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Week 1 Rankings Analysis - Pierre Camus vs. Industry Consensus

If you've spent the last 24 hours crying your eyes out because you passed on Kareem Hunt, benched Mike Gillislee, or paid up for Gronk, you're not alone my friend. The obvious almost never happens in fantasy football, which of course is what makes it so exciting (and frustrating). I will admit I own no shares of Hunt, which made me a bit teary-eyed until I also realized I don't own Alex Smith and he won't do this every week either.

Weekly rankings are a lot easier to read and react to than they are to actually make. Without them, there would be no way of making those tough lineup decisions accurately, unless you count closing your eyes and throwing a dart at your computer screen "valid and reliable."

As an expert ranker for RotoBaller and FantasyPros, I'll put my own personal rankings out on the table for you here and show you how they stack up against the consensus of the other 100+ experts at FantasyPros. Rather than list every player in the league, you'll see the Top 10 per position, plus a few notable players that may have fallen in my rankings this week. All rankings come from standard scoring rules.

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Week 1 Quarterbacks - Rankings Analysis

Top 10, plus notable outliers (deviation from consensus)

1. Ben Roethlisberger (+7)
2. Tom Brady (-1)
3. Cam Newton (+4)
4. Russell Wilson (-1)
5. Aaron Rodgers (-3)
6. Derek Carr (+4)
7. Drew Brees (-1)
8. Matt Ryan (-4)
9. Marcus Mariota (-4)
10. Kirk Cousins (-1)
16. Brian Hoyer (+5)
20. Dak Prescott (-8)
21. Josh McCown (+9)

The first of many Steelers to top the list this week, Big Ben does his best work early in the season and against mediocre opponents. I'm not sure if Cleveland's defense can possibly be as bad as the Patriots were on Thursday, but it's doubtful they hold the Steelers to less than four touchdowns (the current betting line has them scoring 28.5 points). For the same reason, Cam Newton will get one of the highest rankings all season while facing the new-look 49ers defense. There is a new coach in town and a lot more young talent, but it will take a while to gel. No, I don't give a damn how good they looked in the preseason against scrubs. Newton's health is the only question. It still looks like he will play and should be started everywhere. Unless things are worse than they appear with his surgically repaired shoulder, I even like him better than Aaron Rodgers at home this week due to matchups. With Rawls and Prosise not 100%, the 'Hawks may lean on an actual healthy Russell Wilson to air it out against the Pack.

Brees could be due for a slight letdown this week. Not just because he's missing Willie Snead (for three weeks) and Brandin Cooks (forever), but Minnesota has a stout defense. Plus, my gut tells me they're going to make a point of emphasis on handing Adrian Peterson the ball, at least for this particular game. Don't worry, by Week 5 he'll be slinging it 40+ times a game once more. I think Carr gets the better of Mariota in the Titans-Raiders matchup, even though the Raiders are underdogs on the road. It's all about red zone play-calling and I still don't think Lynch gets the ball near the goal-line automatically like we assume.

Hoyer is the player I'm keeping an eye on the most. I'm ranking him conservatively this week because we haven't seen how he'll adapt to a whole new set of receivers, but I wouldn't be shocked if he was a top-10 fantasy QB this week. Josh McCown doesn't have to put up a big game to outplay his current ranking, but he just might.


Week 1 Running Backs - Rankings Analysis

Top 10, plus notable outliers (deviation from consensus)

1. Le'Veon Bell (+0)
2. David Johnson (+0)
3. LeSean McCoy (+0)
4. Todd Gurley (+3)
5. Ezekiel Elliott (-2)
6. Jordan Howard (+2)
7. Devonta Freeman (-2)
8. DeMarco Murray (-2)
9. Melvin Gordon (+0)
10. Dalvin Cook (+0)
12. Rob Kelley (+13)
14. Christian McCaffrey (+2)
17. Bilal Powell (+3)
23. Kareem Hunt (-5)
24. Adrian Peterson (+6)

Nothing seismic in the Top 10, as my rankings are extremely consistent with the expert consensus, to the point where I'm almost tempted to change it for the sake of being contrarian 🙂 The bump on Gurley and Howard reflect my opinion of them for season-long value, but Gurley definitely needs to show and prove this week against a hurting Colts team. After taking him out, then putting him back in at the last minute, I wasn't eager to put Zeke at the top of my rankings. The Cowboys may try to make the most of him now that they've gotten him back, supposedly for the rest of the season, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll produce the best numbers. The Giants had the third-best rush defense last year, allowing 3.6 yards per carry.

