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Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings From the Most Accurate Experts

Sep 12, 2020

Here’s a look at Week 1 fantasy football rankings from our most accurate experts of the 2019 season. These rankings are for half-PPR scoring fantasy football formats.

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Week 1 Quarterback Rankings

Rank Quarterbacks Team Opp Best Worst Avg Std Dev Proj. Pts
1 Patrick Mahomes KC vs. HOU 1 2 1.3 0.4 23.6
2 Lamar Jackson BAL vs. CLE 1 2 1.7 0.4 22.5
3 Dak Prescott DAL at LAR 3 14 3.2 0.5 21.4
4 Russell Wilson SEA at ATL 3 6 4.1 0.5 20.5
5 Deshaun Watson HOU at KC 3 9 5.2 0.9 19.7
6 Drew Brees NO vs. TB 4 10 6.3 0.9 19.2
7 Josh Allen BUF vs. NYJ 5 9 7.1 0.9 18.8
8 Matt Ryan ATL vs. SEA 6 9 7.3 0.7 18.5
9 Carson Wentz PHI at WAS 8 13 10.3 1.3 18.2
10 Ben Roethlisberger PIT at NYG 9 14 10.4 1.2 17.9
11 Cam Newton NE vs. MIA 8 15 11 1.6 17.8
12 Kyler Murray ARI at SF 8 18 11.8 1.3 17.6
13 Tom Brady TB at NO 4 17 12.1 1.8 17.5
14 Jared Goff LAR vs. DAL 7 17 14.2 1 17.4
15 Jimmy Garoppolo SF vs. ARI 11 29 15.3 1.2 17.3
16 Matthew Stafford DET vs. CHI 13 26 16.4 1.9 17.1
17 Aaron Rodgers GB at MIN 14 25 16.9 1.4 17
18 Tyrod Taylor LAC at CIN 13 19 17.6 1.2 16.8
19 Gardner Minshew II JAC vs. IND 12 23 18.9 0.8 16.6
20 Derek Carr LV at CAR 12 26 20.2 1.3 16.4

 
Cam Newton (NE)
There are a lot of question marks surrounding the former NFL MVP. Not only did he have multiple surgeries and is starting over in a new offense, but he’s now 31 years old and might lose some of his mobility that made him so valuable in fantasy football. The Dolphins as his first opponent should be interesting, as they’re a team with many changes on the defensive side of the ball. Oddly enough, most of those changes include former Patriots. On top of that, Brian Flores is their head coach, who knows Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels all too well. In two games against the Dolphins last year, Tom Brady threw for 485 yards and four touchdowns, so it wasn’t like they couldn’t gameplan efficiently against Flores’ defense. Knowing the Patriots running back situation is questionable at best, they’re likely going to lean on Newton a bit more than they’d like in Week 1. The Dolphins did allow a league-high 39 passing touchdowns last year, including at least two passing touchdowns to 14-of-16 quarterbacks, but their secondary has been overhauled and now has legitimate talent. The scheme also limited the rushing totals of quarterbacks, as they allowed just 128 rushing yards to quarterbacks all season long. Almost half of them were to Josh Allen, someone who’s often compared to Cam Newton. For what that’s worth, Allen crushed this defense for 256 passing yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 56 yards and a touchdown. Newton has many variables, but he should produce low-end QB1/high-end QB2 numbers. We know there’s upside for more, though they’re not likely to be a well-oiled machine out of the gate.

Matthew Stafford (DET)
Stafford’s one of the better QBs in the NFL, but this matchup doesn’t exactly instill confidence in starting him right out of the gate. This Bears defense is among the league’s best and it should give Stafford a hard time in week one. I’d recommend looking elsewhere at the QB position this week if you can.

Tyrod Taylor (LAC)
With no preseason games, this was clearly Taylor’s team for Week 1. Going against the Bengals should only help him carry that crown into Week 2. Despite facing the second-fewest pass attempts in the league last year, the Bengals allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to the quarterback position. What benefits Taylor more than anything is that they allowed a league-high 489 yards and five touchdowns on the ground to quarterbacks alone. By comparison, the Bucs allowed just 907 yards and eight rushing touchdowns to running backs last year. There were five different occasions where they allowed 46 or more rushing yards, which is another passing touchdown, and then some. There were also eight quarterbacks who threw multiple touchdowns against them. Now, to be fair, the Bengals did make a big acquisition with defensive tackle D.J. Reader, though he’s going to be more of a force against running backs going up the middle rather than quarterbacks scrambling. Not only that, but they also added both Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander to their cornerback unit, which should be an upgrade over Dre Kirkpatrick, B.W. Webb, and Darqueze Dennard. This isn’t as good of a matchup as it was last year, but Taylor’s floor is solid enough to consider him a high-floor QB2 streamer this week who might sneak into the top-12.

