It’s that time of the year again where people all across our great nation get into groups to compete in their fantasy football league. This could be in an office setting or with a couple of buddies, but all fantasy leagues have one common goal, winning. A lot of players have signed with new teams this offseason meaning you don’t know what to expect from them. Luckily, we know everything at lineups.com and I’m here to provide you with the players you should start and sit in Week 1. Also, I’m writing these suggestions for PPR leagues, sorry standard scoring league people.
Kirk Cousins (Minnesota Vikings)
The Vikings have one of the most dangerous offenses in the league and it starts with this man, QB Kirk Cousins. Cousins has been quietly putting up 3,500+ yards and 25+ touchdowns seasons since joining the Vikings 3 seasons ago. He now has a lethal skill core around him RB Dalvin Cook, WR Justin Jefferson, and WR Adam Theilen that should overwhelm the Bengals. To give you perspective, the Vikings were the fourth-ranked offense last year and the Bengals were the 12th ranked defense. The Bengals did add guys like DE Trey Hendrickson and CB Mike Hilton this offseason, but that shouldn’t move the needle too much in what should be a high-scoring affair.
James Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Robinson benefits from a bunch of different factors in this Week 1 matchup. One of them being he is the only good option the Jaguars have at running back. Fellow RB Travis Etienne is out for the season with a foot injury meaning Robinson should have plenty of volume this season. The second factor is that the Texans are garbage at defending the run. Last year they gave up 2,564 yards on the ground and didn’t add anyone this offseason to fix this glaring issue. The Jaguars’ offensive line might not be great, but they should be good enough for Robinson to have a field day.
Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers)
Aiyuk is now the #1 receiver on the 49ers. Of course, he is behind All-Pro TE George Kittle in terms of targets, but being the number 1 guy after your rookie season just shows the talent this guy has. The reason to play Aiyuk this week is because they are playing the Lions. The Lions are sad because they are helpless at defending the pass. Last year, Detroit gave up the 3rd most yards through the air and didn’t add anyone to make up for this shortcoming. Aiyuk is a rangy receiver that can catch anything and should see many targets in what I predict is going to be a beatdown.
Kyle Pitts (Atlanta Falcons)
This is one rookie who can play ball. Pitts is one of the most physically gifted players entering the league and should make a major impact in an offense that just lost WR Julio Jones. Pitts had 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in 8 games last year at Florida and his numbers should be better with QB Matt Ryan throwing him the ball. Pitts should get an easy introduction into the NFL as he is playing against the Philadelphia Eagles this week. Philly has no one that can guard Pitts one-on-one and they should not be able to stop Pitts once he reaches the end zone. Kyle “The Unicorn” Pitts has been dominating people since birth and should breakout in his Week 1 game.
San Francisco 49ers
Getting their star players back from injury should remind people why the 49ers went to the Super Bowl just two short seasons ago. DE Nick Bosa was gone for most of the season with an ACL tear and he was a big factor in San Francisco’s success. He is back and gets to play with studs like DE Arik Armstead and CB Jason Verrett. The best part is that they get to feast on the weak Detroit Lions offense. I know I shouldn’t double-dip on the 49ers for this article, but there is just too much upside with their defense in this game. The Lions don’t have much talent on offense as Matt Stafford has been substituted by Jared Goff. Detroit’s receivers are among the worst in the league and the only semi-decent weapons are RB D’Andre Swift and TE T.J. Hockenson. The 49ers are going to annihilate the Lions in this game.
Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)
Justin Herbert has all of the upside in the world as the Chargers’ new quarterback, but I don’t love his matchup this week. The Chargers are going up against the Washington Football Team this week who had 2nd best pass defense in the league last season. I’m not saying Herbert is going to be bad this week, as he still has RB Austin Ekeler, WR Keenan Allen, and WR Mike Williams to throw the ball too, but the defensive line and secondary are frightening to play against so don’t expect a huge week from Herbert.
David Montgomery (Chicago Bears)
Playing behind a bad offensive line and against the best run defense in the league, last season just has all of the makings of a bad day for Bears’ RB David Montgomery. Add on the fact that the Bears are playing the far inferior quarterback in Andy Dalton instead of Justin Fields and Montgomery should get ready to run for his life this Sunday night. When you are playing against Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, and A’Shawn Robinson you’re going to have a bad day running the ball. It’s going to be tough sledding for Montgomery in this game.
Chase Claypool (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Claypool is one of the up-and-coming stars in the NFL, but he won’t have his best stat line in this game against the Bills. The Bills had the 13th best pass defense last year led by CB Tre White, S Micah Hyde, and S Jordan Poyer. The Bills also know that the Steelers are going to pass the ball as they had the fewest rushing attempts last year. Claypool is a boom-or-bust player every week as he is the prime deep threat for Pittsburgh. Claypool needs two or three big plays in a game to stay fantasy relevant and I don’t see that happening against the lockdown players the Bills have.
Austin Hooper (Cleveland Browns)
There are simply too many mouths to feed in the Browns’ offense. Hooper is a good player in Cleveland, but he is one of the lowest on the totem pole as he is behind WR Odell Beckham Jr., WR Jarvis Landry, RB Nick Chubb, and RB Kareem Hunt in terms of getting the ball. Hooper won’t see the volume other top tight ends are getting and is very touchdown reliant in this matchup.
It feels like the Ravens are losing players every day. They can’t even stay healthy in practice, how can they stay healthy in a game? The latest victim of their tough offseason was star CB Marcus Peters who the team suspects have a torn ACL. Don’t get me wrong, this defense is still very good, the team just worries me because of who they’re playing against. The Raiders are an elite offense that can throw the ball over your head if you’re not prepared. The Raiders were one of the highest-scoring teams in the league last year that didn’t lose any of their key players this offseason. Between Baltimore’s injury luck and the Raiders’ great offense, don’t trust the Raven’s defense this week.