Fantasy Football Big Board: Complete PPR Player Rankings for Week 1

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystSeptember 9, 2020

Fantasy Football Big Board: Complete PPR Player Rankings for Week 1

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Let's get ready to rumble!

    On Thursday night, two of the NFL's best (and highest-paid) young quarterbacks will battle it out at Arrowhead Stadium when the Houston Texans meet the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the 2020 season opener.

    With that, another season of fantasy football will get underway.

    Soon all the preparation of draft season will give way to the perspiration of the regular season. Your roster for Week 1 has been assembled. Now it's just a matter of deciding who to slot in the starting lineup—and then hoping as you watch the games that you chose wisely.

    I'm here to help with those decisions. Every week during the 2020 season, I'll publish a set of rankings at each of fantasy's positions for a PPR (point per reception) scoring system. I'll also offer up a top 100 overall to help out with "flex" decisions and point out a player or two who has a strong (or weak) matchup on tap.

    Enough with the blah blah blah. Let's get the season started strong.

Quarterbacks

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    GOOD MATCHUPS

    Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (at NYG) [DraftKings DFS Value: $6,400]

    Roethlisberger starts off his 2020 comeback tour in an excellent spot for fantasy managers. In 2019, the New York Giants surrendered both the seventh-most touchdown passes (30) and the fourth-most fantasy points per game to the quarterback position. Add in that one of the likely starters in the secondary (Logan Ryan) just joined the team, and Roethlisberger should have success through the air.

           

    Cam Newton, New England Patriots (vs. Miami Dolphins) [DraftKings DFS Value: $6,100]

    There are quite a few things we don't know as Newton prepares to make his first start for Bill Belichick and the Pats. What we do know is that the Miami Dolphins were a hot mess against the pass in 2019. The Dolphins were 27th in passing yards allowed, gave up a league-high 39 touchdown passes and allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

              

    BAD MATCHUPS

    Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (at San Francisco 49ers) [DraftKings DFS Value: $6,400]

    Murray is a trendy breakout candidate in fantasy leagues this season, but the scheduling gods didn't do him any favors. In Week 1, Murray and the Cardinals travel to Santa Clara to face a 49ers team that allowed fewer than 170 passing yards a game and the ninth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2019. Better days are coming, but a slow start is a real possibility.

           

    Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (vs. Chicago Bears) [DraftKings DFS Value: $6,200]

    If you've read any of my fantasy football stuff this summer, you know Stafford was my single favorite value pick of 2020 at the quarterback position. But for all of Chicago's problems, the Bears remain a good defensive team. In 18 career starts against the Bears, Stafford is averaging 263 yards and less than two touchdown passes per game.

                

    SLEEPER

    Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers (at CIN) [DraftKings DFS Value: $5,600]

    It would take a special type of bravery to risk rolling out Taylor in Week 1, even in a highly favorable matchup against a Cincinnati Bengals team that struggled defensively in 2019. But as a second starter in a 2QB or "superflex" league or inexpensive (not to mention contrarian) DFS play, the veteran has some appeal in his first start for the Chargers.

              

