Fantasy Football Week 1: Matt Camp's Fantasy Big Board

Matt Camp@TheMattCampFantasy Football Lead WriterSeptember 6, 2017

Fantasy Football Week 1: Matt Camp's Fantasy Big Board

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    Look for Amari Cooper to get off to a hot start.
    Look for Amari Cooper to get off to a hot start.Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Isn't it nice to be talking about games that actually matter this week? 

    As excited as the football nation is to talk about Week 1, the reality is that this might be the toughest week to actually rank players. Statistics from the preseason mean almost nothing because they come from games without game plans. You can't base analysis on the points and production allowed by defenses in the preseason. 

    While acknowledging recent history—like how defenses fared against each position last year and how players performed against this week's opponents when they faced off in 2016—can help, things change. Coaches, personnel, schemes, and development can vary greatly from one year to the next.

    Other than adjustments you may need to make for injuries, my best advice for Week 1 is to simply play your best players. Don't overthink sitting your fourth-round pick. Obviously, you don't need advice on why you should play Amari Cooper, but this article will help with the tougher decisions.

    At each position, find out which players get a boost from their matchup, those who should be knocked down, fringe options to avoid and potential sleepers to slip into the last spot in your lineup. If you're streaming defenses and/or kickers, the best options will be highlighted.

    Check out the first look at the points-per-reception (PPR) rankings for Week 1. These will change throughout the week and up to Sunday's action as we get more information about injuries and limitations, so make sure to bookmark this page for my full rankings in both PPR and non-PPR formats.

Top 100

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    It should be a good week to have Titans in your lineup.
    It should be a good week to have Titans in your lineup.Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    I present my top 100 players (minus quarterbacks) for the week as a way to help determine your flex spots. You may favor a certain position or player over another based on his role and/or your scoring rules.

    As an additional tiebreaker, here are the teams I like as a whole this week based on their matchups: 

    • Atlanta Falcons (at Chicago Bears)
    • Minnesota Vikings (vs. New Orleans Saints)
    • Tennessee Titans (vs. Oakland Raiders)
    • Pittsburgh Steelers (at Cleveland Browns)

    Week 1 Top 100 PPR Rankings

    #Player (team)
    1Julio Jones (ATL)
    2David Johnson (ARI)
    3Le'Veon Bell (PIT)
    4Antonio Brown (PIT)
    5A.J. Green (CIN)
    6Doug Baldwin (SEA)
    7Amari Cooper (OAK)
    8Jordy Nelson (GB)
    9Brandin Cooks (NE)
    10Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)
    11LeSean McCoy (BUF)
    12DeMarco Murray (TEN)
    13Martavis Bryant (PIT)
    14Devonta Freeman (ATL)
    15Todd Gurley (LAR)
    16Stefon Diggs (MIN)
    17Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
    18Rob Gronkowski (NE)
    19Michael Thomas (NO)
    20Dez Bryant (DAL)
    21Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)
    22Michael Crabtree (OAK)
    23Christian McCaffrey (CAR)
    24Terrelle Pryor (WAS)
    25Alshon Jeffery (PHI)
    26Travis Kelce (KC)
    27DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)
    28Demaryius Thomas (DEN)
    29Jordan Howard (CHI)
    30Melvin Gordon (LAC)
    31Jamison Crowder (WAS)
    32Pierre Garcon (SF)
    33Isaiah Crowell (CLE)
    34Carlos Hyde (SF)
    35Sammy Watkins (LAR)
    36Golden Tate (DET)
    37Davante Adams (GB)
    38Kelvin Benjamin (CAR)
    39Adam Thielen (MIN)
    40Dalvin Cook (MIN)
    41Leonard Fournette (JAC)
    42Marshawn Lynch (OAK)
    43Tyreek Hill (KC)
    44Keenan Allen (LAC)
    45Allen Robinson (JAC)
    46Brandon Marshall (NYG)
    47Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)
    48Chris Hogan (NE)
    49Lamar Miller (HOU)
    50Kareem Hunt (KC)
    51Danny Woodhead (BAL)
    52Ty Montgomery (GB)
    53Jimmy Graham (SEA)
    54Bilal Powell (NYJ)
    55Adrian Peterson (NO)
    56C.J. Anderson (DEN)
    57Greg Olsen (CAR)
    58T.Y. Hilton (IND)
    59Eric Decker (TEN)
    60Jeremy Maclin (BAL)
    61Tyrell Williams (LAC)
    62Jordan Reed (WAS)
    63John Brown (ARI)
    64Joe Mixon (CIN)
    65Zach Ertz (PHI)
    66Darren Sproles (PHI)
    67Kyle Rudolph (MIN)
    68Kenny Britt (CLE)
    69Randall Cobb (GB)
    70Rishard Matthews (TEN)
    71Rex Burkhead (NE)
    72Delanie Walker (TEN)
    73Tyler Eifert (CIN)
    74Mark Ingram (NO)
    75Cole Beasley (DAL)
    76Mike Gillislee (NE)
    77Tevin Coleman (ATL)
    78Ameer Abdullah (DET)
    79Hunter Henry (LAC)
    80Kendall Wright (CHI)
    81Mike Wallace (BAL)
    82Ted Ginn (NO)
    83Martellus Bennett (GB)
    84Kyle Juszczyk (SF)
    85LeGarrette Blount (PHI)
    86Robert Kelley (WAS)
    87Jason Witten (DAL)
    88Terrance West (BAL)
    89Frank Gore (IND)
    90Jonathan Stewart (CAR)
    91Theo Riddick (DET)
    92Duke Johnson (CLE)
    93Thomas Rawls (SEA)
    94Donte Moncrief (IND)
    95Corey Coleman (CLE)
    96Jordan Matthews (BUF)
    97Kevin White (CHI)
    98Zay Jones (BUF)
    99Marvin Jones (DET)
    100Robby Anderson (NYJ)

