WEEK 1 Fantasy Starts and Avoids (2022)
Who's ready for some 2022 Fantasy Football Action! I know I am, and in this article I'm going to be breaking down each of my starts and avoids for Week 1 of the NFL Season.
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Rather than going with the easy picks for starts and avoids, I try and focus on important decisions that fantasy managers actually need to make. Must starts and obvious sits within reason will not be on my lists.
A START is a suggested lineup move based on matchup, and an AVOID is quite the opposite. It is NOT a must enforce. So if I recommend avoiding Josh Jacobs, and the only player you have to replace him is someone like Devontae Booker, use your judgement and realize that a backup who won't see touches is not a better option than a starting QB.
That being said, lets win some leagues! 🏆
🔥🔥🔥 COURTLAND SUTTON @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS - I'm fully expecting Russell Wilson to be COOKIN' in Seattle, but for the Broncos of course. Sutton and Jeudy have ideal matchups against Rookie Tariq Woolen and Sidney Jones and I expect Russ to take full advantage. Reports in camp stated that Sutton is by far Wilson's favorite target and I think we are excited to see Sutton with a real QB.
🔥 MILES SANDERS @ DETROIT LIONS - The Eagles not only have an elite offensive line pairing against a subpar defensive front, but they also have one of the most complete teams in the league. Now, Miles Sanders remains the RB1 on this team and enters the season fully healthy. In 4/5 of the last regular season games, Sanders has 10+ touches, and as a result he had over 120 Yards in 20% of those games, not including a game where he had 94 Yards. Also, with over 150 total touches and at 5.5 Yards per Game, Sanders didn't score a single TD, leaving a LOT of room for improvement.
🔥 RASHAAD PENNY vs DENVER BRONCOS - On the surface, a non-pass catching RB in a negative game script isn't the ideal start. But I'll make the exemption for Penny who is expected to be the workhorse against a team that really doesn't have a great run defense. Kenneth Walker III is expected to be out this game and without Wilson, the Seahawks will lean on Penny early and often!
🔥🔥 BRANDON AIYUK @ CHICAGO BEARS - With George Kittle out, Aiyuk and Deebo will see a ton of targets in a matchup against a very young secondary. His connection with Trey Lance thus far has been reported to be great and Aiyuk enters the season OUT of Shannahan's doghouse.
🔥🔥🔥 MARQUISE BROWN @ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - All of Rondale Moore, DeAndre Hopkins, and potentially Zach Ertz will be out this game. Meaning this is a GREAT opportunity for Hollywood to go absolutely nuclear against another young defensive backfield that lost some big pieces (Mathieu and Ward).
- TONY POLLARD vs TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS ; This defense is not friendly to RBs, and given the missing weapons of Amari Cooper (In Cleveland), Michael Gallup (Recovering from ACL), and James Washington (Injured), Pollard can act as a primary pass catcher for the Cowboys and we could see them running more 2 RB Sets. In 2021, Pollard was PFF's 2nd Best Runner last year and 59.3% of his snaps were pass plays while 40.7% of his snaps were run plays.
- JULIO JONES @ DALLAS COWBOYS ; Chris Godwin is going to be OUT or very limited against Dallas, which leaves Mike Evans, Julio Jones, and Russell Gage. Unless Julio pulls a complete Allen Robinson on Sunday Night, I'm expecting him to be viable flex play in a high volume passing offense in primetime.
- SAMMY WATKINS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS ; The legend of Week 1 Sammy Watkins continues, as Watkins is in a prime position to be Aaron Rodger's #1 WR on Sunday against the Vikings. Allen Lazard is expected to be out, and with the next best options both being rookies, I'd imagine Watkins gets a lot of playing time and a lot of chances to cash in to the end zone.
🛑🛑🛑 JAMES ROBINSON @ WASHINGTON COMMANDERS - After being officially ruled active for Week 1 following a ruptured achilles in late 2021, there's been some speculation as to not only how he will perform but how involved he could actually be. It's something I'm willing to bet on and you will not seen Robinson is any of my lineups in Week One.
🛑 J.K. DOBBINS @ NEW YORK JETS - Game-script will almost certainly be there, but his health may not be. After suffering an ACL Tear last year, it's a miracle Dobbins avoided the PUP list. But that doesn't mean he's healthy and it definitely doesn't mean he's ready to play. Whether it's Dobbins, Mike Davis, or Kenyan Drake, I'm not starting any Baltimore RB Week 1.
🛑🛑 BREECE HALL vs BALTIMORE RAVENS - On the flip side, game script will most likely NOT be there for Breece Hall in Week One without their starting RT and with backup QB Joe Flacco at the helm. That along with Michael Carter first on the depth chart and it's just not clear how much or how little work he could see.
🛑 DRAKE LONDON vs NEW ORLEANS SAINTS - I just don't trust a rookie WR coming off a knee injury against Marshon Lattimore in my week one fantasy lineups. Down the road, he could be solid. But right off the bat this is not an ideal matchup or situation to fire up London.
🛑🛑🛑 CHRIS GODWIN @ DALLAS COWBOYS - Maybe he'll play, maybe he won't. But we won't find out until kickoff and that's at 8:00 PM (EST). Similar to James Robinson it's not worth betting on him. I will say, that if your next best option is Julio or Russell Gage, then you may be able to wait it out. But otherwise I would not take the risk this early given how little upside he has even if he does play.
- ANTONIO GIBSON vs JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS ; This guy is probably going to be on a lot of people's start list because of the unfortunate incident that caused Brian Robinson to miss time. But, I believe that Antonio Gibson was trending downwards even prior to Brian Robinson's arrival. I don't think Washington reverts to using Gibson as a workhorse "because why not". They delegated him to Special Teams for a reason and I expect J.D. McKissic to be heavily involved.
- EZEKIEL ELLIOT vs TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS ; This is essentially just the opposite reasoning for Zeke (compared to Pollard). I'm in agreement that he's just not the same RB that he was years ago, and they may prefer to use Pollard in this matchup. The missing pieces on the Cowboys OL also doesn't help either.
- DAMEON PIERCE vs INDIANAPOLIS COLTS ; One of my favorite Rookie RBs this season, but he doesn't start it out in the best situation. The Colts are favored by 7 points in a matchup where the young Texans team will likely struggle, which means we could see a lot of Rex Burkhead on passing downs. Especially given Pierce's lack of pass catching experience and pass blocking ability.
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Good Luck as always, and I'll see you back here for Week 2! 😉