    WEEK 1 QB RANKINGS

    1. Patrick Mahomes, KCC (vs. HOU)
    2. Lamar Jackson, BAL (vs. CLE)
    3. Dak Prescott, DAL (at LAR)
    4. Deshaun Watson, HOU (at KCC)
    5. Russell Wilson, SEA (at ATL)
    6. Drew Brees, NOS (vs. TBB)
    7. Josh Allen, BUF (vs. NYJ)
    8. Matt Ryan, ATL (vs. SEA)
    9. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (at NYG)
    10. Carson Wentz, PHI (at WAS)
    11. Tom Brady, TBB (at NOS)
    12. Cam Newton, NEP (vs. MIA)
    13. Kyler Murray, ARZ (at SFO)
    14. Matthew Stafford, DET (vs. CHI)
    15. Jared Goff, LAR (vs. DAL)
    16. Aaron Rodgers, GBP (at MIN)
    17. Gardner Minshew II, JAX (vs. IND)
    18. Jimmy Garoppolo, SFO (vs. ARZ)
    19. Tyrod Taylor, LAC (at CIN)
    20. Philip Rivers, IND (at JAX)
    21. Kirk Cousins, MIN (vs. GBP)
    22. Derek Carr, LVR (at CAR)
    23. Joe Burrow, CIN (vs. LAC)
    24. Ryan Tannehill, TEN (at DEN)
    25. Teddy Bridgewater, CAR (vs. LVR)
    26. Daniel Jones, NYG (vs. PIT)
    27. Baker Mayfield, CLE (at BAL)
    28. Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (at DET)
    29. Ryan Fitzpatrick (at NEP)
    30. Drew Lock, DEN (vs. TEN)

Running Backs

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    GOOD MATCHUPS

    Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (at Carolina Panthers) [DraftKings DFS Value: $6,800]

    Christian McCaffrey of the Panthers may be the king of fantasy running backs, but in Week 1 at least, it wouldn't be surprising if Jacobs out-points him. The Panthers were all kinds of terrible against the run in 2019—the team allowed over 143 yards a game on the ground, a staggering 31 rushing touchdowns and the most PPR fantasy points to running backs.

              

    Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts (at Jacksonville Jaguars) [DraftKings DFS Value: $5,700]

    Taylor's NFL debut could be a big one. No team in the AFC allowed more fantasy points per game to running backs than the Jaguars—and that was before the team purged the roster of a fistful of defensive starters. With the Colts likely to be playing with a lead in this game, both Taylor and Marlon Mack could be set to start the season off well.

             

    BAD MATCHUPS

    Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers) [DraftKings DFS Value: $7,200]

    Benching Kamara in season-long leagues in Week 1 is the textbook definition of overthinking—bad matchup or no. But the Buccaneers allowed the fewest rushing yards and third-fewest PPR fantasy points per game to running backs in 2019. Throw in the practice time that Kamara has missed recently, and he's a risky DFS play out of the gate.

            

    Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals (at San Francisco 49ers) [DraftKings DFS Value: $6,400]

    You didn't spend a late first-round or early second-round pick on Drake to leave the fifth-year pro sitting on the bench out of the gate. But the Niners were exceptionally stingy against the run in 2019—only six teams gave up fewer rushing touchdowns than San Francisco, and no team in the NFC allowed fewer fantasy points to the running back position.

              

    SLEEPER

    Chris Thompson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Indianapolis Colts) [DraftKings DFS Value: $4,000]

    From a fantasy perspective, the Colts weren't a great matchup for running backs in 2019. But this play has less to do with matchup than game script. If you believe the Jaguars will be playing catch-up Sunday (and you should), then Thompson should lead all Jaguars backs in snaps. Think lots of tasty garbage-time checkdown passes from Gardner Minshew II.

               

