2020 Fantasy Football Week 1 Vampire League Starters

by Travis Argo
2020 Fantasy Football Week 1 Vampire League Starters

Welcome to the 2020 Fantasy Football Week 1 Vampire League Starters article!

Let's answer the question you've been asking yourself since you clicked on this article. What the hell is a vampire league?

For real, here are the rules for vampire leagues. One player is the vampire. They can not draft and they have to build a team with the waiver wire. The people who draft a team can not use the waiver wire or trade for the whole season. The team you draft is what you're stuck with for the season. If a Fantasy owner loses a week to the vampire, the vampire gets to take a player from that person's starting lineup and trades the loser a player of the same position.

Those are the basic rules for the vampire league. Feel free to modify it any way you want, especially this year with the uncertainty with COVID. My vampire league decided to allow trading among the drafters, and the non-vampire teams have set an amount of waive-wire adds for the whole season (two). So there is at least one way the managers can improve their teams and give them a chance to replace some players if struck by COVID. This rule change forces the vampire to be more aware of who is on the waiver wire and keeps them from using the wire as extended bench spots.

Now that we've covered a vampire league's basics, it's time for me to help the vampires build their starting lineup.

I will start this article with a premature statement (I know what I'm talking about when it comes to premature matters): roster-building will be the most challenging part of being the vampire in your league, especially Week 1.

Roster construction will be incredibly difficult considering there were no preseason games (not that they're much of a help anyway) to provide insights into how teams will run their offenses this season. 

I have a few suggestions at each position to help build the best lineup so that you can steal a player from your future victims.

2020 Fantasy Football Week 1 Vampire League Starters

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Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts

In Week 1, Rivers is going against the Jaguars, who continue their fire sale on their once-great defense this offseason. The Jags allowed 21.7 fantasy points to quarterbacks last season and had one of the highest yards per target rates to quarterbacks (7.9 YDs).

Rivers has dominated the Jaguars in the past. Over Rivers' last three starts against the Jaguars (two of them when their defense was good!), he averaged 25.1 fantasy points. During those starts, he averaged 296.4 yards and 2.6 touchdowns.

Now Rivers is playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and has a great set of healthy weapons. All signs point to a Week One breakout for Old Man Rivers.

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers 

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Congratulations to Jimmy G for being on the Week One starter article for the second year in a row. This year he has an even better Week 1 matchup against the Cardinals. Hopefully, he'll perform better in Week 1 than last year (166 Yds, one touchdown, and one interception).

Against the Cardinals last season, Garoppolo scored 58.4 fantasy points, throwing for 741 yards and eight touchdowns against them in just two games.

The Cardinals' defense allowed 27 points, 2.3 touchdowns per game to QBs in 2019. Plus, they allowed 7.3 yards per target last season. There is no reason to believe that will change this year even though the unit has improved a bit this offseason.

Running Backs

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts

I just mentioned how I expected Philip Rivers to have a big game in Week 1, so of course I'm going to suggest Hines, who will be one of his main targets. We all know how much Rivers loves targeting running backs.

Rivers targeted running backs 446 times over his past three seasons. Those targets accounted for 26.6 percent of his attempts during that span.

There has been plenty of buzz about Rivers and Hines' connection, and we should see that connection on full display this week.

James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Leonard Fournette is out of Jacksonville, and Chris Thompson is purely a passing-catching back and always one tackle away from an injury. Who will be the running back handling most of the carries for the Jaguars?

That will be James Robinson, who is listed as the number one running back on the depth chart. Most people know James Robinson is, so I don't have to tell you much about him, but just in case you've been living under a rock, I'll enlighten you on Robinson (can you read the sarcasm in my typing).

Robinson is a rookie who went to Illinois State, where he rushed for 1,899 yards and 18 touchdowns last year.

He could be a sneaky touchdown threat if and when the Jaguars get into the Redzone.

Wide Receivers

DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles

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Do you remember last year when DeSean Jackson had a Week 1 breakout against Washington? Well, it will probably happen again this year.

Jackson is one of the few wide receivers healthy on the Eagles, which bodes well him getting a ton of targets (Jalen Reagor is dealing with a shoulder injury while Alshon Jeffery will be out for most of the season).

Jackson has been great against Washington throughout his career. He averages 61 yards per game, 17.6 yards per reception, and has caught seven touchdowns in 13 career games against Washington. 

N'Keal Harry, New England Patriots

Harry has a juicy matchup against the Miami Dolphins, who allowed 40.2 fantasy points per game to wide receivers in 2019. The Dolphins also allowed the most touchdowns to wide receivers last year (27).

New England's new quarterback Cam Newton likes throwing to big targets like N'Keal Harry (6-4, 225lb). Remember, Newton made Kelvin Benjamin a fantasy contributor, and I'm pretty sure he can do the same for Harry.

Tight End

Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys

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Dallas has a Sunday night matchup against the Rams, who were average at defending tight ends last season.

The Rams allowed 12.3 fantasy points per game, 8.5 yards per target, and six touchdowns to tight ends last season. Ten other teams allowed six touchdowns to tight ends, which shows just how average the Rams defense was. Another thing to remember is that the Rams have a whole new linebacking core. Samson Ebukam is the only returning starter, allowing Jarwin to exploit this lack of continuity.

Jarwin was a sleeper breakout for many fantasy analysts this offseason, and his breakout could as soon as Week 1.


Allen Lazard, Green Bay, WR

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Much like the Rams line backing core, Green Bay's Week 1 opponent Minnesota has a revamped secondary that the Packers could shred.

Because of the question marks and this year's unusual offseason, I wonder if the Vikings' secondary will be a cohesive unit in Week 1, which Aaron Rodgers will exploit if my prediction comes to fruition. 

Rodgers will have to target someone other than Davante Adams if Green Bay wants to beat Minnesota. Lazard proved last season to be a reliable number two wide receiver that Rodgers will need (since they didn't add any rookies in the draft). 

Defense/Special Teams

Los Angeles Chargers

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You've got a defensive unit with Joey Bosa, Linval Joseph, Chris Harris Jr., and Casey Hayward going against a rookie quarterback in Joe Burrow getting his first live NFL action. There will be plenty of sacks and maybe a few interceptions in this matchup. 

Check out our 2020 Fantasy Football content from our excellent staff of writers here!

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