Green set to return but may be a little rusty and barely worth WR3 consideration
Week 1 is here! Thursday night brought football to the television sets of people across the country, and fantasy owners could finally find something to root for (at least those who drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire). It’s time to start looking at lineups for Week 1. The rankings are out, the start/sit columns are out, and fantasy experts are all weighing in with the limited information we all have. In order to determine a player's success, a number of factors are looked at, and predictions are made.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status, and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers is 36 years old, but he did struggle last season. He had fewer passing yards, but still had about the same amount of touchdowns and interceptions as previous years. He doesn't turn the ball over often and he does seem to connect with his pass catchers. He has Davante Adams back and both are healthy. They should connect for at least one touchdown against Minnesota. Rodgers is ranked No. 15, but he may crack QB1 status by the time Week 1 comes to a close.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos
With Courtland Sutton banged up, the Broncos' offense is going to look a little different, and it likely will go through Gordon. It's not clear how much Drew Lock will be asked to throw the ball, but Gordon can certainly be a pass catcher if needed. Rookie KJ Hamler also is injured, so Jerry Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant may end up being the recipient of most of Lock's passes. The Broncos may instead choose to focus on their run game, which bodes well for Gordon. He's ranked No. 20 but should finish higher than that.
Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears
Many fantasy owners slept on Miller on draft day because he didn't really start to look good until the end of last season. He's going to be behind Allen Robinson on the depth chart and in the rankings, but No. 41 is too low for someone who has the potential to be a solid WR2. The Bears do have some issues at quarterback (in that they need to figure out what they are doing at the position), but Miller will be a valuable part of the offense and fantasy owners should start him as a WR3 with upside for Week 1.
Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
Fantasy owners are wondering how Edelman, without Tom Brady, will fare. However, Cam Newton knows how to use a slot receiver who can catch short, dump passes. That's exactly the role Edelman will fill. Edelman is someone who can make a quarterback look good by catching multiple passes and moving the chains. He's a PPR dream and in formats that reward fantasy owners with receptions, he will exceed his No. 32 ranking.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gronk has reunited with Tom Brady and is currently healthy. He's proven throughout his career that when he is healthy, he is a fantasy asset. Most owners are aware that he likely won't play all 16 games, but when he does play, he's worth starting. With Mike Evans banged up, look for Brady to find Gronk, especially in the end zone. He's ranked No. 10, but he should crack the top 10 for Week 1.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
With Mike Williams likely out, the Chargers are down to essentially Hunter Henry and Keenan Allen as primary targets. Austin Ekeler will likely see his share of screen passes or check-downs, but this may not bode well for Taylor. He's likely going to operate as a game manager until Justin Herbert is ready to take over. Taylor shouldn't be looked at in most fantasy leagues, but he is ranked No. 17. He is a desperation option in two-quarterback leagues.
Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
In mid-August, Sanders suffered a hamstring injury. The team has been managing his reps since and has said he will be ready for Week 1. While it does seem that he will be active, it also seems likely the Sanders will not have his regular complement of snaps. The Eagles know that he's the best running back on the team, and they don't want to lose him for more weeks from re-aggravating his injury. He's an RB2 this week because of the injury, not worthy of his No. 12 ranking.
A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans
While Brown is the top receiver listed on the Titans depth chart, he’s not quite a no-brainer WR1 just yet. Sure, he and Ryan Tannehill had great rapport last year, but this is still an offense that runs (literally) through Derrick Henry. Brown is a great fantasy option, but being ranked as No. 9 for Week 1 seems a bit high. The Titans face the Broncos, and Brown should be started in all formats, but don’t expect top-10 production.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
At the beginning of September, Green reportedly was dealing with a hamstring injury. He's 32 years old and the Bengals are likely not going to push him. Green is far from the WR1 that he used to be. Ranked No. 30 for this week puts him in the WR3 range, and that's about right, but fantasy owners should not be expecting a great performance from Green. It would not be surprising if he falls below the No. 30 ranking.
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
While it's true that the Eagles receiving corps is banged up, the No. 11 ranking seems a bit high for the second tight end on the roster. Zach Ertz is trying to get a big contract, and he's going to want to show what he can do. If Ertz is healthy, the Eagles are going to use him. While there have been times that both tight ends have had success, it's hard to consider Goedert a TE1 in a 12-team league. He's a TE2 with upside.
— Rankings by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.