    WEEK 1 RUNNING BACK RANKINGS 

    1. Christian McCaffrey, CAR (vs. LVR)
    2. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL (at LAR)
    3. Saquon Barkley, NYG (vs. PIT)
    4. Dalvin Cook, MIN (vs. GBP)
    5. Josh Jacobs, LVR (at CAR)
    6. Austin Ekeler, LAC (at CIN)
    7. Miles Sanders, PHI (at WAS)
    8. Alvin Kamara, NOS (vs. TBB)
    9. Joe Mixon, CIN (vs. LAC)
    10. Derrick Henry, TEN (at DEN)
    11. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KCC (vs. HOU)
    12. Aaron Jones, GBP (at MIN)
    13. James Conner, PIT (at NYG)
    14. Kenyan Drake, ARZ (at SFO)
    15. Chris Carson, SEA (at ATL)
    16. David Johnson, HOU (at KCC)
    17. Nick Chubb, CLE (at BAL)
    18. Todd Gurley, ATL (vs. SEA)
    19. Mark Ingram II, BAL (vs. CLE)
    20. Jonathan Taylor, IND (at JAX)
    21. Melvin Gordon III, DEN (vs. TEN)
    22. Raheem Mostert, SFO (vs. ARZ)
    23. Le'Veon Bell, NYJ (at BUF)
    24. Tarik Cohen, CHI (at DET)
    25. James White, NEP (vs. MIA)
    26. Devin Singletary, BUF (vs. NYJ)
    27. Antonio Gibson, WAS (vs. PHI)
    28. Cam Akers, LAR (vs. DAL)
    29. Kareem Hunt, CLE (at BAL)
    30. Ronald Jones II, TBB (at NOS)
    31. Kerryon Johnson, DET (vs. CHI)
    32. Zack Moss, BUF (vs. NYJ)
    33. Jordan Howard, MIA (at NEP)
    34. J.K. Dobbins, BAL (vs. CLE)
    35. Phillip Lindsay, DEN (vs. TEN)
    36. Marlon Mack, IND (at JAX)
    37. Leonard Fournette, TBB (at NOS)
    38. Matt Breida, MIA (at NEP)
    39. Chris Thompson, JAX (vs. IND)
    40. D'Andre Swift, DET (vs. CHI)
    41. Latavius Murray, NOS (vs. TBB)
    42. Duke Johnson, HOU (at KCC)
    43. Boston Scott, PHI (at WAS)
    44. Tevin Coleman, SFO (vs. AZ)
    45. Nyheim Hines, IND (at JAX)
    46. Devine Ozigbo, JAX (vs. IND)
    47. Sony Michel, NEP (vs. MIA)
    48. Malcolm Brown, LAR (vs. DAL)
    49. Joshua Kelley, LAC (at CIN)
    50. Tony Pollard, DAL (at LAR)
    51. Alexander Mattison, MIN (vs. GBP)
    52. Jamaal Williams, GBP (at MIN)
    53. Justin Jackson, LAC (at CIN)
    54. Anthony McFarland Jr., PIT (at NYG)
    55. Darrynton Evans, TEN (vs. DEN)
    56. Giovani Bernard, CIN (vs. LAC)
    57. Chase Edmonds, ARZ (at SFO)
    58. AJ Dillon, GBP (at MIN)
    59. Jalen Richard, LVR (at CAR)
    60. Darrel Williams, KCC (vs. HOU)

Wide Receivers

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    GOOD MATCHUPS

    Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears (at Detroit Lions) [DraftKings DFS Value: $6,500]

    Robinson is arguably the most underappreciated wide receiver in fantasy football—largely because he's spent most of his career playing with a pu-pu platter at quarterback. That hasn't changed in 2020 (Mitchell Trubisky? Again?), but Robinson draws a Week 1 tilt with a Lions defense that was awful against the pass last year with Darius Slay on the team.

            

    Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (vs. New York Jets) [DraftKings DFS Value: $6,400]

    Both Diggs and batterymate John Brown will likely be high-variance fantasy options in 2020—and that variance makes their weekly matchups all the more important. The season opener brings a good one. The Jets were a middle-of-the-pack pass defense but a top-10 matchup in terms of PPR fantasy points given up to wide receivers.

              

    BAD MATCHUPS

    Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns (at Baltimore Ravens) [DraftKings DFS Value: $5,900]

    Fantasy managers who are looking for a rebound year from Beckham in 2020 are probably going to start this year the same way they ended the last one—frowning. The Ravens possess one of the better cornerback tandems in the NFL in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, and in two meetings with the Ravens in 2019, Beckham had a pedestrian six catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.

             

    Will Fuller V, Houston (at Kansas City Chiefs) [DraftKings DFS Value: $6,200]

    Given the possibility of a shootout between the Texans and Chiefs on Thursday night, many fantasy managers have likely penciled both Fuller and Brandin Cooks into starting lineups for Week 1. Before you do, consider this little nugget—last year, only the New England Patriots gave up fewer fantasy points to wide receivers.

