy Moore WR KC DET 30.50
32 Drake London WR ATL CAR 21.50
33 Jahan Dotson WR WAS ARI 22.50
34 Mike Evans WR TB MIN 19.75
35 Jordan Addison WR MIN TB 25.75
36 Zay Flowers WR BAL HOU 27.00
37 Treylon Burks WR TEN NO 19.00
38 Michael Pittman WR IND JAX 20.00
39 Gabe Davis WR BUF NYJ 24.50
40 Romeo Doubs WR GB CHI 21.00
41 Marquise Brown WR ARI WAS 15.50
42 George Pickens WR PIT SF 19.50
43 Rashod Bateman WR BAL HOU 27.00
44 JuJu Smith-Schuster WR NE PHI 20.50
45 Kadarius Toney WR KC DET 30.50
46 Elijah Moore WR CLE CIN 22.50
47 Odell Beckham WR BAL HOU 27.00
48 Marvin Mims WR DEN LV 24.00
49 Adam Thielen WR CAR ATL 18.00
50 Jakobi Meyers WR LV DEN 20.00
51 Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR SEA LA 26.00
52 Tyler Boyd WR CIN CLE 25.00
53 Allen Lazard WR NYJ BUF 22.00
54 Nico Collins WR HOU BAL 17.00
55 Zay Jones WR JAX IND 25.00
56 Van Jefferson WR LA SEA 20.50
57 Darnell Mooney WR TB MIN 19.75
58 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR CLE CIN 22.50
59 Jayden Reed WR GB CHI 21.00
60 Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR KC DET 30.50
61 Darius Slayton WR NYG DAL 21.50
62 Marvin Jones WR DET KC 24.00
63 Josh Palmer WR LAC MIA 27.00
64 Quentin Johnston WR LAC MIA 27.00
65 Josh Reynolds WR DET KC 24.00
66 Isaiah Hodgins WR NYG DAL 21.50
67 Curtis Samuel WR WAS ARI 22.50
68 Randall Cobb WR NYJ BUF 22.00
69 Michael Gallup WR DAL NYG 25.00
70 Jonathan Mingo WR CAR ATL 18.00
71 Tutu Atwell WR LA SEA 20.50
72 Puka Nacua WR LA SEA 20.50

Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals

The Browns have a new defensive coordinator in Jim Schwartz, and the one thing he has done in the past is utilize a lot of single-high coverages (one safety deep). Against this look, Ja’Marr Chase averages over three yards per route run. We are going to see Chase have a ceiling performance.  — Jordan Vanek

Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars

Indianapolis’ starting boundary cornerbacks this season are a second-year player and a rookie. According to Sports Info Solutions, Dallis Flowers only has 95 coverage snaps from last season and gave up 88 yards on 10 targets.

Calvin Ridley will play out wide for this team with Christian Kirk in the slot going up against Kenny Moore, who is the only returning starter. Ridley has an advantageous matchup, and I expect a boom week to kick off his return. — Jordan Vanek 

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

Jerry Jeudy was limited at practice beginning on Wednesday and appears on track to suit up for Week 1. Should he play, we may see a slight snap count where he’s only running 80 percent of the routes. His current ranking as a WR3 balances his upside with the potential for a down performance.

If Jeudy is active, he likely commands around 20 percent of the team’s targets, with Courtland Sutton also chipping in for a similar target share. Rookie Marvin Mims should be the third receiving option, but given his speed (4.38 40-time), Mims doesn’t need many opportunities to hit double-digit fantasy points. 

Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes’ pass yards prop has remained stable at around 286.5 yards, even with the uncertainty surrounding Travis Kelce. This is an offense that will move the ball regardless of personnel, and Moore should be the team’s full-time starting slot receiver. He’s a fantasy WR3 type who should be started in most 12-team leagues. Last year, the Detroit Lions allowed 23.6 PPR fantasy points per game to the slot, the highest in the NFL.

While their defense improved in the offseason, it’s still a suspect unit. JuJu Smith-Schuster managed 11.6 PPR points per game last year in this role, despite only scoring three touchdowns on the season. Had Smith-Schuster reached six touchdowns (a reasonable number for someone who caught 78 passes), he would have matched Garrett Wilson’s fantasy production. Moore could initially seem unproven after disappointing as a rookie, but his ability to earn the starting slot role in camp should give you confidence.

Michael Pittman, Indianapolis Colts

Fading Michael Pittman Jr. is almost entirely based on his situation. Sportsbooks are giving Anthony Richardson -230 odds (70 percent implied chance) to throw for fewer than 1.5 passing touchdowns. Richardson’s passing yardage prop should open around 200 yards, given DraftKings has the alt-line of 225 or more passing yards set at +165 (38 percent implied chance).

