Weekly Rankings: Ranking Each Position for Week 1

Erik Smith breaks down his Week 1 fantasy rankings for both PPR and standard leagues.

Week 1 of the 2019 NFL regular season is finally upon us, giving us the chance to make our first roster decisions of the year. I’ll rank each position, including both standard and PPR rankings, every Tuesday of the regular season. Below each set of rankings, I will provide commentary on my more interesting decisions of the week. Best of luck in Week 1!


Week 1 QB Rankings


  • I’m generally one to “start my studs” regardless of matchup, which explains Patrick Mahomes holding strong at QB2 despite a tough matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With a full assortment of explosive playmakers surrounding him, there is only one quarterback I can imagine starting over Mahomes this week. The Chiefs still have an implied team total of 28 points, tied for second-highest in the league in Week 1, so Vegas is confident in Mahomes as well.
  • My number one quarterback this week is Deshaun Watson, who looks set up for a heavy passing load with the recent changes at running back. Playing on the road in New Orleans as seven-point underdogs, the Texans will likely be throwing often, which also fits with primary running back Duke Johnson‘s strengths as a pass-catcher. While the Saints provide a challenging test with a solid defense and strong home-field advantage, I expect Watson’s volume with an unsettled backfield to lead to high yardage totals, and multiple touchdowns seem all but assured.
  • The Seahawks, Eagles, and Browns all find themselves as strong home favorites against weaker opponents in Week 1, making Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, and Baker Mayfield all capable of piling up touchdowns quickly. While some fantasy owners may fear a blowout could hurt these quarterbacks passing volume, this should be offset by the large touchdown potential of each player. With the opposing offenses likely to struggle in each matchup, each quarterback should spend ample time with the ball in their hands, an excellent formula for racking up fantasy points.
  • I’m high on Lamar Jackson this year, and a matchup in Miami is doing nothing to back me off my belief that Jackson is a starting level fantasy quarterback. As a 6.5 point favorite over a Dolphins team that is selling off its veterans, Jackson should rack up rushing yardage like few quarterbacks are capable of. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jackson finish as the QB1 this week.
  • I like Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan this year, so fantasy owners shouldn’t panic based off of these rankings. Matchups on the road in Chicago and Minnesota, respectively, are daunting week 1 matchups, so they’ve dropped in my ranks. I’d probably still start them this week even if better options are available on waivers unless you have a free roster spot with nothing better to use it on.
  • It’s worth remembering that quarterback scoring is generally tightly clumped in the middle part of the rankings, with only two or three projected points separating dozens of quarterbacks. Typically your fantasy team will win or lose based on your wide receivers or running backs, not the five or fewer points that might separate QB10 from QB15.


Week 1 RB Rankings (PPR)


Week 1 RB Rankings (Standard)


  • Chris Carson gets a dream matchup at home in Week 1 against a Bengals team that doesn’t appear ready to travel into one of the most hostile environments in the league. In a game that I expect the Seahawks to dominate time of possession, Carson should get all the carries he can handle and has as good a shot as anyone at multiple touchdowns. While I would feel uneasy playing Rashaad Penny until I see his role develop, everything points towards some garbage time opportunities, in addition to his regular workload, making him playable in a pinch.
  • The Bengals offensive line is already decimated heading into week one, with left tackle Cordy Glenn now looking questionable with a concussion, giving the Bengals the potential for one of the worst offensive lines in recent memory. As a result, I’ve knocked Joe Mixon down to RB16 for this week. There will be easier matchups than a road game in one of the loudest stadiums in the league versus a Seahawks team that just added Jadaveon Clowney. Mixon’s potential volume and passing game usage keep him as a fantasy starter but temper your expectations this week.
  • Mark Ingram shoots into the upper tier with a week one matchup against the Dolphins. While there are reasons to be cautious overhyping Ingram for the long run, let’s not overthink it this week. The Ravens should be able to give Ingram several opportunities at touchdowns along with a healthy amount of carries that makes him a safe play as a back end RB1.
  • As of Tuesday, I have no reason to believe that Ezekiel Elliott or Melvin Gordon will suit up this week, making Austin Ekeler and Tony Pollard excellent options in Week 1. Ekeler offers a diverse skill set that can contribute whether the Chargers have the lead or are trailing, while Pollard gets a matchup against the Giants that the Cowboys should be able to control from the start. These are excellent spots for each player to make their mark.
  • The Chiefs running back situation very much depends on if LeSean McCoy plays in the opener. Damien Williams should be a solid starter in PPR leagues even against a Jacksonville team that possesses a formidable defense, regardless of McCoy’s status. I would be very hesitant to start McCoy until we have more information on his role. If McCoy sits, Darwin Thompson would be a borderline flex option, though I would still prefer to wait to see his role before inserting into my lineup. Don’t panic if you own Thompson; hold onto him until we get more information about this backfield’s usage.
  • I begrudgingly moved Derrick Henry up four spots in my standard rankings, but I still see him as a low-end RB2 in a road game where the Titans are underdogs. Henry will remain game script dependent in 2019.


Week 1 WR Rankings (PPR)


Week 1 WR Rankings (Standard)


  • Tyreek Hill and Julio Jones face the most concerning matchups of the elite wide receivers in week one, with Hill facing Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars while Jones faces the tough Vikings defense. Start them with confidence, however, as their big-play potential has them one play away from paying off at any moment.
  • Chris Godwin takes a jump up into the near-elite tier of wide receivers in a juicy matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. In what should end up a shootout, expect Godwin and Mike Evans to be targeted early and often. With an inferior backfield, the Buccaneers should look to pass as often as possible.
  • Monitor Amari Cooper up until kickoff, as he has been battling a foot injury all preseason. He finally returned to practice Monday, and it appears he is all systems go. Cooper is a focal point of the Cowboys offense, especially if Zeke sits out Week 1. If Cooper were to miss time, Michael Gallup likely would jump up into the WR30 range, as he would be in line for a massive target share.
  • In a game that the Bengals will likely be trailing throughout, Tyler Boyd seems like a safe bet to see a huge amount of targets. Without A.J. Green, quarterback Andy Dalton will feed Boyd early and often. It may be ugly at times with the Bengals bad offensive line, but Boyd should be able to salvage his day in garbage time if needed.
  • Donte Moncrief seems to be the clear second wide receiver for the Steelers, and you could do a lot worse in your flex spot than Moncrief in a game where the Steelers will likely be passing often. James Washington was pretty clearly playing with the second team in the preseason, so despite his impressive play, let’s wait at least a week before inserting him into any lineups.
  • Keke Coutee is suddenly in play as his ankle injury looks to be progressing lately. I would be worried about limited snaps or a reinjury, but if you are desperate, Coutee would rank five or more spots higher if we knew we were getting a full game from him in a likely shootout in New Orleans.
  • You could do worse than Adam Humphries in a super deep PPR league, as Marcus Mariota doesn’t seem capable of pushing the ball downfield with consistency, and if the preseason is any indication, Humphries may get peppered with targets, albeit low-value targets.


Week 1 TE Rankings (PPR)


Week 1 TE Rankings (Standard)


  • George Kittle barely ekes out Travis Kelce for the top spot in my tight end rankings due to a much softer defensive matchup. Both remain elite options, but a monster game seems more likely from Kittle this week.
  • With Trey Burton and Jordan Reed both looking questionable for Week 1, the tight end position is even thinner than we thought after the nine solid options at the top of the rankings. If you are playing outside of that group, you’re probably just hoping for a touchdown.


Week 1 D Rankings


Week 1 K Rankings


(Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)

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