              

    SLEEPER

    Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh (at New York Giants) [DraftKings DFS Value: $4,200]

    The New York Giants weren't good on the back end last year—only four teams allowed more passing yards per game, and only two were kinder to fantasy wide receivers. The arrival of James Bradberry should help in that regard, but if JuJu Smith-Schuster draws Big Blue's best corner, Johnson will spend much of the night facing Logan Ryan, who only recently signed on with the team.

               

    WEEK 1 WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

    1. Michael Thomas, NOS (vs. TBB)
    2. Tyreek Hill, KCC (vs. HOU)
    3. Davante Adams, GBP (at MIN)
    4. Julio Jones, ATL (vs. SEA)
    5. Allen Robinson II, CHI (at DET)
    6. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT (at NYG)
    7. Chris Godwin, TBB (at NOS)
    8. Kenny Golladay, DET (vs. CHI)
    9. DeAndre Hopkins, ARZ (at SFO)
    10. DJ Moore, CAR (vs. LVR)
    11. Robert Woods, LAR (vs. DAL)
    12. Adam Thielen, MIN (vs. GBP)
    13. Mike Evans, TBB (at NOS)
    14. Amari Cooper, DAL (at LAR)
    15. Cooper Kupp, LAR (vs. DAL)
    16. Keenan Allen, LAC (at CIN)
    17. Calvin Ridley, ATL (vs. SEA)
    18. DJ Chark Jr., JAX (vs. IND)
    19. Odell Beckham Jr., CLE (at BAL)
    20. A.J. Brown, TEN (at DEN)
    21. Tyler Lockett, SEA (at ATL)
    22. Courtland Sutton, DEN (vs. TEN)
    23. Terry McLaurin, WAS (vs. PHI)
    24. T.Y. Hilton, IND (at JAX)
    25. Julian Edelman, NEP (vs. MIA)
    26. DK Metcalf, SEA (at ATL)
    27. Stefon Diggs, BUF (vs. NYJ)
    28. Tyler Boyd, CIN (vs. LAC)
    29. DeVante Parker, MIA (at NEP)
    30. A.J. Green, CIN (vs. LAC)
    31. Marquise Brown, BAL (vs. CLE)
    32. Jarvis Landry, CLE (at BAL)
    33. Brandin Cooks, HOU (at KCC)
    34. Michael Gallup, DAL (at LAR)
    35. Will Fuller V, HOU (at KCC)
    36. DeSean Jackson, PHI (at WAS)
    37. Diontae Johnson, PIT (at NYG)
    38. Marvin Jones Jr., DET (vs. CHI)
    39. Emmanuel Sanders, NOS (vs. TBB)
    40. Jamison Crowder, NYJ (at BUF)
    41. Sterling Shepard, NYG (vs. PIT)
    42. Anthony Miller, CHI (at DET)
    43. John Brown, BUF (vs. NYJ)
    44. CeeDee Lamb, DAL (at LAR)
    45. Christian Kirk, ARZ (at SFO)
    46. Jerry Jeudy, DEN (vs. TEN)
    47. Darius Slayton, NYG (vs. PIT)
    48. Henry Ruggs III, PIT (at NYG)
    49. Mecole Hardman, KCC (vs. HOU)
    50. Golden Tate, NYG (vs. PIT)
    51. Deebo Samuel, SFO (vs. ARZ)
    52. Allen Lazard, GBP (at MIN)
    53. Preston Williams, MIA (at NEP)
    54. Robby Anderson, CAR (vs. LVR)
    55. Larry Fitzgerald, ARZ (at SFO)
    56. Sammy Watkins, KCC (vs. HOU)
    57. Justin Jefferson, MIN (vs. GBP)
    58. Parris Campbell, IND (at JAX)
    59. Curtis Samuel, CAR (vs. LVR)
    60. Randall Cobb, HOU (at KCC)

Tight Ends

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    GOOD MATCHUPS

    George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Arizona Cardinals) [DraftKings DFS Value: $7,200]

    If you need me to tell you to start George Kittle in season-long leagues every week (except for his bye), then you might want to consider a new hobby. Bowling can be fun. But if ever there was a week to also pay retail for Kittle in DFS, this might be it—the Cardinals were the best fantasy matchup for tight ends last year by a sizable margin.

