Fantasy football is finally here! After an offseason of hemming and hawing over who you should take where. And finally, the reason for the season has arrived. It’s week one of the fantasy football season, and, ideally, you aren’t already on the prowl for weekly streamers. But, if you are, like always, we have you covered. Below you’ll find two players available in more than half of Yahoo! fantasy leagues, and one player available in at least 90% of leagues. With that in mind, let’s get this party started!
Jameis Winston at Atlanta (46% rostered)
The last time we saw Jameis Winston play football, he threw for 4+ touchdowns twice in five games. But he also threw for just one touchdown in the other three games. So, he’s a bit of a boom-bust guy. The last time he played a full season as a starter he threw 30 touchdowns …and 30 picks… en route to being a top-five quarterback. Now he enters his third year in the Sean Payton/Pete Carmichael system, and he’s surrounded by the best weapons that New Orleans has had in his time with the squad. Everything is all set up for Jameis to have a bounce-back season.
He gets an incredibly soft landing in week one taking on a Falcons squad that will be one of the worst squads in the NFL, and who was an absolute sieve in 2021 against the pass. They allowed the third-most passing touchdowns, and the thirteenth-highest passing yards per attempt last season while allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs on the year. They did very little to tangibly improve, so it’s highly likely that this trend continues.
Matt Ryan at Houston (44% rostered)
Speaking of the Falcons, one of the things they did to not get better was jettison Matt Ryan after embarrassingly losing the Deshaun Watson Sweepstakes this offseason. He moved on to Indianapolis, where he gets set up behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, with one of the league’s best 50/50 ball guys, and one of the league’s best all-around running backs and pass-catching running backs. To top it all off, the Colts went out and spent a premium pick on another big, athletic guy: 6’3” 211 pounds 4.4 40-yard running second-round wide receiver Alec Pierce.
While the Texans did go out and spend two of the top-37 picks on the secondary (and snagged a linebacker with pick 75), including snagging CB Derek Stingley with the third overall pick, they had a long road to get back to even being league average last season. They tied for the league lead with 8 passing yards per attempt allowed, tied with the Falcons (above) for the third-most passing touchdowns, and allowed the fourth-most quarterback fantasy points in the league. Again, they did a lot to address the dreadful defense, so this isn’t a smash play matchup, but it’s still darn close.
Carson Wentz versus Jacksonville (10% rostered)
The last time we saw Carson Wentz on a football field playing meaningful snaps, he was getting dog walked by the Jacksonville Jaguars so hard that Jim Irsay snapped out of his bender long enough to boot him to Washington. Now, Wentz gets a familiar foe with the Jaguars to start the season. He has as much of a revenge game as anyone, as this squad literally cost him his job last year while being the worst team in the league. Luckily for Jags fans, they spent three top-70 picks (including #1 overall) on the defense, adding Travon Walker (DE), Devin Lloyd (LB) and Chad Muma (LB) to their roster. So, this isn’t going to be your mama’s Jaguars’ defense. But, we are down here in the 10% or lower roster rate slot, so we have to get a little desperate. The Jags ranked 11th in QB fantasy points last year but were just 0.071 fantasy points per game behind the #10 team. So let’s just say that they were 2 passing yards per game away from being top-ten.
Ultimately, I think they get a little closer to league-average, and I think that the bevy of weapons at Carson Wentz’s disposal will also lead the Commanders’ offense to also be league-average. What happens when league-average meets league-average? You get an okay result. And considering I was deciding between Joe Flacco and Wentz, I’m okay taking the okay result in the sub-10% rostered range.
Wide Receiver Streamers
Sammy Watkins at Minnesota (21% rostered)
Week One Sammy is going to be in full effect for the Packers-Vikings tilt. Recent reports cast doubt on the availability of both Allen Lazard and Christian Watson, and Aaron Rodgers talked up the vets over the rookies. All of that points directly to one place: Sammy Watkins. Week One Sammy has become a meme of sorts in the fantasy football community, but across the last three seasons, Watkins averages 27 PPR points in week one.
Week One Sammy is primed to get a bunch of targets to start the year, and he also has the juiciest possible matchup out there: The Minnesota Vikings allowed the most PPR fantasy points to wide receivers last season. The Vikings did their best to address that issue in the draft, using pick 32 on S Lewis Cine and pick 42 on CB Andrew Booth, Jr. Still, Aaron Rodgers knows how to dominate the Vikings no matter who is back there, and he will do it with Week One Sammy this year.
Just don’t start Sammy in week two.
