Five Fantasy Football Players Who Will Fade Week 1

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It’s hard to believe that football is finally here, but we’re just a dream away from the start of the season. The weekly grind of deciding who to start and sit with has officially begun. Here are five players who may not live up to expectations in Week 1 and may sit on the bench for a better option.

Remember, week 1 is always weird. Defenses have changed in the offseason and it’s hard to get a sense of true strengths and weaknesses until a few weeks into the season. However, we still have last season’s fantasy production to use as a guide heading into the start of the season.

Dameon Pierce – RB Houston Texans
Fading this player is hard considering the mountain of hype surrounding the rookie’s upcoming season. As far as the eyeball test goes, Dameon Pierce appears to be the RB1 in the Texans’ offense ahead of Rex Burkhead, Dare Ogunbowale and Royce Freeman. However, new head coach Lovie Smith has remained coy about who will be named the official starting running back. Instead, he intends to let the lead role play out this season.

This is not great news for any racer looking to be the leader out of the gate and it is terrible news for fantasy purposes. The committee runner has become so common that a true bell cow paper is becoming a relic.

The Texans are trying to re-establish themselves as a contending team, but the fact remains that they will play in several negative game scripts. Houston will face Matt Ryan, who is happy with the passes and is the new quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. This game has every opportunity to get lopsided against the Texans, forcing QB Davis Mills to shoot instead of keeping the ball mostly on the ground.

Then there’s the Colts defense to deal with. They finished the 2021 season in first place against the running back position, allowing just 61 red zone touches, 14 red zone targets, and 22 red zone scoring opportunities to go to the end of the red zone to opposing offenses. Pierce has what it takes to be the starter for both the Texans and their roster, but Week 1 against the No. 1 run defense is less than ideal for the young player.

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Devin Singletary – RB Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams will kick off the 2022 season with fireworks and fanfare on Thursday night. Fantasy options abound in this matchup, but Devin Singletary, as a must-start, isn’t one of them.

The Bills have a serious committee backfield with Singletary, James Cook and even Zack Moss getting some attention. Let’s not forget about quarterback Josh Allen, who finished the 2021 season as the second-tallest running back. He could easily have been the leader of the team were it not for four explosive weeks from Singletary, who hadn’t beaten RB10 once until Week 15.

The veteran running back has had quite a bit of hype around his name after those few weeks late in the season and his workload in the postseason. However, if the Bills were satisfied with giving Singletary the same workload for another season, they wouldn’t have spent expensive second-round draft capital on James Cook. This reeks of another committee with Allen firmly in the mix to take away valuable career opportunities.

The Rams are coming off a Super Bowl win and understand they have a massive target on their back. This means doing everything possible to keep the Bills on their heels. The Rams’ defense is stingy with opposing running backs. Singletary has a chance to be a flex option going forward, but not in this game against Los Angeles.

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DJ Chark – WR Detroit Lions
if you’ve been watching hard knocks on HBO, you may have grown to love the Detroit Lions. Keep that feeling alive, but fade deep threat wide receiver DJ Chark in fantasy football.

Jared Goff struggled last season with poor receiving play until Amon-Ra St. Brown emerged as his slot player. Goff watched him when plays failed, and that’s likely to happen again this season. His average shooting depth was last in the league at 6.4 yards, which is understandable given the lack of offensive weapons.

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That’s not to say Goff is terrible downfield. By contrast, he ranked 12th in the league with the Rams in 2020. However, until we see Goff use his passes with head coach Dan Campbell, it’s safer to avoid Chark in Week 1.

The Lions face the Philadelphia Eagles, who ranked third among wide receivers to finish the 2021 season. Look for Goff to make short passes to St. Brown, TJ Hockenson and D’Andre Swift to move the ball downfield.

Jarvis Landry – WR New Orleans Saints
The Saints have a revamped squad with a healthy Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas, as well as veteran Jarvis Landry and rookie phenom Chris Olave. Alvin Kamara appears to be avoiding a suspension this season, which leaves plenty of passing options for Winston to target.

The matchup looks juicy against the Atlanta Falcons, who were among the worst defenses in the league. The problem is not in the pairing. The issue is who will be the dominant receiver and what that pecking order will look like.

Landry likely won’t be one of their top wide receivers, so he’s a solid support until New Orleans establishes its offense.

Mike Gesicki – TE Miami Dolphins
Speaking of too many mouths to feed, the Dolphins have that and more. By “more”, this refers to the elite cheetah himself, Tyreek Hill. New head coach Mike McDaniel went shopping for big running backs to add to his young quarterback’s offensive weapons. Those additions included two pass-catching running backs in Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert.

This is great news for Tua Tagovailoa but bad news for Mike Gesicki.

Unfortunately, Gesicki won’t turn out to be the next George Kittle if we compare apples to apples with McDaniel’s old team, the 49ers. Instead, he is asked to block more, play the slots less, and basically learn a new position. Combine the many options Tagovailoa has at his disposal with the second-best team against tight ends on the Patriots, and Gesicki is a solid position going into Week 1.

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