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Love/Hate for Week 1 of 2022 Fantasy Football

It’s finally time to dive into the 2022 fantasy football season. All of our various drafts are officially behind us. Predicting the values of players for the season as a whole now shifts toward predicting how a player will perform on a week-by-week basis. That said, even players I love for the 2022 fantasy football season as whole may be in a situation that I hate for Week 1, and vice versa.

It should go without saying, especially for Week 1, that you need to start your studs. Don’t overthink playing the top players you drafted specifically in the first four or five rounds of your drafts. Each week, I will highlight a player at each position that I love and hate. What that means is that there are certain players who have really great or really tough matchups, as well as other factors to consider, that put them in a position to succeed greatly or struggle terribly.

Fantasy football managers should be on notice one way or another when it comes to deciding to plug said players in their lineup each week. Sometimes you don’t have a choice as options on your roster become scarce. If you do have options, though, I believe what I have to say about these players that I love and hate will help put you in a position to win your week.

Players I Love and Hate in Week 1 of the 2022 Season


Love: Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars

After an ugly season for the Jaguars under former head coach, Urban Meyer, it’s time for Trevor Lawrence to remind everyone why he was the first overall pick last year. It’s not that long ago that everyone and I mean everyone, was watching Lawrence dominate at Clemson with a consensus feeling that he is a generational talent.

Lawrence, with new head coach, Doug Pederson, heads to Washington to take on the Commanders in Week 1. It’s the best matchup for a quarterback based on fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks last season. They were the only group to allow more than 20.0 points per game to the position on average; 21.5 to be exact.

The 2022 Washington defense looks almost identical personnel-wise to the 2021 unit. A key note, though, is the absence of their top pass rusher, Chase Young, who finds himself on the Physically Unable to Perform List to start the season. The 2022 Jaguars, on the other hand, beefed up their offensive line this offseason, get both running backs, James Robinson and Travis Etienne, back from season-ending injuries, and are adding Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram, to name a few, to the passing game. What’s not to love here? Trevor has the best chance of consensus, undrafted quarterbacks in 1QB fantasy leagues to finish in the top-10 this week. I love all of the above circumstances surrounding Trevor enough to say he could finish in the top-five.

Hate: Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers

Trey Lance is on a few of my redraft rosters. He is not, however, in any of my Week 1 starting lineups. This is a great example of a player who I love for the 2022 fantasy football season, but hate for Week 1. Lance’s ceiling is reliant on his tremendous rushing upside. However, in Week 1, Lance leads the 49ers into Chicago against a Bears team that allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards to quarterbacks in 2021.

So, when we preview Lance in the passing game for this once, it’s equally as concerning. Since 2018, Trey Lance has attempted just 389 total pass attempts between his time at North Dakota State and as a San Francisco 49er. Additionally, quarterbacks threw a league-low 477 times against the Bears last season. It’s also not looking good for tight end, George Kittle’s, availability in this one due to a groin injury. That’s one less key weapon for Lance.

Chicago’s offense is going to struggle against the 49ers top-rated defense. I think San Fran wins this game outright, but specifically leans on the run, especially as the game progresses. Overall, we just don’t have enough of a sample size to trust Lance yet in the season opener, on the road, even as the clear-cut starter. If Lance does show well in this one, I am far more confident in starting him moving forward. For Week 1, though, I would grab the quarterback I love, Trevor Lawrence, because he’s likely available in most 1QB leagues.

Check out our Week 1 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | Flex Rankings

Running Back

Love: Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

Aaron Jones is a player I continue to beat the drum for ahead of the 2022 fantasy football season. In Week 1, he will show everyone why. It all has to do with his role as a pass-catcher in the Packers offense. Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, is on record saying he is investing in production over potential in the passing game this season. What that means is, while newcomers Sammy Watkins, and rookies, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, may have the potential to put up big numbers, Rodgers cares more about the players actually producing on the field. That is and has been, Aaron Jones.

Jones continues to rise amongst the ranks as a pass-catching running back. Since 2019, he’s finished with the 14th, 12th, and, last year, the seventh-most receptions amongst the position. Jones boasts the second-most receiving touchdowns amongst all running backs last season, as well.

Former Green Bay receivers, Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are leaving behind nearly 40% of the target share from 2021. Additionally, Allen Lazard, is questionable to suit up Sunday after a recent injury in practice. Under new head coach, Kevin O’Connell, formerly of the Los Angeles Rams, the Vikings offense is expected to be better, especially in the passing game. That, coupled with playing on the road, could cause the Packers to lean on Rodgers’ arm heavily in this one to keep up or simply stay ahead.

If you have Aaron Jones, you’re undoubtedly starting him. I love, and boldly predict, him to lead this team in receptions this season, with the chance to do so in Week 1. I’m compelled to put him in this Love/Hate article this week because I think he can finish at the top of the position to kick off this fantasy football season.

Hate: Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans

Odds are Dameon Pierce is one of your later picks from an August draft that occurred prior to the Houston Texans cutting Marlon Mack. If so, good for you! However, if you drafted after NFL roster cutdowns, and got the rookie running back as high as, say, the fifth round, then you’re more likely to start him in Week 1. I’m here to tell you that whatever the case may be, he should be left on your bench.

