clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fantasy Football NFL Week 1: Studs, Duds, Sleepers, & Busts

September is here which means one thing: it’s once again time for you to show all of your friends and coworkers just how little you know about football while giving them your money!!

NFL: NFC Championship-Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Alright, alright, alright. If you’re reading this, I am going to assume that you not only play fantasy football but that you also feel like you could use some expert advice when constructing your opening day roster. You only have one chance to make a first impression, as they say, and nothing says “You don’t have to worry about my team” like getting smoked by your girlfriend’s little brother on your first outing of the season. There is no better way to become the laughing stock of the office than to get crushed by the department manager who is not only starting Jerrick McKinnon over LeSean McCoy, but is also overly confident about his chances of winning the league since he has played fantasy football since the days you needed a pencil and an envelope to do it. Do these sound like fates you’re striving to avoid? Well, I’ve got good news and bad news for you. The good news is throughout the season I’ll be giving you advice on how to stomp the competition. The bad news? Some teams are hopeless, and unfortunately, that’s yours. If you trust my fantasy know-how, have 5 minutes to kill on the toilet, or are looking for someone to criticize, well, what are we waiting for?



A highly rated player (top 10 at his position) who will carry you to the promise land. These guys are the best of the best and everyone knows it.

  • RB David Johnson, ARZ

In a lot of my drafts this year, Johnson fell out of the top 5. David Johnson, when healthy, is arguably the best fantasy football asset in the league and should be treated as such in week 1 against the Washington Football Team.

  • QB Cam Newton, CAR

If you start Cam Newton in week 1 against the Cowboys, you should feel as confident as your peers who roster Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. Newton has not only a healthy Greg Olsen to work with, but also a second year Christian McCaffrey and a handful of talented mid-level WRs who will help carry him back to fantasy dominance.

  • WR Julio Jones, ATL

In 5 career games against the Eagles, Julio has caught 35 passes for 529 yard and 3 touchdowns. While the Philadelphia secondary looks better than it did at this time last year, Jalen Mills is still a liability that Julio Jones can, and will, exploit it.



Someone who I tell you to avoid but you will probably play anyways before realizing you screwed up like I told you-you would. These players might separate themselves from the rest of the free-agent cesspool by having a household name you recognize as being “good”, by entering the week coming off of a single hot game, by filling in for an injured stud (see above), or by being recommended to you in a trade by your “best friend” who would “never do anything to hurt your chances” and “if” he were you he would “definitely make this trade” because its “super fair for all involved.”

  • RB Marshawn Lynch, OAK

What happens when you throw Jon Gruden, a handful of Skittles, and a defense without Khalil Mack into a blender? You get an offense that throws too much, a defense that loses too much, and a running back that disappoints too much. As if this combination wasn’t bad enough, Lynch is set to take on the revamped Rams defense in week 1. Just don’t do it.

  • QB Jimmy Garoppolo, SF

Here’s a guy who has found his way into the headlines over the past few months. Whether it be when he took a, let’s say, “well endowed” friend, out to dinner or when he trash-talked the greatest quarterback of all time only quarterback to drop a pass in Super Bowl LII, everyone knows about “Jimmy G” by now. Here’s the thing, though... He’s still the quarterback of the 49ers and that is still, generally speaking, a guy you don’t want to start in fantasy. There are better options, folks.

  • TE Jordan Reed, WAS

Jadorn Reed, as of tihs wrntiig at lesat, is heltahy agian. The prlobem, hoewevr, is taht the once graet tgiht end has suffrued so mnay cocunsiosns that thiss is prlboaby how wrods look to him now. In addition to the growing list of games missed due to injury, Reed hasn’t played an NFL game in a while, and he’s played exactly 0 games with his new QB Alex Smith. I’d look elsewhere to open the season



Not to be confused with a stud, a sleeper is someone who can be used to beat your co-workers who haven’t heard of them. It’s someone that is on the radars of the experts but who is among 24 other sleeper candidates that week to ensure that said “expert” gets at least a couple of them correct. Sleepers are the difference between good teams and great teams.

  • TE Tyler Eifert, CIN

Speaking of injury plaguing a talented tight end’s career, Tyler Eifert is a name you need to keep an eye on as he heads to Indianapolis in week 1. In what should be a close game, Andy Dalton will look to his security blanket early and often.

  • QB Patrick Mahomes, KC

In 2017, Alex Smith demonstrated what a mediocre quarterback can do when gifted a talented group of young players in an Andy Reid offense. While the Chargers secondary is very talented, sure, a mixture of injuries and the Tyreek-Hill-Factor will allow Mahomes to finish week 1 among the top 10 quarterbacks. Mark it!

  • WR Chris Hogan, NE

Good ol’ crazy eyes is my go-to sleeper WR this week. Most experts have him finishing the week as a WR2/WR3, I think it’s much more likely he finishes as a low-end WR1. Going against a stout Texans defense, Tom Brady and company will be throwing early and often. Also, with the loss of Brandin Cooks, 114 targets are now up for grabs in the NE offense.



While often confused with Dud (see above), a bust is someone who is normally one of your go-to guys who is likely going to have a down week. Just because I list someone here does not mean they are not good, or that they will not have a decent week. Instead, it means that say, Le’Veon Bell might have a Dion Lewis type week. I’m not saying to bench the player, necessarily, but I am saying that if this is your workhorse, take some Excedrin and pour yourself an adult beverage because come Sunday around 6:28 PM you’re going to have one hell of a headache.

  • QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT

If I had to pick one name off of this list to put my stamp of certainess on, it would be Big Ben having a clunker against the Browns. Cleveland almost took out the Steelers in week 1 last year, and after a preseason in the limelight, Myles Garrett and company are going to bring the pressure all afternoon and Big Ben will be in over his head. The Steelers might win, but your team might not if you start Roethlisberger.

  • RB Leonard Fournette, JAX

Of course you’re going to start Fournette, but I caution you, if and when he puts up a mediocre but not great 9.8 points this week, need not panic. He has big games in his future, but this game script just doesn’t bode well for him.

  • WR Odell Beckham Jr., NYG

Similar to Fournette above, the projected flow of the Giants match-up with Jacksonville just doesn’t look great for OBJ. The Jags have the best secondary in the league and Beckham hasn’t played in a while. Start him, but expect WR2 numbers at best.

Alright. If you’ve made it this far, bravo! In the future weeks I will cut back on the commentary and jump straight into the nitty-gritty you’re looking for, but for this week I just wanted to make sure we’ve sniffed each other’s asses and gotten to know one another a little bit (that’s a dog metaphor, you sicko). If you have any roster specific questions feel free to get at me on the twitter machine (@LeeSifford) or in the comments below and I will answer to the best of my ability. If you ask a question, please state the number of teams in your league and whether your league is PPR or 0.5 PPR, 2 QB, IDP, or something else that isn’t somewhat standard rules.


Which Quarterback will score the most fantasy points in Week 1?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Aaron Rodgers
    (371 votes)
  • 8%
    Tom Brady
    (90 votes)
  • 12%
    Russell Wilson
    (135 votes)
  • 17%
    Cam Newton
    (183 votes)
  • 26%
    Other (Answer in comments)
    (282 votes)
1061 votes total Vote Now