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Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings

Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings
Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings

A week from today, nearly everyone interested in NFL football will be talking about how we just witnessed the craziest first week of football ever. Like clockwork, everyone will be amazed how some third-string RB and special-team WR scored three TDs or went for 150-plus yards. Every week, there is tremendous variance in football; we just don’t have relevant, applicable data yet. We can use stats from last season, but every team has changed since then, some in very significant ways, on both offense and defense.

Fantasy Rankings Methodology

My usual process is only to take data from the previous six weeks. I believe anything older than that holds little relevance unless a player returns from injury or has some reason to discount the newer information. In Week 1, we have very little reliable information. The last six weeks of the previous season can give some indication, and the preseason could provide a glimpse of what’s to come, or it could be a mirage.

Camp reports become essential but are usually biased, so they can’t be taken verbatim. Week 1 rankings become fairly narrative based, and I will try to include that information as the week progresses. I think the best way to start our Week 1 approach is to look at implied team totals based on Vegas odds and adjust from there. We need to pay attention to DFS articles and individual player prop-bets (over/under) to get a good idea of how to project median outcomes.

When examining these rankings, consider that I am really only looking at positional ranks, not flex or overall rankings. When it comes to who you start in the flex, a lot will depend on your specific league rules and roster construction. If players are ranked within three spots of each other, the difference between them is negligible; they are expected to score the same amount of points, so in those cases, go with your gut, flip a coin, or ask Larky.

Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings - RBs and WRs (Tier 1)

RB Team Rank WR Team
Jonathan Taylor IND 1 Justin Jefferson MIN
Christian McCaffrey CAR 2 Ja'Marr Chase CIN
Derrick Henry TEN 3 Davante Adams LV
Austin Ekeler LAC 4 Cooper Kupp LAR
Joe Mixon CIN 5 Stefon Diggs BUF
Dalvin Cook MIN 6 A.J. Brown PHI
Alvin Kamara NO 7 Deebo Samuel SF
Najee Harris PIT 8 CeeDee Lamb DAL
D'Andre Swift DET 9 Mike Evans TB
Aaron Jones GB 10 Tyreek Hill MIA
James Conner ARI 11 Michael Pittman Jr. IND
Nick Chubb CLE 12 Tee Higgins CIN
Saquon Barkley NYG 13 Courtland Sutton DEN
Leonard Fournette TB 14 Mike Williams LAC
Javonte Williams DEN 15 DJ Moore CAR
Ezekiel Elliott DAL 16 Keenan Allen LAC
Josh Jacobs LV 17 Jaylen Waddle MIA
Antonio Gibson WAS 18 Christian Kirk JAC
Elijah Mitchell SF 19 Terry McLaurin WAS
David Montgomery CHI 20 Diontae Johnson PIT
Travis Etienne Jr. JAC 21 Brandin Cooks HOU
Chase Edmonds MIA 22 Marquise Brown ARI
AJ Dillon GB 23 DK Metcalf SEA
Cam Akers LAR 24 Gabe Davis BUF
Damien Harris NE 25 Jerry Jeudy DEN
Rashaad Penny SEA 26 Allen Robinson II LAR
Breece Hall NYJ 27 Amon-Ra St. Brown DET
Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC 28 Rashod Bateman BAL
Cordarrelle Patterson ATL 29 JuJu Smith-Schuster KC
Dameon Pierce HOU 30 Darnell Mooney CHI

I’m lower than most on Cam Akers this week. The Rams were 31st in the league in rushing EPA in 202; they also lost two starting offensive linemen this offseason. With Akers coming off an injury and most likely splitting the workload, only a random TD will save his stat line this week.

I’m also below ECR on Breece Hall. I expect Hall to split touches with Carter for a few weeks, although he is likelier to pop a big run.

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I'm optimistic for CeeDee Lamb this week. It’s expected that Dallas will have a similar game plan as they did in their opener against Tampa last year and throw the ball at an over 80% rate. Running the ball against Tampa has proven futile in the past couple of years.

Christian Kirk saw eight targets in the 32 plays with the first-team offense in preseason Week 3. I expect him to see at least ten targets a game.

Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings - QBs and TEs

QB Team Rank TE Team
Patrick Mahomes KC 1 Mark Andrews BAL
Lamar Jackson BAL 2 Travis Kelce KC
Jalen Hurts PHI 3 Darren Waller LV
Justin Herbert LAC 4 Kyle Pitts ATL
Josh Allen BUF 5 Dalton Schultz DAL
Kyler Murray ARI 6 Dallas Goedert PHI
Russell Wilson DEN 7 George Kittle SF
Joe Burrow CIN 8 Pat Freiermuth PIT
Trey Lance SF 9 Albert Okwuegbunam DEN
Tom Brady TB 10 T.J. Hockenson DET
Aaron Rodgers GB 11 Zach Ertz ARI
Dak Prescott DAL 12 Dawson Knox BUF
Derek Carr LV 13 Cole Kmet CHI
Kirk Cousins MIN 14 David Njoku CLE
Matthew Stafford LAR 15 Hunter Henry NE
Jameis Winston NO 16 Mike Gesicki MIA
Matt Ryan IND 17 Gerald Everett LAC
Tua Tagovailoa MIA 18 Robert Tonyan GB
Justin Fields CHI 19 Irv Smith Jr. MIN
Trevor Lawrence JAC 20 Evan Engram JAC
Ryan Tannehill TEN 21 Austin Hooper TEN
Carson Wentz WAS 22 Tyler Higbee LAR
Daniel Jones NYG 23 Noah Fant SEA
Jared Goff DET 24 Hayden Hurst CIN
Mac Jones NE 25 Mo Alie-Cox IND
Davis Mills HOU 26 Cameron Brate TB
Baker Mayfield CAR 27 C.J. Uzomah NYJ
Mitch Trubisky PIT 28 Brevin Jordan HOU
Jacoby Brissett CLE 29 Logan Thomas WAS
Marcus Mariota ATL 30 Tyler Conklin NYJ

Josh Allen might have to run to get his points this week, The Rams (48.6%) allowed the second lowest rate of touchdowns to come by passing in 2021.

I’m discounting the entire Rams passing offense this week. The Bills ranked first in the league in the lowest rate (38.7%) of passing touchdowns allowed last season.

Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings - RBs and WRs (Tier 2)

RB Team Rank WR Team
Kareem Hunt CLE 31 Elijah Moore NYJ
Miles Sanders PHI 32 Michael Thomas NO
Rhamondre Stevenson NE 33 Amari Cooper CLE
Tony Pollard DAL 34 Allen Lazard GB
Devin Singletary BUF 35 Hunter Renfrow LV
J.K. Dobbins BAL 36 Adam Thielen MIN
Melvin Gordon III DEN 37 DeVonta Smith PHI
Michael Carter NYJ 38 Brandon Aiyuk SF
Darrell Henderson Jr. LAR 39 Tyler Lockett SEA
Nyheim Hines IND 40 Drake London ATL
Jamaal Williams DET 41 Chris Godwin TB
James Cook BUF 42 Robert Woods TEN
J.D. McKissic WAS 43 Russell Gage TB
James Robinson JAC 44 Jakobi Meyers NE
Raheem Mostert MIA 45 Chase Claypool PIT
Kenneth Gainwell PHI 46 Marquez Valdes-Scantling KC
Khalil Herbert CHI 47 Kadarius Toney NYG
Mark Ingram II NO 48 Chris Olave NO
Alexander Mattison MIN 49 Tyler Boyd CIN
Damien Williams ATL 50 Treylon Burks TEN
Ameer Abdullah LV 51 Jarvis Landry NO
Samaje Perine CIN 52 Garrett Wilson NYJ
Jeff Wilson Jr. SF 53 Jahan Dotson WAS
Zamir White LV 54 George Pickens PIT
Tyler Allgeier ATL 55 Julio Jones TB
Ken Walker III SEA 56 Rondale Moore ARI
Mike Davis BAL 57 DJ Chark Jr. DET
Kenyan Drake BAL 58 DeVante Parker NE
Jerick McKinnon KC 59 Randall Cobb GB
Boston Scott PHI 60 Marvin Jones Jr. JAC


For updates follow me on Twitter at @FF_Wheeler. These rankings will be updated on Sunday mornings here (hyperlinked).