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NFL Rankings

Week 1 Rankings

by Patrick Daugherty
Updated On: September 13, 2020, 3:14 pm ET

Updated 9/13 at 3:15 PM ET. Added Mike Evans and Kendrick Bourne. Removed Brandon Aiyuk.

 

  

 

Week 1 Quarterbacks 

RK

Player

Opp

 

1

Patrick Mahomes

HOU

 

2

Lamar Jackson

CLE

 

3

Deshaun Watson

@KC

 

4

Dak Prescott

@LA

 

5

Russell Wilson

@ATL

 

6

Matt Ryan

SEA

 

7

Ben Roethlisberger

@NYG

 

8

Drew Brees

TB

 

9

Carson Wentz

@WAS

 

10

Kyler Murray

@SF

 

11

Tom Brady

@NO

 

12

Josh Allen

NYJ

 

13

Jared Goff

DAL

 

14

Matthew Stafford

CHI

 

15

Cam Newton

MIA

 

16

Daniel Jones

PIT

 

17

Jimmy Garoppolo

ARI

 

18

Ryan Tannehill

@DEN

 

19

Joe Burrow

LAC

 

20

Aaron Rodgers

@MIN

 

21

Philip Rivers

@JAC

 

22

Teddy Bridgewater

LV

 

23

Derek Carr

@CAR

 

24

Kirk Cousins

GB

 

25

Gardner Minshew

IND

 

26

Tyrod Taylor

@CIN

 

27

Baker Mayfield

@BAL

 

28

Ryan Fitzpatrick

@NE

 

29

Dwayne Haskins

PHI

 

30

Sam Darnold

@BUF

 

31

Drew Lock

TEN

 

32

Mitchell Trubisky

@DET

 

 

QB Notes: Patrick Mahomes was the QB6 by average points in a “down” season. The coronavirus makes it difficult to remember such things, but it was only 242 days ago that Mahomes dismantled the Texans for 321 yards and five touchdowns in the Chiefs’ Divisional Round comeback. … Lamar Jackson probably isn’t going to set the quarterback rushing record or post a 9.0 touchdown percentage again, so some regression is to be expected. Of course, he could offset it with increased passing volume. As Hayden Winks has pointed out multiple times, the Ravens played with the lead on 73 percent of their second half snaps in 2019. That will be close to impossible to repeat. … The Chiefs’ defense quietly buckled down in 2019, but you will not catch me fading Deshaun Watson in a season opener with a 54 over/under. New OC Tim Kelly should make things easier for Watson, while the Texans have a versatile and balanced skill corps. … Cowboys/Rams is Chiefs/Texans’ biggest competition for fantasy game of the week. Dak Prescott’s supporting cast is somehow even better coming off last year’s QB4 finish. … Will Russell Wilson be allowed to cook is one of 2020’s biggest questions. The Seahawks will have little choice but to get a stew going in Atlanta’s domed environs. 

Matt Ryan averaged 335 yards in six games before suffering a high-ankle sprain last season. That number plummeted to 287 in the eight after. Provided he can still move behind his shaky offensive line — Ryan was practically immobile after his injury — he maintains the supporting cast to claim an every-week QB1 floor. … Aside from his Wild Card disaster, 2019 Drew Brees was more consistent with higher upside than 2018 Drew Brees. Category 5 shootout conditions are brewing in the Gulf for Sunday’s Bucs showdown. … Ben Roethlisberger has lost three elbow tendons and Antonio Brown since his elite 2018. We don’t know who Roethlisberger will be this season, but the Giants should make him look good regardless. … It’s hard to overstate the degree to which Matthew Stafford was genuinely a different player last season. 19.2 percent of Stafford’s attempts were directed 20-plus yards down the field, 2.7 percent more than No. 2 Russell Wilson. Next Gen Stats charted Stafford as the league’s most “aggressive” quarterback, one who threw farther beyond the sticks than anyone else. Even in a tough matchup with the Bears, Stafford’s 2019 play has earned every-week QB1 benefit of the doubt. 

