If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed a series of tweets I share on a weekly basis regarding player and team defensive performances, all from a fantasy lens. I’m going to be sharing some of that same information with you here.
I use this each week as I am making my own lineup and waiver wire decisions and thought you might find this valuable as well.
Note: The scoring system used for this data is always PPR with four points for passing touchdowns.
All year to date fantasy ranks are based on total points.
Week one brought few surprises at the quarterback position as Josh Allen and the Bills carved up the Rams in the opener and Patrick Mahomes looked as good as always, tossing five touchdowns on his way to the QB2 spot for the week. That’s where things got weird though. Carson Wentz, playing for his third team in as many seasons after being cast off by both the Eagles and Colts, threw for four scores and over 300 yards, something he hadn’t done since 2017. Still, the fantasy community seems to lack confidence in Wentz even holding onto this job through the season.
Marcus Mariota was the other quarterback who found himself on a new team this offseason and he also surprised with a top-ten fantasy performance in the opener. Mariota’s passing numbers were pedestrian but he boosted his fantasy box score with 72 rushing yards and a score. Don’t count on that continuing on a weekly basis.
Finally, despite four turnovers, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow snuck into the top-12 scorers after passing for 338 yards and two scores in a heartbreaking loss to the Steelers.
Each week, in this section, I’ll use previous performances by team defenses to identify some matchups to target and avoid in the upcoming week. It is difficult to do that after just one game, but there are still some early trends forming that could be helpful in determining your week two lineup. As mentioned earlier, the Jaguars allowed Wentz to post one of the better fantasy performances of his career. This week, Jacksonville hosts the Colts and Matt Ryan, who would be a solid replacement for Dak Prescott or QB2 in a superflex lineup.
The Prescott injury was one of the top stories coming out of Week One, but even before he left the game, he was being totally shut down by the Buccaneers defense. That is a bad sign for Jameis Winston, coming off a solid week one performance. Winston has faced his former team on three occasions and has totaled just 17.9 fantasy points in those contests.
Saquon Barkley is back! That was the collective feeling of Giants fans and Barkley’s dynasty managers after his impressive week one game, in which he led all backs with 164 yards on the ground. Oh, he also led the Giants in targets (7) and receptions (6). This new offense could push Barkley back into the elite tier of backs in the dynasty landscape.
James Robinson was one of the feel-good stories of the week. After suffering a torn Achilles, many dynasty managers gave up on the former undrafted free agent. Not only did Robinson return to the field much faster than anyone expected, he actually played well, rushing for 66 yards and finding the end zone twice. While this is all very impressive, it is important to note that his teammate Travis Etienne had more snaps and targets than Robinson, so the backfield usage in Jacksonville will be worth watching in the coming weeks.
Backup running backs Kareem Hunt and Dontrell Hilliard each found the end zone twice, so be careful chasing those performances into week two.
The Eagles and Lions were involved in a week one shootout, though much of the scoring came on the ground, as neither team managed to stop the opposing backs. Four different ball carriers scored for the Eagles, while D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams combined for three touchdowns. This week, the Lions face the Commanders, giving Antonio Gibson another shot to show that the offseason panic was way overblown. Gibson looked great in Week One, especially in the passing game. The Eagles have the challenge of trying to slow down Dalvin Cook as they host the Vikings.
It looked like a nice week one spot for Saints back Alvin Kamara, but the Falcons held him to 46 scoreless yards and an RB44 finish for the week. This week, Atlanta will try to keep their strong play going against Darrell Henderson and maybe even Cam Akers.
Justin Jefferson, Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Ja’Marr Chase and Stefon Diggs were among the top wide receivers drafted in all formats this offseason and they wasted no time in reminding us why, each balling out in week one. There was a great deal of wide receiver vs running back talk in the fantasy community following this slate of games after some of the top backs disappointed.
AJ Brown is another highly valued wideout but there was some uncertainty about his status following the off-season trade to the Eagles. Brown had a monster game, seeing the second-most targets (13) and receptions (10) of any game in his career. If there was worry about Brown’s place in the Philly offense, that was quickly washed away.
Devin Duvernay and Robbie Anderson were expected to be the WR2s for their respective teams but somebody forgot to tell them in week one because they each led the way for their squads. Duvernay scored twice while Anderson totaled over 100 yards and a score. It would not be surprising if these represented the best games of the year for this duo.
Finally, Michael Thomas is back! Thomas scored a pair of touchdowns on eight targets and quickly solidified himself as the go-to option in New Orleans. For Thomas, who has missed much of the past two seasons with injuries, it was the first WR1 performance since week 16 of 2019.
Maybe it was simply due to the fact that they were facing Josh Allen and one of the top offenses in the league, but the Rams defense was sliced apart, allowing over 60 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in week one. Things get a little easier this week against Atlanta, but this could be a good spot for dynasty managers to take a shot on starting rookie Drake London.
The Broncos may have come up short in Russell Wilson’s dramatic return to Seattle, but it wasn’t due to the play of Seahawk wideouts, who were held to a combined 21.6 fantasy points. This week, Denver faces the Houston Texans, making Brandin Cooks a risky start.
It was another ugly week of production (or lack of) from the tight end position. TE12 Mark Andrews scored just 10.2 fantasy points but that was still enough to qualify as a TE1 for the week. Yuck! Old reliable Travis Kelce dominated once again, posting the 16th overall TE1 week of his career. After that, things got a bit fluky. OJ Howard and Taysom Hill were popular waiver wire targets this week after they combined for three scores, but the duo totaled just seven touches. Don’t rely on this type of efficiency to continue.
The Broncos looked silly against Seattle tight ends, allowing both Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson to finish as TE1s for the week. Now, Denver faces Houston, another team that uses multiple tight ends. Even after Howard’s big week one box score, this juicy matchup is still not enough to make me trust him and the same can be said for Brevin Jordan.
The 49ers didn’t allow even one catch to Bears tight end Cole Kmet while the Rams defense nearly goose-egged Dawson Knox too. This week, the Niners face off against Dissly and his Seattle crew while the Rams try to shut down Kyle Pitts. If Pitts is held in check for a second straight week, the dynasty community will be in dismay.
Finally, here is the chart summarizing how teams have fared against each position. I’ve also included the schedule for this week for reference.
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Stat Pack: Week Two - September 22, 2022
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Stat Pack: Week One - September 15, 2022
- Dynasty Fantasy Football 2022 NFL Draft Impact: A Review of Day Three - May 3, 2022