              

    Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons (vs. Seattle Seahawks) [DraftKings DFS Value: $4,300]

    Hurst never lived up to his first-round billing in Baltimore, but he's getting a second chance courtesy of an offseason trade to Atlanta. Matchup-wise, he has a good opportunity to start his 2020 season off on the right foot. Last season, only the Cardinals gave up more PPR fantasy points per game to tight ends than the Seahawks.

               

    BAD MATCHUPS

    Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (at Baltimore Ravens) [DraftKings DFS Value: $5,100]

    Hooper will no doubt be looking to make a good first impression on his new team after getting $23 million in guarantees from the Browns in free agency. It's going to be an uphill battle to do so in a brutal opener against Baltimore—no team in the NFL was stingier to the tight end spot from a fantasy perspective in 2019.

            

    Chris Herndon, New York Jets (at Buffalo Bills) [DraftKings DFS Value: $3,300]

    Herndon was something of a favorite son of the fantasy community this summer as an upside pick at tight end who could be had late on draft day. Sadly, he's also going to be a risky fantasy play out of the gate. The Bills did an excellent job of defending tight ends in 2019, thanks in no small part to arguably the best tandem of safeties in the game in Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde.

              

    SLEEPER

    Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (at Washington Football Team) [DraftKings DFS Value: $4,100]

    Stop me if you've heard this before—the Philadelphia Eagles are banged up at wide receiver. With both rookie Jalen Reagor and veteran Alshon Jeffery iffy (at best) for the season opener, the Eagles will likely once again turn to more "12" personnel formations. That means more snaps and targets for Goedert in a top-five fantasy matchup. Giddyup.

              

    WEEK 1 TIGHT END RANKINGS

    1. George Kittle, SFO (vs. ARZ)
    2. Travis Kelce, KCC (vs. HOU)
    3. Mark Andrews, BAL (vs. CLE)
    4. Zach Ertz, PHI (at WAS)
    5. Darren Waller, LVR (at CAR)
    6. Tyler Higbee, LAR vs. DAL
    7. Evan Engram, NYG (vs. PIT)
    8. Hayden Hurst, ATL (vs. SEA)
    9. Hunter Henry, LAC (at CIN)
    10. Dallas Goedert, PHI (at WAS)
    11. Jared Cook, NOS (vs. TBB)
    12. Rob Gronkowski, TBB (at NOS)
    13. Eric Ebron, PIT (at NYG)
    14. Blake Jarwin, DAL (at LAR)
    15. Mike Gesicki, MIA (at NEP)
    16. Austin Hooper, CLE (at BAL)
    17. Jack Doyle, IND (at JAX)
    18. Chris Herndon, NYJ (at BUF)
    19. Jonnu Smith, TEN (at DEN)
    20. Noah Fant, DEN (vs. TEN)
    21. T.J. Hockenson, DET (vs. CHI)
    22. Irv Smith Jr., MIN (vs. GBP
    23. Tyler Eifert, JAX (vs. IND)
    24. Greg Olsen, SEA (at ATL)
    25. Ian Thomas, CAR (vs. LVR)
    26. O.J. Howard, TBB (at NOS)
    27. Jimmy Graham, TE, CHI (at DET)
    28. Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs. GBP)
    29. Dawson Knox, BUF (vs. NYJ)
    30. Darren Fells, HOU (at KCC)

Kickers and Team Defenses

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    GOOD MATCHUPS

    Jason Myers, Seattle Seahawks (at Atlanta Falcons)

    Myers isn't an elite fantasy kicker by any stretch. The 29-year-old finished the 2019 season outside the top 12 in fantasy points and made just 23 field goals. But matchup-wise, Week 1 sets up well for Myers—the Seahawks head east to face an Atlanta Falcons team that ranked second in fantasy points per game allowed to kickers last year.

