NFL Week 1 PPR Rankings: Christian McCaffrey Back Where He Belongs

Week 1 of the NFL season is finally here, which means fantasy football is back on the menu for all. As we head into a new season with rookies entering the league, players joining new teams, and situations everywhere up in the air, there’s plenty of intrigue as to who will be the top players at each position this season. Let’s take a look at my top ten for each position heading into Week 1.

NFL Week 1 Quarterback Rankings


Analysis: There are some familiar faces at the top of the rankings for the quarterback position this week, but Lamar Jackson stands out among the rest in a matchup against a hapless Raiders front seven. Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, and Tom Brady should all be able to take advantage of weak opponents. Jalen Hurts has a great matchup against the Falcons that has boosted him up the rankings as Atlanta allowed the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last year. Dak Prescott has been moved down a bit due to a tough matchup and his return from his ankle injury. On the same token, I am staying away from Joe Burrow in Week 1 as I have concerns about his physical and mental recovery from his brutal ACL/MCL/PCL injuries last season. Justin Herbert is also down in the rankings against the Washington defense as they allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks last year. Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, and Trevor Lawrence stand out as some of my favorite streamers at the quarterback position. Going deeper, players like Sam Darnold, Carson Wentz, and Jimmy Garoppolo could be worth a look in Week 1 in what should be plus matchups.

NFL Week 1 Running Back Rankings


Analysis: Christian McCaffrey should have a huge game against the Jets in his first time back on the field since his season of bad injury luck last year, and he’s firmly my RB1 this season. Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry have very strong matchups against the Bengals and Cardinals, respectively, as well. Alvin Kamara doesn’t have the same plus matchup, but I have no doubts about his ability to perform in Week 1. Ezekiel Elliott is down in the rankings in a brutal matchup against a loaded Tampa Bay front seven while Austin Ekeler is lower than I would normally have him as well as he faces Washington. Najee Harris looks ready to make a splash as a rookie and I have confidence in him in Week 1 against a middle-of-the-pack Bills defense. Raheem Mostert looks like a great play in Week 1 against the Lions and Trey Sermon could also have some sneaky value. David Montgomery and Myles Gaskin have tough matchups while Saquon Barkley and D’Andre Swift likely won’t see full workloads as they are recovering from their respective injuries. I’m also higher than most on Melvin Gordon for Week 1 as while I have high hopes for rookie Javonte Williams, I believe this is Gordon’s backfield to lose for the time being.

NFL Week 1 Wide Receiver Rankings


Analysis: It’s hard to know how matchups will shape up for wide receivers early in the season with so many cornerbacks changing teams, so the studs that would normally be at the top of the rankings are still there. Davante Adams is my WR1 for the entirety of the season and is my WR1 for Week 1. DeAndre Hopkins has a great matchup against the Titans and Calvin Ridley has a great matchup against the Eagles – both defenses were bottom-six against fantasy WRs last year. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen also look like great plays against the Bengals. D.K. Metcalf was reduced a bit in a matchup with Xavier Rhodes while Tyler Lockett was upgraded. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin could both finish inside the top-12 against the Cowboys who allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers last year. Allen Robinson saw his ranking reduced in a tough matchup against the Rams while Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel should have huge Week 1 performances against the Lions who allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers last year. DeVante Parker broke into the top-24 against the Patriots as it’s unlikely Stephon Gilmore will play and Parker should see an uptick in targets with Will Fuller suspended for the first week. Amari Cooper is lower in the rankings while he’s recovering from his foot injury, and I’d be wary of playing him in Week 1.

NFL Week 1 Tight End Rankings


Analysis: There seems to be more depth at the tight end position than we’ve seen in some time, and there are a number of viable targets this year. Travis Kelce is, of course, the TE1 and is as matchup-proof as it gets. Darren Waller could be in for a big game against the Ravens and George Kittle should be able to take advantage of a poor Lions defense. I’m very excited to see what Kyle Pitts can provide as a rookie in Week 1, and the Eagles don’t figure to provide very stiff opposition for him. Tyler Higbee is also a solid play against the Bears. Mike Gesicki doesn’t have the best matchup against the Patriots, but he should see a solid amount of targets, especially with Will Fuller not playing. Dallas Goedert gets a great matchup against the Falcons who allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends last year, but I’m not sure how the target share will be broken down in that offense. Logan Thomas and Robert Tonyan don’t have necessarily the best matchups, but both are strong plays for Week 1. Noah Fant could be a top-ten guy this year but I have him outside that range as he’s recovering from a leg injury. Gerald Everett, Blake Jarwin, and Austin Hooper are awesome sleepers at the tight end position while Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry could both turn in top-20 performances in Week 1. If you need a break-the-glass in case of emergency type of player, Panthers’ tight end Dan Arnold faces the Jets who allowed the most fantasy points to the position last year.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. I've been playing fantasy football for as long as I can remember and am now in far more leagues than any person should take part in. There are few things that give me as much joy and excitement as fantasy football, and I'm excited to share my input with you in your journey towards a championship.

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