Week One is finally upon us. After over 200 days, so many mock drafts, and so much off-season drama, we finally get to see real football (that matters).
As any fantasy football player will tell you, besides the playoffs, week one is the most difficult week to decide who to start. You want to start off hot, but maybe you read too many incredible Razzball articles, drafted too well, and now you’re stuck on who to play to start your season.
Lucky for you – we got you covered.
QB Start: Jalen Hurts @ Detroit Lions
Jalen Hurts is one of the most exciting QBs of 2022, and he’s got a juicy matchup in Week One against the Detroit Lions. The Lions have a much-improved team this season, but Hurts gets A.J Brown and DeVonta Smith to go up against Amani Oruwariye and Jeff Okudah. With Okudah coming off a season-ending injury last season, this certainly isn’t a threatening cornerback group. A subpar LB group for Detroit also appeals to Hurts’ ability to get out of the pocket and run. Pairing his rushing and passing ability with a favorable matchup against the Lions makes Jalen Hurts a must-start in Week One.
QB Sit: Trey Lance @ Chicago Bears
I’ll admit, I’m not as big of a fan of Trey Lance as a lot of people are. However, I do think Lance has some upside in Fantasy Football this season. In Week One, I don’t love the idea of starting him. Although he is going up against the Bears, who have arguably the worst roster in the NFL, this is essentially Lance’s first start as the starting QB in San Francisco. We know Kyle Shanahan’s offensive style is QB-friendly, which isn’t great in terms of Fantasy Football. Not wanting to put too much pressure on Lance right away, I expect the Niners to run the ball into oblivion. Especially against such a weak defense, it’ll allow Lance to ease into the game. The Niners will take a lead early, and it should be expected for them to continue to run the ball most of the game. This won’t allow Lance to really explode in the passing game and could lead to a very pedestrian Week One.
RB Start: Javonte Williams @ Seattle Seahawks
From Week 7 to 18 in 2021, Javonte Williams finished as the RB9 in Fantasy Football. This was as a rookie and in a true committee with Melvin Gordon. This season, even though Gordon returned to the Broncos, it’s Williams’ year to take over this backfield. Even with a much more stable passing game, the Broncos will look to establish the run early against the Seahawks in Week One. Seattle gave up the third most fantasy points to RBs last season, and the defense has gotten even worse. A threat in both the passing and rushing game, Javonte Williams will start the season off well against the Seahawks and should be in everybody’s lineups.
RB Sit: David Montgomery vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Bears’ offense doesn’t have much to be excited about in 2022. Chicago hasn’t done much to help their second-year QB, Justin Fields, and have surrounded him with a subpar receiving group and a bad offensive line. Bears’ RB David Montgomery is a talented player, but this offensive line is going to make it difficult for him to produce this season. It doesn’t start off easy for Montgomery either, having to go up against the 49ers. The Niners were one of the best teams against RBs in Fantasy Football last year, and their defense doesn’t show any signs of being worse. Also, the Bears have a new head coach in his first game, and it’s unclear how he’s going to use Montgomery. Will he be used heavily or will they let Justin Fields throw the ball more? We simply don’t know yet. A clear mismatch might also put the Bears down early in the game and force them to throw, which also takes away from Montgomery’s carries. There’s too much uncertainty, which is why I’m sitting David Montgomery in Week One.
WR Start: Brandin Cooks vs. Colts
I think the Texans are going to be an improved football team in 2022. They made some key additions in the draft and have a head coach in Lovie Smith that knows how to lead a team. Now second-year QB Davis Mills had a pretty solid 2021 season. Next to Mac Jones, he had arguably the most successful rookie season of any QB from last year’s class. This matchup, however, is a heavy mismatch. The Texans’ young defense might not be able to keep up with the veteran efficiency of Matt Ryan, along with an exceptional run game with Jonothan Taylor. The Colts defense is good enough that they could halt Houston’s offense enough to allow Indy to get an early lead. This is going to force Davis Mills to throw, and Brandin Cooks is the main man on this offense. Cooks was the WR20 last season and has remained an underrated WR2 in Fantasy Football. Volume is key, and Cooks will absolutely get targets. Feel confident starting Brandin Cooks as your WR2.
WR Sit: Drake London vs. Saints
With the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected Drake London, the wide receiver out of USC. London is a big receiver, standing at 6’4. I don’t hate Drake London in Fantasy Football this year, but starting a rookie receiver in his first game isn’t ideal. Most of the time, it takes rookies a few weeks to ease into the NFL, and I think if there’s any rookie that might explode in Week One, it’s Saints’ rookie receiver Chris Olave. Drake London doesn’t have the best QB situation either, as Marcus Mariota hasn’t started an NFL game in some time. We don’t know what Mariota’s arm ability might look like either. London will likely draw a cornerback matchup of Marshon Lattimore too, so it’s probably best to wait on starting Drake London in your fantasy lineups.
TE Start: Zach Ertz vs. Chiefs
With Cardinals’ star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins suspended until Week Seven, Arizona doesn’t have many receiving weapons for Kyler Murray. They did acquire Hollywood Brown, but he’s primarily a deep threat. Obviously, Kyler can’t throw deep every play, so he needs another guy to target. That guy will be Zach Ertz. From Week 7 to Week 18 (after Ertz was traded to the Cardinals), he was the TE5 in Fantasy Football. Clearly, Kyler loves to throw to Ertz, and now they get to go against a Chiefs’ defense that lost some veteran talent and is very young. Both teams are going to throw the ball a lot this game, and that favors Ertz. I expect him to be targeted a bunch, and he should be in your Week One lineups.
The Seahawks’ offense will not be good in 2022. Geno Smith won’t be able to go toe-to-toe with the other offenses in the NFC, and this offensive line won’t hold up against the defensive lines in their own division, let alone the entire NFL. However, volume is the most important when it comes to Fantasy Football. Guys like DK Metcalf are going to see a lot of targets, even in a bad offense. With Smith under center, however, the Seahawks are going to rely on the run even more than when Russell Wilson was there. There is just no way that the Seahawks coaching staff believes Geno can throw the ball well enough for four quarters to win a football game. They’re going to lean on RBs Rashaad Penny and rookie Kenneth Walker, and as mentioned before, Metcalf will see those passing targets. The man being left out is the man who was traded to Seattle as part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver: Noah Fant. Fans have shown hope for Fant, but he really never panned out as they had hoped for. The reality is, that Fant won’t see enough volume to be fantasy relevant as anything more than a streaming option. Especially against a good Broncos defense, Fant should be on your bench this week.