While I'm not willing to put them ahead of verifiable workhorse backs in Week 1, players like McCaffrey, Powell, and Peterson are ones I'm targeting first in tournament plays. C-Mac might play a bigger part in the offense than people expect, and he goes up against the 49ers' historically bad run defense of a year ago (they can't be THAT much better). Powell looked strong in the preseason and should get a big workload against the hapless Bills. Peterson, as mentioned above, is more of a gut call, which is why I wouldn't necessarily rush to replace your normal starter with him in standard leagues. Think flex play in deep leagues. As far as Rob Kelley, I don't know why people seem to forget or don't believe that he is still the lead back in Washington in a non-committee. He is a high-end RB2 at the very least. I won't elaborate on Hunt except to say that Charcandrick West basically walked into the end zone at one point and Alex Smith had the best game of his career. I'm not putting him in my top 10 next week automatically.


Week 1 Wide Receivers - Rankings Analysis

Top 10, plus notable outliers (deviation from consensus)

1. Antonio Brown (+0)
2. Julio Jones (+0)
3. Odell Beckham Jr. (+1)
4. A.J. Green (-1)
5. Michael Thomas (+3)
6. Amari Cooper (+0)
7. Jordy Nelson (+0)
8. Brandin Cooks (+1)
9. Doug Baldwin (-4)
10. Sammy Watkins (+10)
12. Keenan Allen (+14)
15. Dez Bryant (-5)
19. Tyreek Hill (+4)
20. TY Hilton (+1)
26. Martavis Bryant (-8)

One of these things is not like the other... My first nine WR fall right in line with everyone else. And then there's Sammy Watkins. This is definitely a boom-bust play, but a mediocre Colts defense without Vontae Davis is a recipe for success when it comes to the Rams receivers. Watkins is the type of player that just needs one big play to make your week, a la Tyreek Hill on Thursday. His 16.1 yards per reception verifies this.

Apparently, everyone is frightened that Denver's secondary will clamp down on Keenan Allen. While his yardage totals aren't good against the Broncos, he has scored three TD in four games against them. I really want to rank Hilton lower, but he also has enough big play ability that he can't be dismissed outright, no matter who is at QB. The hype of Martavis Bryant has got to slow down. While I've already stated how great this matchup is, I want to see him on the field for the first time in over a year before making him my WR2.


Week 1 Tight Ends - Rankings Analysis

Top 10, plus notable outliers (deviation from consensus)

1. Rob Gronkowski (+0)
2. Greg Olsen (+0)
3. Kyle Rudolph (+4)
4. Jimmy Graham (+0)
5. Travis Kelce (-2)
6. Tyler Eifert (+3)
7. Jordan Reed (-2)
8. Zach Ertz (+0)
9. Delanie Walker (-3)
10. Martellus Bennett (+0)
17. Zach Miller (+5)
18. Evan Engram (+3)
19. Jason Witten (-8)

Eifert would be higher for me if he were entering the season 100% healthy. Speaking of, Jordan Reed won't ever be 100% but the ceiling is too high to ignore when he's on the field. Zach Miller won't be in too many starting lineups this week, but he also could benefit from the lack of competition in the receiving corps. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if he challenged Kendall Wright for the receptions lead in Chicago by year's end. As far as Engram, he made a late surge in my rankings when I realized how poor the Cowboys were against the TE last season. I might not start him in re-draft, but he's worth a shot if you're making multiple DFS tournament lineups. Witten won't need to see a bunch of targets now that Zeke is back. Sure, there may be some ageism at play here, but keep in mind that Witten has scored 11 TD in the last three seasons combined.


More Week 1 Lineup Prep

Check out all of RotoBaller's fantasy football rankings. Staff rankings are updated regularly for all positions and include standard formats, PPR scoring, tiered rankings and dynasty leagues.

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