Fantasy Football: Week 1 Start/Sit Recommendations
Week 1 is generally not a week we want to stray too far from the norm. Most of the players on our rosters are healthy, and all 32 teams are in action this week. You do not need to sweat starting a fourth-string running back (with one notable exception) or an ancillary passing-game option where you are just hoping to luck into a score. However, there are always matchups to exploit and ones to avoid. That is the purpose of this piece. You probably do not need me to convince you to start Patrick Mahomes or Christian McCaffrey in your fantasy football matchups this week. But there are plenty of players whom you may not be as sure about. I am here to provide some insight on why I like or dislike certain players this week.
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Week 1 Start/Sit Recommendations
Quarterbacks to Start
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons v. Philadelphia Eagles
Life without Julio Jones begins on Sunday for Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. But they say that when one door closes, another opens. So let’s take a more optimistic view of the situation. Life with Kyle Pitts begins on Sunday for Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. That should certainly ease the blow of losing one of the greatest receivers of this generation. Atlanta also still has Calvin Ridley, who is more than ready to take on the number-one receiver role for the Falcons.
The Falcons’ offense will certainly look different under new leader Arthur Smith. He will look to incorporate lots of 12 personnel (one running back and two tight ends) and play-action schemes. This results in lots of big plays down the field. The leader among quarterbacks in yards per pass attempt over the last two seasons is not Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers. It is Ryan Tannehill. That is what Smith will attempt to duplicate in Atlanta. The question is whether Atlanta can effectively utilize play-action without a Derrick Henry in the backfield. That remains to be seen, but I do believe Ryan will exceed expectations this week.
Philadelphia is a team that can generate pressure upfront, but they have some deficiencies in coverage. Darius Slay has a reputation as a shutdown corner, but that has not exactly played out in recent years. He has graded out as an average cornerback in each of the last two seasons. The Eagles intercepted just eight passes last year and were credited with just 10 interception-worthy plays. Only the Texans had fewer last season. The Eagles allowed an adjusted completion percentage of 78.3 percent last season, which was the fifth-highest in the NFL. I do not anticipate Ryan having problems completing passes on Sunday. If the offensive line can hold up long enough in pass protection, Ryan should be able to make plays down the field.
Even if the line breaks down, there should be enough volume here for Ryan to put up fantasy points. We still have not seen Mike Davis carry the mail on an every-week basis in his NFL career. I do not see him getting anywhere near the volume that Henry got in Smith’s offense in Tennessee. That is not necessarily a knock on Davis, as Henry is a freak of nature. But Ryan should still get his normal number of pass attempts in an offense that figures to be more efficient than recent iterations. This game also has some shootout appeal. Atlanta is not exactly known for its defensive prowess, and Jalen Hurts can create chunk plays on the other side of the equation. I like Ryan to have a solid effort in this game and expect him to eclipse 300 yards.
Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers v. New York Jets
I was supposed to root for Sam Darnold above all others for the next 15 years. Instead, he is the new quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. While I at least I won’t have to watch him torch my beloved Jets within the AFC, Week 1 should be a nice start for his Panthers career. The Jets’ defensive line is better than you think, but to say that their secondary is unproven would be a massive understatement. Of the seven cornerbacks New York plans to utilize on Sunday, four are rookies, and none were drafted in the first four rounds of the NFL draft. Three went undrafted altogether. Only Bryce Hall has started an NFL game.
Another massive understatement would be to say that Darnold is equipped with the best offensive weaponry he has had in his young NFL career. The Jets famously did Darnold very few favors over his three seasons in New York. For better or worse, we will now get to see what he can do with some legitimate skill position players by his side. Christian McCaffrey is arguably the best dual-threat running back in the NFL, and D.J. Moore is an emerging elite wide receiver. It is safe to say that those two players are better than anyone Darnold was saddled with as a Jet. His best playmaker in New York was Robby Anderson, with who he is reunited in Carolina. Rookie Terrace Marshall rounds out an impressive receiving trio. Carolina also has Dan Arnold as a pass-catching option at tight end.
