2021 Fantasy Football Week 1 Blurbview

by Richard Savill
2021 Fantasy Football Week 1 Blurbview

Time to dig in and pass the potato chips. Here it is.

If your your draft went bad, the best thing to do is just forget about the fantasy side of things and just enjoy early season football.

So yeah, Week 1 is here. I have no concrete reason other than past experience, but many FAAB bank accounts after this weekend will take a major hit. An unsung player that few gave much attention to will emerge for the opening waiver rush of 2021.

Who is that player? It might be best to know now, right?

Here's a few names who may shock us after Sunday.

Rashaad Penny RB-SEA (21%)
Kenneth Gainwell RB-PHI (9%)
Parris Campbell WR-IND (11%)
Cam Sims WR- WAS (0%)
Donovan Peoples-Jones (2%)

If these players remain in your waiver pool, consider stashing them on your bench just in case.

On to the games of the opening weekend.

2021 Fantasy Football Week 1 Blurbview

2021 Fantasy Football Week 1 Blurbview

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Byes: none

Games to Watch 2021 Fantasy Football Week 1 Blurbview

A brief rundown of the games this weekend. You have your fantasy lineups set, now it's time to watch 'em play.

Early Sunday: Steelers (0-0) at Bills (0-0) -7.0 50.0

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When Ben Roethliberger takes the field nowadays, we don't hope for much more than a sigh of relief at the end. However, relief is what we got when Ben took the field in the Steelers' final preseason game. He looked comfortable and hit eight of ten passes with a few deep shots connecting. All this against a humbled Detroit Lions defense.

This pads some confidence in the fantasy receivers of Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, but the Bills will play pressure defense against Ben. As we know, Ben doesn't escape pressure like those young kids.

As for Buffalo, look for a steadier ground attack than in 2020 that they'll test out. Josh Allen will work every-week fantasy starter Stefon Diggs and we should expect him to get at least one touchdown to open his 2021 fantasy account.

Early punctures in the scoreline against Pittsburgh might put this into an aerial show, because I do see Pittsburgh starting slow.

Fun Fact: This is the sixth time Ben Roethlisberger has faced the Bills in his career. He holds a 4-1 record against them with his only loss coming last season in Week 14.
Sleeper: Dawson Knox, TE, Bills

Other Early Sunday Games in Brief...

Vikings (0-0) at Bengals (0-0) +4.0 48.0

Both teams enter the season looking to "level up" for their respective playoff chances. The Vikings will continue to anchor the offense on the back of Dalvin Cook. This may annoy Justin Jefferson owners on the occasional weekend - like perhaps this one. The Bengals aren't too pressed to employ Joe Mixon heavily, because Joe Burrow will make use of his increasingly Fantasy relevant receivers. Our eyes are on the usage of Ja'Marr Chase and what he brings to the Fantasy table.

2020 Fantasy Football Week 4 Preview

Seahawks (0-0) at Colts (0-0) +1.0 49.5

Carson Wentz appears ready to take the field. All well and good. However, missing the stretch of camp and preseason leaves Wentz with some rhythm catching up to do with his crew. The Seahawks enter 2021 with "it ain't broke, why fix it" offense with some up-tempo tweaks. Look closely at the Seahawk backfield splits in this game with a more cohesive o-line.

Eagles (0-0) at Falcons (0-0) -3.5 47.5

The Falcons started 0-5 in 2020 resulting in a mid-season coach firing. Now the team starts fresh (minus Julio Jones) and owners of Calvin Ridley should cash in on steady production starting on Sunday. The Eagles too begin their new era with Nick Sirianni, former OC of the Colts. The Fantasy focus of this game will be TE Kyle Pitts and the Eagles' backfield assignments.

Forty-Niners (0-0) at Lions (0-0) +7.5 45.5

Jimmy Garoppolo gets the start and Trey Lance truthers must wait. Jared Goff doesn't have the weapons he had with the Rams and Tyrell Williams is WR numero uno on the team. Without Robert Saleh, the Frisco defense may not have the same intensity, but the personnel remain. Look for the 49ers to suffocate and keep your Detroit Fantasy players stashed for this one.

Jets (0-0) at Panthers (0-0) -4.5 43.5

The Robert Saleh Jets are set to improve because the only way is up. The refits are somewhat jumbly, but Zach Wilson at least has a revived Corey Davis. Saleh's style suggests football trench warfare and winning the line. This approach is something fans of the Jets will either love or hate. Sam Darnold plays his former team out the gate - look for D.J. Moore to settle in as one of the upside picks of 2021.

Chargers (0-0) at Washington (0-0) +1.0 44.5

You may think a game with such weaponry would have a higher OU. The problem is that these defenses match their counterparts. That said, your Fantasy studs may flourish more in the second half after adjustments. Be patient with your guys - they should at least hit their floors or better in the end. You want a power sleeper? Cam Sims.

Jaguars (0-0) at Texans (0-0) -3.0 45.5

Urban Meyer, like some other SEC pedigree coaches, is having a rough transition to the pros. The Jaguars are keeping their expectations in check by keeping it simple: win some games. Trevor Lawrence starts his NFL career against the Texans. The defanged Texans, who barely support any Fantasy safe players, may have their best chance for relevancy in this game.

Cardinals (0-0) at Titans (0-0) -3.0 51.5

Kyler Murray will likely be a rushing leader on the Cardinals, but only because Chase Edmonds and James Conner cut and divide the backfield work. The somewhat chaotic offense of the Cardinals likely continues in 2021, despite their attempts to have a clear modus operandi. Expect Derrick Henry to open his 2021 season hard and heavy - looking for a second consecutive 2000 yards rushing season.