Week 1 Running Back Rankings

Rank Running Backs Team Opp Best Worst Avg Std Dev Proj. Pts
1 Christian McCaffrey CAR vs. LV 1 3 1.2 0.5 20.7
2 Ezekiel Elliott DAL at LAR 1 6 2.2 0.6 18.2
3 Dalvin Cook MIN vs. GB 1 4 2.8 0.4 18.1
4 Saquon Barkley NYG vs. PIT 4 9 4.4 1.2 17.4
5 Josh Jacobs LV at CAR 2 7 5 0.9 16.6
6 Derrick Henry TEN at DEN 5 13 6.1 0.9 16.6
7 Alvin Kamara NO vs. TB 4 12 6.8 0.8 16.2
8 Austin Ekeler LAC at CIN 7 11 8.1 0.7 15.7
9 Joe Mixon CIN vs. LAC 7 13 9.1 0.5 15.3
10 Clyde Edwards-Helaire KC vs. HOU 5 18 10.4 1.4 15.1
11 Aaron Jones GB at MIN 9 14 10.9 0.8 14.9
12 James Conner PIT at NYG 6 13 11.7 1.6 13.9
13 Miles Sanders PHI at WAS 8 17 12.3 1.4 13.7
14 Chris Carson SEA at ATL 12 19 14.4 1 13.6
15 Kenyan Drake ARI at SF 13 21 14.9 0.6 13.6
16 Todd Gurley ATL vs. SEA 14 18 16.1 0.7 13.1
17 Nick Chubb CLE at BAL 14 20 16.6 1.1 13.1
18 David Johnson HOU at KC 12 20 17.6 1.5 12.9
19 Mark Ingram II BAL vs. CLE 18 22 19.2 1 11.7
20 Raheem Mostert SF vs. ARI 18 22 19.9 0.7 11.3
21 Melvin Gordon DEN vs. TEN 18 24 21.3 0.9 10.5
22 Le’Veon Bell NYJ at BUF 19 24 21.9 0.9 10.4
23 Jonathan Taylor IND at JAC 20 31 23.2 1.8 10.3
24 Devin Singletary BUF vs. NYJ 23 31 25.4 1.6 10.1
25 Cam Akers LAR vs. DAL 17 38 26.2 2 9.9
26 Marlon Mack IND at JAC 23 32 26.3 2.1 9.8
27 James White NE vs. MIA 24 34 26.8 1.7 9.4
28 Antonio Gibson WAS vs. PHI 24 33 27.9 2.2 9
29 Kareem Hunt CLE at BAL 24 37 28.7 2.1 8.4
30 Tarik Cohen CHI at DET 25 41 29.4 2.6 8.3
31 Ronald Jones II TB at NO 28 35 30.4 1.1 8.2
32 Sony Michel NE vs. MIA 29 41 33.6 2.5 8.2
33 Phillip Lindsay DEN vs. TEN 26 42 34.1 2.6 8.2
34 Jordan Howard MIA at NE 30 46 36.5 3.1 8.1
35 J.K. Dobbins BAL vs. CLE 33 51 36.7 2.9 7.9
36 Zack Moss BUF vs. NYJ 31 49 37.3 1.5 7.8
37 D’Andre Swift DET vs. CHI 30 49 37.8 3.7 7.6
38 Boston Scott PHI at WAS 34 48 38.1 3.4 7.6
39 Chris Thompson JAC vs. IND 34 46 40.7 3.1 7.3
40 Matt Breida MIA at NE 32 45 41.2 2.8 7.3
41 Darrel Williams KC vs. HOU 23 53 41.5 5 7
42 James Robinson JAC vs. IND 29 79 41.8 6.1 7
43 Tevin Coleman SF vs. ARI 33 49 42.1 3.3 7
44 Kerryon Johnson DET vs. CHI 32 51 43 3 6.9
45 Latavius Murray NO vs. TB 39 48 44.1 1.6 6.7
46 Leonard Fournette TB at NO 37 53 44.3 4.2 6.4
47 Duke Johnson HOU at KC 42 59 48.5 3 6.2
48 Rex Burkhead NE vs. MIA 42 56 48.5 3.6 6.2
49 Joshua Kelley LAC at CIN 34 55 48.9 2.7 6.1
50 Malcolm Brown LAR vs. DAL 44 55 50 2.4 6