Quarterbacks

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    Ben Roethlisberger finally has all his weapons.
    Ben Roethlisberger finally has all his weapons.Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Better Than Usual

    Marcus Mariota, TEN (vs. OAK)

    Mariota has shown no lingering effects from the knee injury that ended his outstanding 2016 season prematurely. From a fantasy standpoint, he was a big winner in the offseason. Veteran Eric Decker and rookie Corey Davis join Rishard Matthews, Delanie Walker and a strong backfield led by DeMarco Murray. The Raiders have a clear weakness with their defense, specifically their secondary. Look for Mariota to dominate in a potential shootout in Nashville.

                   

    Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (at CLE)

    This is not a week to buy into Roethlisberger's struggles on the road. Thanks to the full reinstatement of Martavis Bryant and end of Le'Veon Bell's holdout, Roethlisberger enters this juicy matchup with everyone he needs to put up big numbers in Cleveland. While the Browns are doing a good job rebuilding their defense, it will take time to come together. The young group will have its hands full with Roethlisberger and the Steelers on Sunday.

                    

    Concerns 

    Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. ARI)

    If you have Stafford, there's a good chance he's either a top backup or on a team with another starting QB option this week. While he's good enough to hang tough regardless of the matchup, a trip to Arizona won't be the easiest way to start his season. A strong secondary and pass rush could make life difficult for Detroit's passing attack. If you need to roll with Stafford, lower your expectations for Week 1.

                     

    Avoid

    Philip Rivers, LAC (at DEN)

    Much like last season, avoiding the Broncos' pass defense is advised until further notice. No team gave up fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks and wide receivers last season, and this remains a strong unit with Aqib Talib and Chris Harris forming one of the best cornerback duos in the league. Hopefully you didn't draft Rivers to be a starter since this is a week to leave him on your bench with a tough road matchup.

                   

    Sleeper

    Sam Bradford, MIN (vs. NO)

    If you're looking for a replacement for Rivers (or Andrew Luck), consider Bradford with a promising matchup at home against the Saints. New Orleans' defense is coming off yet another shaky year, and it'll open this season without top cornerback Delvin Breaux (fibula). That means the Saints will roll with rookie Marshon Lattimore in that spot. Bradford could have his way with this defense and is worth a shot on Monday night.