Jakobi Meyers at Miami (41% rostered)
This one is more of a floor play than anyone you want to slam into your lineup for a massive week. Jakobi Meyers has somehow ended up being criminally underrated after being vastly overrated last season. He scored literally infinitely more touchdowns (2) than he did in the rest of his career (0) but he finished the year with 126 targets, including at least 8 targets in four of his last five games, wherein he averaged 5 catches for 57 yards per game. The Patriots didn’t do a whole lot to improve their wide receiver corps, at least not when it comes to what Meyers does. They added DeVante Parker via trade in the offseason and drafted Tyquan Thornton, but Parker is a mid-to-deep receiver, Thornton is a speedster, and Meyers is an underneath tactician. Thornton and Meyers will cause more trouble for Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne than for Meyers.
Miami isn’t a strong matchup for the Patriots, who have had nothing but disastrous reports out of their offense this offseason. But, with a disastrous offense comes check-downs galore. And with check-downs galore come PPR points. Meyers is a must-roster in all PPR leagues, and with him just 41% rostered, it’s worth a look to see if he’s available in your PPR league. If he is, fix it.
Wan’Dale Robinson at Tennessee (2% rostered)
The Tennessee Titans drafted a corner in the second round, Auburn CB Roger McCreary. And it’s a really good thing that they did that, too. Unfortunately, he seems to be a boundary cornerback when what they really needed was a man to operate in the slot. He played just 70 slot snaps in college, compared to 770 on the outside. But, the Titans seem to be trying to put him in the slot which isn’t a great idea and I’m not really sure that solves their problems. If he works out, good for Tennessee. If he doesn’t work out there, at least in week one, then they will continue to be a complete disaster against slot receivers. They allowed the most fantasy points to slot receivers last season, yielding 25.6 points per game to the position, according to The 33rd Team’s The Edge tool (which you should 1,000% check out, it rules).
But, why does this matter for Wan’Dale Robinson? Well, the Giants have Wan’Dale Robinson dialed in as their slot receiver, and have a new head coach, former Bills’ Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll. If you know a bit about the Bills under Daboll, it’s that Cole Beasley was one of a few wide receivers to have at least 100 targets in each of the last three seasons. But what you don’t know, under the hood, is that Cole Beasley ran the fourth-most slot routes in 2021 (also according to The Edge), meaning that he was out there and available to get receptions at a near league-high clip. That should transfer directly onto Wan’Dale Robinson in 2022, and the opportunity of a receiver potentially getting inside the top-five in slot routes run against the worst defense against slot routes in 2022 is too great to pass up if you’re digging deep.
Running Back Streamers
Isiah Pacheco at Arizona (31% rostered)
This feels like a free space and one that you can’t get if you play in any leagues with any member of fantasy football Twitter. But, since Twitter Isn’t Real Life, Pacheco remains a wild card for our 2022 fantasy football leagues. If you haven’t heard of Pacheco, don’t worry, literally, only one person was talking about him before July, and that was Football Absurdity’s own Walker Kelly, who nabbed Pacheco as their rookie sleeper way back before the draft even started.
But, Pacheco is a dynamic running back who only really has to beat out a dusty Jerick McKinnon to become the 1B running back for the Chiefs. Pacheco is a speedster, notching a 4.37 40-yard dash at 216 pounds, which also gives him a 98th percentile speed score (weight and speed combined into a sort of cosmic gumbo). He can catch passes out of the backfield, and is also a strong runner, thanks to his 96th-percentile SPARQ-X score.
This one is a long shot and is more of an idea that you should have on your radar. He’s athletic as all get out and worked his way up to working with the ones in the preseason. He definitely deserves to be on more than 31% of rosters as we enter week one.
J.D. McKissic versus Jacksonville (30% rostered)
While the Jacksonville Jaguars are a hilarious name to punt around for real-life football, they weren’t a slam dunk “start all your guys” matchup for all positions last year, and they did a great job of bolstering their defense during the NFL Draft. They were middle-of-the-pack against running backs last year, allowing the fifteenth-most fantasy points per game to the position, and they were in the bottom ten in receptions and receiving yards to running backs. So then, why is a pass-catching running back a week one streamer?
Well, it all comes down to Antonio Gibson. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in Antonio Gibson. My main worry is if Ron Rivera still believes in Antonio Gibson. And, with Brian Robinson on the shelf for the foreseeable future, what does that mean for the rest of the running back room? As of right now, the Commanders have three running backs who will suit up on Sunday: Gibson, McKissic, and “remember him?” name Jonathan Williams. That effectively means that Gibson and McKissic will combine for about 100% of the snaps. Last year, McKissic and Gibson combined for about 100% of the snaps for the Commanders, and prior to suffering a season-ending neck injury, McKissic was RB32 in PPR fantasy points per game, averaging 4 catches and 4.5 rush attempts for 55 yards per game. He also scored in 40% of his games, making him a great 1B streaming option in a PPR league.
