Christian's Week 1 Fantasy Rankings
We made it. We're actually to the start of the NFL season and you can't find anyone more excited than me (might be hyperbole, but you get the point). You've probably already set your lineup - I know I set mine about three weeks ago - but there's still time to evaluate if you made the right choice. If you're here for the chalky rankings, head over to FantasyPros instead for the Expert Consensus Rankings.
I am not chalky. I'm positive I'll miss a ton. I am also positive that against the grain advice is sometimes necessary. You may be staring at a Keenan Allen vs. DJ Chark dilemma and struggling. ECR would have you start Keenan. I would say that's foolish. Without further adieu, let's dive into my Week 1 fantasy rankings.
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Patrick Mahomes (vs. Texans) Juicy matchup? Check. Best quarterback in the league? Check. The Texans pass rush is just a big oof and their secondary isn't spectacular either. Couple that information with the best quarterback alive (talent-wise), and you get the QB1.
Russell Wilson (at Falcons) The Seahawks will line Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf up against Isaiah Oliver and AJ Terrell. Mr. Unlimited should truly be that in Week 1.
Lamar Jackson (vs. Browns) I think the Browns defense is going to come out and surprise people. Lamar tends to feast against the Cleveland defense, so even if they surprise people, he's virtually guaranteed a top-five finish.
Dak Prescott (at Rams) Fun fact: Dak had one of his worst fantasy performances against the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. The Cowboys also won 44-21. Although I believe the Cowboys will be a very good team this year, I think this could be a shootout. Sign me up for Dak Week 1.
Matt Ryan (vs. Seahawks) The perception is that the Seahawks have a very formidable secondary. The reality is that, outside of Shaq Griffin, the corners aren't very good. Calvin Ridley should feast and Julio will get his. Matt Ryan may throw for 500 yards in this one, folks.
Josh Allen (vs. Jets)
Matthew Stafford (vs. Bears)
Carson Wentz (at Football Team)
Tom Brady (at Saints) Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette died so TB12 could live. The Saints have more issues on defense then people would like to talk about, and I think Tom gets his Tampa career off to a good start.
Kyler Murray (at 49ers)
Deshaun Watson (at Chiefs)
Drew Brees (vs. Buccaneers)
Baker Mayfield (at Ravens) "But Christian, Baker can't possibly be good against the Ravens!!!" He averaged 19.43 fantasy points against Baltimore in 2019, he's going to operate an offense that's tailored to his strengths, and he's ready to roll. Start Baker; this is my cautious rank.
Gardner Minshew (vs. Colts)
Derek Carr (at Panthers) Derek Carr was once an MVP candidate when he had two viable receiving options. He now has 4 (Waller, Renfrow, Ruggs, and Edwards). Add in the fact he's playing a secondary that should affirmatively suck and you have a likely top-15 performance. *Start of the Week*
Ryan Fitzpatrick (at Patriots)
Ben Roethlisberger (at Giants) I effectively have no clue what will happen with Big Ben this year. I do know that the Giants defense is nothing to write home about (though, could develop and become a viable option for your lineup later, but that's beside the point). If Ben is his old self, this is low. If he's not, this is high. Call me a coward, but I'll slot him right in the middle out of caution.
Cam Newton (vs. Dolphins)
Aaron Rodgers (at Vikings)
Jared Goff (vs. Cowboys)
Drew Lock (vs. Titans)
Ryan Tannehill (at Broncos) Another one of those guys that I'll be cautious on. He could very well build off of his crazy good fantasy performances in 2019, but he could also struggle against the Denver defense in the Mile High City. I'm optimistic it's more the former, which is why he slots in at QB22 for Week 1.
Jimmy Garoppolo (vs. Cardinals)
Dwayne Haskins (vs. Eagles) A1, baby.
Photo by the Associated Press
Christian McCaffrey (vs. Raiders) Duh.
Dalvin Cook (vs. Packers)
Saquon Barkley (vs. Steelers)
Joe Mixon (vs. Chargers) New deal, new role. I think Mixon is finally going to be utilized as the workhorse he is (even though he wasn't far off - just keep Gio Bernard off the damn field) and with a rookie QB getting his first game action, I'd guess Mixon gets at least 5 receptions with one for a score.
