The 2022 NFL Season is here. The first game begins Thursday night with the first full Sunday slate—a glorious 14 games—kicking off on September 11. With it is the return of weekly fantasy football. While we’re all blissfully rejoicing the return, with it comes the specter of lineup decisions. Who should start? Who should sit? Let this weekly post be your guide as I go on a journey with you these next 18 weeks.
The criteria are simple: I pick one sit and one start from each position (quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end). This is based on my rankings for each week, which you can find in full at www.campus2canton.com. The standard is Top 12 for quarterbacks and tight ends, Top 24 for wide receivers and running backs. Each week I’ll begin with a review of how I did the previous week because accountability is a part of this process.
Of course, this being Week 1, there is no last week. So, it’s on to who has my attention in Week 1.
Start: Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
About: I get it, Wilson didn’t play a down in the pre-season and he has to open the season, on the road, with a completely different team. I don’t care. Call me a homer if you will, but I love a good revenge narrative. Wilson spent years guiding the Seattle Seahawks and now he gets to begin his Denver Broncos era in a stadium he once called home facing a team—and a coach—that he knows well. Geno Smith doesn’t scare me, and I think Wilson will be just fine surrounded by weapons like Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordon, and Albert Okwuegbunam. He’s my QB5 this week.
Sit: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
About: I like Hurts this year. I think he’ll finish as a QB1 and I even picked the Eagles to make the NFC Championship Game. They’re a good team and he’ll have a good season. I don’t have him wildly out of my Top 12. I have Hurts at QB14 this week but let’s just say I’m a believer in the team they’re playing, the Detroit Lions. Those who’ve watched Hard Knocks this summer have seen this team go to battle daily for Head Coach Dan Campbell. I think the Lions will take a step up—not a massive leap—but they were better than their record in 2021. Opening Day always features a few surprises and I think one of the ones we get in 2022 is the Lions holding serve over the Eagles at home. For that reason, I think Hurts will be OK but not great, sliding out of the Top 12.
Start: J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens
About: We’ve heard a lot about Dobbins and his health this off-season. We’ve also heard a few things from Dobbins. He is committed to being ready to go to start the season, and all signs point to that being the case. In addition, an off-season of questioning what he’d produce seems to have rankled him. That’s good for those of us who roster Dobbins. The Ravens don’t have a robust passing game. Outside of tight end Mark Andrews and receiver Rashod Bateman, it’s hard to even know who will have a role. But this has been a consistently strong rushing team under Head Coach John Harbaugh. The Ravens are poised to bounce back and compete for the playoffs in 2022, and that starts by winning the games you’re supposed to win. The 2022 New York Jets will be better, but the Ravens are the better team. I expect them to run well against the Jets, and that will include running through Dobbins. I like him as a high-end RB2 in his return and we’ll be off to the races this season.
Sit: Travis Etienne, Jacksonville Jaguars
About: Will James Robinson play? It seems he’s tracking to suit up, which makes the running back rotation even murkier in Jacksonville, playing for a coach that isn’t known for his power running game. There’s a lot of hype for Etienne, who will finally play in an NFL game that counts on Sunday. If you’ve been following my off-season pieces, you know I’m less bullish. I have him at RB29 this week, outside the RB2 range. And it’s not just because of the competition on his own team, it’s the competition he’ll face in the Commanders. In 2021, despite some struggles at times on defense, the Commanders were solid against the run. The team was Top 10 in yards allowed and yards per carry. None of that is inspiring for a player—and an offense—that is still trying to establish itself. Etienne might be a flex play, but I’m not trusting him to finish Top 24.
Start: Allen Robinson, Los Angeles Rams
About: You’ve heard it said to sit your Thursday night players. I’m going the other way. I know the opening night game can sometimes be sloppy but with the 2021 Super Bowl Champion Rams and the 2022 Super Bowl Contending Buffalo Bills, I suspect we’re in for something of a shootout. Enter the Rams’ newest weapon—Allen Robinson. For years those of us who’ve rostered Robinson have dreamed of the day he’d land on a good offense with a good quarterback. Now the WR2 for the Rams and Matthew Stafford, we got that. I’m expecting to see Robinson eat. I have him ranked Top 12 this week. I’m all in and you should be too.
Sit: Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills
About: I do think the opening night game is going to be a shootout, and I love the Bills with quarterback Josh Allen. But I’m not ready to push all my chips in with Davis. He was a trendy riser this off-season, ending up with an ADP of WR24. He’ll have a good season but I’m not set he’s a lock to finish Top 24 this season. If you followed my rankings on Roundtable, you know I had him in the WR3 range. I do again this week at WR34. I believe in Stefon Diggs, and I think the Bills will get Dawson Knox, Isaiah McKenzie, and Jamison Crowder involved, too. Davis will have a decent game, but I don’t expect a Top 24 finish.
Start: Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
About: I’m all in on Schultz this year. I think along with CeeDee Lamb he’s going to bring back the glory days when the Cowboys had a star receiver (Dez Bryant) and Tight End (Jason Witten). The Cowboys thought enough of Schultz that they gave him the franchise tag this off-season. He finished as TE3 in 2021, seeing 104 targets. Amari Cooper is out, while Michael Gallup and James Washington aren’t yet ready. Lamb will get his but the Cowboys will need more than that to get past the Buccaneers. Schultz will eat. I think he finishes Top 3 this week.
Sit: Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
About: It comes down to the target share and the opponent. This off-season the Dolphins added Tyreek Hill to the passing game and brought in a run-first coach in Mike McDaniel. Sure, Gesicki finished as TE8 in 2021, but how many targets will be available? This passing game is loaded with talent and there are only so many balls to go around. The opening week opponent—the New England Patriots—doesn’t help that. The Dolphins beat the Patriots twice in 2021, winning 17-16 in Week 1 and 33-24 in Week 18. Despite that, Gesicki saw just six targets, catching two passes for 22 yards total in those games. So, I’m not rolling him out in Week 1.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.