Late Sunday: Packers (0-0) at Saints (0-0) +3.0 50.5 (at Jacksonville)

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A neutral site due to the hurricane damage along the Louisiana coastline.

Aaron Rodgers held out his services in the off-season organized team activities. We weren't sure he was going to play at all. Well, they finally came to an agreement which allows Rodgers all trade options following 2021. He's still not happy, but at least if it is a swan song season in Green Bay, he'll give it everything he has.

We can assume then it is an "as you were" situation in terms of the Pack offense for 2021. Without Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones should manage a slightly extra workload in terms of a few percentage points, but A.J. Dillon could frustrate owners with ill-timed vulturing.

The Saints begin a new era with Jameis Winston. It is too soon to label Winston as a bridge QB (he's on a one-year deal) until the Saints see how this campaign plays out. The anti-fantasy Taysom Hill remains in the gadget role and Michael Thomas will eventually enter into the mix when he returns from injury.

For this game, expect an Alvin Kamara ground assault to keep the Packers to as few possessions as possible in the first half. Following the break, both offenses should let loose for an exciting football game.

Popcorn required.

Fun Fact: The last time these teams met in Week 3 of 2020, Alvin Kamara set a career high of 139 yards receiving.
Sleeper:  Marquez Callaway, WR, Saints

Other Late Sunday Games in Brief...

2021 Fantasy Football Week 1 Blurbview

Browns (0-0) at Chiefs (0-0) -6.0 52.5

Another potentially big Fantasy Point bonanza. Start almost everyone Fantasy relevant in this game and you can even consider using outside sleepers, like Donovan Peoples-Jones for example. In any case, if DPJ is out there orbiting in waiverspace, consider adding him to your bench if room permits.

Broncos (0-0) at Giants (0-0) +1.5 42.5

Several Fantasy puzzle pieces should fall into place after this game. The backfield of the Broncos remains in the "avoid" column, but the snap share might tilt in favor of rookie Javonte Williams over Melvin Gordon in time. Owners of Giants receivers face a similar split in Fantasy relevance. That said, everyone is banged up already and they haven't even played a game yet. Temper expectations for everyone except Jerry Jeudy and Saquon Barkley.

Dolphins (0-0) at Patriots (0-0) -3 45.0

It's clear sailing for Mac Jones without Cam Newton around. As with everything Bill Belichick related, our Fantasy hopes cannot depend on players on the Patriots. We need a gameplan example and fortunately the Dolphins offer a perfect test case. Tua Tagovailoa has an "okayish" surrounding cast and DeVante Parker stands alone as the best choice. Jaylen Waddle is a useful enough flex - best not for this game though.

Featured Games

Sunday Night: Bears (0-0) at Rams (0-0) -7.0 45.0

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Unfortunately, Matt Nagy will give Justin Fields the clipboard to start 2021. This puts some downward pressure on Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney in terms of production, but if you own David Montgomery, you should be in good shape for this game.

However, it is the Rams which have the more intriguing Fantasy features of this game.

First, Matthew Stafford. We expect the same target share between Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp as per Jared Goff. However, there's no certainty and especially when we are talking red zone. We need to know if Tyler Higbee has the expected relevance at tight end in Fantasy.

The Rams added Sony Michel before the season-ending injury to second-year man Xavier Jones. This leaves us somewhat confused where this backfield stands after the Cam Akers injury. You might want to bet on a hot hand approach. And similar to how the Rams worked in Akers last season. Therefore, stash rookie Jake Funk if you have room.

Fun Fact: The Bears are the only team from outside NFC West to play in the new SoFi Stadium twice.
Sleeper: DeSean Jackson, WR, Rams

Monday Night: Ravens (0-0) at Raiders (0-0) +4.5 51.0

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The Ravens need fake sumo wrestling suits for their practices. J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill and Gus Edwards; all their main rostered running backs - out for the season.

This injury-plagued backfield led most of Fantasy news late this week and so far we really don't know where matters will end up. Obviously John Harbaugh has an idea, but the best we can assume is just the obvious: the next man up. Ty'Son Williams will lead until Le'Veon Bell or Latavius Murray catch up with the playbook.

The Raiders, still enjoying the new paint smell inside of Allegiant Stadium, essentially have the same squad as last season. Kenyan Drake (pictured) is a notable exception.

Expect a lot of extra Lamar Jackson in this game - doing it all. The Raiders are not yet complete in defending a ground attack, so the Ravens will exploit that.

Fun Fact: The Raiders and Ravens last met in Week 12 of 2018 in Baltimore. In that game, Lamar Jackson rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Sleeper: Sammy Watkins, WR, Ravens

In the Booth on Sunday

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CBS Early

Steelers at Bills: Ian Eagle, Charles Davis
Jaguars at Texans: Greg Gumbel, Adam Archuleta
Jets at Panthers: Andrew Catalon, Tiki Barber
Chargers at Washington: Spero Dedes, Jay Feely
Cardinals at Titans: Tom McCarthy, Aaron Taylor

FOX Early

Eagles at Falcons: Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen
Seahawks at Colts: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma
49ers at Lions: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez
Vikings at Bengals: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston

CBS Late

Browns at Chiefs: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Dolphins at Patriots: Kevin Harlan, Trent Green

FOX Late

Packers at Saints: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Broncos at Giants: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth

Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

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