Austin Ekeler (at Bengals) Here's a guy I was low on for months. And months. And months. And here we are Week 1 and I have him as a top-five back. The Bengals defense is still not great, despite the copious amounts of money that was dedicated to that side of the ball. Ekeler should have a big day on Sunday.
Josh Jacobs (at Panthers)
Ezekiel Elliott (at Rams)
Aaron Jones (at Vikings) Coach Matt LaFleur has been hyping his system as a three-headed monster here for a couple of weeks. The good thing for Aaron Jones is he's the main guy. AJ Dillon may cut into a little of his goal line work in Week 1, but I don't expect that to be a mainstay until later in the year. Aaron Jones should benefit from a run-first offense against a pretty damn average Vikings defensive front.
Miles Sanders (at Football Team)
Derrick Henry (at Broncos)
James Conner (at Giants) As much as we've faded Conner for his injury risk, we need to discuss his weekly upside until that risk turns to reality. James Conner will be the workhorse against a defense that gave up the 13th-most rushing yards in the league in 2019. Start him up, folks. *Start of the Week*
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs. Texans)
Alvin Kamara (vs. Buccaneers) The Tampa defensive front was best-in-league in 2019. They are also returning their entire starting front seven, meaning it could be a rough day for Alvin Kamara. Add in the epidural, and Kamara is a guy I wouldn't be excited about for Week 1.
Chris Carson (at Falcons)
Todd Gurley (vs. Seahawks)
Mark Ingram (vs. Browns)
Kenyan Drake (at 49ers) After dealing with injury the last two weeks of training camp heading into Week 1, Kenyan Drake could lose some snaps to Chase Edmonds. The good thing is that if he doesn't, he has already shown us he can tear up the 49ers defense with a combined 242 total yards, a score, and 10 catches against them in 2019.
James White (vs. Dolphins)
David Johnson (at Chiefs)
Nick Chubb (at Ravens) Nick Chubb's first matchup against the Baltimore Ravens in 2019 went extremely well, as he finished as the RB1 in all scoring formats. But that happened before Kareem Hunt rejoined the team and (spoiler alert), Kareem Hunt is with the team now. Chubb has tremendous upside every time he steps on the field, but he's not a guy I would love to start in Week 1.
Jonathan Taylor (at Jaguars)
Kareem Hunt (at Ravens)
Tarik Cohen (at Lions)
Antonio Gibson (vs. Eagles) Oh, baby. The release of Adrian Peterson last week signified that this is Antonio Gibson's backfield (despite all of the mean things Sean said about him on the podcast for the last three months). I expect a very big performance out of the rookie in Week 1.
Le'veon Bell (at Bills)
Phillip Lindsay (vs Titans)
Ronald Jones (at Saints) F*ck Bruce Arians.
Raheem Mostert (vs. Cardinals)
Cam Akers (vs. Cowboys) I've been coming up on Akers for weeks now, and I think my PRBS Score for him definitely plays a role in this ranking. He's going to be the lead back, and I think it happens for him in Week 1.
JK Dobbins (vs. Browns)
Kerryon Johnson (vs. Bears) D'Andre Swift has a case of the Will Fullers and may not have a prominent role in Week 1 for the Lions. Adrian Peterson should get limited work. Insert the forgotten man, Kerryon Johnson. His long-term outlook isn't great, but he's a solid flex option for you in Week 1.
Nyheim Hines (at Jaguars)
Chris Thompson (vs. Colts)
Duke Johnson (at Chiefs) Don't sleep on Duke.
Jordan Howard (at Patriots)
Devin Singletary (vs. Jets)
Photo by Brett Davis/USA Today Sports
Michael Thomas (vs. Buccaneers)
Tyreek Hill (vs. Texans)
Davante Adams (at Vikings)
Kenny Golladay (vs. Bears)
DJ Chark (vs. Colts) The Jaguars are going to pass the ball 50 times in this matchup. DJ Chark is going to get at least 13 of those targets. Start. Him. Up.