   

It didn’t take long for Carson Wentz’s supporting cast to get hurt, but his real Week 1 concern is 6.5-point favorite Philly getting too run established against the clownish “Washington Football Team.” … In all of NFL history, there have been 281 total passes attempted by quarterbacks in their age-43 season or later. Tom Brady will be trying prove 2019 was more about his awful receiver corps than Father Time as he settles into his best supporting cast since the Moss/Welker years. … Kyler Murray checked yet another box with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins. It’s just the wrong Week 1 matchup for everyone’s favorite sophomore quarterback. … The QB14 by average points a season ago, Josh Allen struggled for spiked weeks, which were supposed to be his bread and butter. FFToday.com charted him with just four games above 25.0. Stefon Diggs will be one way to change that, but a 40-totaled game with the Jets will be a difficult spot to inaugurate an eruption year. … The QB8 by average points in 2018, Jared Goff free fell to QB15 last season. All the same questions remain. We are putting our Week 1 faith in a likely shootout.   

Cam Newton did not light up training camp and his supporting cast might be worse than Tom Brady’s was in 2019. It’s hard to say if Newton’s foot and shoulder injuries are more concerning for his throwing or running. You don’t need me to explain a healthy Newton’s upside. The same is true for a 31-year-old, injury-compromised Newton’s downside. … In a rarity, Daniel Jones’ skill corps is healthy all at once. Unfortunately, it’s against a Steelers Defense that allowed by far the fewest quarterback fantasy points in 2019. That was due in large part to teams not having to pass against a noncompetitive Steelers Offense, but that elite D did not get worse over the offseason. … Jimmy Garoppolo was the QB22 by average points last season. That he was even that high was thanks to a pair of slaughterings of an Arizona D that didn’t do a whole lot to get better over the COVID offseason. … It’s been overstated how good Joe Burrow’s supporting cast is. He has a running back, a slot receiver and a whole lot of questions beyond that. What is not overstated is just how special Burrow was in 2019. No one has ever entered the NFL coming off a campaign like that. And even if the supporting cast is overstated, it’s still more than Sam Bradford or Sam Darnold ever had. The OROY conversation is “Burrow” or “the field.”

It feels like the Titans are chasing another river card with Ryan Tannehill. Be that as it may, we must allow for the possibility that this is who the 2019 Comeback Player of the Year really is now. No Von Miller for Week 1 helps. … There’s not much to hang our hats on with Aaron Rodgers. Sure, he’s thirsting for revenge, but you don’t think that was already the case in 2019? The man simply has no one to throw to. Rodgers has not produced more than two scores against a Mike Zimmer-led defense since Christmas Eve 2016. … I’m genuinely uncertain what to expect from Philip Rivers. What seems clear is that the Colts are going to rush for 150-plus yards against the pathetic Jaguars, limiting Rivers’ upside. … Is Teddy Bridgewater being set up to fail? We focus on the potential passing volume on a team with an atrocious defense, but “conservative Bridgewater” is not a meme. Next Gen Stats revealed Bridgewater to throw farther behind the sticks than any other quarterback last season. That is not a come-from-behind skill-set. The desired QB2 streamer fantasy returns may never materialize. … Kirk Cousins was the QB23 by average points last season and has lost Stefon Diggs. He could easily be more, but the Vikings don’t want him to be. Cousins completed 47.6 percent of his passes against Za’Darius Smith and the Packers last year. … Weapons, weapons everywhere but only Derek Carr to dink.             