The Jets are going to have to force Darnold to beat them on Sunday. They cannot let McCaffrey run wild, and they do have the personnel to limit the damage McCaffrey inflicts on the ground. I just do not see the secondary making enough plays to keep Darnold honest. I would not recommend Darnold as a starting Week 1 fantasy quarterback in standard 12-team leagues. However, if you are in a deep league or a SuperFlex format, Darnold is a solid option.
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions
The Trey Lance era is not quite yet upon us, at least not as a starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Fantasy managers will have to be a bit more patient to see this year’s third overall pick in that role. He is expected to be active for Sunday’s game in Detroit and may see the field in certain packages. But I still think Garoppolo leads the charge on Sunday, and the matchup is about as good as it gets. Last season, the Lions allowed the most touchdown passes (38) and the highest yards per attempt (8.53) in the NFL. San Francisco boasts one of the most efficient offenses in the league under Kyle Shanahan. Garoppolo was third in the NFL in yards per attempt in 2019 before struggling in 2020.
The 49ers should be able to beat the Lions’ defense in whichever manner they choose this week. Detroit also allowed a league-high 27 rushing scores a season ago. It would stand to reason that Raheem Mostert and Trey Sermon are lined up for big days, and it is hard for me to argue against that. But I think Shanahan wants to try to instill some confidence in Garoppolo to buy some more time for Lance. With a fully healthy receiving group for the first time in what feels like forever and a pristine matchup, this seems like an ideal situation for Shanahan and Garoppolo to get on the same page. I mentioned in this week’s Bold Prediction piece that I expect Garoppolo to eclipse 300 passing yards and throw for three touchdowns and I am sticking with that here.
Quarterbacks to Sit
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers at Washington Football Team
The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year square off in Week 1 when Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers face Chase Young and the Washington Football Team. Herbert thrived when being pressured last year, which was a big reason for his success. He had the fourth-best completion rate (57.3 percent) and second-most touchdown passes (13) when under duress. His ability to repeat that success is likely to be tested right away. Washington’s defensive front is among the toughest in the NFL. While Herbert’s performance in those situations is to be commended, it is not an ideal set of circumstances on which we should rely when dissecting his Week 1 outlook.
Washington was a top-five defense last year in fantasy points allowed to enemy quarterbacks last season. Opposing signal callers had just six more touchdown passes than interceptions against Washington last season. That was the fourth-best differential in the NFL. The Chargers made some nice strides towards improving their suspect offensive line in the offseason. But it may take them a little while to gel, and this is the worst matchup with which to iron out the kinks upfront. If this game were being played later in the year, I would probably be more bullish on Herbert’s outlook assuming the line grows more cohesive as the season goes on. But I don’t want to bet on that in Week 1. If you start Justin Herbert this week, do not expect him to have a huge day on Sunday.
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals v. Minnesota Vikings
We are all very excited about the potential of a full season from last year’s top draft pick, Joe Burrow. That is especially true now that college teammate Ja’Marr Chase has been added to the mix. But I think we should temper expectations a bit, at least for Week 1. The offense sputtered during the preseason, with Chase as one of the culprits. His drops have been the source of much consternation in the fantasy community in recent weeks. While I do not put a ton of stock into the preseason, it is hard to imagine this issue could affect Chase, at least in the early going. Between Burrow’s recovery from last year’s injury and Chase’s struggles this summer, it may take a few weeks for this passing game to click on all cylinders.
I also am not in love with the matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota had a down season defensively, but I believe they will turn things around in short order. The Vikings have retooled their defensive personnel, and Mike Zimmer is not going to oversee another subpar unit in 2021. Even though they struggled as a whole last season, Minnesota was still effective when generating pressure last season. They had the fourth-biggest difference between opposing completion percentage on blitzes last season, and the third-highest difference in yards per pass attempt in those situations. With Cincinnati having allowed the fifth-highest rate (18.3 percent) of quarterback hits last season, this is not looking like the best matchup for the Bengals passing game. Better days are ahead for Burrow and the Bengals, but I am not crazy about starting him this week.