 
James Conner (PIT)
I’m pretty sure Conner and the other running backs will be happy to have Roethlisberger back under center, as it’ll surely force defenses to be honest. The Giants defense was horrendous last year, but their run defense was better than the pass, as they allowed just 0.78 PPR points per opportunity last year, which ranked as the seventh fewest in football. They actually held opposing running backs to just 3.96 yards per attempt, making them one of just eight teams who allowed fewer than four yards per carry. It’s a new defense under Joe Judge, so we can’t automatically assume that all remains status quo, especially considering how bad their secondary was last year. It’s possible they place more emphasis on slowing down teams through the air this year, though they may not have the talent to do so. Whatever the case, it’s a near-certainty that Conner touches the ball 18-plus times in a game they’re favored, automatically bumping him into RB2 territory. Knowing the Steelers will likely take it slow in Roethlisberger’s return, we could see them lean on Conner even more than normal. He’s a safe low-end RB1/high-end RB2 this week with multiple touchdown potential.

Nick Chubb (CLE)
It was a tale of two tapes when Chubb saw the Ravens last year, turning in a ridiculous 183-yard, three-touchdown performance in Week 4, but then falling flat on his face in Week 16 when he finished with just 45 yards on 15 carries. What changed? Defensive tackle Brandon Williams was out for the Ravens in their Week 4 meeting, and he’s been a difference-maker when on the field. The Ravens did lose Michael Pierce and Chris Wormley on the interior of their defensive line this offseason, though they tried to make up for that, trading for Calais Campbell, a player who’s continually one of the best in the league. The big change for Chubb will be the Kevin Stefanski offense that should fit his skill set extremely well. The Browns added both Jack Conklin and first-round pick Jedrick Wills to the offensive line, which should be massive upgrades over Greg Robinson and Chris Hubbard. Still, it may take some time for them to finesse the scheme and develop chemistry together. The biggest issue for Chubb (and Hunt) this week is that the Ravens opponents averaged just 22.3 running back touches per game. No other team allowed their opponents less than 23.1 touches. That’s because they control the clock and allowed their opponents just 57.6 plays per game. If the Browns defense can’t slow down Lamar Jackson, we’re unlikely to see Chubb and Hunt total more than 25 combined touches. Chubb averaged 6.0 fewer PPR points per game in games the Browns lost last year. He’s more of a middling RB2 this week than the RB1 you thought you drafted.

Antonio Gibson (WAS)
Do you know how many touches the Washington backfield averaged last year? 24.4 touches per game. Trying to project how the timeshare in Washington is going to work out might be a waste of time, as there’s not enough volume for any of them to be consistent. Can that change under a new offensive coordinator? Sure, but it’s hard to say that’ll happen without any actual game reps together. Teams like Washington are behind the 8-ball with the shortened offseason and non-existent preseason games. Their offensive line got worse when they traded away Trent Williams, as they’re likely to lean on fourth-round rookie Saahdiq Charles at left tackle. That’s… not great. Fortunately, the Eagles are not a team to attack with running backs. They ranked No. 7 against fantasy running backs last year and were No. 6 against them in 2018. They added interior lineman Javon Hargrave to the mix this offseason, which should only help matters. Gibson is a wild card where it wouldn’t shock me if he saw as little as five touches or as many as 15 touches, though I’d lean on the cautious side considering he saw less than 80 touches during his entire college career. The Eagles have been a very good unit against the run, and though Gibson is somewhat a hybrid running back/wide receiver, the Eagles allowed just 1.33 PPR points per target last year, which ranked as the fifth-lowest mark in the league. Gibson is a risk/reward RB3, but I’d play safer options until we know his role on this offense. He was technically listed behind McKissic on the depth chart, though that may mean nothing.