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Week 1 Running Backs 

RK

Player

Opp

 

1

Christian McCaffrey

LV

 

2

Ezekiel Elliott

@LA

 

3

Derrick Henry

@DEN

 

4

Saquon Barkley

PIT

 

5

Dalvin Cook

GB

 

6

Joe Mixon

LAC

 

7

Alvin Kamara

TB

 

8

Josh Jacobs

@CAR

 

9

Aaron Jones

@MIN

 

10

James Conner

@NYG

 

11

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

HOU

 

12

Austin Ekeler

@CIN

 

13

Kenyan Drake

@SF

 

14

Todd Gurley

SEA

 

15

Nick Chubb

@BAL

 

16

David Johnson

@KC

 

17

Chris Carson

@ATL

 

18

Melvin Gordon

TEN

 

19

Jonathan Taylor

@JAC

 

20

Raheem Mostert

ARI

 

21

Mark Ingram

CLE

 

22

Boston Scott

@WAS

 

23

Le'Veon Bell

@BUF

 

24

Devin Singletary

NYJ

 

25

Cam Akers

DAL

 

26

James White

MIA

 

27

Antonio Gibson

PHI

 

28

Kareem Hunt

@BAL

 

29

David Montgomery

@DET

 

30

Sony Michel

MIA

 

31

Tarik Cohen

@DET

 

32

Chris Thompson

IND

 

33

Zack Moss

NYJ

 

34

Marlon Mack

@JAC

 

35

Darrel Williams

HOU

 

36

Jordan Howard

@NE

 

37

Leonard Fournette

@NO

 

38

Kerryon Johnson

CHI

 

39

Phillip Lindsay

TEN

 

40

D'Andre Swift

CHI

 

41

Ronald Jones

@NO

 

42

James Robinson

IND

 

43

J.K. Dobbins

CLE

 

44

Matt Breida

@NE

 

45

Malcolm Brown

DAL

 

46

Carlos Hyde

@ATL

 

47

Corey Clement

@WAS

 

48

Latavius Murray

TB

 

49

Tevin Coleman

ARI

 

50

Justin Jackson

@CIN

 

51

Chase Edmonds

@SF

 

52

Adrian Peterson

CHI

 

53

Tony Pollard

@LA

 

54

Alexander Mattison

GB

 

55

Joshua Kelley

@CIN

 

56

Darrell Henderson

DAL

 

57

Ryan Nall

@DET

 

58

J.J. Taylor

MIA

 

59

Brian Hill

SEA

 

 

RB Notes: Saquon Barkley averaged 163 yards from scrimmage for the five games he was at full health last season. The Steelers are a tricky opponent, but we know game flow doesn’t matter for Barkley, a three-down back who is the focal point of his offense. … It doesn’t take much imagination to discern what the Titans’ Derrick Henry intentions are going to be against the Broncos’ Von Miller-less defense. … Dalvin Cook’s summer was a strange one full of conjecture, but again, we don’t have to strain hard to guess how the 2.5-home favorite Vikings are going to use him against the Packers. Gary Kubiak’s influence was already all over this offense, but he is one of the pre-eminent fantasy back coaches in all of football. … Joe Mixon passed his half-season audition as the Bengals’ every-down engine. Now he has a contract extension and Joe Burrow in tow. Full steam ahead. … We keep getting more questions than answers on Alvin Kamara’s overall health outlook, but he will be out there as a four-point home favorite in a game with a 48.5 total. Despite Kamara’s recent epidural, he is at least supposedly over his 2019 ailments. It’s hard to have fear in this spot despite the Bucs' 2019 dominance against the run.

Derek Carr and the Raiders’ passing game is taking up a lot of Week 1 streamer oxygen, but Josh Jacobs is the most likely to benefit against the Panthers’ nearly-nonexistent defense. It would be stunning were he not to reach 20 carries. … I am still baffled by the summer panic over Aaron Jones, whose obvious touchdown regression was more than baked into his ADP. He is an explosive lead back capable of big plays on all three downs for a run-focused offense. … It was hard for needles to be moved this training camp, but James Conner received repeated affirmation he will be a true every-down back for the Steelers’ hopefully resurgent offense. … Monitor Miles Sanders’ (hamstring) health news, but he can’t be left outside the RB1 ranks as a 6.5-point favorite vs. one of the league’s least-imposing defenses. … What will Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s role be on early downs? If you listen to the podcast, you have heard me debate this ad nauseum. I have been, and remain, of the opinion that the Chiefs will not force the early-season issue with CEH between the tackles. It’s just that, even if that is indeed the case for Week 1, the outlook is so good — a nine-point home favorite in a game with a 53.5 over/under — that it doesn’t really matter. We need the lead back from that offense in our lineups no matter.     

