Week 1 is finally here! Getting ahead with a win to start your fantasy football season is a great feeling. It’s a long road to the playoffs full of injuries, bye weeks, and inconsistent play to navigate along the way. Making sure you have success early on is crucial to put you in a position to win your league down the stretch. Sometimes, in order to do so, you have to ride a few bold predictions. Doing so in Week 1, albeit our first game action of the year, is no different.
You’re going to start your studs of course week in and week out. It’s undeniable, though, that you will run into a few lineup decisions that could make or break your week this season. Our team at Fantrax is here to help. These weekly bold predictions are meant to tip the scale in favor of the players below. We believe they have a chance to help win you the week and put up big numbers. The bold predictions won’t always have a 100% success rate but do provide a well-educated guess for the ceiling each player can achieve each week.
Be sure to follow all of these bold predictions and more @Fantrax on Twitter and @fantraxsports on Instagram!
2022 NFL Week 1 Bold Predictions for Fantasy Football
Christian Kirk, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Bold Prediction: 8 receptions, 114 yards, 1 touchdown
25.4 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Colin McTamany, @Colin_McT on Twitter
Colin’s Breakdown: The new-look Jaguars, under head coach, Doug Pederson, head to Washington to take on the Commanders this Sunday. Last season, Washington allowed the fifth-most points to wide receivers. That includes the sixth-most receptions, fifth-most receiving yards, and tied for sixth-most touchdowns on just the 14th-most targets to the position. The defensive unit allowed the 25th-most points per game (25.5) to opponents in 2021, as well. Washington will also be without top pass rusher, Chase Young, for this game as well as the next three. That’s good news for Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence is a generational talent whose rookie season is marred by poor leadership and coaching from former head coach, Urban Meyer. The front office spent a boat-load of cash this offseason to get things back on track, including beefing up the offensive line and, more importantly, for this bold prediction, a 4-year, $72-million contract, with $37-million in guarantees, for Christian Kirk. He is Lawrence’s new top receiver in talent and financial investment.
In just one preseason game, Kirk was on the field for 82% of Lawrence’s snaps. He caught five of eight targets for 54 scoreless yards. The key here, though is the 38% target share with Lawrence on the field. Volume is king in fantasy football and Kirk is going to see a ton of it this season. Considering all of the above, I love my bold prediction for Kirk for Week 1. He should be in lineups everywhere.
Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints
Bold Prediction: 8 receptions, 101 yards, 1 touchdown
24.1 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Lauren Auerbach, @lkauerbach on Twitter
Lauren’s Breakdown: First-round pick, Chris Olave, will be making his NFL debut this week in a juicy matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Olave was a playmaker in college and holds the Ohio State record for the most career touchdown receptions with 35. While predicting college success to automatically carryover to the NFL can be tricky, I expect Olave will be able to take advantage of the Falcons and their sieve-like defense in Week 1.
The Falcons were a lowly unit against wideouts last season allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to the position. They were also leaky overall, surrendering 31 passing touchdowns on the season, tied for third-most. The Saints had no problem scoring on their rivals through the air last year. In their two divisional meetings, quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Taysom Hill threw for a combined five touchdowns. With Jameis Winston back under center, the touchdowns should keep coming this week. For my bold prediction, I expect Olave to find pay dirt and break the century mark in receiving yards.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Bold Prediction: 290 passing yards, 2 touchdowns; 10 Carries, 75 rushing yards, 1 touchdown
33.1 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Bradlee Kilgore, @SirBradleeK on Twitter
Bradlee’s Breakdown: In fantasy, I prefer to have the safe floor of a dual-threat quarterback. A lot of the dual-threat QBs in the league today are already among the elite fantasy producers, but Mariota hasn’t had the chance to be elite at all due to injury. I think he’s going to have a huge year and show why he was such a high pick when he was first drafted. In his first preseason game with the Falcons, he scored a rushing touchdown with minimal snaps. In his second preseason game, Mariota went for 6/10 passing, with 132 yards, and one touchdown.
The Falcons are going to utilize his rushing ability, and use his huge targets in Drake London and Kyle Pitts as outlets in the passing game. They are currently 5.5 point underdogs to the Saints in this week’s matchup, so the game script may also be in the Falcons’ favor to air it out in the passing game. Don’t sleep on Marcus Mariota this season! He’ll get things going in a big way with my Week 1 bold prediction.
Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, New England Patriots
Bold Prediction: 78 rushing yards, 1 touchdown; 7 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
32.3 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Michael Quintero, @WeekendMike on Twitter
Michael’s Breakdown: Rhamondre Stevenson has been the sleeper to get in 2022 and he will show why in Week 1. Damien Harris is technically the starter, but Stevenson looks to be taking all of the touches for Week 1.
It has been said Stevenson will have an increased third-down role in the offense. Stevenson is the more versatile back and with James White out of the picture. He is the only pass-catching back in this offense which fuels my bold prediction to kick off the 2022 fantasy football season.
K.J. Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos
Bold Prediction: 7 receptions, 85 yards, 1 touchdown
21.5 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Kai Haskins, @HaiKaskins on Twitter
Kai’s Breakdown: This bold prediction is probably more for the Daily Fantasy Sports crowd. However, if K.J. Hamler does put up numbers like my bold prediction, he will definitely be a top waiver wire add in redraft leagues.
My thought process here centers around the idea that the Broncos will implement a very pass-heavy game plan in Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle on Monday night. Not only does Denver want to throw based on their heavy investment into Russ, but I’m sure he wants to cook in front of his former team and show them what they’re missing.
Seattle’s defense is tied for the fifth-most receiving touchdowns to slot receivers from last season. They’re also without Bobby Wagner on that side of the ball this season. Yes, I know Hamler is returning from an ACL injury, but he’s been clocked at sub-4.3 40-yard dash speed before and has been said to be back to form during training camp. With a lot of attention on Courtland Sutton, and even Jerry Jeudy, I think Hamler is a sneaky, yet bold, play to start the season.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Green Bay Packers
Bold Prediction: 7 receptions, 90 yards, 1 touchdown
22.0 fantasy points
Fantrax Writer: Reese Jones, @PotPharma on Twitter
Reese’s Breakdown: The Green Bay wide receiver corps is banged up to start the season. Allen Lazard has been off the field with some undisclosed injury and rookie receiver, Christian Watson, has been working through injuries of his own through the preseason. Sammy Watkins has been fairly quiet in training camp this summer. This lack of hype is almost certainly due to the fact that Romeo Doubs had an electrifying camp and preseason. That and the fact that Watkins didn’t play in any preseason games himself.
At the end of the day, it is Watkins who has the NFL experience that Rodgers is most likely to rely on right out of the gate. Even if Lazard plays, he’ll likely be limited. I’m not sure Randall Cobb can get open in this league anymore and Doubs is still unproven in NFL game action. I’m comfortable believing that Rodgers will call Watkins’ number early and often in this matchup against Minnesota. With a 47.0 point over/under, the scoring should be plentiful in this one. That should give Watkins ample opportunity to cash in on my bold prediction.