             

    Philadelphia Eagles Defense/Special Teams (at Washington Football Team) [DraftKings DFS Value: $3,600]

    The Eagles aren't without problems on defense—the line is banged up, the linebackers are a massive question mark and the secondary outside of veteran corner Darius Slay is, um, yeah. But in Week 1, that probably won't matter. Washington was sixth in fantasy points per game allowed to defenses in 2019 and arguably got worse offensively in the offseason.

              

    BAD MATCHUPS

    Zane Gonzalez, Arizona Cardinals (at San Francisco 49ers)

    The Arizona offense is primed for what looks to be a big year in 2020. But as you may have already gleaned from this piece, Week 1 doesn't set up well for a strong beginning. The San Francisco defense wasn't kind to just about every fantasy point-producing position in 2019, and kickers weren't spared. Only two teams surrendered fewer fantasy points per game to that spot.

              

    Minnesota Vikings Defense/Special Teams (vs. Green Bay Packers) [DraftKings DFS Value: $2,500]

    Edge-rusher Yannick Ngakoue was a big get for a Vikings defense that finished well inside the top 10 in most fantasy scoring systems. But while the Packers may not be the team they once were offensively, they also don't allow a lot of fantasy points to defenses—fifth-fewest in the league last season.

              

    SLEEPER

    Indianapolis Colts Defense/Special Teams (at Jacksonville Jaguars) [DraftKings DFS Value: $3,000]

    The Colts have the personnel in place at all three levels of the defense to be a pleasant surprise on that side of the ball in 2020. With that said, this has more to do with a Jaguars offense that has no running game to speak of and one wide receiver who inspires any kind of concern in opponents. Whoever is playing the Jaguars in a given week this year is on the streaming radar.

              

    WEEK 1 KICKER RANKINGS

    1. Harrison Butker, KCC (vs. HOU)
    2. Justin Tucker, BAL (vs. CLE)
    3. Wil Lutz, NOS (vs. TBB)
    4. Greg Zuerlein, DAL (at LAR)
    5. Robbie Gould, SFO (vs. ARZ)
    6. Jake Elliott, PHI (at WAS)
    7. Dan Bailey, MIN (vs. GBP)
    8. Jason Myers, SEA (at ATL)
    9. Younghoe Koo, ATL (vs. SEA)
    10. Matt Prater, DET (vs. CHI)
    11. Chris Boswell, PIT (at NYG)
    12. Mason Crosby, GBP (at MIN)
    13. Ryan Succop, TBB (at NOS)
    14. Michael Badgley, LAC (at CIN)
    15. Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU (at KCC)
    16. Brandon McManus, DEN (vs. TEN)
    17. Joey Slye, CAR (vs. LVR)
    18. Zane Gonzalez, ARZ (at SFO)
    19. Samuel Sloman, LAR (vs. DAL)
    20. Tyler Bass, BUF (vs. NYJ)

               

    WEEK 1 TEAM DEFENSE RANKINGS

    1. Buffalo Bills (vs. NYJ)
    2. Pittsburgh Steelers (at NYG)
    3. Baltimore Ravens (vs. CLE)
    4. New England Patriots (vs. MIA)
    5. San Francisco 49ers (vs. ARZ)
    6. Philadelphia Eagles (at WAS)
    7. Indianapolis Colts (at JAX)
    8. Chicago Bears (at DET)
    9. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. HOU)
    10. Tennessee Titans (at DEN)
    11. Denver Broncos (vs. TEN)
    12. Minnesota Vikings (vs. GBP)
    13. Los Angeles Chargers (at CIN)
    14. Detroit Lions (vs. CHI)
    15. New Orleans Saints (vs. TBB)
    16. Dallas Cowboys (at LAR)
    17. Seattle Seahawks (at ATL)
    18. Los Angeles Rams (vs. DAL)
    19. Green Bay Packers (at MIN)
    20. Las Vegas Raiders (at CAR)