Running Backs to Start
Damien Harris, New England Patriots v. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins took a huge step forward last season, in large part due to their defensive resurgence. They led the NFL in forced turnovers and were among the league leaders in points allowed. Those numbers mask a run-stopping unit that was an average NFL defense in many respects last season. Miami ranked 23rd in yards per rush attempt and 24th in yards per attempt after contact in 2020. They were 25th in stuff rate (defined as rushing attempts that go for four yards or less and do not result in a first down or touchdown) and permitted the fifth-highest percentage of rushes that went for 10 or more yards. If there is a way to attack the Dolphins defensively, it is on the ground. Enter Damien Harris and the New England Patriots.
Harris was just one of 11 running backs to average at least five yards per carry with a minimum of 100 carries last year. New England once again will have one of the most effective units upfront in all of the NFL. Unlike last season, however, Harris should be the primary beneficiary in scoring territory. Cam Newton is no longer in the fold, and Mac Jones will not be rushing for 12 touchdowns this season. Harris should be the primary ball-handler in the red zone, and that puts him in a great spot this week. Miami allowed 16 red-zone rushing touchdowns last season on just 64 attempts. Only the Raiders gave up a rushing touchdown on a higher percentage of red-zone carries than Miami did last year.
Miami recently released Benardrick McKinney, who had been their most effective inside linebacker. That leaves the team with few options built to limit running backs on the ground. New England will not want to put too much on Jones’ plate in his first NFL start, especially considering that the Dolphins’ strength defensively is in the secondary. I would expect a very conservative game plan from the Patriots in this game. Harris should lead the way in a game the Patriots are favored to win. Harris could very easily finish with 80 rushing yards and a touchdown in this matchup. That would likely make him a top-20 fantasy back even if he is overlooked in the passing game.
Ty’Son Williams, Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders
OK, raise your hand if you knew who Ty’Son Williams was a month ago. Now take that hand, pick up the phone, call your parents, and tell them they raised a liar. Williams is 25 years old and has never taken an offensive snap in the NFL. That will change Monday night, unless… I can’t even say it. I’m still reeling from the J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards injuries. Please, football gods, have Williams make it to Monday night unscathed. The new starting running back for the Ravens is in a great position to kick off his NFL career in a big way this week against the Las Vegas Raiders.
First, Williams should see all the work he can handle. A week ago at this time, I was touting Gus Edwards as a potential RB1 candidate in part because of a lack of competition behind him. With Edwards now out of the picture, that responsibility falls squarely on the 220-pounder’s shoulders. Sure, the Ravens have seemingly signed every great running back from 2016 in the last week. But I cannot imagine any of them having much of a role on Monday night. Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and Le’Veon Bell were all available for a reason, and none will have much of an understanding of Baltimore’s playbook before game time. Williams, meanwhile, was on the practice squad last season and has impressed in training camp. We like to tout that volume is king in fantasy football. Well, Williams does not figure to lack opportunities in Week 1.
He also has a quality matchup with which to work. The Raiders were among the worst defenses against the run last season. Las Vegas allowed the fifth-most yards per carry and yards per carry after contact. They permitted the second-most rushing touchdowns and touchdowns inside the five-yard line while allowing the most red-zone rushing scores and touchdowns from inside the 10-yard line. The Raiders were able to bolster their pass rush by signing Yannick Ngakoue, but their interior remains a weak spot. Time will tell if Williams can keep a stranglehold on backfield duties in Baltimore, or whether one of the dusty veterans the club has signed can carve out a role. But I fully expect Williams to be among the league leaders in touches in Week 1. That makes him a prime candidate to reward fantasy managers who scooped him up on the cheap.
Running Backs to Sit
It is too late to say Ezekiel Elliott and Ronald Jones? I’m guessing it is. In that case, here are a few more running backs who I would be fine with placing on the bench this week.
Zack Moss and Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills v. Pittsburgh Steelers
This situation seems like a mess at the moment. Devin Singletary has “started” the last two preseason games for Buffalo. In those games, he played 33 of 35 snaps, which sounds great. However, in those 33 snaps, he carried the ball just two times. He did add three receptions, but this is not exactly usage that gives us the warm and fuzzies. Moss played behind Singletary but did get eight carries over the two preseason contests. The Bills may have just trying to limit wear and tear to their running backs before an expanded regular season. However, there is much evidence to suggest that Buffalo will continue to rely on an analytics-driven, pass-first approach to their offense.