Austin Ekeler has eclipsed 15 carries in a game three times. That remains the situation to monitor with the Bolts’ new 1A back. Justin Jackson seems to maintain a slight lead over rookie Joshua Kelley for 1B duties. … Game flow will not be Kenyan Drake’s Week 1 friend, but the Cardinals’ official website still expects him to be the team’s “feature back.” For now, Chase Edmonds lacks true standalone value. … The only thing we can truly expect with Todd Gurley is a lack of competition. … Kareem Hunt’s two-year extension is the latest ominous 2020 development for Nick Chubb. The Browns aren’t paying Hunt to sit on the bench. He is the third-down back, and a heavily-involved one at that. Week 1 looks like more of a “Hunt week” than Chubb in a game where the Browns are 7.5-point ‘dogs. … We don’t expect game flow to be great for the Texans. We also know the Chiefs are amongst the easiest teams to run on. Coach Bill O’Brien will be itching to show acquiring David Johnson was a smart decision. Johnson is a safe Week 1 RB2.

Chris Carson (hip) is supposedly 100 percent healthy. I still think the Seahawks might be reluctant to give their bruising lead back full workloads right off the bat. Carlos Hyde is always ready to ruin fantasy days. ... I’m not buying the late summer Phillip Lindsay love. There isn’t a single area where Lindsay has an advantage on highly-paid free agent Melvin Gordon. Gordon’s setup will be very similar to the one he had in Los Angeles. … It’s on the road, but the Colts are eight-point favorites. This is frankly a conservative ranking for Jonathan Taylor vs. the Jags’ suddenly expansion-level defense, though Marlon Mack will be mixed in as the Colts dominate. From a season-long perspective, the Colts didn’t draft the better version of Mack to keep their underwhelming ex-lead back heavily involved. … Raheem Mostert had zero leverage after demanding a summer trade and the 49ers still kicked some extra cash and incentives his way. That’s because they know Mostert is by far their best back. Tevin Coleman will be a nuisance, Jerick McKinnon will be an experiment, but Mostert will be the clear and obvious starter. … Mark Ingram executed his 2019 free agent assignment to perfection. J.K. Dobbins is going to have to come and take it. 

Can Le’Veon Bell reach 75 yards rushing for the second time as a Jet? Find out tonight at 11 after NCIS: Des Moines. … Devin Singletary was a rare loser in a summer where actionable information was difficult to come by. By all accounts, he had a shaky camp while third-rounder Zack Moss shined. I simply have a hard time believing Moss will be ready to cannibalize all of Singletary’s most valuable touches after one month of practice, much of which consisted of conditioning. Keep Moss on speed dial, but there’s a chance Singletary ends up a massive steal because of a few too many practice tweets. … Regardless of whether Malcolm Brown, who is not good, is the “starter,” Cam Akers remains the only Rams back with a compelling Week 1 case. … The Patriots need James White more than ever. Amazingly, Sony Michel has also emerged unscathed on first and second down. … I was having a difficult time believing in “offensive weapon” Antonio Gibson as anything other than a massive overdraft until WFT cut Adrian Peterson. Now Gibson’s FLEX case is impossible to deny. … David Montgomery (groin) appears poised to play, but a full workload is unlikely. As bad as he was last year, the Bears still desperately need Tarik Cohen’s targets. … Maybe Ronald Jones will start. I don’t think it will be RoJo when the Bucs are looking to cash in goal-line looks in New Orleans. … The Lions’ backfield is a certified Week 1 mess. Sadly, I think Kerryon Johnson might be the touch favorite.            

