Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 1

September 9, 2021

It’s hard to believe that football season is back already, but here we are, and after a weird year of mostly empty football stadiums, it is great to get back to stadiums full of loud and raucous fans and it’s even better to be back, yet again, slinging my weekly, uh, wisdom?, here at GetsSportsInfo!

Lucky for all of you, we have 17 weeks of football this year and that means one more week of the greatest weekly fantasy football think piece ever written, so get ready for another year full of Fantasy Football nuggets from yours truly in our weekly ‘Studs, Duds & Sleepers’.




Aaron Rodgers, GB:

Rodgers had a league high 48 touchdown passes and a league low five interceptions in 2020 and I don’t see him slowing down in 2021, especially given the fact that he is playing pissed off. With a Week one matchup against the Saints, I could see the Packers putting up 40+ points. 

Matthew Stafford, LAR:

While I still believe Stafford is one of the most overrated quarterbacks of all-time, I think he could have a huge season in Sean McVay’s system. He gets to play behind a much better offensive line and throw to much better weapons as well. It may be his first week, but the Rams are likely to put a beating on the Bears and that should mean big numbers for Stafford.

Others receiving votes:

Kyler Murray, AZ:

Murray is a true dual-threat quarterback. He is equally as dangerous throwing as he is running, and I don’t see enough upgrades on the defensive side of the ball for a Titans team which gave up nearly 400 yards per game last season, so I see Murray getting off to a quick start in 2021.


Running backs:

Derrick Henry, Ten:

At the beginning of the season, defenses are usually ahead of offenses. However, it doesn’t take much practice or timing to get big bruising running back going. I like Henry, with fresh legs going up against the Cardinals revamped defense in Week one. 

Christian McCaffrey, Car:

He is coming off an injury riddled season and may take some time to get up to full speed, but, with a new quarterback (Sam Darnold) and going up against what is likely to be a bad Jets team, the Panthers will likely get McCaffrey involved early and often. Even if his workload is less than normal, he should see plenty of touches in both the running and passing game.  

Others receiving votes:

Joe Mixon, Cin:

Speaking of teams likely to lean on the running game to start the season, the Bengals, with Joe Burrow returning from a catastrophic knee injury, will be looking to take as much pressure off Burrow as possible and Mixon will be the beneficiary of such a game plan. Look for Mixon to get 25-30 touches in Week one. 


Pass Catchers:

Davante Adams, GB:

Adams led all receivers last year in touchdowns (18) and yards per game (98.1). During the offseason, the Packers added no additional weapons to speak of, and combined with an angry quarterback who is hell bent on proving a point, Adams will have another big year and it should start right away in Week one.

DeAndre Hopkins, AZ:

I expect Murray and company – particularly Hopkins – to get off to a hot start against a pass friendly Titans defense. While his touchdown numbers in 2020 were disappointing (6), Hopkins was top three last year in receptions (115), targets (160) and yards (1,407) and I don’t see those gaudy numbers slowing down this year. 

Others receiving votes:

Cooper Kupp, LAR

As I mentioned above, I expect a big year from Stafford and a big beneficiary of that will be Kupp. Kupp’s reliability and high-volume potential make him a prime candidate for a career year in 2021. The Bears should help Kupp and Stafford get off to a quick start. 




Jared Goff, Det:

On the other end of the Stafford trade is Goff. Goff finds himself on a Lions team in the middle of a rebuild. The line is likely to be bad – especially early on – they have an unproven running back, and despite a promising young tight end, they have no threats at the receiver position. Starting the season against what should be a very good 49ers defense is not going to bode well for Goff and company. If you were debating starting him this week, don’t.

Jameis Winston, NO:

Maybe Sean Payton will be the coach who can harness Winston’s potential and get him to limit his turnovers, but until I see him consistently protect the football, I am not going to trust him. Maybe he puts up big numbers this year in New Orleans, but with his number one receiver out and few other receiving threats, I wouldn’t bank on Week one being a good one for Winston. 

