The 2022-2023 NFL season is well underway and so are the fantasy football leagues for this season. Managers across the millions of leagues are now in full swing, all trying to produce the best lineups in order to dominate. Week 1 came with some surprises and heartbreaks (as per usual). Here we will be discussing the top and worst performers, who to start next week, week 1 injuries to consider, and who to grab off the waiver wire.
Justin “Jettas" Jefferson was the top dawg for week 1, recording 9 receptions, 184 yards, 2 touchdowns, and putting up 39.4 fantasy points. This comes as no surprise, Jefferson was a top-five receiver in the league last year and will continue his reign of dominance throughout this season and his career.
Trailing the former LSU Tiger in fantasy points is none other than, Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes and the Chiefs came into Arizona and steamrolled the Cardinals. Mahomes posted 360 yards passing, 5 passing touchdowns, and 34.9 fantasy points. Similar to Jefferson, this does not come as a surprise. Mahomes is a freak of nature and perhaps the most dominant quarterback in the league at the moment. Surrounded by pure offensive talent and the offensive mind of coach Andy Reid, Mahomes" reign will last for many years to come.
Something that fantasy managers have not seen in a number of years is a dominant outing from Giants RB, Saquon Barkley. The former PSU Nittany Lion was the top performing running back for week 1, recording 164 rush yards, 30 yards receiving, 1 rushing touchdown, and 33.4 fantasy points. The past few seasons Barkley has been ridden with season-ending injuries often devastating fantasy managers who had him on their roster. During a contract year, the NY running back will look to post dominant numbers this season if he can stay healthy for the entire season. The top-performing tight end for week 1 comes as no surprise, Kansas City Chief, Travis Kelce. The tight end was responsible for 8 receptions, 121 yards, 1 receiving touchdown, and 26.1 fantasy points.
For managers who also started Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers during week 1, I feel your pain. The former 2020 first-round draft pick laid a goose egg on the fantasy board with 3 carries for zero yards and zero fantasy points. Coming off a season-ending Achilles injury in 2021, it was believed Akers would take the brunt of the running load for LA, clearly not the case as Darrell Henderson was the primary back for the Rams in the opening game of the 2022-2023 season. Green Bay Packers QB, Aaron Rodgers was unexpectedly amongst the worst performers during week 1. The reigning league MVP posted 195 passing yards, -1 rushing yards, 1 interception, and 1 lost fumble. Amounting to a total of 3.7 fantasy points. Part of this poor outing can be chalked up to the abysmal receiving core that Rodgers is working with this year, however, it is hard not to think that Rodgers" dominance may be fizzling out.
Wide receiver Allen Robinson was expected to have a breakout year after being traded to the Rams this offseason. Robinson did the exact opposite of that in his debut game for the Rams, the wideout recorded 1 reception for 12 yards and 2.2 fantasy points. A-Rob will look to up those numbers in future games this season as he is a premier receiver in the league and is on a much stronger team this year. Amongst Robinson, Dallas Cowboys receiver, CeeDee Lamb also had a subpar week 1 outing. The former Oklahoma Sooner is credited with 2 receptions for 29 yards and 4.9 fantasy points. This may be a persisting trend, as Lamb will be without his starting QB, Dak Prescott for some weeks to come due to a thumb injury that Prescott endured on Sunday night against the Buccaneers.
Buffalo Bills tight end, Dawson Knox, also got off to a slow start for the 2022-2023 fantasy football season. Knox accounted for one reception and five yards during the Bills" season opener win over the Rams last Thursday night. The tight end recorded 1.5 fantasy points as QB Josh Allen was dealing the ball to his receivers all night. Knox will have better weeks fantasy wise but week 1 was not anything fantasy managers were expecting out of the newly extended tight end.
The Philadelphia Eagles" defense on paper was looking like one of the stronger defensive units this season. The Birds" defense was not too kind to managers who started the unit during week 1. The defense allowed the Lions to score 35 points during their season opener, despite having a pick-six from veteran CB James Bradberry, the defense posted 5 fantasy points.
Week 1 Injuries to Consider
As always the opening week of the NFL season came with heartbreaking injuries. LA Chargers receiver, Keenan Allen, exited his first game of the season during the second quarter with a hamstring injury. Allen has been a long-time lock at WR1 for the Chargers and fantasy managers, this injury comes as a bit of a concern as hamstring issues generally tend to persist. The details of the injury are vague at the moment but managers should be on the lookout for replacements in case the wideout is going to miss games down the stretch.
Next on the injury radar is Buccaneers wideout, Chris Godwin. Godwin"s 2021 season was cut short when he suffered an ACL tear during week 15. The wideout returned to the gridiron for the Bucs" season opener against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Although Godwin left the game early with a hamstring strain, he is expected to miss some time on the field after sustaining the injury, but there has been no exact timeline put out for his return.
As mentioned earlier, Dallas Cowboys QB, Dak Prescott, sustained a thumb injury during the Sunday night game. Prescott is expected to miss at least four weeks after he underwent surgery on the thumb.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive stud, TJ Watt, suffered a torn pec during the Steelers-Bengals game on Sunday. Watt"s diagnosis is unclear whether or not he will be out for the season or will be missing a number of weeks with the injury, managers with the Steelers defense on their roster should keep this in mind heading into week 2. Another Steel City player sustained an injury during week 1 as well, that being running back, Najee Harris. Harris left the game early with a foot injury that has been described as “not a big deal" but managers should be following this closely.
Who to Start and Pick up on Waivers for Week 2
Heading into week 2, accounting for injuries and poor performances out of players managers should keep an eye out to start certain players and acquire others from the waiver wire. When considering the injury to Chris Godwin, managers who have receiver Russell Gage rostered should most definitely give Gage the green light for week 2. The wideout was a solid fill-in for Godwin last season after the ACL tear and works well with QB Tom Brady out of the slot. Next up on the starters list is Buffalo Bills receiver, Gabe Davis. Davis is a good option to have at the flex or WR2 position for week 2. The wideout was the first touchdown scorer of this NFL season and is one of Josh Allen"s favorite targets on the gridiron. Davis racked up 4 receptions for 88 yards, 1 touchdown, and 18.8 fantasy points during week 1.
Finally, Commanders receiver, Jahan Dotson should also be given the green light for week 2. Dotson racked up 3 receptions for 40 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 18 fantasy points. Consider him for the flex position heading into week 2.
Waivers are open on Wednesday morning for managers to pick up available players. A few names to keep in mind heading into Wednesday are Dontrell Hilliard, Josh Palmer, and Jaylen Warren. Hilliard, the Titans running back was responsible for 3 receptions for 61 yards, 2 carries for 8 yards, 2 receiving touchdowns, and 21.9 fantasy points. Josh Palmer should be used as a replacement for Keenan Allen should he be sidelined for week 2, during the 2021 season Palmer filled in for Allen for one week and recorded 17.6 PPR points. Warren is Najee Harris" backup running back, should Harris be out for the week or weeks to come with his foot injury it would be expected that Warren will be the primary back for the Steelers.
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