And if Gibson fumbles and Rivera decides to turn it over to Jonathan Williams & J.D. McKissic, then hello Mr. Week Winning Upside.
Darrel Williams versus Kansas City (6% rostered)
I refuse to quit on Darrel Williams, and I’m not entirely certain that I’m not the only person rostering him anywhere. If you’re in a league with me, as an aside, don’t even bother to check to see if he’s available. I promise you he isn’t. There’s been a lot of hooting and hollering this offseason about Eno Benjamin, a guy who the Cardinals tried to give a role last year (after Chase Edmonds’s injury), he stunk at it, and a team who had gone almost exclusively as a two-back backfield went full bore into James Conner. But, because he reminds them of Duke Johnson, people want to talk about how Eno is coming for the job. He isn’t.
The Cardinals went out and snagged Darrel Williams from the Chiefs, and my assertion is that they have plans to jam him into the Chase Edmonds role in the offense. Last year, Chase Edmonds was RB15 before getting hurt three snaps into the week nine game against the 49ers. “Well that’s Chase Edmonds, there’s no guarantee that Darrel Williams will be the RB2 there, and if he is, there’s no evidence that he will be viable.” Okay, smart guy, Darrel Williams was RB22 in PPR leagues last year. He is going to have the ”PPR” role in Arizona, and the only guy between him and starting every week is a tweaked hammy away from missing a month and a half.
The Chiefs are also one of the worst teams at stopping pass-catching running backs last season. They allowed the fourth-most receptions to the position and the third-most yards. The only thing that drove them down the ranks is that they allowed just two receiving touchdowns to running backs, but that’s not why you want Darrel Williams, here.
Tight End Streamers
Robert “Big Bob” Tonyan at Minnesota (23% rostered)
I was one of Robert Tonyan’s biggest detractors headed into last season, and I was proven correct, right up until he tore his ACL. Well, things have changed, and in Green Bay, if you have Aaron Rodgers’ trust, you have a golden ticket to fantasy football production. Now look at the tight ends and wide receivers in Green Bay, understanding that Allen Lazard is unlikely to play Sunday, and tell me who does Rodgers trust? It’s Robert Tonyan. Despite Tonyan having a disastrous run of games last season prior to tearing his ACL, he did finish his season on an upswing, notching a 4/63/1 line against Washington and posting a 3/49 line against Arizona in fewer than half of the snaps prior to his injury.
Tonyan isn’t particularly astounding, which is why we all cast him aside following his injury. But, the Vikings also were strong against tight ends last year. Still, he’s staring what could potentially be ten targets squarely in the face. I’ll take that kind of upside if I’m desperate.
Gerald Everett versus Las Vegas (22% rostered)
However, I would prefer Gerald Everett against Vegas this weekend, to Robert Tonyan. The Raiders were the fifth-best matchup against opposing tight ends last season and were the sixth-best against tight ends in the slot, which is where Everett is likely to do the majority of his damage. Jared Cook, whose role in the offense he’s replacing, ran the fourth-most tight end snaps out of the slot and the ninth-most routes in that spot. That’s going to be all Everett’s this weekend, and the Raiders will let him basically do what he wants there.
I’m a big believer in Everett, and I firmly believe that he could be the “stream until you don’t need to” anymore tight end. The Chargers love to use the tight end in their offense (Cook had the tenth-most air yards and fourteenth-most targets among tight ends last year) and Everett is far better than Cook was at that stage of his career. Last season with Seattle, Everett didn’t get a lot of opportunities to shine, but on a per-touch basis, he was very good (third in true catch rate, second in contested catch rate, and first in juke rate at tight end, per PlayerProfiler.com).
Logan Thomas versus Jacksonville (7% rostered)
I’m not entirely sure why we all collectively decided to just forget about Logan Thomas, but here we are. He was a consensus top-ten tight end last year after a strong finish to his 2020 campaign, and he was TE8 in points per game when an ACL tear ended his season. Well, Logan Thomas successfully stayed off of PUP and has a chance to slide right back into his high-usage role with the Commanders. Plus, not only do the Commanders love to use tight ends, but Carson Wentz has been the QB for at least 20% of targets going to tight ends every year he’s been in the league.
Everything’s set up for Logan Thomas to be a PPR monster yet again. Unfortunately, we don’t want that to be true, because he’s old and not a sexy pick. But, getting players nobody else wants… isn’t that the point of a sleeper?