Week 1 Start/Sit Advice
Thursday, Sep 8, 2022 at 12:49 pm ET
This is the Fantasy Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season. Analysis is aggregated from multiple sources including FN. Rankings are based upon PPR (point per reception) scoring. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Jonathan Taylor, Travis Kelce, or Cooper Kupp. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em Jalen Hurts (PHI, QB)
It would not be a surprise to see Jalen Hurts as the top performing QB in Week 1. A matchup with the Lions offers plenty of fantasy goodness to kickoff the season. Last year Detroit ranked near the bottom in points allowed to opposing QBs.
7th Most Pts to QB
Start 'em Dak Prescott (DAL, QB)
It will be interesting to see how the receiving corp in Dallas shakes out. CeeDee Lamb is exceptional, but Michael Gallup is expected to miss this game leaving rookie Jalen Tolbert and Noah Brown fighting for those targets. Still, there's plenty of opportunity here for Prescott to finish as a low-end QB1 against a Tampa Bay defense that will bring the pressure but also ranked near the Top 10 in fantasy points surrendered to QBs last season.
10th Most Pts to QB
Start 'em Trey Lance (SF, QB)
Coming into the Fantasy Nerds Week 1 rankings
at #12 is Trey Lance facing a Chicago secondary that can absolutely be taken advantage of. There's no doubt that Lance presents a risk for fantasy owners, but if you waiting on QB in your draft, his legs make him worth the risk in this one as a low-end QB starter.
11th Most Pts to QB
Start 'em Rashaad Penny (SEA, RB)
This one is all about volume and opportunity. Rashaad Penny was an absolute beast in the final games of last season rushing for at least 135 yards in four of the last five games. Denver ranked smack in the middle against RBs last season, so with the expected volume, Penny could be a very strong Flex play this week.
15th Fewest Pts to RB
Start 'em Travis Etienne (JAC, RB)
We've been waiting to see Travis Etienne hit the field for a year so there will be some question marks about his efficiency and productivity in a regular season game. Washington's defense was truly middle of the road last season, and Etienne has all the potential to be a star RB even though he'll need to share the workload with James Robinson. Look for Etienne to contribute to your team as a solid RB2.
15th Most Pts to RB
Start 'em Antonio Gibson (WAS, RB)
While the preseason news for Antonio Gibson wasn't positive, the shooting incident involving Brian Robinson puts Gibson back atop the depth chart. It's not a great matchup, but the Commanders have indicated that they'll be feeding Gibson a lot. There really isn't a lot of competition for him this week so plug him in as an RB2/Flex option.
14th Most Pts to RB
Start 'em Marquise Brown (ARI, WR)
Marquise Brown will start this season much closer to Hollywood...both geographically as well as from a fantasy perspective. With DeAndre Hopkins starting his suspension, it's Brown's time to shine. The matchup is fantastic here as the Chiefs/Cardinals game is expected to be the highest scoring game of the week.
9th Most Pts to WR
Start 'em Brandin Cooks (HOU, WR)
There's not much to be excited about with the Texans this year, but Brandin Cooks has been reliably consistent regardless of who is under center. Houston will likely fall behind in this one forcing Davis Mills to throw, and Cooks is undoubtedly the top option for him. We're counting on plenty of targets this week.
11th Most Pts to WR
Start 'em Michael Thomas (NO, WR)
After missing the entire 2021 season, Michael Thomas has almost become an afterthought in drafts. Jameis Winston is a downgrade from Drew Brees, but if Thomas is as healthy as he appears and starts, the upside that he brings cannot be ignored. Atlanta's secondary ranked in the bottom third last season and Thomas is one heckuva target - especially in the redzone. Starting Thomas is a gamble, but few Flex options present this kind of upside opportunity.
6th Most Pts to WR
Start 'em T.J. Hockenson (DET, TE)
T.J. Hockenson is back and healthy after only playing 12 games last year. He'll remain a safe option for Jared Goff and there's no question about the matchup here. Nobody gave up more points to tight ends last season than the Eagles.
Most pts to TE
Start 'em Pat Freiermuth (PIT, TE)
If you waited on TE in your draft and nabbed Pat Freiermuth in one of the later rounds, you'll be able to plug him in right away as a low-end TE1 against a Cincinnati defense that was one of the most forgiving to opposing tight ends last season. The real question mark comes in with how well he and new QB Mitch Trubisky connect, but it's not enough to prevent us from starting him.
