Week 1 of the 2022 fantasy football season is here, and with that comes our first start ’em and sit ’em decisions of the season. The first week of the year is a strange one for fantasy football. You drafted the players in a set order, so surely that is how you should start them? While in many cases, that is right, you also drafted these players for 15, 16, or 17 weeks, not just for Week 1.
Therefore, even in Week 1, there might be the case to sit that sixth-round pick and start a 12th-rounder who has the opportunity and matchup to help get you off to a winning start. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a handful of players I’m considering either starting or sitting in Week 1 of the 2022 fantasy football season.
The idea of this article is to get you thinking about your potential lineups early in the week. Waivers will usually run overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, and it’s not just about covering injuries or replacing players underperforming.
Waivers are also a huge part of your fantasy football start/sit strategy. If you have five players in your lineup with tough matchups, you may need to look towards the waiver wire to find an option to start this week. Without further ado, here are my early fantasy football start and sit considerations for Week 1.
When it comes to fantasy football start/sit decisions, the QB position can be a little strange. Often you are simply riding the player you drafted, especially in 1QB leagues. However, if you took a late-round QB in a 1QB league or drafted three QBs in a Superflex league, there are decisions to be made.
Start ’em | Jameis Winston, NO at ATL
This game will be a very good indicator of where both the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons will be this season. The Saints’ offense has major question marks, and it led to Jameis Winston slipping into the QB20 range in drafts.
However, the Falcons’ defense also has major question marks. We know A.J. Terrell is good, but Casey Hayward is now 33 and can be susceptible. Meanwhile, starting safeties, Jaylinn Hawkins and Richie Grant have six starts between them in their three combined years in the league.
Combine all of that with the Falcons’ mediocre pass rush and the Saints set to have their four main receiving weapons available, and this could get messy. This is a bitter rivalry, being played in the opposition’s home stadium. The Saints are not likely to ease up if they get a lead, and Winston could be in for a monster return from his knee injury.
Winston is a definite start in Superflex leagues. He’s not quite a starter in 12-team leagues, but it’s close. Once you get to 14 or 16-team 1QB leagues, then he becomes a player to consider starting over a handful of players drafted above him.
Start ’em | Matt Ryan, IND at HOU
This first week is intriguing for Matt Ryan because there are a few narratives for how things in Houston can go. On one hand, this game could get messy. The Colts are a fringe playoff contender, and the Texans are candidates for the No. 1 overall selection. Thus, we could see the Colts in shutdown mode during the second half. They could just run the clock in the second half, meaning Ryan only has two to three quarters to rack up points.
However, this is also a division rivalry, and one with some heat. Therefore, we could see Ryan throwing the ball around plenty. With Jonathan Taylor, he will rarely throw the ball 35-40 times, so efficiency will be the key. The Texans have some promising young players, but young is the operative word. There should be ample opportunity for the Colts’ passing game to have big plays in this matchup.
This is really more of a Superflex situation, but Ryan is a fringe starter in 14 or 16-team leagues as well. He enters the week as the QB15 in our Week 1 QB fantasy rankings.
Sit ’em | Matthew Stafford, LAR vs. BUF
I never like to sit the guys I draft to be my QB1 in the first week, especially when they are on the defending Super Bowl champions for opening night. Yet, there are several concerns around Matthew Stafford this week.
Stafford has missed time with an elbow injury, which should be fine, but will it be? Will the Rams protect him in the first game, or will they let it fly? The uncertainty is a concern when I set my lineup.
Equally, Stafford is facing a very good pass defense. Tre’Davious White’s absence helps Stafford, but Kaiir Elam, Dane Jackson, and Tarron Jackson are a talented trio, let alone the safety pairing.
Of course, the counter here is that this has every chance to be a shootout, and Stafford could easily throw the ball 50+ times, elbow injury or not. I’m just not convinced he’ll have his full range of talents available, and this is a bad matchup for that to be the case.