 

Week 1 Receivers 

RK

Player

Opp

 

1

Michael Thomas

TB

 

2

Tyreek Hill

HOU

 

3

Davante Adams

@MIN

 

4

Chris Godwin

@NO

 

5

Julio Jones

SEA

 

6

DeAndre Hopkins

@SF

 

7

Allen Robinson

@DET

 

8

D.J. Moore

LV

 

9

JuJu Smith-Schuster

@NYG

 

10

Adam Thielen

GB

 

11

Robert Woods

DAL

 

12

Terry McLaurin

PHI

 

13

D.J. Chark

IND

 

14

Amari Cooper

@LA

 

15

Odell Beckham

@BAL

 

16

A.J. Brown

@DEN

 

17

DK Metcalf

@ATL

 

18

Calvin Ridley

SEA

 

19

T.Y. Hilton

@JAC

 

20

Tyler Lockett

@ATL

 

21

Keenan Allen

@CIN

 

22

Cooper Kupp

DAL

 

23

Stefon Diggs

NYJ

 

24

Will Fuller

@KC

 

25

Michael Gallup

@LA

 

26

Marquise Brown

CLE

 

27

DeVante Parker

@NE

 

28

Julian Edelman

MIA

 

29

Tyler Boyd

LAC

 

30

DeSean Jackson

@WAS

 

31

Marvin Jones

CHI

 

32

Jarvis Landry

@BAL

 

33

Diontae Johnson

@NYG

 

34

Jamison Crowder

@BUF

 

35

Courtland Sutton

TEN

 

36

Mecole Hardman

HOU

 

37

Sterling Shepard

PIT

 

38

Christian Kirk

@SF

 

39

Brandin Cooks

@KC

 

40

Darius Slayton

PIT

 

41

Preston Williams

@NE

 

42

A.J. Green

LAC

 

43

Henry Ruggs

@CAR

 

44

Mike Evans

@NO

 

45

Anthony Miller

@DET

 

46

CeeDee Lamb

@LA

 

47

Sammy Watkins

HOU

 

48

John Brown

NYJ

 

49

N'Keal Harry

MIA

 

50

Jerry Jeudy

TEN

 

51

Parris Campbell

@JAC

 

52

Emmanuel Sanders

TB

 

53

Breshad Perriman

@BUF

 

54

Hunter Renfrow

@CAR

 

55

Golden Tate

PIT

 

56

Allen Lazard

@MIN

 

57

Bryan Edwards

@CAR

 

58

Curtis Samuel

LV

 

59

Steven Sims

PHI

 

60

Mike Williams

@CIN

 

61

Robby Anderson

LV

 

62

Michael Pittman

@JAC

 

63

Jalen Reagor

@WAS

 

64

Scott Miller

@NO

 

65

Danny Amendola

CHI

 

66

Greg Ward

@WAS

 

67

Justin Jefferson

GB

 

68

Kendrick Bourne

ARI

 

 

WR Notes: Perhaps some of the summer focus on Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst should have been shifted Julio Jones’ way? Whenever targets open up in an offense, we never stop to think that maybe, just maybe some of them will go to the No. 1 receiver. Jones, who drew 157 looks a season ago, has breached 160 three times. … DeAndre Hopkins is another player I have written/talked about too much. We know the data shows receivers changing teams often have a difficult time, but it is not usually players like Nuk flipping squads. It is the Tyrell Williams and Paul Richardsons of the world getting too big of contracts from bad teams. Hopkins filled a massive need for the Cardinals and will be aggressively targeted in an offense that wants to pass more. … With Mike Evans’ (hamstring) health suddenly in question, Chris Godwin is a threat to go stratospheric in the Superdome. WR6 is unlikely to be his final rankings resting place. … Are the Bears a tough matchup? Yes. Did Kenny Golladay have his biggest yardage effort of 2019 against them with David Blough? Also yes. Golladay was a forgotten man this summer. Matthew Stafford will quickly remind folks.

