Fantasy

Week 1 NFL Fantasy Football: Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

start 'em sit 'em

The wait is finally over; welcome to the 2022 NFL season!

I’ve been playing fantasy football for more than 15 years, and I can truly say it gets better and better every year. I spend hours researching, analyzing data and matchups to help me gain a competitive advantage against my opponents. This season I’ll be sharing that information with you every week, helping you gain an advantage as well.

Week 1 is always the most exciting and nerve-racking week of the season. All we want is for the team we put together to prove it can compete. Starting 0-1 isn’t the end of the world, but it’s never a good feeling. I’m here to help you make the right choices, hopefully helping you get that coveted first W!

We won’t cover too many players so if you have specific questions after reading this you can reach out to me via Twitter @lordmattyice.

With that said, let’s kick things off!

START ‘EM

Marquise Brown 

Arizona will host Kansas City to start the year, and this game has a shootout written all over it (O/U 54). Hollywood will make his debut as a Cardinal, and it should be a dominant performance. The Chiefs were terrible against the pass last season. Not only were they in the bottom five in overall sacks, but they also gave up the 6th most passing yards last year and they lost their star safety, Tyrann Mathieu. The receiving core for Kyler Murray looks somewhat shaky right now. Hopkins is suspended, Ertz has a groin injury, A.J. Green is 34 years old and Rondale Moore is out. Hollywood is going to ball out this Sunday.

Dalton Schultz

Another team whose receiving core looks a little washed is the Dallas Cowboys. Amari Cooper was traded to Cleveland, Cedrick Wilson went to Miami and Michael Gallup is still making his way back from an ACL tear. CeeDee Lamb will garner a ton of attention from the Buccaneers’ secondary, although I’m not sure that will help. But that’ll also open things up for Schultz who ranked 3rd in receptions last year at the TE position. This game has an O/U of 51, and last year, the final score was 31-29. By the way, in that game, Cooper had 13 catches for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns. The targets must go somewhere, and I believe a lot of them will go to Schultz. He’s a high-end TE this week.

A.J. Dillon

Sticking with our theme of poor receiving groups, the Packers might have the worst receiving core in the league this season. This will benefit the backfield duo of AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones all year; Rodgers even came out and said they could each catch 50 balls. Not only will he catch passes, but he’ll also be able to run the ball effectively against a Vikings defense that allowed 4.7 YPC last season. He’ll finish with at least 13 touches, which will be more than enough for a productive fantasy output. If you were lucky enough to draft him this year, congratulations. Start him.

Kirk Cousins 

On the other side of that game, the Vikings’ offense will be completely different this year. They hired Kevin O’Connell, who served as the offensive coordinator for the pass-heavy L.A. Rams. So long to the Gary Kubiak run-heavy scheme that we saw in Minnesota the last few years. Even in that offense, Cousins still threw for 4,221 yards, 33 TDs and only 7 INTs. I know the Packers’ defense is not a team you necessarily want to pick on, however they aren’t unbeatable. The Vikings’ defense is also nothing special, so if they’re playing from behind it makes it an even greater start. “YOU LIKE THAT?”

SIT ‘EM

Diontae Johnson

Mitchell Trubisky has just been named the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh. For the first few years of his career, Johnson thrived in PPR, due to Big Ben targeting him at an absurd 28.5% rate last year. Losing that chemistry is certainly a blow to Johnson’s fantasy value. He also missed a little bit of time in the preseason due to a lingering shoulder injury, and the Steelers spent a 2nd round pick on George Pickens. Keep him on your bench this week, if you can.

Breece Hall

The Jets’ offense is in shambles before the season even started. They lost their top tackle Machi Becton to a season-ending knee injury. They lost Zach Wilson for multiple weeks with a meniscus tear. Duane Brown, who they signed after Becton got hurt is out after missing practice with a shoulder injury. Hall is a super talented rookie who’s in a bad situation. Going against a stout Ravens run defense that allowed only 3.8 YPC last year, he’s way too risky for me to start this week. New York is coming in as 7-point underdogs at home and have Joe Flacco under center. I probably can name a few more reasons why NOT to start Hall, but I think you get the point.

Amari Cooper

Another team that’s in the spotlight – and not for good reason – is the Cleveland Browns. I’m just glad the Deshaun Watson saga is over. Insert Jacoby Brissett for the first 11 weeks, and this offense has taken a turn for the worst. They’re going to be super boring for fantasy, and I think the only viable options to start this week are Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Brissett is not known to be a great passer, but rather just a game manager. I don’t expect him to throw more than 20-25 passes, which means Cooper won’t have enough volume to do any significant damage. Hopefully, you’ve prepared and drafted some depth at the WR position.

SMASH START OF THE WEEK

Christian Kirk

Christian Kirk is one of my favorite breakout players this year. The Jags signed him to a 4-year, $72 million dollar contract making him one of the highest-paid WRs in the league. Some may say this was a bit of an overpay, but only time will tell. Kirk was always a good player stuck in a crowded Arizona Cardinals offense. Now, he gets his shot to be the No. 1 target for Trevor Lawrence. The Commanders were arguably the worst team against the pass last year, allowing a league-high 34 TDs and only 11 INTs. They’re also missing their best player in Chase Young, who’s still recovering from an ACL tear he suffered last season.

Things are trending up for Jacksonville this season after hiring Doug Peterson, a.k.a. the quarterback whisperer, as head coach. Look for Lawrence to have a breakout year as well. This is a brand-new offense that features some young, explosive players. The cherry on top: in the one preseason game that Kirk played, he was targeted 8 times and had 5 receptions for 54 yards, all in one half of play. Smash Start Kirk. The breakout is coming.

Good Luck!

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