Flex Rankings (Top 100)

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    These top 100 overall rankings can be used to gauge the Week 1 value of "flex" options. You'll notice that quarterbacks are not included—if you're in a "superflex" league and have a signal-caller you can plug into the slot, that decision makes itself.

    Go with the quarterback.

    I will leave you with this final bit of advice as another season of fantasy football gets underway.

    Dance with who brought you. Don't get cute.

    Matchups are an important part of fantasy football. But much of what we think we know about matchups early in the season is based on the year before. And in the NFL, a lot can change from one season to the next.

    Sure, Jonathan Taylor appears to have a much more favorable matchup than Alvin Kamara in Week 1. But if you sit the Saints running back and he goes all Kamara on the Buccaneers, you'll wind up kicking yourself most of next week.

    I'm not as zealous about "Always Start Your Studs!" as some of my colleagues in the fantasy football industry. But in Week 1, they have a point.

               

    WEEK 1 TOP 100 "FLEX" PLAYERS

    1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR (vs. LVR)
    2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL (at LAR)
    3. Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG (vs. PIT)
    4. Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN (vs. GBP)
    5. Josh Jacobs, RB, LVR (at CAR)
    6. Austin Ekeler, RB, LAC (at CIN)
    7. Miles Sanders, RB, PHI (at WAS)
    8. Alvin Kamara, RB, NOS (vs. TBB)
    9. Joe Mixon, RB, CIN (vs. LAC)
    10. Derrick Henry, RB, TEN (at DEN)
    11. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, KCC (vs. HOU)
    12. Aaron Jones, RB, GBP (at MIN)
    13. Michael Thomas, WR, NOS (vs. TBB)
    14. James Conner, RB, PIT (at NYG)
    15. Kenyan Drake, RB, ARZ (at SFO)
    16. Tyreek Hill, WR, KCC (vs. HOU)
    17. Chris Carson, RB, SEA (at ATL)
    18. Davante Adams, WR, GBP (at MIN)
    19. Julio Jones, WR, ATL (vs. SEA)
    20. David Johnson, RB, HOU (at KCC)
    21. Nick Chubb, RB, CLE (at BAL)
    22. Todd Gurley, RB, ATL (vs. SEA)
    23. Travis Kelce, TE, KCC (vs. HOU)
    24. Mark Ingram II, RB, BAL (vs. CLE)
    25. Jonathan Taylor, RB, IND (at JAX)
    26. Allen Robinson II, WR, CHI (at DET)
    27. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, PIT (at NYG)
    28. Melvin Gordon III, RB DEN (vs. TEN)
    29. Chris Godwin, WR, TBB (at NOS)
    30. Kenny Golladay, WR, DET (vs. CHI)
    31. Raheem Mostert, RB, SFO (vs. ARZ)
    32. Le'Veon Bell, RB, NYJ (at BUF)
    33. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, ARZ (at SFO)
    34. George Kittle, TE, SFO (vs. ARZ)
    35. DJ Moore, WR, CAR (vs. LVR)
    36. Robert Woods, WR, LAR (vs. DAL)
    37. Adam Thielen, WR, MIN (vs. GBP)
    38. Tarik Cohen, RB, CHI (at DET)
    39. James White, RB, NEP (vs. MIA)