5th Most Pts to TE
Start 'em San Francisco 49ers (SF, DEF)
This is a fantastic matchup for the Niners. Facing a talented, but still raw Justin Fields, San Francisco will be blitzing and bringing pressure on the young QB all day long. Their defense is incredibly stout and couple that with the fact that the Bears finished the season allowing the fifth most fantasy points to opposing DSTs and San Fran is a lock for the week.
5th Most Pts to DEF
Start 'em Justin Tucker (BAL, K)
Justin Tucker is basically the Jonathan Taylor of kickers, and that should continue in 2022 when he faces a weak New York Jets team. In fact, no other team gave up more fantasy points to kickers last year than Gang Green.
Most pts to K
Sit 'em Derek Carr (LV, QB)
Derek Carr has all the tools to be a fantastic fantasy option this season including new elite WR Davante Adams, but the Chargers have an improved defense that will not only provide constant pressure, but the secondary is also improved and should make it difficult for Carr to finish in the Top 10.
15th Most Pts to QB
Sit 'em Tua Tagovailoa (MIA, QB)
The Tua Tagovailoa experiment gets a significant boost this season with the addition of Tyreek Hill, and while Tua will likely be a spot starter throughout the season, Week 1 is not one of those weeks. The Patriots defense is legit having kept QBs to the second-fewest fantasy points per game last year.
2nd Fewest Pts to QB
Sit 'em Matt Ryan (IND, QB)
Matt Ryan will be under center with a different team for the first time after spending 14 seasons with the Falcons. He failed to throw for at least 4,000 yards last season, breaking a streak that spanned the last decade. He'll have more explosive weapons at this disposal, but we anticipate the Colts getting most of their work done on the ground with JT limiting the need for Ryan to go to the air.
11th Most Pts to QB
Sit 'em Breece Hall (NYJ, RB)
The rookie will at some point this season become a defacto starter, but that's not likely to happen in Week 1 with Michael Carter in the mix and Joe Flacco under center. Baltimore gave up the 14th-fewest fantasy points last season to opposing RBs producing yet another obstacle to Hall's potential this week.
14th Fewest Pts to RB
Sit 'em J.K. Dobbins (BAL, RB)
J.K. Dobbins could make his return this week. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry as a rookie and will be a key piece to the Ravens offense when he does return. Assuming he plays, it's difficult to predict how he'll perform or just what kind of workload they're going to give him. There are too many question marks and too many good options to warrant starting consideration this week.
Most pts to RB
Sit 'em Dameon Pierce (HOU, RB)
There were only a handful of guys this preseason who were true "helium players" where their ascent up the ADP charts were truly meteoric. Dameon Pierce absolutely fit that bill, but even though he's slated to be the starter against the Colts in Week 1, that's a lot to expect out of the rookie. He'll share time with veteran Rex Burkhead (certainly on third downs), but it's the matchup that's troubling here. Indy gave up the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs last year.
3rd Fewest Pts to RB
Sit 'em Julio Jones (TB, WR)
With plenty of options at receiver, it's going to be interesting to see what kind of role Julio Jones plays in this offense. The matchup isn't great as the Cowboys were tough on receivers last year giving up the 13th-fewest fantasy points to them. After disappointing fans last season with extremely underwhelming production, Jones is in a wait-and-see approach for us.
13th Fewest Pts to WR
Sit 'em George Pickens (PIT, WR)
There's another "helium" player from drafts the past few weeks who saw his ADP rocket up the charts, and that's George Pickens. In camp and preseason action, few players produced highlights like Pickens has. He's likely to surpass Chase Claypool this season and could vie for that top WR option, but his target share is a significant question mark right now. Will he have enough targets to be fantasy relevant? Ranked 61st among all WR's this week, it doesn't seem like the fantasy community is feeling the love just yet.
13th Most Pts to WR
Sit 'em Jarvis Landry (NO, WR)
Coming over from the Browns, Jarvis Landry provides depth for a Saints offense that figures to pass more than what Landry was able to see last season. He has such a sweet matchup against a Falcons secondary that coughed up tons of points to receivers last year, but Landry also finds himself lower on the depth chart than his days in Cleveland. As the third or fourth option on that team, we need to see what kind of target share we can expect out of him before considering him for a Flex spot.
