Mo Alie-Cox and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, two Week 1 Fantasy Footbal Studs to Watch For
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Fantasy Football Guide: Week 1 Means a New Season, New Studs and New Fantasy Roster Options


Coming off a dominating 31-10 over the Los Angeles Rams by the Buffalo Bills, there's still plenty of football to look forward to this weekend.

There are also plenty of opportunities to make up for your opponent's points from the Thursday Night Football game from Bills quarterback Josh Allen or wide receiver Stefon Diggs or Gabriel Davis.

Here, we'll look at some of the best matchups heading into the week and provide some sleepers that you could potentially lean on if you're in a bind and need to fill a roster spot, such as the FLEX.



Jalen Hurts runs in a preseason game for the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles 

The Detroit Lions may be the darlings of the HBO show Hard Knocks, but they'll have to deal with Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1.

Last season, the Eagles demolished the Lions, winning 44-6. Hurts barely had to do anything as running backs Boston Scott and Jordan Howard did the bulk of the scoring.

Sure, they could go back to the ground game here, but a big part of that run game, generally speaking, is Hurts, who had nearly 800 rushing yards last season.


The Lions defense is far from intimidating, though watching No. 2 overall draft pick Aidan Hutchinson will be a treat.

The Eagles offensive line should be able to provide Hurts with plenty of time to deliver passes and do some damage this designed runs.

Hurts should be considered a top-three fantasy quarterback in Week 1. 

Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos

Going against his former team, the Seattle Seahawks, we don't even need to mention a "revenge game" narrative.


Statistically, Wilson plays the quarterback position in a way that will greatly benefit him against his former team.

With an average depth of target of 10.2, Wilson is clearly not afraid to throw the ball down the field, and he should have great success doing so. 

There are some middling defensive backs on the Seahawks roster. However, none should be able to contain wide receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, or even K.J. Hamler.

Wilson may go over 300 yards in this game, taking advantage of Sutton's matchup with Seahawks rookie fifth-round cornerback Tariq Woolen. 


Wide Receiver

Wide receiver Davante Adams #17 of the Las Vegas Raiders warms up before a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at Allegiant Stadium

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Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders

This is probably quite obvious considering who the player is, but going against the Los Angeles Chargers could cause you or other fantasy managers to pause.

A few things are working in favor of Adams here outside of his natural ability to dominate:

  • It's his first game with the Raiders, and you know they'll want to establish him as a threat early and often.
  • Cornerback J.C. Jackson is out for this game with an ankle injury.

Adams should see a healthy serving of young cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. Playing in 12 games last year, Samuel Jr. allowed over 44 yards a game and a reception percentage of 67.9%. 


The 44 yards a game may not seem like much, but this could arguably be Samuel Jr.'s biggest matchup yet in a divisional game that should be quite the shootout. 

A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles

If you play any daily fantasy sports, you may want to try your hand at an Eagles stack because this matchup is juicy across the board for the City of Brotherly Love team.

The Lions best cornerback, Mike Hughes, projects to play primarily out of the slot for the Lions as Jeffrey Okudah and Amani Oruwariye handle the outside duties. 

Okudah was coming off a brutal Achilles injury last season. While he's shown flashes, Oruwariye was somewhat inconsistent last season, allowing 50 yards or more in six games. 


For Brown, it's somewhat like Adams mentioned in that he's the new toy to use, so the Eagles will want to establish him. Still, they also have Smith, who may even play more snaps than Brown in the season's first week.

Running Back

Nick Chubb #24 and Kareem Hunt #27 of the Cleveland Brown run a drill during the Cleveland Browns OTAs

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Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

No matter which of these guys you roster, you should get them in your starting lineup.

Sure, Chubb is a given, but Hunt may have been your RB3 or RB4, but he's worthy of FLEX consideration.


With Jacoby Brissett playing quarterback, the Browns will turn to the running game and dump-off passes early and often.

This is also an excellent matchup for wide receiver Amari Cooper. Still, the upside may be limited due to who the quarterback is. 

Nonetheless, the Browns have a phenomenal offensive line that should also see strides made from Jedrick Will Jr. They draw a Panthers pass rush that may have Brian Burns, but he excels more so in the pass rush. 

The pass catcher may not be utilized much, but the Browns have enough speedsters to draw the defensive backs back enough, giving Chubb and Hunt a boost.


This is a fantastic matchup all around. Consider Chubb and RB1 and Hunt a borderline RB2. 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

We've all played the Clyde Edwards-Helaire game, and yes, there's enough evidence to show this is a scary proposition.

However, he does have a good matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. 

The Cardinals have some great defensive linemen in J.J. Watt and Markus Golden. Still, these two guys are also better suited to rushing the passer than run defense.


This Cardinals squad allows about 1.29 yards before contact, which is about middle-of-the-pact, but where they really start to allow running backs to do some damage is inside the five-yard line.

Admittedly, this is where it can get a bit sketchy. 