Only five teams have a lower implied team total than the Colts in the betting markets, too. The rookie signal-caller should funnel a lot of his looks to Pittman, but it’s tough to envision a strong fantasy ceiling when it’s Richardson’s first NFL start. He completed fewer than 54 percent of his passes during his final season at Florida, and he’s highly mobile. Twenty total pass attempts wouldn’t surprise me in this contest, and without Jonathan Taylor, the Jaguars can focus on Richardson and Pittman.

Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints

Chris Olave and the Saints host a Titans team that philosophically dedicates additional assets to the box on defense to slow down opposing run games. That typically evolves from a Cover 2 base and 3-4 front, which will keep safety Amani Hooker busy.

Historically, this aggressive defensive design has bled production to opposing wide receivers, particularly to the intermediate-to-deep areas of the field. Those are the exact areas where Olave runs the largest percentage of his routes. Olave is set up to smash in Week 1. — Mark Garcia

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

Deebo Samuel’s only WR1 season was when 20 percent of his points came from rushing plays.  It’s tough to see a path where the 49ers continue to use Samuel as a “wide back” after trading for McCaffrey. My model has projected Samuel with just two rushes.

Meanwhile, the Steelers allowed the third-fewest YPR (yards per rush) against the wide receiver position last season – and that’s without T.J. Watt for half the season. — Ben Wolby 

Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

Courtland Sutton reportedly slimmed down this offseason. Reportedly, he has looked more spry and agile entering his sixth professional season. Jerry Jeudy‘s injury is likely to keep him out in Week 1, adding to the multitude of injuries sustained by Broncos’ pass-catchers already this year.

I expect elevated rates of 12-personnel alignments due to those wide receiver injuries, which should keep both Sutton and rookie speedster Marvin Mims on the field for the majority of the offensive snaps against a Raiders secondary that couldn’t stop a sneeze last year. Start Sutton (and Mims) with confidence. — Mark Garcia

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans’ initial receiving prop line for the 2023 season was set at 950 yards, which ranked in the top 15. The matchup with the Vikings should generate an above-average rate of Cover 1 and man coverage alignments on the perimeter for Evans, away from the strength of their defense in slot corner/heavy safety Byron Murphy. Murphy should see the most snaps lined up opposite Chris Godwin.

Evans brings multi-touchdown upside, albeit with a scary-low floor. But that’s the price of admission with Evans, and if you drafted him in the sixth or seventh round to sit him in this matchup, you shouldn’t have drafted him at all. — Mark Garcia

Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams

In the only game Matthew Stafford and Van Jefferson played together in 2022 without Cooper Kupp, Jefferson saw a 28 percent team target share and a target on five of his 16 routes. Stafford’s first touchdown as a Ram was to Jefferson on a 67-yard bomb.

They have a connection, and without Kupp being a target hog, Jefferson moves from an irrelevant flex option to my model’s WR20. I’d be comfortable starting Jefferson as a flex or WR3. — Ben Wolby 

  Marvin Mims, Denver Broncos

Russell Wilson has had 36.1 percent of his passing touchdowns come from vertical routes. According to Sports Info Solutions, since 2018, Mims has ranked in the 98th percentile in yards per route run off this route in college. If you are dealing with the loss of Kupp or Kelce and need a spark, Mims is a high-upside flex play. — Jordan Vanek

Top 25 Tight Ends

Rank Name Pos Team Opp Team Total
1 T.J. Hockenson TE MIN TB 25.75
2 Darren Waller TE NYG DAL 21.50
3 George Kittle TE SF PIT 22.00
4 Dallas Goedert TE PHI NE 24.50
5 Tyler Higbee TE LA SEA 20.50
6 Kyle Pitts TE ATL CAR 21.50
7 Evan Engram TE JAX IND 25.00
8 Isaiah Likely TE BAL HOU 27.00
9 Noah Gray TE KC DET 30.50
10 David Njoku TE CLE CIN 22.50
11 Pat Freiermuth TE PIT SF 19.50
12 Chigoziem Okonkwo TE TEN NO 19.00
13 Juwan Johnson TE NO TEN 22.00
14 Greg Dulcich TE DEN LV 24.00
15 Dalton Schultz TE HOU BAL 17.00
16 Dalton Kincaid TE BUF NYJ 24.50
17 Sam LaPorta TE DET KC 24.00
18 Tyler Conklin TE NYJ BUF 22.00
19 Gerald Everett TE LAC MIA 27.00
20 Cole Kmet TE CHI GB 22.00
21 Luke Musgrave TE GB CHI 21.00
22 Jake Ferguson TE DAL NYG 25.00
23 Hayden Hurst TE CAR ATL 18.00
24 Hunter Henry TE NE PHI 20.50
25 Irv Smith TE CIN CLE 25.00

