I can’t believe we made it to Week 1 of the NFL season! All those mock drafts, hours of research, podcast listening, and Twitter scrolling have all paid off in the beautiful teams you drafted! Congratulations! Pat yourself on the back… and move on. Because the draft only makes up so much of what your final team will look like. Injuries (which is our specialty here), unexpected roles for players you never considered, and straight bad luck will shape your team a lot over the next few months. And of course, the most important decisions you make each Sunday, sometimes 5 minutes before kickoff, start/sit decisions.
But fear not! I am here to provide some more background info on weekly projections. Who will outperform them and who will fall flat on their face? We never know for certain, but each week I will be here to give my two cents on who I “Adore” vs who I “Abhor” for that upcoming week. For those of you who just took out your dictionaries – a) Why do you have a dictionary? Use the internet like the rest of us and b) You should have paid more attention in High School English class.
To set some ground rules here, I will be putting players into two separate categories – “Adore” vs “Abhor”. While adore and abhor are strong words, on the like vs dislike scale, I assure you it has nothing to do with the actual players I will be discussing. Rather, these are my feelings towards how I think the player will perform that given week when compared to their ESPN 0.5 PPR, 4 point passing TD projections (that’s the site and scoring I use for most of my leagues, so I’m going with that, sorry to the Yahoo! and full PPR people out there). But regardless of your scoring or roster configuration, my opinion should provide a good starting point for those tough start/sit decisions. So without further fanfare, let’s dive into the first ever “Adore / Abhor”!
QB – Adore: Trey Lance
Current ESPN Projection: 18.7 Points
This will surprise no one who was in my draft Friday night when I selected him in the 6th round (oops, maybe too early), but I love me some Trey Lance this season. Getting him in round 11 of my Saturday draft was way more palatable, by the way. We have a small sample size, but in the three games Lance saw the most action last season, he averaged 18 points per game. Which indicates to me that that’s his baseline. A full offseason working with the starters will only help Lance. He ran the ball 31 times over those 3 games, which are Lamar Jackson-type-levels. His rushing baseline alone gives him a weekly floor.
I have heard concerns of his passing ability, but the system he’s in is so good, Jimmy G was 2nd in the entire NFL in yards per attempt last season. You know, the guy who no one wanted to trade for this offseason, forcing the 49ers to re-sign him? If he can do it, Lance should be able to on the same level, if not better.
I view the Jimmy Garoppolo re-signing as more of a smart organization move, rather than a lack in confidence of the QB they traded massive draft capital to climb in the 2021 draft to go get. Lance gets the Bears in Week 1, who are definitely not scaring anyone with their defense. Start Lance with confidence Week 1.
QB – Abhor: Jalen Hurts
Current ESPN Projection: 23 Points
This is a lofty goal for a quarterback I actually like season-long. I know the Lions have gotten better since last season, but would we really be surprised if the Eagles blew their doors off in the first half, like they did last season? A lot of that may come by way of Hurts’ arm and legs. However, if the scoring comes from elsewhere and the Eagles are up big, a lot of running back carries are in store for Sunday. In their matchup last year, Hurts was QB25 on the week, scoring just 11.2 fantasy points.
The spread is only favoring the Eagles by 4 points, so maybe I’m way off in my analysis. You’re also most likely starting Hurts Week 1 no matter your situation, but it might be best to temper expectations.
RB – Adore: Saquon Barkley
Current ESPN Projection: 13.9 Points
I’m not sure if you needed the confidence boost to play Barkley this week, since he was likely the second player you drafted to your roster. But I am here to say “The QuadFather” is back. Before his injury in Week 5 last season, Barkley eclipsed the 80% snaps played mark three times. In those games he averaged 17.8 points. One of those games was against the stout Saints run defense when he put up 27.9 points. The Titans project to have a good run defense this season, but with the Giants expected to trail in this one, Barkley should be able to rack up a ton of points through the air.
RB – Abhor: Nick Chubb
Current ESPN Projection: 13.1 Points
The Browns have one of the best offensive lines in football and Nick Chubb is one of the best running backs in football. But that doesn’t always equal success for fantasy football. The fact is, we don’t know what to expect from this Jacoby Brissett-lead offense. We can assume it’s going to be run, run, reindeer with Chubb and Kareem Hunt, but how much damage can we expect them to do against a pretty solid Carolina front?
We know Chubb doesn’t factor into the passing game, so a majority of his points will have to come on the ground. Can he surpass 131 rushing yards on any given Sunday and/or go for 70 and a TD? He has as much talent as anybody to do so. But will he? I’m not willing to bank on it in a game where Cleveland is the road underdog.
WR/TE – Adore: Tyreek Hill
Current ESPN Projection – 13 Points
As a guy who has absolutely zero shares of Tyreek Hill in any league this season, I feel silly writing this. But the fact is, most signs are pointing to Hill being a great start in Week 1. Mike McDaniel is obviously going to show off his brand new toy in the home opener. Jaylen Waddle is apparently on track to play on Sunday, but has been sidelined for some time. We don’t know the full extent of his playing time in Week 1. And finally, Tyreek has dominated the Patriots in his career, averaging 6 catches and 100 yards per game, to go with his 5 total TDs.
He clearly doesn’t have Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball anymore, but he has been raving about Tua all offseason. We will get a good glimpse on Sunday into if that was all hype or if 2022 is the year for Tua and Tyreek.
WR/TE – Abhor: Justin Jefferson
Current ESPN Projection: 14.8 Points
I get it – most people’s WR1 during draft season on the abhor list. Not a good look for the first installment of the series. 14.8 points feels like something Jefferson can get in his sleep, but against the Packers, it hasn’t been the case. He has failed to hit this number in three out of four career games against Green Bay. In games against the Cheese Heads, JJ averages just 4.8 receptions, 69.8 yards, and 0.5 TDs. He had a “blow up” game just once, in Minnesota last season where he went for 8-169-2. That is always in the realm of possibility for the third year pro, but I’m backing history with this pick and hoping it doesn’t blow up in my face.
That’s it for the first post in the series, hope you enjoyed! If you want more of our content, be sure to follow us on Twitter below so you never miss a post or podcast!