Allen Robinson went at least 6/86 in each of his 2019 Detroit matchups. That was one Darius Slay ago for the Lions’ hapless defense. … D.J. Moore is a match made in short-area heaven with Teddy Bridgewater, who knows what it is like to have a Michael Thomas-type target hog. … I have 2020 JuJu Smith-Schuster questions, but none of them are “how will he have a WR1 day against the New York Giants?” … Adam Thielen’s target argument is as simple as it is reasonable. I just wonder if a 30-plus receiver who has under 1,000 yards over his past 18 games is still the same guy he was in the first half of the 2018 season. … Robert Woods’ argument is not ceiling. I just expect him to hit layup after layup in one of the fantasy games of the week. … Amari Cooper, who has generally not fared well against Jalen Ramsey, will need layups to keep pace with Woods. … Speaking of shadow corners, Terry McLaurin could have one in Darius Slay. It’s a matchup McLaurin won against the Lions in 2019. Eagles DC Jim Schwartz has typically avoided shadows in Philly, but it is something he has hinted he is open to with Slay.

Come-from-behind game script should benefit D.J. Chark in Jay Gruden’s Jaguars debut. … Odell Beckham is going to have his Week 1 hands full with Marlon HumphreyJimmy Smith and Marcus Peters. It will still be nice to see him healthy after last year’s injury-ruined affair. … We know A.J. Brown didn’t see consistent targets in 2019. We also know the Titans are just like us and realize their YAC-monster second-year pro needs more sophomore looks. There is no one in the Broncos’ post-Chris Harris secondary who can hang with Brown. ... Courtland Sutton and Drew Lock did not display instant 2019 chemistry, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the lowest Sutton is ranked all year. … I have been outside consensus on Calvin Ridley all summer. The amount of smart people all in on Ridley definitely gives me pause. If I’m wrong, I will understand the reasons why. I just need to see the evidence that Ridley is the kind of athlete actually capable of making the high-end WR2 leap. He lacks for both YAC and jumps-off-the-page explosiveness. It needs to be about more than just opportunity. Ridley’s Week 1 rank is because of the likely shootout conditions vs. the Seahawks.

The Seahawks’ coaching staff has described DK Metcalf as a man on a mission. There’s admittedly not much to separate Metcalf from Tyler Lockett in fantasy. I just think Metcalf is the better player at this point. … T.Y. Hilton could eventually settle into the WR14-18 range. We are unlikely to see his ceiling in a game where the Colts could run the ball 30-plus times. … I’ll be honest: I have lost the ability to properly rank Cooper Kupp. I am pretty sure this is too low, but Kupp registering a modest 369 yards over his final eight games last season has fried my brain. … Keenan Allen has lost the only quarterback he’s ever known. We will be counting on checkdowns from a conservative quarterback in a contest with a 42 over/under. … Stefon Diggs is a special deep-ball talent teaming up with a quarterback who can’t hit deep balls. Josh Allen has the arm, of course. This year he will need to add the accuracy and the decision-making. It pains me to have Diggs this low. … You know the Will Fuller drill. He has top 10 upside any given week. Week 1 will be one of his most exciting setups of the entire year.   

Michael Gallup could go off opposite Amari Cooper/Jalen Ramsey. … Marquise Brown’s range of 2020 outcomes includes becoming an every-week WR1. … I think DeVante Parker has been faded too far, but Stephon Gilmore is a tough Week 1 row to hoe. … Cam Newton learned to stop worrying and love the short pass near the end of his time in Carolina. Whereas once he would not have fit with Julian Edelman, it is now easy to envision a robust connection. … Tyler Boyd is a better Week 1 slot machine bet than Jarvis Landry. … There’s a real chance Brandin Cooks becomes a top-24 receiver again in Houston, but he’s apparently slow by a quad issue right now. … DeSean Jackson is a pump-and-dump 2020 stock. … With Mecole Hardman, yes, Sammy Watkins is back, but it is important to remember how willing the Chiefs were to move on. Watkins is only back because it is at the team’s price. Hardman is a moonshot WR4 with the upside for more. … Christian Kirk is healthy after being an injury report mainstay last season. Even with DeAndre Hopkins in town to vacuum up targets, Kirk could be a post-hype sleeper. … With Deebo Samuel (foot) out, Brandon Aiyuk has slid into the fantasy position Jalen Reagor should have been in. … At this point, I am making A.J. Green show it.  