Week 1 Wide Receiver Rankings

Rank Wide Receivers Team Opp Best Worst Avg Std Dev Proj. Pts
1 Michael Thomas NO vs. TB 1 5 1.1 0.5 16.3
2 Davante Adams GB at MIN 2 4 2.1 0.3 14.9
3 Tyreek Hill KC vs. HOU 1 4 3.1 0.6 14.9
4 Julio Jones ATL vs. SEA 2 11 3.8 0.5 14.3
5 Chris Godwin TB at NO 1 18 5.3 1.6 13.5
6 Allen Robinson CHI at DET 4 7 6.1 0.4 13.5
7 D.J. Moore CAR vs. LV 6 30 8.8 1.5 13.4
8 JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT at NYG 8 23 9.6 1.4 13.3
9 DeAndre Hopkins ARI at SF 7 26 10.2 3.8 13.2
10 Adam Thielen MIN vs. GB 6 17 11.7 2.6 12.9
11 A.J. Brown TEN at DEN 6 29 12.8 2.9 12.4
12 Robert Woods LAR vs. DAL 9 20 13.2 1.6 12.3
13 Calvin Ridley ATL vs. SEA 7 17 14.2 1.5 12.1
14 Keenan Allen LAC at CIN 8 21 15.4 2.2 12.1
15 Tyler Lockett SEA at ATL 11 21 17.7 1.8 11.9
16 Terry McLaurin WAS vs. PHI 11 24 18.3 2.6 11.8
17 D.J. Chark JAC vs. IND 5 22 18.7 3.8 11.8
18 Cooper Kupp LAR vs. DAL 7 22 18.7 2.4 11.8
19 Amari Cooper DAL at LAR 12 45 19.7 4.7 11.7
20 D.K. Metcalf SEA at ATL 12 25 19.9 2.7 11.7
21 Courtland Sutton DEN vs. TEN 15 35 24.1 3.6 11.5
22 Stefon Diggs BUF vs. NYJ 14 27 24.3 3 11.5
23 Will Fuller HOU at KC 21 29 24.3 1.3 11.3
24 T.Y. Hilton IND at JAC 9 28 24.9 1.5 10.8
25 Odell Beckham Jr. CLE at BAL 15 41 25 2.7 10.7
26 Michael Gallup DAL at LAR 19 34 27.7 3.2 10.6
27 Julian Edelman NE vs. MIA 25 43 28.6 1.3 10.6
28 Marquise Brown BAL vs. CLE 26 36 30 1.8 10.2
29 DeSean Jackson PHI at WAS 21 53 31.1 3.4 10.1
30 Tyler Boyd CIN vs. LAC 26 34 31.4 1.5 10.1
31 A.J. Green CIN vs. LAC 29 50 32.7 1.7 9.8
32 Marvin Jones DET vs. CHI 20 37 33.4 3.1 9.7
33 Kenny Golladay DET vs. CHI 6 175 19 40.3 9.7
34 Mike Evans TB at NO 8 44 18.4 8.7 9.6
35 Jarvis Landry CLE at BAL 30 50 34.6 3.3 9.6
36 Diontae Johnson PIT at NYG 10 44 36.2 2 9.5
37 DeVante Parker MIA at NE 32 48 36.8 2.8 9.4
38 John Brown BUF vs. NYJ 31 61 37.8 1.2 9.2
39 Anthony Miller CHI at DET 27 44 39.5 3.1 9.2
40 Jamison Crowder NYJ at BUF 30 64 39.9 2.8 9.1
41 CeeDee Lamb DAL at LAR 37 69 40.7 2.2 9
42 Henry Ruggs III LV at CAR 15 59 41.7 1.8 9
43 Emmanuel Sanders NO vs. TB 39 75 43.1 2.6 8.9
44 Sterling Shepard NYG vs. PIT 38 47 43.4 2.9 8.6
45 Jerry Jeudy DEN vs. TEN 40 78 44.8 2.4 8.6
46 Christian Kirk ARI at SF 42 55 48 3.6 8.5
47 Brandin Cooks HOU at KC 38 71 48.4 7.2 8.4
48 Allen Lazard GB at MIN 35 57 48.8 2.2 8.3
49 Preston Williams MIA at NE 39 55 49.1 3 8.2
50 Mecole Hardman KC vs. HOU 40 65 49.5 4.1 8.1

 
A.J. Brown (TEN)
He’s no longer a rookie or a secret. Brown is clearly a top priority of defensive coordinators, so let’s hope the Titans move him around the formation a bit more, as he was in the slot on just 10.4 percent of his snaps in 2019. The Broncos used Chris Harris Jr. to shadow opposing No. 1 receivers last year, but he’s gone. They brought in A.J. Bouye, though it’s unclear whether he’ll shadow opposing No. 1 receivers or if he’ll just play a side. Bouye is just 29 years old, so it’s difficult to imagine he’s dropped off, but his 2019 season was not good. He allowed 772 yards and three touchdowns on 80 targets in coverage, which amounts to 9.65 yards per target. Among the 127 cornerbacks who saw at least 25 targets in coverage last year, that ranks as the 20th-highest mark. The concern is the slow game pace and limited attempts to go around, as we saw Brown targeted just 20 times over his final five games of 2019 (playoffs included). It’s why he shouldn’t have been considered a WR1 this year, as it’s got nothing to do with his talent as a player. This matchup might be a great one if the Broncos don’t shadow him with Bouye, but the lack of guaranteed volume keeps him in low-end WR2 territory.