    40. Mike Evans, WR, TBB (at NOS)
    41. Amari Cooper, WR, DAL (at LAR)
    42. Cooper Kupp, WR, LAR (vs. DAL)
    43. Keenan Allen, WR, LAC (at CIN)
    44. Calvin Ridley, WR, ATL (vs. SEA)
    45. DJ Chark Jr., WR, JAX (vs. IND)
    46. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, CLE (at BAL)
    47. A.J. Brown, WR, TEN (at DEN)
    48. Tyler Lockett, WR, SEA (at ATL)
    49. Courtland Sutton, WR, DEN (vs. TEN)
    50. Mark Andrews, TE, BAL (vs. CLE)
    51. Devin Singletary, RB, BUF (vs. NYJ)
    52. Terry McLaurin, WR, WAS (vs. PHI)
    53. T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND (at JAX)
    54. Antonio Gibson, RB, WAS (vs. PHI)
    55. Julian Edelman, WR, NEP (vs. MIA)
    56. DK Metcalf, WR, SEA (at ATL)
    57. Stefon Diggs, WR, BUF (vs. NYJ)
    58. Cam Akers, RB, LAR (vs. DAL)
    59. Zach Ertz, TE, PHI (at WAS)
    60. Tyler Boyd, WR, CIN (vs. LAC)
    61. Kareem Hunt, RB, CLE (at BAL)
    62. DeVante Parker, WR, MIA (at NEP)
    63. Ronald Jones II, RB, TBB (at NOS)
    64. Darren Waller, TE, LVR (at CAR)
    65. A.J. Green, WR, CIN (vs. LAC)
    66. Marquise Brown, WR, BAL (vs. CLE)
    67. Jarvis Landry, WR, CLE (at BAL)
    68. Tyler Higbee, TE, LAR (vs. DAL)
    69. Brandin Cooks, WR, HOU (at KCC)
    70. Michael Gallup, WR, DAL (at LAR)
    71. Zack Moss, RB, BUF (vs. NYJ)
    72. Jordan Howard, RB, MIA (at NEP)
    73. Will Fuller V, WR, HOU (at KCC)
    74. DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI (at WAS)
    75. J.K. Dobbins, RB, BAL (vs. CLE)
    76. Diontae Johnson, WR, PIT (at NYG)
    77. Marvin Jones Jr., WR, DET (vs. CHI)
    78. Phillip Lindsay, RB, DEN (vs. TEN)
    79. Marlon Mack, RB, IND (at JAX)
    80. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, NOS (vs. TBB)
    81. Jamison Crowder, WR, NYJ (at BUF)
    82. Evan Engram, TE, NYG (vs. PIT)
    83. Kerryon Johnson, RB, DET (vs. CHI)
    84. Leonard Fournette, TBB (at NOS)
    85. Sterling Shepard, WR, NYG (vs. PIT)
    86. Anthony Miller, WR, CHI (at DET)
    87. Matt Breida, RB, MIA (at NEP)
    88. Chris Thompson, RB, JAX (vs. IND)
    89. John Brown, WR, BUF (vs. NYJ)
    90. Hayden Hurst, TE, ATL (vs. SEA)
    91. D'Andre Swift, RB, DET (vs. CHI)
    92. CeeDee Lamb, WR, DAL (at LAR)
    93. Christian Kirk, WR, ARZ (at SFO)
    94. Latavius Murray, RB, NOS (vs. TBB)
    95. Jerry Jeudy, WR, DEN (vs. TEN)
    96. Hunter Henry, TE, LAC (at CIN)
    97. Darius Slayton, WR, NYG (vs. PIT)
    98. Duke Johnson, RB, HOU (at KCC)
    99. Henry Ruggs III, WR, PIT (at NYG)
    100. Boston Scott, RB, PHI (at WAS)

              

    DFS player salaries courtesy of DraftKings.

    Fantasy scoring data courtesy of FFToday.

    Fantasy points against data courtesy of My Fantasy League.

              

    Gary Davenport is a two-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association Football Writer of the Year.

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