 

Week 1 Tight Ends 

RK

Player

Opp

 

1

George Kittle

ARI

 

2

Travis Kelce

HOU

 

3

Mark Andrews

CLE

 

4

Zach Ertz

@WAS

 

5

Tyler Higbee

DAL

 

6

Darren Waller

@CAR

 

7

Evan Engram

PIT

 

8

Jared Cook

TB

 

9

Hunter Henry

@CIN

 

10

Austin Hooper

@BAL

 

11

Rob Gronkowski

@NO

 

12

Mike Gesicki

@NE

 

13

Hayden Hurst

SEA

 

14

Eric Ebron

@NYG

 

15

Christopher Herndon

@BUF

 

16

Noah Fant

TEN

 

17

Dallas Goedert

@WAS

 

18

Blake Jarwin

@LA

 

19

T.J. Hockenson

CHI

 

20

Jonnu Smith

@DEN

 

21

Greg Olsen

@ATL

 

22

Jack Doyle

@JAC

 

23

Ian Thomas

LV

 

24

Irv Smith

GB

 

25

Dawson Knox

NYJ

 

26

Gerald Everett

DAL

 

27

Jordan Akins

@KC

 

28

Tyler Eifert

IND

 

29

Dan Arnold

@SF

 

30

Logan Thomas

PHI

 

31

Kyle Rudolph

GB

 

32

Jimmy Graham

@DET

 

33

Robert Tonyan

@MIN

 

34

C.J. Uzomah

LAC

 

 

TE Notes: George Kittle gets the opening-week TE1 call. The 49ers desperately need his targets, and a Cardinals Defense that allowed the fourth-most 2019 TE fantasy points might not even be starting Isaiah Simmons for Week 1. … The last time Travis Kelce faced the Texans, he dropped 10/134/3 in the Divisional Round. … You surely know the stat by now, but Mark Andrews finished as the TE3 by average points last season despite playing just 41.3 percent of the snaps. The Ravens, meanwhile, traded Hayden Hurst and didn’t sign a receiver. A No. 1 overall finish is squarely in play. … And just like that, the Eagles need Zach Ertz for 1,000 targets again. … You know the caveats, but we probably should not ignore the fact that Tyler Higbee had 83 more yards (522) than any other tight end over the final five games of 2019.    

No. 2 behind Higbee for Weeks 13-17 was Darren Waller at 439. All the offseason focus was on whom the Raiders added, but they have since subtracted Tyrell Williams and Lynn Bowden. Maybe more emphasis should be placed on the fact that Waller posted 1,145 yards as a first-year starting tight end. … Evan Engram has all the talent in the world. For now, he finally has the health, too. … Week 1 could be one of Jared Cook’s 2020 high-water marks. He will be needed for seam scorching in a game with a 49.5 over/under. … Kevin Stefanski oversaw strong tight end work a season ago. The problem for fantasy is that it was spread out between two players. That will not be the case for Austin Hooper in Cleveland, who was briefly the league’s highest-paid tight end this spring. Summer Hooper fading went way, way too far. He will receive targets aplenty in a game where the Browns should trail for most of the afternoon. … Hunter Henry has lost Philip Rivers but enters Week 1 with a narrow target tree and conservative quarterback. He will not hurt for looks vs. a Bengals Defense that projects as soft up the seam. 

