Week One Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em

Owen Alles, Sports Editor

Start ‘Em

Dak Prescott (QB – Cowboys) vs Buccaneers

Prescott finished last season as the 8th ranked quarterback in standard fantasy leagues and his high performance should be expected to continue this year. His 2022 Week one opponents, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, were ranked 21 in passing yards per game last season. Having made no real additions to the secondary, the Buccaneers defense does not seem to be a prime candidate from the top of the league. Pairing this with the fact that the Cowboys and Buccaneers were the top two passing and total offenses in the league and one can expect an absolute barnburner. Start Prescott in all leagues with eight people or more.

Elijah Mitchell (RB – 49ers) @ Bears

Mitchell was RB26 in Points Per Reception (PPR) formats in the 2021 season. The 49ers will continue to abuse defenses with Head Coach Kyle Shannan’s zone running scheme behind offensive tackles Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey and Mitchell figures to once again be the starter. A week one matchup against the subpar run defense of the Bears (23rd in the league in 2021) figures to propel Mitchell into a weekly finish as a top-ten running back. One can even look back to the 49ers 2021 contest versus the Bears where Mitchell ran for 137 yards and a touchdown. Start Mitchell in all leagues.

Courtland Sutton (WR – Broncos) vs Seahawks

Sutton may be the most obvious start of the week. Sutton finished as WR44 last season despite having to deal with horrific QB play and a slew of injuries. With Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson added in a blockbuster trade last offseason along with a clean bill of health for Sutton heading into the new season, Sutton seems primed for an amazing Week One. Add in the fact that the Broncos play the Seahawks, who ranked an abysmal 31 in passing defense last season and made no major offseason additions in the secondary, all signs point toward Sutton absolutely exploding onto the scene to start 2022. Fantasy owners should start Sutton in all formats.

Sit Em

Cordarelle Patterson (RB – Falcons) vs Saints

Although Patterson is most definitely a quality player, Week One is projected to be one of Patterson’s toughest games of the season. Atlanta’s starting QB from last season, the aging yet still effective Matt Ryan departed via trade in the offseason. This led to former second overall pick and career underachiever Marcus Mariota being inserted into the starting role. Although Mariota isn’t a bad QB, he is certainly a downgrade from Ryan. This will lead to more defenses keying in on Patterson and stacking the box, daring the Falcons to throw. Pair this with the fact that their Week One opponents, the New Orleans Saints, ranked fourth in the NFL in run defense last season, it would certainly not be surprising to see Patterson’s 2022 campaign get off to a slow start. Keep Patterson on your benches this week.

Justin Fields (QB – Bears) vs 49ers

Fields is a QB that many analysts have tagged for a breakout season this year. The physical tools are absolutely there and when he has flashed his potential he made some excellent plays. However, one cannot deny that thus far Fields has not had a career up to the standard of a first round QB. He finished as QB31 last season, and his counting stats were downright abysmal. Although I am a member of the Justin Fields bandwagon, and think he will break out and improve his play dramatically, this will not happen Week One. The stout 49ers defense (ranked sixth in passing and third in total defense last season) should keep Fields and the Bears bottled all afternoon. This is not the week to take a chance on getting production out of Fields, keep him on the bench.

Michael Thomas (WR – Saints) @ Falcons

Sitting Thomas may not be as easy for fantasy owners as the two players we’ve mentioned in this article. He is pegged as the WR1 on a Saints team who is projected to make the playoffs this season. They are even playing a below average pass defense in the Atlanta Falcons. What could go wrong? Well there is one issue. Thomas has not played a competitive football game in almost two full seasons. When he last took the field for the Saints he was catching passes from future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, who has since retired. He now has the uber-talented and equally as inconsistent Jameis Winston at QB. It should take time for chemistry between Winston and Thomas to develop and while I do think Thomas will have a good year, he may get off to a slow start in Week One. You can afford to keep Thomas on your bench this week.

Micheal Thomas (Internet photo)
Elijah Mitchell (Internet photo)