Buffalo had the highest pass rate in the NFL on first down last season according to sharpfootballstats.com. They also had the third-highest success rate and yards per attempt in those situations. It is hard to imagine they will stray from that philosophy in 2021 given the success they had as an offense last season. That is potentially great news for Josh Allen and their receiving corps. For Moss and Singletary? Not so much. Pittsburgh did not have the dominant run defense we have grown accustomed to last season. Still, they were a solid unit overall in the run game. They were in the top half of the league in most run metrics and should hold that level once again this season. I believe Buffalo could lean on their running game more if the matchup dictates it, but I do not expect that to be the case this week.
Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos at New York Giants and Michael Carter, New York Jets at Carolina Panthers
I am grouping these two backs for a couple of reasons. First, they may not be NFL teammates like Moss and Singletary, but they were teammates a season ago at the University of North Carolina. The pair also find themselves in very similar circumstances to begin their NFL careers. Both were drafted with the expectation that they will eventually be their team’s starting running back. And I fully expect that to be the case for both running backs the further we get into the 2021 season. However, I do not expect either player to grab a vice grip on their respective right away. Just because we expect a player to have significant season-long value, does not mean he will have significant value in Week 1.
I would put both Javonte Williams and Michael Carter in that category, just like I would put Trey Lance and Justin Fields in that category. Neither Lance nor Fields is expected to start in Week 1, which is why nobody has them as viable fantasy options this week. While I believe Williams and Carter will have a role on Sunday, I would not expect either to get a ton of work. Williams will have to contend with Melvin Gordon, while Carter will be a part of a committee that includes Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson. Neither matchup is particularly fearsome, and both running backs certainly are talented enough to exploit them. I just do not expect either former Tar Heel running back to get enough work to trust in fantasy circles this week.
Wide Receivers to Start
Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans v. Jacksonville Jaguars
Brandin Cooks was arguably one of the best values in drafts throughout the summer. Much of the hesitancy on the part of fantasy players were based on Houston’s quarterback situation. Texans coach David Culley confirmed that Tyrod Taylor will be the team’s starter this week. Taylor was slated to be the Chargers’ starting quarterback last season, but their team doctor had other plans. Nobody will confuse Taylor with Deshaun Watson from a talent standpoint, but he does have the experience to funnel the ball to his playmakers. And Cooks is likely the best one that Taylor and the Texans have at their disposal.
Cooks caught 81 passes for 1,150 yards in his first season in Houston in 2020. It was Cooks’ fifth season with at least 1,000 receiving yards, and he is still just 27 years old. Despite having a history with concussions, Cooks has missed just nine games in his seven-year NFL career. Six of those came in his rookie campaign. Cooks has been a reliable performer for most of his career and should put up another solid season in 2021. I expect him to get his season off on the right foot this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville was an abysmal defense in many respects last season. Last year they allowed the fourth-most touchdowns on deep balls in the NFL and were second-most generous in terms of yards after the catch per reception on deep passes. This is the area where Cooks has made a living.
Cooks was tied for third with 12 receptions on deep passes (targets 20-plus yards downfield) last year. He was also the only one with 12 or more targets who caught 100 percent of his deep targets. He has been a big-play threat throughout his career and should continue to thrive in that role for Houston in 2021. Jacksonville has attempted to rebuild its porous secondary through the draft and via free agency. However, the jury is still very much out on how much they have improved. Houston says they want to take the air out of the ball and run it with their running back group. That may be the plan going in, but I do not expect it to work given their lack of playmakers at running back. I expect them to feature Cooks this week, and he could get behind the defense for a long score in this game.
Laviska Shenault, Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
The spotlight in Jacksonville will be on Trevor Lawrence on Sunday in his first NFL start. And I expect Lawrence will acquit himself nicely, though I do not expect a ton of volume from the former Clemson quarterback. Jacksonville should be able to rely on James Robinson and an offensive line returning all five starters to handle the Houston Texans in this AFC South matchup. While I am not expecting Lawrence to have a huge game, I do believe that second-year wide receiver Laviska Shenault is in line to exceed expectations on Sunday.
