The Fantasy Footballers’ Rankings Audit & Podcast Highlights for Week 1

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Welcome in, #Footclan! It’s football time!

It seemed impossible just a few months ago, but here we are in Week 1 of the National Football League! And we started the season off with a bang, courtesy of Patrick Mahomes II, Deshaun Watson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, David Johnson (“awooh ooh ooh”), and the Lizard King himself, Sammy Watkins.

This article is the first weekly installment where I’ll review the Fantasy Footballers’ player rankings and highlight a few specific players per position that deserve extra attention. I’ll also recap important moments from the past week’s Fantasy Footballers’ podcast episodes with links to each episode provided. So be on the lookout every week for this article series!

Before we proceed, please keep in mind that Week 1 rankings are always difficult to project–especially without any preseason games–but they will continue to evolve as the season develops and gameplans are revealed.

But enough chit-chat, let’s go already!

Quarterback Rankings

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is in a smash spot against the Los Angeles Rams once-formidable defense. Andy and Jason agree, ranking him as the QB3 this week, while Mike has him at QB4. Vegas projects this matchup to have the second-highest implied total at 51.5 (Cowboys favored by 3), and as they say, “the house always wins.” With weapons like Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb, and the Hitman’s “My Guy,” Blake Jarwin, plus an allegedly increased receiving role for RB Ezekiel Elliott, and their impenetrable offensive line, Prescott should dominate this season and continue where he left off as last year’s overall QB2.

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo currently has a consensus ranking of QB17 for Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals. But wait, didn’t he blow up against them last year? He scored four TDs in both matchups against Arizona, which were good for 28.9 and 29.7 fantasy points–his highest fantasy outputs ALL-SEASON. Even editor-in-chief and QB-guru Kyle Borgognoni lists Jimmy G as a possible top-12 option. But this is not the same Cardinals defense, nor is it the same 49ers offense. With Garoppolo’s receiving options either hobbled (Brandon Aiyuk: hamstring), out (Deebo Samuel: foot), or gone entirely (Emmanuel Sanders: Saints), and a projected bounce-back Cards’ defense with rookie LB Isaiah Simmons in town, I’d advise managers to temper their expectations.

On the other side of this matchup, Cardinals QB Kyler Murray is in a prime spot to meet or even surpass his consensus QB12 ranking. Though the 49ers supercharged defense is certainly one to fear, Murray scored an impressive 23 (QB7) and 26.7 (QB6) fantasy points in their last two meetings. What’s even crazier is that Arizona was dead in the middle in offensive points scored, so with the addition of standout receiver and TD dynamo DeAndre Hopkins, Murray has potential to outperform his fringe QB1 ranking.

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Running Back Rankings

Pittsburgh Steelers’ RB James Conner is primed to blow up fantasy GM’s scoreboards this week against the vulnerable New York Giants defense. He’s not only Mike’s RB7 for Week 1, or one of Andy’s 32 Shamelessly Bold Predictions to be a top-10 fantasy RB until he’s injured (thanks Fantasy Reaper), but he’s also Jason’s Start of the Week. Barring injury, Conner should have an explosive performance that will boost your lineup!

Getty Images / Joe Sargent

There are a ton of teams with muddled backfields where the true fantasy starter is unclear: *takes a deep breath* Buffalo Bills (Devin Singletary, Zack Moss), Detroit Lions (Kerryon Johnson, Adrian Peterson, D’Andre Swift), Indianapolis Colts (Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor [Thomas!], Nyheim Hines), Jacksonville Jaguars (James Robinson, Chris Thompson), Los Angeles Rams (Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown), San Francisco 49ers (Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Jerick McKinnon), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy), Washington Football Team (Antonio Gibson, Bryce Love, J.D. McKissic), and likely more. Gross, right? If you have other options, I’d highly suggest taking the “wait-and-see” approach with these players/teams, at least for this week. Such is life without preseason games.