Sit ’em | Derek Carr, LV at LAC
This recommendation for Derek Carr as a player to be cautious of comes with a huge caveat; if J.C. Jackson is ruled out, my feelings change entirely. If Jackson is on the field, this Chargers defense is scary. Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack have a fantastic trio of Jerry Tillery, Sebastian Joseph-Day, and Austin Johnson up the middle. Then, on the backend, there is Jackson and Asante Samuel, with Nasir Adderley and Derwin James at safety. That is a fantastic group.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have question marks on their offensive line and over the health of Darren Waller entering Week 1. Carr averaged less than 15 fantasy points across the two games with the Chargers last year. While the offense has a big addition in Davante Adams, there are enough concerns to make me hesitate about how this game will go for the Raiders’ QB.
Start ’em | Melvin Gordon, DEN at SEA
The return of Russell Wilson to Seattle has the potential to get messy. The Denver Broncos are going to want to really stick it to their quarterback’s former team, and the Seahawks offense will have little course for a response. While Wilson and the passing game will likely be electric, there is room for the running game as well.
Javonte Williams should draw the start, but if this gets out of hand, the Broncos will not want to have him take unnecessary hits in the first game of the year. Therefore, we could see extended play from Melvin Gordon, who can contribute in both the run and pass. He makes an intriguing Flex option as an RB3 this week.
Sit ’em | Cam Akers, LAR vs. BUF
Two Rams among my names to sit in Week 1 is not something I really expected to be writing, but bad signs are now adding up. Cam Akers comes into the season off the back of an injury during the preseason. He has a strong backup in Darrell Henderson, who was deemed healthier earlier in the process than Akers. Therefore, we could very easily see Akers eased into the season with limited touches and rotating in with Henderson.
Additionally, the Bills’ defense is extremely strong. They also have Von Miller, who spent last year with the Rams. While he won’t know all of the offensive schemes, he’ll have prepped Buffalo well for this showcase game. Having that knowledge before the snap is always an advantage, and it’s one of several reasons to be cautious of Akers this week.
Akers should be a fine fantasy RB this season, but in Week 1, I’m looking to bench him, as he sits outside my top 36 RBs this week. He’s a fringe Flex consideration in 14-team leagues or deeper, but in those shallower leagues, I’m looking elsewhere.
Sit ’em | Breece Hall, NYJ vs. BAL
Breece Hall is actually even lower than Akers this week. The Ravens’ defense is usually very strong, and after a tough year in 2021 due to injuries, they are back to full strength.
Then, there is this weird timeshare situation with Michael Carter. We have no idea how that will shake out, so if I can watch and see how it plays out in Week 1, that would be ideal.
Hall sits as a Flex consideration in 16-team leagues or deeper. Anything shallower, and I’m confident you can find a better option on your roster.
Start ’em | Hunter Renfrow, LV at LAC
While Carr is someone I’m concerned about, Hunter Renfrow is someone I’m bullish on. With Waller injured entering the game, Renfrow should be the second option in the offense, even if Waller plays. The Chargers’ defense is good, but their secondary depth is lacking, which is who should be covering Renfrow, especially in three WR sets.
Additionally, the pass-rush strength for Los Angeles plays into Renfrow’s hands. Carr may need a quick and short passing game if the Chargers have success. That is where Renfrow specializes. I have Renfrow as a solid Flex play in 12-team leagues and a potential WR2 option in deeper formats.
Start ’em | Allen Lazard, GB at MIN
Things are a little weird to look at with the Green Bay passing game after Adams’ departure. However, one constant is Allen Lazard, who we know Aaron Rodgers trusts. With this in mind, if he can return from his undisclosed injury, Lazard has a great chance to be heavily utilized in Week 1. However, if Lazard cannot suit up, Sammy Watkins could be an intriguing fill-in option.
The matchup favors Lazard here. In the last meeting between the two sides, he scored 13.2 fantasy points in non-PPR and 19.2 in PPR. Two of Lazard’s best six career fantasy performances came against the Vikings. The strength of this Minnesota defense appears to be against the run. Thus, we could see the Packers go to the air plenty in what could turn into an early-season shootout in Minneapolis. Lazard is a Flex play in 12-team leagues and a WR2 candidate in anything deeper.
