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Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Fantasy Football Week 1

Josh Jacobs - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Below you will find some of my favored choices and players to go with when dealing with challenging lineup decisions in Week 1. These selections are based on my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a discount and get access to my ranks in all formats, plus a full roster of tools and analysis for the 2022 fantasy football season.

We feature players that you should lean to in tough calls, yet guys who may exceed expectations this week are also highlighted, so you can feel even more confident about starting them. In some cases, we will simply confirm for you that a good lineup decision was already made.

Skill position analysis here is based on my PPR rankings.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Running Backs - Fantasy Football Week 1

Chase Edmonds

Chase Edmonds had a career-high 903 scrimmage yards in 2021. Now he will get an opportunity to be a heavily featured running back for the first time in his career. Bill Belichick can always scheme up a good game plan, but the Patriots’ front seven doesn’t scare opponents anymore.

Edmonds should be busy enough as a runner and receiver this week to be a good flex play. The Dolphins have a lot of speed on offense and Edmonds is one of their notable playmakers in that regard.

Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs rushed for 132 yards and a TD in his last meeting with the Chargers. He had 1,220 yards from scrimmage last season and he is one of three NFL running backs with 1,200-plus scrimmage yards and seven-plus TDs in each of the past three seasons.

Most fantasy players don’t get excited about starting Jacobs and he may be in his last year with the Raiders, but he can find the end zone more than once in what should be a high-scoring matchup with the Chargers. Los Angeles' run defense should be improved but may take time to mesh this season. Jacobs should rush for at least a respectable amount of yards while also being a top drive-finishing option for an upgraded Las Vegas offense.

Rashaad Penny

Rashaad Penny had 135-plus rushing yards and a TD in four of his final five games in 2021. He is aiming to become just the fourth player in NFL history with 150-plus rushing yards and a TD in three consecutive games. Penny may not pull off that feat, but he will be a major central figure in the Seattle offensive game plan this week and he is a must-start as a flex player.

He is starting off the season in good health, and Penny should be brimming with confidence as he will get a lot of work again in the 2022 season opener.

Antonio Gibson

Antonio Gibson had a career-best 1,331 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs last season. He is one of five NFL running backs with 1,000-plus scrimmage yards and 10-plus scrimmage TDs in each of the past two seasons.

He has a chance to bounce back from a forgettable preseason in the 2022 opener, and Gibson can still post quality fantasy totals with a significant workload, which he appears to be in line for against Jacksonville in Week 1.


Wide Receivers - Fantasy Football Week 1

DeVonta Smith

DeVonta Smith ranked fourth among NFL rookies with an Eagles first-season record of 916 receiving yards last season. He also averaged 14.3 yards per catch. With A.J. Brown now operating as Philadelphia’s new No. 1 WR, Smith can be more comfortable as a second option.

The Eagles’ passing game will look instantly improved in their 2022 opener and Smith should be locked in as a fantasy WR3. He will get some opportunities to make downfield splash plays in Week 1.

JuJu Smith-Schueter

JuJu Smith-Schuster had 800-plus yards and seven-plus receiving TDs in three of his first five NFL seasons. In 2020, he had 97 receptions and nine TDs. Now he will work with the most explosive passer of his career so far.

Smith-Schuster should be the No. 1 WR target for Patrick Mahomes, who often makes some of his receivers perform above expectations. The highly vulnerable Arizona secondary is a very good draw for Smith-Schuster in his first game with the Chiefs.

Jarvis Landry

Jarvis Landry is one of three NFL wide receivers with 50-plus receptions in each of the past eight seasons. That stat reflects how dependable Landry has been over the years from pure NFL perspectives, as he will always have at least a decent floor in total receptions. Landry had a down season in 2021, but he can get back up in the 80-catch range with the Saints this season.

With Michael Thomas uncertain in regards to how productive he can be, and Chris Olavemaking his pro debut, Landry may be very busy as a target for Jameis Winston in his first game with New Orleans.

If you need an off-the-radar flex or WR streamer for the season opener, consider Landry, who may come through with more than six receptions this week against Atlanta.

Chase Claypool

Chase Claypool has 80-plus receiving yards in his last two meetings with the Bengals. Diontae Johnson is battling through a shoulder injury and George Pickens will be playing in his first NFL game.

There may be some thought about playing Claypool in Week 1 -- but with Mitchell Trubisky at QB against a solid Cincinnati secondary, it is better to fade Claypool.


Quarterbacks and Tight Ends - Fantasy Football Week 1

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa had seven TD passes and two interceptions in his final five home games last season. Now he has improved weaponry and is under a bright spotlight, needing to show he can succeed with the right pieces around him.

Look for Tagovailoa to respond with a strong opener, and he will be a very good QB2 starter in superflex leagues in Week 1.

Derek Carr

Derek Carr had a career-high and Raiders franchise record 4,804 passing yards in 2021. He has two-plus TD passes in his last two games vs. Los Angeles and he has not been intercepted in six of his last seven matchups with the Chargers.

Carr is entering the 2022 season with his best receiving crew ever and the Chargers will be without top acquisition J.C. Jackson at CB. Carr will start the new campaign off with an impressive statistical outing.

Austin Hooper

Since 2016, Austin Hooper ranks fourth among all NFL TEs with 298 receptions. He should make an immediate impact with the Titans as a frequent target on key passing downs, and he is a viable replacement for Week 1 if you need to replace George Kittle.

Evan Engram

Evan Engram is one of three NFL TEs with 40-plus receptions over the past five seasons. The Jaguars have a mediocre WR crew and a TE-friendly offensive system. Engram is another good Kittle fill-in for Week 1.

Scott Engel's fantasy and betting analysis is also featured at The Game Day.

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