Shenault averaged just over four receptions and one carry per game last season. His role as Jacksonville’s underneath gadget player was expected to be affected somewhat when the team drafted Travis Etienne in the first round of this year’s draft. But the season-ending Lisfranc injury suffered by the rookie last month means that Shenault should resume his normal workload. Given that this will be Lawrence’s first start and perimeter wideout Marvin Jones is dealing with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder, I would not be surprised to see head coach Urban Meyer utilize Shenault quite a bit in this game. 71 of Shenault’s 79 targets from last season came on underneath routes. The Texans struggled at times to contain the short passing game a season ago. Houston gave up exactly 3,000 passing yards on short routes last year. That was the 12th-most in the NFL.
Corey Davis, New York Jets at Carolina Panthers
The New York Jets will take their new-look offense into Carolina this week. As much as they would like to ease rookie quarterback Zach Wilson into action, they may not have that luxury. I expect the defense to allow plenty of points, which will force their offense to throw probably more than they would like. If that is indeed the case, then Corey Davis should benefit greatly. Davis put up an outstanding season in Tennessee last year and will be Wilson’s primary target in the passing game this season. The pair looked very much in sync during their brief time on the field together this preseason. Rookie slot receiver Elijah Moore will make his NFL debut after missing the entire preseason, but Davis should still be the alpha dog in New York’s passing attack.
The Carolina Panthers allowed a league-high 79.9 percent adjusted completion rate last year. They generated just 28 sacks last season, which was the ninth-lowest rate in the NFL. There should be opportunities for Wilson to make plays in this game. Carolina’s secondary is talented but largely unproven. The only veteran among the group is A.J. Bouye, but he will be unavailable for this game. He still has two games remaining on last December’s six-game suspension. I expect Corey Davis to handle the heavy lifting in the passing game this week and be one of the most heavily targeted receivers in the NFL this week. Davis is in line for a big game if Wilson can put his first-day jitters behind him.
Wide Receivers to Sit
Kenny Golladay, New York Giants v. Denver Broncos
This is going to be a very interesting situation to monitor. The New York Giants removed Kenny Golladay from the injury report and he is fully expected to play in Week 1. That is excellent news considering that the former Detroit Lion missed almost all of training camp with a hamstring injury. There is certainly a scenario in which the Giants lean on their prized free agent right away. After all, Saquon Barkley is still on the mend from his knee injury, and tight end Evan Engram has been ruled out due to a calf injury. Golladay is looking every bit like one of Week 1’s biggest boom or bust candidates. While I cannot rule out Golladay overcoming the odds, I do not like his chances of making a huge impact this week.
There are just too many variables in play for my liking. Injuries like Golladay’s tend to recur and linger. It appears the Giants did a fine job getting Golladay ready for Week 1, which was the first obstacle. Now that the first hurdle has been cleared, the true test will come when Golladay tests that hamstring in-game action. He also must contend with what very well may be the best secondary in the NFL. The Denver Broncos can rotate Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, and Patrick Surtain II at the two outside corner spots. That is a pretty good group to start with. They also feature one of the better safety duos in the league.
I think the number-one goal for the Giants in this game should be to get Barkley and Golladay fully healthy for the rigors of a 17-game season. That may mean each sees a reduced role compared to what we are used to seeing. While both could still hit paydirt on limited touches, I wouldn’t bank on it. You may not have many better options at running back to start over Barkley, there should be plenty of receivers you could play over Golladay this week. I would try to sit Golladay in Week 1 and hope he is good to go for next week’s divisional matchup with the Washington Football Team.
Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams
Darnell Mooney was a popular sleeper pick among many fantasy managers and analysts this season. And he should have a fine second season in the NFL. I just do not think he will hit the ground running in Week 1. He has a very difficult matchup against the Los Angeles Rams to deal with. The Rams allowed the fewest passing yards and fewest yards per attempt in 2020 and should be among the very best in the league again this season. Even if Justin Fields were under center for Chicago, this would not be the best spot to expect big things from Mooney. And that goes double when Andy Dalton is leading the charge. The veteran cannot be trusted to get the ball down the field against an elite cornerback duo like the one the Rams feature.