Tyler Lockett (SEA)
The Falcons looked to be a pretty average team against wide receivers last year, allowing the 16th most fantasy points to them. But looking a bit closer, they were very bad. They allowed a 67.5 percent completion rate (fifth-highest), 9.52 yards per target (second-highest), and a touchdown every 17.3 targets (eighth-most often) to wide receivers. What does all that add up to? 1.97 PPR points per target, which ranked as the third-highest mark in the league. Not an average secondary now, eh? Lockett caught all six of his targets for 100 yards in their meeting with each other last year. Considering they lost long-time starter Desmond Trufant, it’s hard to say they’re going to get better. Start Lockett as a rock-solid WR2 who comes with plenty of upside in this matchup.

DeSean Jackson (PHI)
Jackson, Greg Ward, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside are reportedly going to be the starting wideouts in Philadelphia this week. While Zach Ertz will still be heavily targeted, Jackson’s the solid bet to lead this team in targets. With the matchup against Washington’s CBs, Jackson’s a SMASH auto start this week in your FLEX. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Jackson finish as a top-20 WR this week.

Week 1 Tight End Rankings

Rank Tight Ends Team Opp Best Worst Avg Std Dev Proj. Pts
1 George Kittle SF vs. ARI 1 1 1 0 14.2
2 Travis Kelce KC vs. HOU 2 2 2 0 14.1
3 Mark Andrews BAL vs. CLE 3 5 3.1 0.3 11.1
4 Zach Ertz PHI at WAS 3 4 3.9 0.3 11.1
5 Darren Waller LV at CAR 4 7 5.2 0.4 9.3
6 Hunter Henry LAC at CIN 5 10 6.2 0.5 9.1
7 Tyler Higbee LAR vs. DAL 5 10 7.3 1 9
8 Evan Engram NYG vs. PIT 7 11 8.4 0.9 8.3
9 Hayden Hurst ATL vs. SEA 5 11 8.6 0.9 7.6
10 Jared Cook NO vs. TB 8 15 10.6 1.7 7.5
11 Rob Gronkowski TB at NO 10 17 11.5 1.3 7.3
12 Dallas Goedert PHI at WAS 11 20 13.3 2.1 7.2
13 Blake Jarwin DAL at LAR 8 21 14.3 2.7 7.2
14 Noah Fant DEN vs. TEN 12 19 14.4 2 7
15 Jonnu Smith TEN at DEN 9 20 15.4 1.9 6.9
16 T.J. Hockenson DET vs. CHI 9 22 16.1 2.3 6.8
17 Mike Gesicki MIA at NE 13 20 17.1 1.7 6.7
18 Austin Hooper CLE at BAL 12 22 17.3 2.7 6.6
19 Jack Doyle IND at JAC 13 20 18 1.5 6.5
20 Eric Ebron PIT at NYG 8 22 18.1 2.5 6.3

 
Hayden Hurst (ATL)
The Falcons gave up a second-round pick for him, highlighting just how valuable he was in their eyes. The Seahawks were the second-worst team in the league when it came to defending tight ends last year, but they did something about that this offseason. They went and snagged Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams. He saw 33 targets in coverage last year and allowed just 150 yards on them. While the scheme likely had something to do with it, the Jets (where Adams came from) were the third-best team against tight ends last year. Learning a new scheme can take time and this will be Adams’ first game in a Seahawks uniform, so we might see some time to acclimate, but the same can be said for Hurst in the Falcons offense. I’m still expecting a lot of pass attempts for the Falcons in this game, so Hurst should be in the 5-8 target range, leaving him in the low-end TE1 range, though there’s certainly some red tape surrounding this matchup.

Blake Jarwin (DAL)
If you’re looking for a TE option that might still be on waivers in your league, Jarwin has a chance to blow up in this matchup. This should be a shootout on Sunday Night Football and Jarwin should do a ton of damage over the middle of the field.

Austin Hooper (CLE)
There are a lot of rumors about who will be used and how they’ll be used in Kevin Stefanski’s offense. After paying Hooper the money they did, you’d think he’d have a large role, but if you recall, the Vikings paid Kyle Rudolph a lot of money prior to last season, then split the targets 50/50 with Irv Smith Jr. Nothing is promised to Hooper, though I do expect him to lead this timeshare. Against the Ravens, I don’t know if you necessarily want to start him to find out. They allowed just two tight ends to top 10 PPR points against them last year. One was Travis Kelce, who totaled 7/89/0 on eight targets, and the other one was Ricky Seals-Jones, who caught a long 59-yard touchdown. Hooper caught just two passes that traveled over 20 yards in the air last year, which ranked 15th among tight ends. I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing Hooper as a TE1, especially given the matchup, though the loss of Earl Thomas does help the matchup. He should be considered a TE2 who’s not even guaranteed more than five targets.

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