    Week 1 Quarterback Rankings

    #Player (team)
    1Tom Brady (NE)
    2Aaron Rodgers (GB)
    3Marcus Mariota (TEN)
    4Matt Ryan (ATL)
    5Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
    6Russell Wilson (SEA)
    7Derek Carr (OAK)
    8Drew Brees (NO)
    9Kirk Cousins (WAS)
    10Cam Newton (CAR)
    11Carson Palmer (ARI)
    12Sam Bradford (MIN)
    13Dak Prescott (DAL)
    14Eli Manning (NYG)
    15Matthew Stafford (DET)
    16Carson Wentz (PHI)
    17Andy Dalton (CIN)
    18Tyrod Taylor (BUF)
    19Philip Rivers (LAC)
    20Brian Hoyer (SF)
    21Alex Smith (KC)
    22Jared Goff (LAR)
    23Trevor Siemian (DEN)
    24Joe Flacco (BAL)
    25Tom Savage (HOU)
    26Blake Bortles (JAC)
    27Mike Glennon (CHI)
    28DeShone Kizer (CLE)
    29Josh McCown (NYJ)
    30Scott Tolzien (IND)

Running Backs

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    LeSean McCoy is the lone bright spot for the Buffalo Bills.
    LeSean McCoy is the lone bright spot for the Buffalo Bills.Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

    Better Than Usual

    Todd Gurley, LAR (vs. IND)

    The first step in Gurley's bounce-back season comes at home against a maligned Indianapolis Colts defense. Indy has tried to fix the issues of recent years by investing in the defensive line via the draft and adding some competition at linebacker, but this is still a work in progress. That's also a good way to describe the Rams' passing game and the development of Jared Goff, which is why Gurley should be busy and productive this weekend.

                   

    Concerns

    Mark Ingram, NO (at MIN)

    Ever since the Saints signed Adrian Peterson and added Alvin Kamara in the NFL draft, questions about Ingram's role in the Saints offense mounted. Even though Ingram has been a strong fantasy performer, you can't ignore how much more crowded this backfield is compared to last season, and that will cut into his touches. Don't be surprised if that's on full display this week, especially with Peterson taking on his old team in Minnesota.

                  

    Avoid

    Paul Perkins, NYG (at DAL)

    Even though Perkins looks like he has the lead role in the Giants' backfield, he hasn't shown enough to use him without hesitation right out of the gate in Week 1. Obviously, the upgrades in the team's passing game, including Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram, give the team reason to take to the air with more confidence against a beatable Cowboys' secondary. Plus, Dallas held running backs to the fewest fantasy points in 2016.

                 

    Sleeper

    Darren Sproles, PHI (at WAS)

    Even though he was completely healthy, Sproles didn't take a single snap in the preseason. Head coach Doug Peterson said the Eagles will dictate their carries based on game plan and situation without necessarily featuring a running back, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    If you connect the dots, it could mean the Eagles were resting Sproles to get ready for a busy season, especially since LeGarrette Blount was less than impressive in August. Using Sproles out of the backfield as a pass-catcher could be an extension of their ground game and a way to get their most talented back the ball. He should be busy against an average Redskins defense.

    Week 1 Running Back PPR Rankings


Wide Receivers

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    You can bank on Julio Jones lighting up the Bears on Sunday.
    You can bank on Julio Jones lighting up the Bears on Sunday.Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

    Better Than Usual 

    Stefon Diggs, MIN (vs. NO)

    The excitement for Diggs' potential breakout season should grow after Week 1. He has the good fortune of starting his 2017 campaign with a favorable matchup at home against the New Orleans Saints. Last year, the Saints were a middle-of-the-pack unit against fantasy WRs, but they could be worse than that this year.

    They have to take on Diggs and the Vikings without Breaux, which puts rookie Marshon Lattimore immediately in the spotlight on the outside against Diggs. The third-year WR should have a great chance to grab national attention with a big performance on Monday night.

                      

    Concerns

    Keenan Allen/Tyrell Williams, LAC (at DEN)

    The Chargers will be thrilled to get Allen back on the field after he missed nearly all of last season, but both he and Williams have a tall task ahead with a trip to Denver to start the schedule. The Broncos gave up a league-best 13.5 fantasy points per game to WRs in 2016 and remain strong with CBs Chris Harris, Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby. In two games against Denver last season, Williams was held to four receptions for 32 yards. It's hard to completely stay away from the top two WRs for Philip Rivers, but expectations shouldn't be high.