Mooney should avoid the dreaded shadow coverage of Jalen Ramsey. That would be a good thing most of the time. However, he is expected to line up against Darious Williams most of the time on Sunday night. Williams graded higher than Ramsey based on PFF’s grading system last season, finishing fourth among cornerbacks in coverage. Mooney also has some health concerns heading into Week 1, as he has dealt with some back issues in recent days. The ailment does not figure to hamper his availability, but it is another checkmark against him. Considering most teams and players are at full strength, it is less than ideal for us to target players who are not 100 percent, especially when the surrounding circumstances are not in their favor. Such is the case for (or more accurately, against) Mooney this week.
Tight Ends to Start
I think the top tight ends in 12-team leagues will remain more or less the same this week, so these recommendations are best suited for leagues with deeper starting lineups or TE-premium scoring.
Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs
The Cleveland Browns will be looking to make a statement when they kickoff the 2021 season in the very same place their 2020 campaign ended – Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The Browns nearly won that contest in part by featuring their tight ends as part of a balanced passing attack. David Njoku and Austin Hooper combined for six catches and 75 cards in that game. Most of that damage was admittedly done by Njoku, but Hooper is the preferred option at the tight end position in Cleveland. He had the sixth-highest catch rate among tight ends who ran at least 300 routes last season and was targeted at the 10th-highest rate among tight ends.
Defending the tight end is perhaps the weakest link in Kansas City’s defense. After allowing solid efforts by the Browns’ tight ends in the Divisional Round of last year’s playoffs, the Chiefs gave up six catches including a touchdown to Dawson Knox in the AFC Championship Game. They followed that up by serving up two scores to Rob Gronkowski and three catches to Cameron Brate in the Super Bowl. Anthony Hitchens will likely be the linebacker tasked with limiting Hooper, and he has not exactly thrived in pass coverage. He allowed a reception on 78 percent of targets thrown his way last season. That ranked in the bottom third among primary defenders against tight ends.
Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans v. Arizona Cardinals
It is easy to go overlooked on a team with Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones. But Anthony Firkser has been a solid receiving tight end when called upon. He caught 39 passes for 387 yards last season, and that was while playing on just 32.4 percent of offensive snaps. He finished fifth among NFL tight ends in both targets per route run and yards per route run last season. If he was on a team with fewer star players around him, I believe we would be talking about Firkser as a top-12 fantasy tight end in season-long leagues.
With Jonnu Smith gone on to join the New England Patriots, Firkser should see increased playing time. That may not translate to a similar bump in targets, but it certainly can’t hurt. Smith and Corey Davis combined for 157 targets last season. Will all that volume go to Brown and Jones? Perhaps. But Firkser may get a slice of that pie as well. Arizona was a much-improved defense against tight ends last season, but they have been notoriously generous to opposing tight ends in recent years. He is still available in nearly 50 percent of Fantrax leagues and can be a solid option in a game that features the second-highest Vegas total among this week’s games.
Tight Ends to Sit
Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, New England Patriots v. Miami Dolphins
New England signed both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry in free agency this past offseason. While both should be viable fantasy options this year, I would prefer to wait and see how this plays out if possible. As I mentioned when touting Damien Harris earlier, I expect the Patriots to keep things simple and rely on the ground game against Miami. Smith and Henry can certainly have roles in the offense, but I would not rely on either to have a huge performance in this game. Miami was a top-10 defense in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends last season.
If I am looking at tight ends who are on the threshold of that start/sit line, I would prefer to play one who will be involved in a potential shootout. The two highest implied totals based on current betting lines are Arizona against Tennessee and Cleveland versus Kansas City. Miami versus New England, meanwhile, has the second-lowest implied Vegas total. That does not guarantee that Smith (or even Henry for that matter) will fail to produce. But I try to stack the odds in my favor whenever possible. Several data points suggest this is less than an ideal matchup for New England’s pass catchers, including their tight ends. So I would prefer to attach myself to players like Hooper and Firkser over the Patriots tight ends this week.
For more help in this week’s matchups be sure to check out the rest of our Week 1 Rankings and Analysis!
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