Sit ’em | Chris Godwin, TB vs. DAL
It does seem more and more likely that Chris Godwin will suit up in Week 1. But it’s not a certainty, and that is concerning.
With the game between the Buccaneers and Cowboys being on Sunday Night Football, if Godwin doesn’t play, your options are limited. We may not know until halftime of the afternoon games, at which point you have four teams left to choose a replacement from.
Even if Godwin does play, he’s risky to trust. The Buccaneers have a loaded receiver room, so they don’t need him to play every snap. They could very easily ease him back into game action with just a handful of snaps and targets. Of course, Godwin could score on them, and this would look silly, but it has a touchdown-or-bust feeling. If I have “safer” options with more guarantee for playing time, that’s where I’m going.
Godwin is outside of Flex consideration for me in anything shallower than a 16-team league. In those deeper leagues, he comes back into consideration, depending on how my bench looks.
Sit ’em | Drake London, ATL vs. NO
This hurts my heart to write because I’m a big believer in Drake London this season, just simply based on volume. However, this week is loaded with red flags for the rookie receiver. London has struggled in the preseason and training camp with a knee injury, which could limit him early in the year.
This Week, London has a matchup with a combination of Marshon Lattimore, Paulson Adebo, and Bradley Roby. That is a baptism of fire for the rookie receiver, with a QB we are not sold on throwing him the ball. The volume should be there this season, and it might be in Week 1, but I’m scared enough to avoid London in anything outside of a 16-team or deeper Flex situation.
Start ’em | Hunter Henry, NE at MIA
The Patriots’ offense is an extremely confusing situation. With Josh McDaniels gone and no clear offensive coordinator in place, there are a number of things we could see from this offense. Additionally, they are going into a somewhat tough matchup with a strong Dolphins defense.
However, the secondary has some cause for concern. The cornerback position behind Xavien Howard is exploitable, and there are also questions about the safety position. Hunter Henry could be perfectly placed to exploit those concerns.
In his two games against Miami last year, he caught eight of nine targets for 117 yards. The first game came in Week 1 when Henry was new to the offense, and so was Mac Jones. Henry could have a great chance of finding the end zone this time around.
He’s a fringe 12-team starter and a definitive starter in anything deeper. Henry was drafted in that role for the most part, but with tough matchups for others, he’s a player that could be in for a big week.
Start ’em | Albert Okwuegbunam, DEN at SEA
After all the talk of Greg Dulcich looming to steal Albert Okwuegbunbam‘s starting role, he ended up on the IR. That leaves Albert O as the top tight end on the Broncos’ depth chart. This Wilson revenge game should have plenty of passing action to go around for the Broncos’ pass catchers.
Albert O should be a big part of that and could even be a candidate for a multi-touchdown day. He’s a starter in 12-team leagues, as well as anything deeper. He also very well could be for the foreseeable future with Dulcich out. Therefore, Okwuegbunam could be an under-the-radar trade candidate before he potentially breaks out on Monday night.
Sit ’em | Mike Gesicki, MIA vs. NE
Rounding off our Week 1 start/sit article is the much debated Mike Gesicki. We’ve seen how good Gesicki can be for fantasy, but often it involves a sheer volume of passes rather than splash plays. Unfortunately, that volume might not be there anymore.
This offense has seen huge upgrades, with Tyreek Hill, Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, and Cedrick Wilson Jr. Suddenly, Gesicki appears to be fighting to be the third or fourth target in the offense, as opposed to the second. If the volume’s not there, his talent level might not be able to make up for it. I’m not starting him in anything outside of a 20-team league this week.
With less than a week until the 2022 NFL season kicks off, we’ve published updated fantasy football outlooks for 200 players. Search the table below or filter by position and team for detailed fantasy insight so you can win your fantasy football draft! Additionally, don’t forget about our Fantasy Football Draft Kit, which is packed with more information and proprietary research.