Tight End Rankings

As most fantasy managers know, the Tight End position can be painfully difficult to project. That is, unless you have a true stud like Travis Kelce, George Kittle, or Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz. Going up against a weak Washington defense who ranked 28th against TEs last year, the ‘Ballers have unanimously ranked Ertz as the TE4 this week. In their last meeting, he caught 5 of 10 targets for 61 yards and a touchdown, totaling 14.6 half PPR points. With Alshon Jeffery already ruled out and Miles Sanders questionable, QB Carson Wentz will continue to pepper Ertz with as many targets as he can handle.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski has one of the biggest rankings disparities between the ‘Ballers. While Andy has him at TE11 (which is also their consensus ranking, proving how wild TE projections can be), Jason ranks him at TE15 and Mike goes even lower at TE17. It doesn’t help that he has to compete for targets with fellow TEs O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, nor is the matchup against the New Orleans Saints one to be excited about. But with star WR Mike Evans nursing an unfortunate hamstring injury, there are suddenly more red-zone targets available for a potential Gronk-smash in Week 1.

Biggest Takeaways from the Week 1 Podcasts

Tuesday (Super Bowl Picks + Roster Madness, Draft Blitz)

In this episode, Andy, Mike, and Jason make their predictions for Super Bowl LV (i.e. “FIFTY-FIVE!”) at 04:00, including their picks for MVP and Offensive Rookie of the Year–minus Joe Burrow, who they agree will likely take the prize. They then discuss numerous contract/extension news at 10:00, as well as injury news and fantasy implications for highly drafted players like A.J. Green and DeVante Parker at 17:40. But perhaps the most shocking news was revealed at 25:05, where Jason admits he’s never seen The Mighty Ducks or Space Jam! For shame! Once the shock wears off, the guys talk about training camp and hype news at 27:05, making a realization that Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy is actually Gob from Arrested Development (“come on!”). The episode rounds off with the gang answering Mailbag questions at 37:50.

Wednesday (Week 1 Insights + TNF Preview, Quadzilla)

The ‘Ballers kick off this episode with the “Buy or Sell” segment at 04:35, stating their cases for Oakland Raiders TE Darren Waller, New York Jets RB Le’Veon Bell, and Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. They then talk through News & Notes at 11:05, such as DeAndre Hopkins and Kareem Hunt‘s contract extensions. At 21:25, they preview the highly anticipated Thursday Night Football opener between the Texans and Chiefs! Once again, the episode ends with Mailbag questions answered at 32:45.

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Thursday (Starts of the Week + Week 1 Breakdown, It’s Football Time!)

Thursday’s episode rightfully starts with the entire crew powerfully singing the intro because…IT’S FOOTBALL TIME! Then a new, must-watch segment is debuted at 04:35 called Taking it to 100. Also being debuted is the Hitman’s glorious, freshly cut hair. After some News & Notes are discussed at 10:25, the boys hit the Fantasy Forecast at 19:15 and preview seven Week 1 matchup. Then we hit the meat & taters of the episode at 52:40…the ‘Ballers Starts of the Week! And don’t miss Jason Moore’s Iron-Clad Locked and Loaded 100% Guaranteed Boom-Boom Kicker of the Week at 01:00:10!

Friday (Week 1 Matchups + Clyde Debuts, In-or-Out)

The ‘Ballers recap Thursday Night Football’s dominating performance by the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs, at 03:00. They debate whether Clyde Edwards-Helaire is truly a goal-line back, the garbage time production of Deshaun Watson, the resurrection of David Johnson, and more! After some News & Notes at 11:30, they preview the Fantasy Forecast for the remaining Week 1 matchups at 19:10. They round off the episode at 54:10 with the debut of another can’t-miss segment, Prop It Like It’s Hot!

Have a great weekend #Footclan and let’s crush all our matchups! And don’t miss Mike’s livestream on Sunday where he helps you with your last-minute decisions!

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