Calvin Ridley (vs. Seahawks) Time to put my money where my mouth is.
Terry McLaurin (vs. Eagles)
Juju Smith-Schuster (at Giants) As low as I am on Juju, this isn't a matchup I'd shy away from. The Giants were the fifth-worst team against the pass last year, and Juju will have his quarterback back and (allegedly) healthy. He'll also get bumped back into the slot, meaning that the sky is the limit for Juju in Week 1.
DJ Moore (vs. Raiders)
Julio Jones (vs. Seahawks)
AJ Brown (at Broncos)
Will Fuller (at Chiefs) When healthy, Will Fuller is a top-20 wide receiver. Add in the likelihood that he will get some of the DeAndre Hopkins work, and I think he establishes himself as the clear WR1 for the Texans beginning in Week 1. *Start of the Week*
Amari Cooper (at Rams)
Mike Evans (at Saints)
Allen Robinson (at Lions)
Stefon Diggs (vs. Jets)
Chris Godwin (at Saints)
Robert Woods (vs. Cowboys)
Adam Thielen (vs. Packers)
Tyler Boyd (vs. Chargers)
TY Hilton (at Jaguars) This feels low. The Jaguars are going to be the matchup that everyone seeks out to exploit this season, and while they do have DJ Hayden (or maybe they just let CJ Henderson get cooked?) to cover TY, he should still establish a quick rapport with Philip Rivers.
Tyler Lockett (at Falcons)
Preston Williams (at Patriots) The number one option for Ryan Fitzpatrick when healthy finishes as the number one receiver for his team Week 1. Makes sense to me.
Odell Beckham Jr. (at Ravens)
Marquise Brown (vs. Browns)
Michael Gallup (at Rams)
DK Metcalf (at Falcons)
DeAndre Hopkins (at 49ers) If you don't know by now, DeAndre Hopkins was a massive ADP fade for me in drafts. He gets a tough matchup and less volume than he's ever experienced here. Count me out.
Cooper Kupp (vs. Cowboys)
Jamison Crowder (at Bills) The range of outcomes for Jamison Crowder is WR7-WR35. I have him on the low-end here, but don't be shocked if he finishes above a ton of these guys. I won't be.
Marvin Jones (vs. Bears)
Keenan Allen (at Bengals)
Courtland Sutton (vs. Titans)
Sterling Shepard (vs. Steelers) I still don't know how Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate will all work on the same team together. I do know that of the two receivers I listed, I'd rather have the former. Shepard should be his boring PPR-friendly self in Week 1, and that's not a bad thing.
Hunter Renfrow (at Panthers)
Jarvis Landry (at Ravens)
Photo by New York Jets
Travis Kelce (vs. Texans)
George Kittle (vs. Cardinals)
Zach Ertz (at Football Team)
Mark Andrews (vs. Browns)
Hayden Hurst (vs. Seahawks)
Chris Herndon (at Bills) With Denzel Mims running his first live routes in front of Adam Gase last week and the rest of the injuries to pass catchers, Chris Herndon could very well be the benefactor. I think it's a big, surprising opening week for Herndon. *Start of the Week*
Jonnu Smith (at Broncos) #JonnuSZN
Dallas Goedert (at Football Team)
Evan Engram (vs. Steelers)
Austin Hooper (at Ravens)
Blake Jarwin (at Rams)
Noah Fant (vs. Broncos)
Mike Gesicki (at Patriots)
Hunter Henry (at Bengals)
Tyler Higbee (vs. Cowboys)
Darren Waller (at Panthers) When things get tough, Carr will rely on Waller. The problem is I don't think many things will be tough for the Raiders this weekend.
Eric Ebron (at Giants)
Irv Smith Jr. (vs. Packers)
TJ Hockenson (vs. Bears)
OJ Howard (at Saints)
Logan Thomas (vs. Eagles)
Will Dissly (at Falcons) If Dissly is unleashed, he could very well finish as a TE1 this week. He probably won't be unleashed (yet).
David Njoku (at Ravens)
Jared Cook (vs. Buccaneers)