Others receiving votes:
Justin Herbert, LAC:

I was surprised and impressed by Herbert last year, and while I am not saying he is going to take a step back this season, I don’t like the Week one matchup going across the country to Washington, a team that very well may have the best defensive line in the NFL right now. Herbert is likely to be under a lot of duress this week. 


Running backs:

DeAndre Swift, Det:

Swift is a good candidate for a breakout season, but it is unlikely to start in Week one. Going up against a tough defense, with a new quarterback, no receivers to speak of and a suspect offensive line, this is not the week to be hoping for a big game from Swift. 

Najeh Harris, Pit:

A lot of folks are high on Harris, and given his production last year at Alabama, I see why, but….he will be running behind what is arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. Believe it or not, the Steelers took a terrible offensive line in 2020, and made it weaker and less experienced in 2021. Maybe they come together and play well, but I wouldn’t expect that to happen Week one in Buffalo.

Others receiving votes:

Ezekiel Elliott, Dal:

Elliott was a disappointment in 2020, failing to reach 1,000 yards rushing and having nearly as many fumbles (5) as touchdowns (6). In Week one, he gets the top ranked rushing defense from 2020, a Bucs team which gave up just 80 yards per game on the ground. 


Pass Catchers:

All Pass catchers wearing a Lions helmet:

Quick, name a Lions receiver! If you failed to name one, I am sure you are not alone. Between the teams’ lack of talent at the receiver position, a bad offensive line, an unproven running back and an average (at best) quarterback making his first start for the team, I would not recommend starting anyone who makes their living catching balls for the Lions of Detroit.

Allen Robinson II, Chi:

The Bears have a bad offensive line and that is a recipe for disaster when you are on the road playing Aaron Donald. Andy Dalton is going to be under pressure all day and he struggles mightily when pressured. As a result, all Bears receivers, Robinson included, are likely to struggle this weekend.   

Others receiving votes:

Jamar Chase, Cin:

If you haven’t been following the Bengals this offseason, you may be tempted to start Chase thinking he and Burrow will pick up right where they left off in college. Perhaps that will be the case later this season, but thus far, Chase is struggling catching the football, combine that with the fact that the Bengals have two talented and experienced receivers in front of him in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, and Chase is likely to be option three this weekend in the Bengals passing game.  




Sam Darnold, Car:

I don’t know if Darnold will ever pan out as a quality starting quarterback, but I am comfortable saying he never got a fair shot in New York. The Jets never put the talent around him. I am guessing Darnold may have some extra motivation this weekend against his former employer. 

Teddy Bridgewater, Den:

Bridgewater seems to always be under the radar, but I think he could have a good season in Denver this year. He has some great weapons in the passing game and gets what should be a friendly Week one matchup this week. 

Jimmy Garoppolo:

Garoppolo has a lot to prove, is trying to hold off a young first round quarterback, has a ton of receiving weapons and…he gets to play the Lions! All that should add up to a solid Week one performance by Jimmy G.

Running backs:

Raheem Mostert, SF:

While the rookie Trey Sermon is likely to take some of his touches, I still like Mostert early in the season, and in Week one, he gets to play the Lions, and if the 49ers get up early – which is likely – Mostert could see a lot of work. 

Damien Harris, NE:

Playing any running back on a Bill Belichick team is risky, but with a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start, I would suspect the Patriots to rely heavily on the running game early in the season and that could be big numbers for Harris. 



Pass Catchers:

Brandon Aiyuk, SF:

Most ot the talk among rookie receivers in 2020 was Justin Jefferson – and rightfully so – but Aiyuk had a great season as well, leading the 49ers in receiving yards (748), receptions (60), targets (96) and touchdowns (5), despite playing in only 12 games, most of which were quarterbacked by Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard. He also added two rushing touchdowns. While the return of George Kittle and Deebo Samuel could take away some of Aiyuk’s targets, they should also take away some of the attention he receives. 

Jonnu Smith, NE:

Smith has always been an underrated tight end, but with a weak receiving corps in New England and a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start, there is a very good chance that the Patriots game plan this week will be heavy on the running game and quick passes to their new tight ends. 

  • Categories: NFL

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