                  

    Avoid

    Kevin White, CHI (vs. ATL)

    Figuring out to do with the Bears' receiving corps following the loss of Cameron Meredith may turn out to be a fool's errand for fantasy players. Following two seasons marred by injuries, White looks sluggish and nowhere near the player the Bears thought they were getting in the first round just two years ago. While he'll start for Chicago, he can't be trusted for fantasy in a tough matchup with Falcons CBs Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant.

                      

    Sleeper

    Adam Thielen, MIN (vs. NO)

    Is it fair to be excited about Diggs and Thielen? With a juicy matchup against the Saints and a QB like Sam Bradford to take advantage of it, the answer is yes. Diggs gets plenty of well-deserved attention, but it's Thielen who could do some serious damage in the reception department out of the slot. The Saints don't have established talent at CB, which should bode well for Thielen.

    Week 1 Wide Receiver PPR Rankings

    #Player (team)
    1Julio Jones (ATL)
    2Antonio Brown (PIT)
    3A.J. Green (CIN)
    4Doug Baldwin (SEA)
    5Amari Cooper (OAK)
    6Jordy Nelson (GB)
    7Brandin Cooks (NE)
    8Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)
    9Martavis Bryant (PIT)
    10Stefon Diggs (MIN)
    11Michael Thomas (NO)
    12Dez Bryant (DAL)
    13Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)
    14Michael Crabtree (OAK)
    15Terrelle Pryor (WAS)
    16Alshon Jeffery (PHI)
    17DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)
    18Demaryius Thomas (DEN)
    19Jamison Crowder (WAS)
    20Pierre Garcon (SF)
    21Sammy Watkins (LAR)
    22Golden Tate (DET)
    23Davante Adams (GB)
    24Kelvin Benjamin (CAR)
    25Adam Thielen (MIN)
    26Tyreek Hill (KC)
    27Keenan Allen (LAC)
    28Allen Robinson (JAC)
    29Brandon Marshall (NYG)
    30Emmanuel Sanders (DEN)
    31Chris Hogan (NE)
    32T.Y. Hilton (IND)
    33Eric Decker (TEN)
    34Jeremy Maclin (BAL)
    35Tyrell Williams (LAC)
    36John Brown (ARI)
    37Kenny Britt (CLE)
    38Randall Cobb (GB)
    39Rishard Matthews (TEN)
    40Cole Beasley (DAL)
    41Kendall Wright (CHI)
    42Mike Wallace (BAL)
    43Ted Ginn (NO)
    44Donte Moncrief (IND)
    45Corey Coleman (CLE)
    46Jordan Matthews (BUF)
    47Kevin White (CHI)
    48Zay Jones (BUF)
    49Marvin Jones (DET)
    50Robby Anderson (NYJ)
    51Sterling Shepard (NYG)
    52Corey Davis (TEN)
    53Tyler Lockett (SEA)
    54Taylor Gabriel (ATL)
    55Marqise Lee (JAC)
    56Brandon Coleman (NO)
    57Cooper Kupp (LAR)
    58Eli Rogers (PIT)
    59Kenny Golladay (DET)
    60Paul Richardson (SEA)
    61J.J. Nelson (ARI)
    62Josh Doctson (WAS)
    63Devin Funchess (CAR)
    64Torrey Smith (PHI)
    65Breshad Perriman (BAL)
    66Danny Amendola (NE)
    67Marquise Goodwin (SF)
    68Robert Woods (LAR)
    69Terrance Williams (DAL)
    70Allen Hurns (JAC)
    71Mohamed Sanu (ATL)
    72Tavon Austin (LAR)
    73Malcolm Mitchell (NE)
    74Brandon LaFell (CIN)
    75Travis Benjamin (LAC)
    76Laquon Treadwell (MIN)
    77Jermaine Kearse (NYJ)
    78Chris Conley (KC)

Tight Ends

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    It could be a busy day for Zach Ertz against the Redskins.
    It could be a busy day for Zach Ertz against the Redskins.Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

    Better Than Usual

    Zach Ertz, PHI (at WAS)

    As an admitted fan of Ertz, it's not hard to pump him up as a strong option in Week 1 regardless of his opponent, but it's easier when his role could be more important. As Carson Wentz's most reliable target in 2016, Ertz should be leaned on heavily right out of the gate in 2016, especially if Alshon Jeffery sees a lot of Josh Norman in the opener. The Redskins gave up the 10th-most fantasy points to TEs last year.