Edwards-Helaire was far from their go-to guy inside the five with just two carries, but the guy they relied on, Darrel Williams, is no longer with the team.

The Chiefs could turn to someone like rookie Isiah Pacheco with his 5'10" 210+ pound frame, but maybe we catch a break this week as the young rookie gets more acclimated to the offense.


Add in that Edwards-Helaire should catch some passes, and this looks like a fringe RB2 week, at the least for the artist, also known as "CEH."


Tight End

Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates a third quarter touchdown during the game against the Detroit Lions

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Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

We know, we know--super chalky, right?

It is, yes, but Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has arguably the best matchup for any tight end this week. 


Kelce should see a healthy dose of Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons in coverage. Though he had plenty of promise coming out of college, it has yet to translate into the NFL, especially in coverage. 

Simmons has faired much better rushing the passer, but especially against someone like Kelce, he's in for a rough matchup.

In 2021, Simmons allowed four or more receptions in a game six times. 

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

We're not trying to say you should start the entire Eagles offense, but, well, the entire Eagles offense should be in for a good game. 


There are other weapons on the Eagles offense, but Goedert's primary defender projects as Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone.

In 2021, Anzalone allowed four or more catches in five games, including teams like the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and Pittsburgh Steelers. All of which didn't exactly have Goedert-caliber tight end options. 

A line of 5-50-1 for Goedert isn't out of the question. 



Defense/Special Teams

Darius Leonard #53 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates his interception with teammates during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium

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Instead of diving into individual matchups, here are the top-10 DST rankings for Week 1, excluding the Bills and Rams.

  1. San Francisco 49ers (vs. Chicago Bears)
  2. New Orleans Saints (vs. Atlanta Falcons)
  3. Cleveland Browns (vs. Carolina Panthers)
  4. Denver Broncos (vs. Seattle Seahawks)
  5. Indianapolis Colts (vs. Houston Texans)
  6. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Detroit Lions)
  7. Baltimore Ravens (vs. New York Jets)
  8. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers)
  9. Miami Dolphins (vs. New England Patriots)
  10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Dallas Cowboys)


Tyler Boyd #83 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates with fans after a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

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Jameis Winston, QB, New Orleans Saints

Suppose you're in a position where you may need to start Winston. In that case, you're either in a deeper league or punted on the quarterback position altogether, and either scenario is fine.


Taking on the Falcons in Week 1, Winston should be able to approach this Saints offense in a totally different way compared to how he did before getting injured last season. He averaged less than 168 passing yards per game in his seven games, which wouldn't get it done for fantasy purposes.

However, drawing the Falcons Week 1, Winston has a beatable matchup, especially when you consider all his new weapons in wide receivers Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry. Still, he'll also have, presumably, Michael Thomas back.

The Falcons have some solid cornerbacks in Casey Hayward and A.J Terrell on the outside. Still, this Saints offensive line, although weakened by the loss of Terron Armstead, should hold up enough against an overall flimsy pass rush from the Falcons. 

Winston should have time to throw to these two weapons, but he'll also have Landry and running back Alvin Kamara to work with.


Nabbing two touchdowns from Winston should be considered a win here. 

Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

While he may be the third option in the Bengals offense, Boyd, playing primarily out of the slot, draws a great matchup against Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Arthur Maulet.

Maulet played 380 snaps last year for the Steelers in a backup role and allowed receptions on 72% of his targets.

There's a clear size differential here, with Maulet, 5'10", 190 pounds against Boyd, 6'2", and over 200 pounds. 


In all reality, each Bengals wide receiver has a great matchup this week, but Boyd could snag five catches or so and have a nice flex-worthy day.

Isiah Pacheco, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Putting Pacheco here as a sleeper could have a direct conflict with our pick of Edwards-Helaire earlier. Still, as we mentioned, the Cardinals are prone to get taken advantage of inside the five-yard line. 

The Chiefs convert about 42% of their runs inside the five into touchdowns, while the Cardinals surrender it about 30% of the time. 

Over 200 pounds and standing 5'10", we could see a sneaky endzone score from Pacheco, who could take over that Williams role from a year ago. 


Mo Alie-Cox, TE, Indianapolis Colts

An absolute mountain of a human being at 6'5" and nearly 270 pounds, this could be the breakout season for Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox, and it all starts with the Houston Texans. 

Outside of Michael Pittman at wide receiver, the Colts are still looking to identify that No. 2 option. In the meantime, Alie-Cox could be a reliable over-the-middle-of-the-field guy for Ryan. Who, in 2021, had eight touchdown passes last season on passes considered short and over the middle of the field. 

This is where Ryan lived last season on the Falcons, with 30.7% of his attempts coming here.

This number should fluctuate some with Pittman as his No. 1 receiver and running back Jonathan Taylor out of the backfield. Still, Ryan's game during his age 37 season tends toward a guy like Alie-Cox would also has a beatable one-on-one matchup with Texans linebacker Christian Kirkey.


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