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

While we never like seeing our first-round picks get injured, at least the Chiefs play on Thursday night in Week 1, giving us time to pivot should Travis Kelce miss Week 1. Viable secondary options likely still on the waiver wire include Jake Ferguson, Luke Musgrave and even Taysom Hill against the Titans, assuming he holds tight end eligibility in your league.

I expect Hill to be utilized in a gadget role to soak up additional work out of the backfield, considering the multitude of injuries and suspensions in New Orleans, providing additional paths to fantasy goodness. – Mark Garcia

If Travis Kelce is Out

Noah Gray is a worthy starter if you’re a Kelce fantasy manager or someone trying to inflict pain upon the Kelce manager. I’d rank Gray around the Kyle PittsEvan Engram range for Week 1. Gray has requisite athleticism, as his 4.67 40-time is nearly identical to Kelce’s 4.66. Gray had two games last season with three catches for 45 receiving yards, and that feels like a general fantasy floor for him, should he start in place of Kelce.

The Chiefs receiving weapons are thin, with Moore and Toney projecting as the best target earners. Even with the Kelce uncertainty, betting markets are still confident in Mahomes, whose line is set at 286.5 passing yards. There should be ample opportunity for Chiefs receivers if Kelce sits, and Gray should deliver seven-to-15 fantasy points in this contest.

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

David Njoku quietly ranked second in red zone targets among tight ends a season ago with 20, yet only managed four touchdowns on the season as Watson and company struggled with consistency. Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anaroumo’s Cover-2 shell is highly adaptable to their weekly opponent. Still, it typically struggles to contain opposing tight ends in the handoff from linebacker to safety. This defensive unit lost two of the better safeties in the league this offseason through the departures of Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell.

Njoku’s elite 83.5 percent snap share and 78.3 percent route participation rate from 2022 should do well to provide numerous blow-up weeks this year. His matchup against Cincinnati could be the first of those eruptions. Start Njoku with confidence as a top-12 option at the position. – Mark Garcia

Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens

With Mark Andrews doubtful to play on Sunday (quad), Isaiah Likely is in line for a full-time tight end role. Last year, he played more than 50 percent of the snaps in three games, and his stat lines are shown below. Essentially, we are looking at two strong games and then one where he was bailed out by scoring a touchdown.

I usually err on the side of caution when a player is thrust into a starting role, but with Likely, he’s a starting-caliber tight end on an offense projected for nearly four touchdowns.

Week Snap % Targets Rec RecYds RecTD PPR Pts
8 67% 7 6 77 1 19.7
9 76% 5 1 24 1 9.4
18 88% 13 8 103 0 18.3
Average 77% 8.3 5 68 .67 15.8

Top 12 Defenses

Rank Name Pos Opp Opp Total
1 Ravens DST HOU 17
2 Cowboys DST NYG 21.5
3 Commanders DST ARI 15.5
4 Seahawks DST LA 20.5
5 49ers DST PIT 19.5
6 Steelers DST SF 22
7 Jaguars DST IND 20
8 Broncos DST LV 20
9 Packers DST CHI 22
10 Eagles DST NE 20.5
11 Falcons DST CAR 18
12 Vikings DST TB 19.75

Defense rankings and write-ups are courtesy of Ryan Reynolds.

  • Seahawks DST: The Seahawks offense could conceivably shred the Rams’ collection of unknown defenders. On top of that, Cooper Kupp will miss this contest, which reduces both the stability and ceiling of the Los Angeles offense.

  • Steelers DST: This should be a close game between two premium defenses. Pittsburgh has a significant trench advantage against San Francisco.

  • Jaguars DST: This is primarily a bet against Anthony Richardson in his NFL debut. Richardson’s athleticism is why he was the fourth overall pick because he was an inconsistent passer in college. The Jaguars have an exploitable secondary, but they are fast up front. Jacksonville is a volatile defense, but its strengths and weaknesses pair well with Richardon’s skill set.

  • Atlanta DST: Atlanta infused a ton of talent into their defense this offseason. In this matchup, they get Bryce Young in his NFL debut, where we expect the rookie to have to play from behind late.

  • Vikings DST: Our Week 1 waiver wire column outlines the reasoning behind the Vikings here.

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