2021 Fantasy Football: Week 1 PPR Rankings
It’s here, folks! That’s right, football season is upon us, and with it comes the time to take a look ahead to my Week 1 PPR Rankings. Every week, I’ll be providing you with my personal PPR rankings for every position, including defense and kicker. Who’s positioned to do some damage this week? Who might not be the ideal player to start this week? We’ll answer all of that here!
What?! Your league isn’t hosted on Fantrax? Inconceivable! Look at the incredible features Fantrax offers and then compare it to the competition. It’s pretty obvious that Fantrax is the right choice.
Week 1 Positional Notes
- No surprise at the top of my Week 1 PPR Rankings. With a 53.5 point total in his game against the Browns, Patrick Mahomes will be in position to accumulate a lot of fantasy points, while Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray each also have favorable matchups.
- Tom Brady faces the Cowboys this week, which thrusts him into the top-five quarterbacks. I’d still rank Josh Allen higher simply because he’s a much better fantasy quarterback, but I’m very optimistic about Brady this week.
- Beware of Dak Prescott and Justin Herbert, who face difficult matchups this week. At the same time, did you draft not to start them every week? Yep. That’s what I thought.
- The Cardinals’ cornerback room, to say the least, is not in good shape. As we’ll get to with the wide receivers, invest in the Titans passing game. I’d be all-in on Ryan Tannehill this week.
- Outside of Tannehill, Matt Ryan, Trevor Lawrence, and Baker Mayfield all are worth starting in deeper formats. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins is the optimal streamer this week with a matchup against the Bengals.
- There will be plenty of weeks for Joe Burrow to be a productive fantasy quarterback. However, his progress returning from a torn ACL and MCL has been slow, and it likely will carry over into the second half. If you have other options, consider a “wait and see” approach with the former #1 overall pick.
- Ezekiel Elliot at sixth in my Week 1 PPR Rankings? Yep, I know that might seem high, but he’s my third-ranked running back in redraft formats for several reasons, including his production while Dak Prescott was healthy and expected regression with his touchdown total. The Bucs allowed the most receptions to running backs last year, and, if anything, Prescott may be keen on Elliot more in his first game back from injury against a productive pass rush. Maybe I’m off base here, yet I think his overall floor still greatly outweighs the running backs behind him.
- Joe Mixon is the one running back I considered vaulting over him, though I worry about Minnesota simply controlling the game script there and a very ineffective offense. Nick Chubb has a favorable opponent, though if the Browns are playing from behind, his usage decreases.
- Najee Harris and Antonio Gibson both should be effective when given the ball against two teams built more with their pass rush and secondary than handling running backs. I’m not sure how many points either team scores, but they’re clear “RB1” options for this week.
- Elite matchups boost the stock of James Robinson, Gus Edwards, and Raheem Mostert significantly. Now, let’s just hope the volume is there for the final two.
- Saquon Barkley and D’Andre Swift will be in position to flourish in weeks to come. With likely lighter workloads this week with low implied point totals, that might not be this week, though. Start them, but this wouldn’t be the week to start them.
- Dear Broncos, please let Javonte Williams get enough carries to thrive! The second-round rookie is the type of running back that wins you a championship with a strong finish to the year, though there are questions about if that comes in Week 1.
- Stock up on Ronald Jones, and even Leonard Fournette as FLEX options with clear touchdown opportunities against a poor Dallas defense, in addition to the fact Giovanni Bernard is currently nursing an injury.
- In much deeper leagues, the Jets could have a running back accumulate points against the Panthers this week. It probably won’t be rookie Michael Carter, based on all reports, but perhaps it could be Tevin Coleman or Ty Johnson. With a positive game script, I’d bet on Coleman, but Johnson has the advantage if they’re driven into a pass-heavy approach.
- Pick up Ty’Son Williams. The Raiders project to be arguably the weakest run defense this year, and if he has even the slightest bit of production, he’ll be a coveted commodity on the waiver wire. Be a week early here.
- Invest in those Titans! AJ Brown and Julio Jones are set to dominate against a Cardinals’ secondary that… I wouldn’t say is in great shape.
- I love DJ Moore this week against a Jets cornerback room without a player that a) has starting experience or b) was drafted in the fifth-round or higher. Later on, I’d also be starting Robby Anderson as a borderline WR2.
- Tough matchups plague Allen Robinson, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Diontae Johnson. The opposite is true for Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
- The Colts play the most Cover-2 of any team in the league, which is the exact coverage scheme the Seahawks flourished against last year. In other words, it’s time for a Tyler Lockett blow-up game!
- The same goes for the Jaguars and 49ers against the Texans and Lions, respectively. The question remains; which receiver? I’d also throw Corey Davis into this category against the Panthers, and he faces less completion; Brandin Cooks may qualify too.
