A Thursday Full of Streaming Options and Preparation

Tuesday, Sep 5, 2023 at 8:21 pm ET

The start of the NFL season is a magical time. The weather is getting cooler, and summer has ended, but that bummer is nothing compared to the high we get from the return of football.

In anticipation of the season, let's look at a few things to remember throughout the season to help be successful in fantasy football. The draft is the most fun part of the season. The rest is nerves and wondering why the NFL is colluding against you, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy it, right?

It's a weekly, season-long game

You will be upset after some weeks and want to tear down your team, and that might happen as early as Week 1. Remember, though, that every week is different, and a loss, no matter how bad it is, only lasts one game. There are 16 (or so) to go, so react, but don't overreact.

The goal in the regular season is to win as many weeks as possible, so make decisions based on what's best for your team's SEASON rather than one week. You may want to hold onto Nico Collins in hopes that he connects with rookie QB C.J. Stroud, but don't drop Alvin Kamara to pick up a tight end because he can't play in Week 2 or 3. Collins must go because Kamara gives your team the best chance in Weeks 4-18.

Stay involved

The NFL season is long, but it's not THAT long, especially when compared to baseball. Games are usually three days per week or less, and you only set one lineup per league. Many people watch a lot of football, but take some time to read about trends, emerging players, and whatever else you can take in to get an edge.

Side note: don't walk away during the season and not check your team; it throws off the league and makes it feel incomplete. Finish what you start, even if you only spend a few minutes per week making sure you have a full lineup.

Watch the waiver wire

Injuries will happen every week, and opportunities pop up out of nowhere. Be aware of who is primed to take over in case of an injury in good situations (like Jaylen Warren in Pittsburgh or Ezekiel Elliott in New England) and pounce when the time comes. There's no such thing as too many good players, especially running backs and receivers.

Also, know how your waiver rules work. If the order resets every week, there is no reason to wait; put in your claims. If you only lose your spot when you claim someone, then it's time to be more selective. No reason to give up your top spot for a kicker; wait for that big injury and use your position to grab a hot pick-up.

Be open to trades

I've been in leagues where the draft happens, there are free agent pickups, and nothing else changes throughout the season. It sucks. You may be happy with your team after the draft, and that's great, but things change. Use trades to upgrade your team and fill weak spots. Also, know when your league's trade deadline is.

If you have a hole on your roster to start the season, you probably have a surplus somewhere else. I like to stock up on running backs, but sometimes that leaves me without a good quarterback option. Trading a running back for someone's second quarterback is a good way to help both teams, which is the point of a trade.

That's a good point to remember: you will be giving up value in a trade. It sucks to lose James Conner, but if filling a hole at receiver is important to your team's success, it's ok to give him up for Diontae Johnson. Don't be so stingy trying to win trades that no movement ever happens. Engage your opponents and take chances to improve your team.

Weekly posting schedule

Each week I will break down the games from the previous week on Tuesdays and talk about what we saw, what was real, and what it means moving forward. I will also hit the hottest waiver wire pickups and preview the Thursday night game.

Fridays I will provide a breakdown of each game upcoming that Sunday/Monday and who is worth playing that week. I will talk about streaming options, who has good matchups, and who is primed to disappoint that week.

Thursday night game: Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs

Let's look at the first game of the season, and Thursday can't come fast enough. There's a chance for fireworks with two good offenses who give up their share of yards and fantasy points.

Both the Chiefs and Lions were in the bottom 10 in total fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends in 2022 (meaning they gave up among the most points). Here are their rankings:

Position Lions Chiefs
Quarterback 32nd 30th
Wide Receiver 31st 26th
Tight End 25th 23rd

These teams are ready to score and give up points on Thursday night. A few other notes about 2022:

  • The Lions allowed the second-most yards to receivers; the Chiefs allowed the second-most receiver touchdowns
  • The Chiefs allowed the most receptions and fourth-most receiving yards to running backs
  • The Lions allowed the third-most yards and eight-most touchdowns to quarterbacks; the Chiefs allowed the ninth-most yards and the most passing touchdowns
  • The over/under total for the game is set around 54, which is three points higher than any other game and about seven points higher than the third-highest game; everyone is expecting a lot of yards and points in this one

There are a lot of fantasy options in this game; some are obvious and others are the beneficiary of a good matchup. Let's look at who should be in your lineup this week:

Must start

Patrick MahomesLet's get through these quick:

  • Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs QB; Travis Kelce, Chiefs TE: This goes without saying for the rest of the season as long as they are healthy. This is the top combination in the league, and they have the chance to dominate together every week. (UPDATE: Kelce left practice Tuesday with a hyperextended knee, so check his status ahead of the game and bench if necessary. You can bench him now and pick up a replacement later.)
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions WR: St. Brown has become one of the better receivers in the league, and he should get plenty of looks against a leaky Kansas City defense missing their best defensive player (we'll get to that in a minute). St. Brown was drafted as a top-12 receiver for a reason and is ranked top-10 in both standard and PPR by Fantasy Nerds.
  • Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions RB: The second bullet point in the previous section is important here: the Lions drafted Gibbs 12th overall this year and have been clear that they plan to use him to both carry and catch the ball. Kansas City was among the worst teams against running backs in the passing game last season, and that will bold well for Gibbs. Fantasy Nerds has him ranked 27th in standard and 21st in PPR scoring, and I can understand some trepidation with a player in his first game, but Gibbs has a good chance to be top-20 in standard and top-15 in PPR at the end of the week.

Good matchups and streaming options

Jared GoffThese players are bennefiting from soft matchups and can be played more safely this week:

  • Jared Goff, Lions QB: I mentioned above that the Chiefs allowed the most passing touchdowns last season and ninth-most passing yards, and Goff should be able to take advantage and sling the ball around. Chris Jones, the best defensive player on the Chiefs and their best pass rusher, has been holding out and will probably miss the game, so Kansas City will start the season without a big piece. And, if all else fails, the Lions might need to throw to catch up, so fantasy points can come from many places. Goff is a great streaming option this week despite being ranked 17th by Fantasy Nerds. (Joe Burrow could struggle this week returning from injury against a tough Browns defense, so Goff is an able fill-in.)
  • Any Chiefs WR: Kelce is the number one receiver in Kansas City, but they have a collection of fast and talented players at wide receiver who have an opportunity to connect with the best quarterback in football. The Chiefs have talked up Kadarius Toney, but he struggles with injuries and has an uncertain Week 1 status, though he looks on track to play. Skyy Moore is an exciting second-year player, but he was anonymous most of his rookie season. There could be a diamond somewhere in the rough, but you'll have to mine the right one. (UPDATE: With Kelce's injury, the entire outlook of the Chiefs' passing game changes. There could be an abundance of targets to go around, and, if Kelce is out, Toney, Moore, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling would all be plausible starting options, though picking who will go off is a toss up.)

Others to consider

Again, there are a lot of fantasy options in this game, so here are some others that are playable if you are short at a position or need a flex option:

  • David Montgomery, Lions RB: The Lions will be splitting time at running back, and I expect Gibbs to be on the better side Week 1 (as I said above). Still, Montgomery will probably get more goaline carries and will be on the field, so he's usable. Fantasy Nerds has him ranked 25th among running backs in both standard and PPR, making him a very solid flex candidate.
  • Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs RB: Pacheco falls in the same category as Montgomery as the running component in the backfield who doesn't catch the ball much. He will get opportunities throughout the season, and he will probably be a flex option most weeks. That includes Week 1, where he is ranked 20th in standard and 24th in PPR. He's a notch above Montgomery, which I agree with, and a player I see doing big things against the Lions.
  • Sam LaPorta, Lions TE: LaPorta is the starter in Detroit, and there are good reports on the rookie. Tight ends are notorious for struggling their first year, though, so LaPorta must be played with caution, but there are worse options with the ball expected to fly around in Kansas City. He could be your Kelce replacement this week.
  • Noah Gray, Chiefs TE; Blake Bell, Chiefs TE: This is another late addition as news of Kelce's possible injury broke. Gray and Bell are the other tight ends on the depth chart and would step into any snaps Kelce misses. Neither player is going to replicate Kelce, but an opportunity exists. Gray is next on the depth chart, but keep an eye out to see if either name pops up in headlines. I'm staying away most likely, but there is intrigue.


Harrison Butker is my top kicker this year, and he will have a lot of opportunities Week 1. Riley Patterson has kicked well for the Lions and Jaguars over the past two years and seems to have a good opportunity this week to score points if you need a streaming option.


We've talked about the offensive production expected in this game, and, in kind, you should avoid both of these defenses in Week 1.

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