6th Most Pts to WR
Sit 'em Mike Gesicki (MIA, TE)
The plain and simple truth is that we don't really know what Mike Gesicki's value is going to be this year. There has been so much speculation about his role in this new offense. He's not known for his blocking skills, which unfortunately is what the Dolphins really need. Looking at projections for him from across all our sites suggests that we should expect some volatility. Gesicki is probably better left on the bench this week.
Feweset Pts to TE
Sit 'em Hunter Henry (NE, TE)
There's still gas left in the Hunter Henry tank as he saw more trips to the endzone in his first season with the Patriots than he did during any season with the Chargers. That's fantastic, but without those touchdowns, Henry was fairly pedestrian and plenty of analysts expect regression this year in the TD category. He's worth a gamble most weeks, but with a fresh healthy fantasy roster, now's not the time to hope for paydirt from Henry.
15th Fewest Pts to TE
Sit 'em Minnesota Vikings (MIN, DEF)
The Packers/Vikings game is one of the few that has no legitimate consensus in our Week 1 picks
. It is expected to be close and could go either way. Regardless, it's tough to bet against Aaron Rodgers. There are plenty of other streaming options at Defense this week.
8th Fewest Pts to DEF
Sit 'em Younghoe Koo (ATL, K)
The Atlanta offense feels like a used car that the dealership just wants off the lot. Other than Kyle Pitts, there really isn't an established pecking order. Their ability to move the ball downfield can either be a blessing or a curse for Younghoe Koo. Until further data warrants it, we're betting on the latter.
15th Most Pts to K
Join the Discussion
blackandgold CommentedSep 10, 2022 6:15 pm
I don't agree with your assessment of Tua Tagovailoa. He has Tyreek and will probably be one of the top 5 QBs this week and the season. I will be starting him and suggest everyone else do so as well.
Nerd CommentedSep 10, 2022 7:22 pm
Tyreek is as good as they come and the Pats have struggled against the Dolphins at home (losing 7 of the last 9 games in Miami), but I just can't do the Tua thing this week. I respectfully disagree, but let's see how this weekend goes.
sewffl CommentedSep 11, 2022 7:45 am
Let's agree to disagree that just because the Dolphins have T Hill doesn't make Tua a better QB for the season. Mahomes was throwing to Hill and is a better QB than Tua. The O -line has to block to give time for the QB to throw downfield and who is to say going into Week 1 how the Dolphin's O-line is and if they can block to give Tua time to throw downfield he will either get sacked or running for his life. Good QBs feel the pocket presence and know when to step up into it to get a clear path to throw it. Tua is surrounded by playmakers in this game with Hill and Waddle and the Patriot's cornerbacks are weak but the D-Line for Patriots are pretty good and as I said earlier if the Dolphin's O-Line can block them then he will have a field day. FYI - No one in my league drafted Tua and is still a FA
Nerd CommentedSep 12, 2022 7:40 am
For posterity, Tua ended the week as the 18th best QB. I'm sure he will have weeks where he comes close to QB1 status, but Top 5 is not likely given the current QB talent (Mahomes, Herbert, Allen, etc).
RyanFan CommentedSep 11, 2022 7:32 am
Would you start Breece Hall in the flex?
Nerd CommentedSep 11, 2022 8:35 am
Depends upon your options, but I think he's certainly a flex option. The question is how the carries will be split in that backfield. It will likely be Hall's job at some point, but maybe not right away in Week 1.
Nick Diercks CommentedSep 11, 2022 11:30 am
Nick Chubb, Mike Williams, or Courtland Sutton in the flex?
Nerd CommentedSep 11, 2022 11:34 am
Wow - phenomenal options. I think the Browns are going to run Chubb and Hunt a lot today, so I'd start Chubb. This is going to be weekly challenge for you given the talent among those guys.
TrunkMonkey CommentedSep 11, 2022 3:31 pm
THANK YOU!!! I wasn't going to put Michael Thomas or Antonio Gibson in my lineups and then last minute read this and decided to try it. Sooooooo happy that I did. Thank you!