- Who thrives for the Bengals this week? A slow start is expected for Ja’Marr Chase, which helps Tyler Boyd’s outlook against an average Vikings secondary.
- WR3 options that are risky starts this week with tough matchups: Chase Claypool, Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Kenny Golladay.
- Jaylen Waddle and Marquez Callaway have the big-play ability with enough target share upside to be two candidates to “boom” with regards to their production this year. That’s a major reason why they rank higher than more stable options, s such as Jarvis Landry, Cole Beasley, and Sterling Shepard.
- Other “boom” candidates for Week 1? Mecole Hardman, Marquise Brown, Elijah Moore. Later down? Terrace Marshall Jr., Sammy Watkins, and even Harris Campbell.
- Hopefully, Curtis Samuel is able to play this week, but his snaps will likely be limited. Conversely, this is the highest target share Devante Parker likely sees with Will Fuller V suspended, but he sadly draws a difficult matchup in New England.
- Mark Andrews, fresh off his contract extension, is poised for elite production, as are all four of the top tight ends in my Week 1 PPR Rankings.
- Man, it’s going to be so fun to watch Kyle Pitts this week. He’s a player whose stock could be in complete flux based on his overall usage.
- Tyler Higbee and Logan Thomas each face favorable opponents; Thomas could see a higher target share with Curtis Samuel limited.
- On the opposite side of the spectrum, Noah Fant (injury), Mike Gesicki, and the Patriots tight ends don’t have the matchups or projected game scripts we’re looking for.
- With a likely more pass-happy approach from the Browns against the Chiefs this week, Austin Hooper is a clear streaming option. Rob Gronkowski and Gerald Everett also have clear touchdown upside.
- My bold prediction? Dan Arnold finishes as a top-15 tight end this week. What? The Jets were putrid against tight ends this year, didn’t improve much, and all reports indicate Arnold is locked in as the clear starting tight end. Don’t be surprised, based on his overall profile, if he’s able to secure a touchdown; the Panthers’ red-zone efficiency will likely be significantly improved this year.
- It will be exciting to see how Anthony Firkser, Blake Jarwin, and Adam Trautman are used this week. Until then, their fantasy relevance is very limited.
- The Packers not only face Jameis Winston this week but then face the Lions; you’re getting two top-five defensive weeks from them, potentially.
- The Ravens have more sack potential than you’d think against a weak offensive line for a team likely to be playing from behind, though they, the Buccaneers, and Washington fall under the “they’re strong enough defensively to not worry about the opponent as much”.
- Don’t forget about the Falcons, Jets, and Panthers as streaming options. Atlanta has clear sack and turnover potential facing Jalen Hurts and the Eagles, and I have the Jets just ahead of Carolina because I believe they’re facing the inferior quarterback. It will be interesting to see how that game plans out.
- This is precisely why it would have been optimal to avoid the Colts, Saints, and Steelers, who should not be started this week.
- If Hurts does grant the Falcons positive field position, Younghoe Koo could be the player to benefit.
- The Titans are going to put up a lot of points, making Sam Ficken the best streaming option of the week. In a back-and-forth game against the Cardinals, Matt Prater also profiles well for the team with the likely less-efficient red-zone offense.
- Brandon McManus could easily end up with three+ field goals just from positive field position in a low-scoring game. I truly did want to rank him higher.
- In very deep leagues, Greg Joseph may be of interest. Head coach Mike Zimmer generally is content settling for field goals in fourth-down situations, and Minnesota faces the Bengals this week. Joseph could be someone to profile as a productive option moving forward too if the Vikings’ red-zone efficiency declines.
- Daniel Carlson and Graham Gano are two kickers who may have been drafted, yet are tough to start this week.
I think I speak for all of us at Fantrax when I say I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming matchup! Here’s to the joy, frustration, and beauty of a very fun week of football! Regardless if you’re watching your favorite team, fantasy players, or just the most intriguing matchups, I’m sure you’ll be treated to a great slate of games!
Week 1 PPR Rankings
If you liked Justin’s Week 1 PPR Rankings, be sure to check out the rest of our Week 1 Rankings and Analysis!
|33||Melvin Gordon III||DEN||NYG|
|15||Allen Robinson II||CHI||LAR|
|25||Odell Beckham Jr.||CLE||KC|
|36||Marvin Jones Jr.||JAX||HOU|
|37||Laviska Shenault Jr.||JAX||HOU|
|42||D.J. Chark Jr.||JAX||HOU|
|45||Michael Pittman Jr.||IND||SEA|
|58||Henry Ruggs III||LV||BAL|
|63||Terrace Marshall Jr.||CAR||NYJ|
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2020, and we’re not stopping now. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.