The Houston Texans are hosting divisional rival, the Indianapolis Colts, in Week 1. Houston, as of now, is a seven-point underdog in the matchup. That suggests the Texans will be playing from behind in this one. What are teams more likely to do when playing from behind? Pass the ball! Pierce simply isn’t known for his pass-catching out of the backfield. In four seasons at the University of Florida, he caught just 45 balls with no more than 19 in a season. Additionally, Houston’s most veteran back, Rex Burkhead, is more experienced as a receiver with an already developed rapport with quarterback, Davis Mills, logging six games of at least three targets in limited play last season.

Pierce, in the wake of waiving the aforementioned Mack, figures to be the team’s lead back this season. I just really hate his first ever professional season matchup. The Colts allowed the fifth-least points to running backs last season including the eighth-least rushing yards and just nine rushing touchdowns on the season. Pierce is also not a back known for heavy volume. He never logged more than 106 carries in a single collegiate season.

Again, you probably have other, more trust-worthy options for Week 1 that you drafted higher than Pierce. Go with those guys. Otherwise, I hope, for your sake, Pierce falls into the end zone to make his start worthwhile.

Wide Receiver

Love: Marquise Brown, Arizona Cardinals

Marquise Brown, like the aforementioned Aaron Jones, is another player I continue to beat the drum for ahead of the 2022 fantasy football season. In fact, here I am doing so via a GIF on Twitter:

What’s significant about the time of the tweet? Well, wide receiver, Rondale Moore, suffered an injury at practice yesterday and his Week 1 availability is in question. It’s not just Moore, though. We know De’Andre Hopkins is also suspended for the first six games for PED use. Tight end, Zach Ertz, is also questionable with a calf injury, as well.

Kyler Murray’s options in the passing game are dwindling. The good news? He and Marquise Brown are former Oklahoma University team mates. The Arizona Cardinals traded a first round pick in April’s draft, as well, to get Murray his guy. Hollywood Brown is fast and should benefit from a stronger, more accurate deep ball than what he’s used to, yet still produced with, in Baltimore.

In my opinion, most fantasy football managers are too low on Marquise Brown. That should change after Week 1. He may see the most targets of any receiver in any game on Sunday and will win some matchups as a result. Get him in your starting lineup and thank me later.

Hate: Drake London, Atlanta Falcons

Drake London is just one of nearly all rookie wide receivers I would hate to start in Week 1. This is not last season where Ja’Marr Chase was likely in most lineups for managers who drafted him. Even then, his preseason drops, may have scared some and forced Chase to fantasy benches to start the season. London, like most rookie receivers in 2022, does not carry a high ADP. So, most managers probably do not plan to start him.

If you are debating giving London the nod, tread lightly. He is up against a stingy New Orleans Saints pass defense. With that, London is likely to draw coverage from stud cornerback, Marshon Lattimore. We haven’t seen London play football in over four weeks due to a preseason knee injury. While it’s not considered to be serious, I want to see more from the rookie before I put my fantasy football fate in him.

Drake London, alongside tight end, Kyle Pitts, is likely to see a heavy majority of Marcus Mariota’s target share. There are just too many new faces on this offense, outside of Pitts and Cordarelle Patterson, to feel good about anyone, but Pitts, in Week 1. Until we do, London is on my bench and should probably be on yours, as well.

Tight End

Love: Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

The second-year tight end, Pat Freiermuth, has a new quarterback to look forward to for the 2022 season. Mitch Trubisky is officially the Week 1 starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are heading to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals in a tough divisional battle.

Last season, Cincy allowed the fourth-most receptions to tight ends on the season. They also allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to the position. In two games against the Bengals as a rookie last year, Freiermuth scored once in each contest. Therefore, of the eight touchdowns the Bengals allowed to tight ends in 2021, Freiermuth caught 25% of them.

It’s not looking good for star wide receiver, Diontae Johnson, to play in this one due to a preseason shoulder injury. That will naturally open up more targets for the rest of the pass catchers, including Freiermuth. Pittsburgh is also notorious for their weaker-than-most offensive line. It may be difficult for Trubisky to have the time to let plays develop and receivers to get open. Freiermuth could act as a safety valve early on and log a good chunk of points on receptions alone. He is a fringe TE1 starter for Week 1, but I love the situation enough to plug him into lineups that need a tight end.

Hate: Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

It’s easy to look at Gesicki’s past few seasons and consider starting him in Week 1 this season. His increase in receptions from 51 to 53 to 73 in the last three years, as well as career-high 780 receiving yards in 2021, is enough to think he’s worth streaming. However, a new regime in Miami and added weapons to the offense force me to hate Gesicki, especially for Week 1, this fantasy football season.

Gesicki is very vocal about blocking more in new head coach, Mike McDaniel’s, offense. He claims he is basically learning a new position. Gesicki is also entering this season after unsuccessfully convincing the league to classify him as a wide receiver and receive (pun intended) the franchise tag as such, which pays more than that of the tight end franchise tag.

The Dolphins also traded for Tyreek Hill and signed pass-catching running back, Chase Edmonds, this offseason. Between the two of them, they are getting $78.3-million in guaranteed money, with Hill seeing the majority of it. Considering the money, as well as their talent, in addition to second-year receiver, Jaylen Waddle’s, as well, Gesicki figures to be the fourth option at best in this passing game even if he weren’t blocking as frequently as he’s expected to. It’s hard to trust Gesicki this season as a whole. I hate the idea of having to do so in the first week of the season.

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