                      

    Concerns

    Eric Ebron, DET (vs. ARI)

    During the preseason, Ebron had lots of trouble shaking the injury bug that's plagued him throughout his career. A hamstring injury kept him out of every preseason game, so his first game action looks to be Sunday against the Cardinals. No team defended TEs better than the Cardinals in 2016. If you can, wait at least a week before you play Ebron with confidence.

              

    Avoid

    Jack Doyle, IND (at LAR)

    If you were excited about Doyle's fantasy prospects for 2017, that optimism has to be put on hold until Andrew Luck returns from his shoulder injury. Instead of relying on the arm of Scott Tolzien against a tough Rams defense (sixth-fewest fantasy points allowed to TEs in 2016), look for another option.

                   

    Sleeper

    Charles Clay, BUF (vs. NYJ)

    You really shouldn't need a sleeper TE in the opening week of the season, but if you're reaching deep, Clay might be worth a shot. He's the only prominent member of the Bills receiving corps who played with Tyrod Taylor before this season. Jordan Matthews (chest) isn't a lock to play and hasn't had many chances to work with Taylor since joining the team last month. Plus, the Jets allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to TEs in 2016.

    Week 1 Tight End PPR Rankings

Defenses

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    Without Andrew Luck out, the Rams are an attractive defense.
    Without Andrew Luck out, the Rams are an attractive defense.Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

    Best Streaming Options

    Los Angeles Rams (vs. IND)

    A picture of Andrew Luck in shorts and a T-shirt talking to starting QB Scott Tolzien would likely be enough reason to use the Rams this week, but I'll also add that the Colts offensive line might be among the worst in the league. The Rams, led by Alec Ogletree, have a strong defense with or without Aaron Donald. They get a boost from defensive mastermind Wade Phillips taking over as coordinator this year.

    Ownership percentages: ESPN, 26.1; Yahoo, 57

                     

    Atlanta Falcons (at CHI)

    If you saw the Week 1 BS Meter, there's plenty of concern for Jordan Howard and the Bears offense following the loss of Cameron Meredith to a torn ACL. Look for the Falcons to dominate this matchup and force a Bears a passing game led by Mike Glennon, Kendall Wright and Kevin White into some second-half mistakes.

    Ownership percentages: ESPN, 13.9; Yahoo, 44

                  

    Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ)

    Considering the Jets have a historically bad offense on paper heading into the season, there's a good chance you'll see their opponents featured weekly in this space. Other than Bilal Powell and maybe Matt Forte, there's no one to worry about as a significant threat. Last season, the Jets gave up the most fantasy points to opposing defenses, and they have less talent this year. Play the Bills at home with confidence. 

    Ownership percentages: ESPN, 11.1; Yahoo, 38

Kickers

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    Kai Forbath could have a busy night against the Saints.
    Kai Forbath could have a busy night against the Saints.Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

    Best Options Widely Available on the Waiver Wire

    Chris Boswell, PIT (at CLE)

    Now that the Steelers have Martavis Bryant and Le'Veon Bell back in the mix, they might have the most potent offense in the league. While the Cleveland Browns may finally be heading in the right direction, they still have an uphill climb that starts with a brutal test against the visiting Steelers. With plenty of opportunities likely coming his way, Boswell could be one of the better options in Week 1.

    Ownership percentages: ESPN, 31.9; Yahoo, 47

                

    Kai Forbath, MIN (vs. NO)

    Until further notice, consider the Saints' defense as a desirable matchup for any opponent, especially when they open on the road against a potentially dangerous Vikings offense. Forbath could be in line for a busy night with more than a few opportunities to add to his streak of 15 straight made field goals since joining the Vikings in Week 11 last season. 

    Ownership percentages: ESPN, 2.1; Yahoo, 2

                    

    Week 1 Kicker Rankings