The classic, all-helpful Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em series has reached Woodward Sports! This will be a weekly series by yours truly, and I hope for it to be your main source for fantasy football advice throughout the season. Have any questions? I have the answers! Welcome to Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 1.
Russell Wilson (DEN) @ Seattle Seahawks
It is a revenge game for dangerRUSS, who spent the first 10 years of his career with Seattle. I think he can light it up against his former team on a nationally-televised Monday night game. With plenty of weapons on the field, Wilson could put up a memorable fantasy performance. Let’s ride.
Aaron Rodgers (GB) @ Minnesota Vikings
On paper, this does not seem like a great matchup. But then consider the fact that the back-to-back MVP has averaged 30.6 PPG in his last four games against the Vikings. Despite losing stud WR Davante Adams, this game has the potential for a shootout. Rodgers will be able to put up a nice fantasy stat line, regardless of whether the Packers win or lose.
Travis Etienne Jr. (JAX) @ Washington Commanders
After missing his entire rookie season with a Lisfranc injury, Travis Etienne looks to pick up his career where it left off at Clemson. This is a winnable game for the Jaguars, so this should be a very productive game for Etienne. The second-year back will have a better output in PPR leagues, but you can start him as an RB2 with confidence in all formats.
Antonio Gibson (WAS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
In terms of a season-long option, Gibson is hard to trust. However, he is an intriguing start this week for various reasons. His biggest competitor in the backfield, Brian Robinson Jr., landed on the IR after being shot in a carjacking last week. The matchup for Gibson is too nice against a susceptible Jags D, and he should get a majority of the work including goal-line opportunities. Gibson should find a way into starting lineups in Week 1.
Chris Godwin (TB) @ Dallas Cowboys
Godwin should be on the field to open the season after an ACL injury ended his 2021 campaign. If there were any concerns, I would not be so bullish on him Week 1. However, the roadmap is there for Godwin to have a very nice game against the Cowboys defense, who downgraded as a unit overall in the offseason. Godwin projects to be a WR2 with high upside in 2022.
Rashod Bateman (BAL) @ New York Jets
Bateman will head into 2022 as the new WR1 for the Ravens. While that label has not suited well for fantasy, this game should lead to high end production from all Ravens players. The Jets have made improvements to their defense, but they still allowed the fifth-most fantasy PPG to receivers last season (34.4). It is a very favorable matchup for Bateman, who will not only get a nice volume of targets, but also opportunities for touchdowns.
Cole Kmet (CHI) vs. San Francisco 49ers
Kmet and sophomore QB Justin Fields have been developing a nice connection stemming from late-2021 into this season. The Bears do not have many notable weapons, so Kmet can easily step in and contribute in their offense. While the 49ers have a stout defense, Kmet can be a breakout TE this season and should see some valuable targets as a fringe Top-10 TE.
Pat Freiermuth (PIT) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Freiermuth proved to be a solid redzone target for the Steelers last season and could further improve in 2022. He had success last year against the Bengals as well, averaging 13.0 fantasy PPG in addition to two TDs in both games. The Bengals have been a good matchup for TEs in recent seasons, so Freiermuth has TE1 potential this week.
Defense/Kicker Streamers of the Week
In addition to the skill player Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Ems, here are my top streaming options for Defense/ST and Kicker:
Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks
The matchup against Geno Smith is too good to ignore. Denver had a middle-of-the-pack defense in 2021, but with a great and improved offense, their defense may take a step up as well. The Broncos can force a couple turnovers in this game and pay off as a streamer this week.
Matt Prater (ARI) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
A good fantasy kicker not only needs to hit PATs, but also nail intermediate and long field goals. What better man for the job than Prater, who will see plenty of action against the Chiefs. This game has the potential to be high scoring, and Prater may also get a fair share of field goal opportunities as well.
Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) vs. New England Patriots
While many have called for a breakout season for Tua, Week 1 does not present a favorable matchup. The Patriots allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy PPG to QBs (13.8) last season, and they are notorious for foiling young QBs. The addition of WR Tyreek Hill will be a net positive for Tua this season, but it is best to bench him for this week.
Ryan Tannehill (TEN) vs. New York Giants
This matchup is deceptively intriguing for Tannehill, but the game script may not support a great fantasy performance. RB Derrick Henry can pretty much win this game on his own, and Tannehill does not have the cast of weapons that he used to. Tannehill’s job security is now a topic of conversation with Malik Willis waiting in the wings. Overall, Tannehill could have an average performance at best, but lean towards other options if you can.
Cam Akers (LAR) vs. Buffalo Bills
There is too much risk to start Akers in Week 1. Akers has dealt with various injuries dating back to last year’s torn Achilles, but he is reportedly good to go for Thursday night. However, RB Darrell Henderson Jr. will have his fair share of work, cutting into the workload of Akers. The Rams may just employ a full-on timeshare between the two, which does not bode well for Akers at all. The Bills D is no slouch either, so it may be difficult for the run game to produce as a whole. In terms of strategy, it may be best to bench Akers on a Thursday night so you do not have him locked into the lineup going into the weekend.
Breece Hall (NYJ) vs. Baltimore Ravens
Hall will prove that he is the RB1 out of the 2022 class, but his opening week matchup is less than ideal to show off those skills. The Ravens have a very solid defense, only giving up an average of 3.7 yards per rush to running backs last season. Michael Carter, who the Jets drafted last season, will still have a role as Hall continues to acclimate to the NFL. The Jets will be without QB Zach Wilson, so Hall may get more opportunities, but fantasy owners should not expect too much from him this week.
Tyler Lockett (SEA) vs. Denver Broncos
Even though Lockett has consistently finished the past few seasons above his ADP, his season looks like a certain dip in fantasy production. The downgrade from Russell Wilson to Geno Smith is more than enough reason to fade Lockett in 2022. But for this matchup specifically, the Broncos secondary will be too much to handle for Seattle’s WRs. It remains to be seen if there is real, legit chemistry between Smith and Lockett. He will need to prove to fantasy owners he can be a reliable WR2 or FLEX option this season, but Lockett should remain on the bench in the meantime.
Diontae Johnson (PIT) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Johnson has been a very consistent producer, especially in PPR formats. Things are a little different in 2022, however. He gets his own QB downgrade from Big Ben to Mitch Trubisky. Also, rookie George Pickens is looking like a real stud who can steal a handful targets away from the other receivers. Johnson is currently battling a shoulder injury he picked up in the preseason finale vs. the Lions. There is some caution with Johnson, and without confirmation that he will be ready in time, he should be left on the bench regardless.
Hunter Henry (NE) @ Miami Dolphins
Henry had nine TDs in 2021, helping him finish the season as the TE10. Looks can be deceiving, as he averaged a measly 4.4 targets and 2.9 catches per game last season. Without an official offensive coordinator for the Patriots, it seems as though that unit will take a step back as a whole in 2022. Henry should be looked at as a boom/bust player this season, and you should not rely on him for much fantasy production in games where he does not find the endzone. He will be too hard to trust.
Tyler Higbee (LAR) vs. Buffalo Bills
Higbee never stuffed the stat sheet last season, as he was also a player boosted by touchdowns. Allen Robinson was the key addition to the Rams offense this offseason, and he will surely attract a high volume of targets. The Bills have given up the fourth-fewest fantasy PPG to TEs (8.8) and just four touchdowns to the position. Higbee is a low-end streamer for teams desperate to fill a slot in their starting lineups. There are much better streamers this week.
Stay tuned for next week’s Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em!
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