What little summer information we got on Rob Gronkowski wasn’t exactly good. My theory — and truly, this is just a theory — is that Gronk probably viewed camp as pure conditioning work, hence the lack of headlines. …  I believe Chris Herndon will be a TE1. He’s too talented, and the Jets need him too badly. That being said, tight end tests don’t get tougher than the Bills, who allowed the fewest 2019 seam points and did nothing to get worse on defense. … I have to be honest, even this feels high for Hayden Hurst for me. People are expecting Austin Hooper 2.0 in the Falcons’ target-needy offense, but I need to see it first. When Matt Ryan has forced the issue up the seam, it was with a future Hall-of-Famer in Tony Gonzalez and after years of development with Hooper. … There is so much intrigue in the TE12-24 part of the board. Any one of Noah Fant, Eric Ebron, Blake Jarwin, T.J. Hockenson, Jonnu Smith or even freakin’ Jack Doyle could quickly emerge as a top-12 tight end. … For Week 1 dart throws, potential Texans starter Jordan Akins gets a Chiefs Defense that surrendered the most 2019 TE fantasy points in a game with a 54 over/under. Of course, it could just as easily be Darren Fells.        

 

Week 1 Kickers 

RK

Player

Opp

 

1

Wil Lutz

TB

 

2

Harrison Butker

HOU

 

3

Justin Tucker

CLE

 

4

Greg Zuerlein

@LA

 

5

Robbie Gould

ARI

 

6

Ka'imi Fairbairn

@KC

 

7

Ryan Succop

@NO

 

8

Jake Elliott

@WAS

 

9

Chris Boswell

@NYG

 

10

Matt Prater

CHI

 

11

Younghoe Koo

SEA

 

12

Mason Crosby

@MIN

 

13

Dan Bailey

GB

 

14

Jason Myers

@ATL

 

15

Stephen Gostkowski

@DEN

 

16

Zane Gonzalez

@SF

 

17

Brandon McManus

TEN

 

18

Sam Sloman

DAL

 

19

Joey Slye

LV

 

20

Daniel Carlson

@CAR

 

21

Michael Badgley

@CIN

 

22

Rodrigo Blankenship

@JAC

 

23

Randy Bullock

LAC

 

24

Austin Seibert

@BAL

 

25

Nick Folk

MIA

 

26

Tyler Bass

NYJ

 

27

Jason Sanders

@NE

 

28

Aldrick Rosas

PIT

 

29

Cairo Santos

@DET

 

30

Josh Lambo

IND

 

31

Brett Maher

PHI

 

32

Dustin Hopkins

PHI

 

 

Week 1 Defense/Special Teams

RK

Player

TM

Opp

1

Buffalo Bills

BUF

NYJ

2

Pittsburgh Steelers

PIT

@NYG

3

Baltimore Ravens

BAL

CLE

4

San Francisco 49ers

SF

ARI

5

Philadelphia Eagles

PHI

@WAS

6

Tennessee Titans

TEN

@DEN

7

New England Patriots

NE

MIA

8

Chicago Bears

CHI

@DET

9

Indianapolis Colts

IND

@JAC

10

Los Angeles Chargers

LAC

@CIN

11

Minnesota Vikings

MIN

GB

12

Denver Broncos

DEN

TEN

13

Kansas City Chiefs

KC

HOU

14

New York Jets

NYJ

@BUF

15

Dallas Cowboys

DAL

@LA

16

Green Bay Packers

GB

@MIN

17

New Orleans Saints

NO

TB

18

Detroit Lions

DET

CHI

19

Miami Dolphins

MIA

@NE

20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TB

@NO

21

Los Angeles Rams

LA

DAL

22

Seattle Seahawks

SEA

@ATL

23

Cincinnati Bengals

CIN

LAC

24

Cleveland Browns

CLE

@BAL

25

Las Vegas Raiders

LV

@CAR

26

Arizona Cardinals

ARI

@SF

27

Washington Football Team

WAS

PHI

28

Carolina Panthers

CAR

LV

29

New York Giants

NYG

PIT

30

Atlanta Falcons

ATL

SEA

31

Jacksonville Jaguars

JAC

IND

32

Houston Texans

HOU

@KC

Patrick Daugherty
Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .