ChiCitySports Fantasy Review: Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings

*Due to Hurricane Irma, this week’s Miami-Tampa Bay game has been rescheduled for Week 11. Players in bold and italicized are affected by this change.* 

The most wonderful time of the year is here!

Thursday night marks the beginning of another NFL season, and high hopes for fantasy football team owners everywhere before their teams eventually crumble under the pressure of injuries and mismanagement.

That’s why we are here. So let’s get to the rankings for 2017 kickoff weekend!


There are a few juicy matchups spread across the Week 1 schedule and goes to show just how much deeper this position has become compared to previous seasons.

Matt Ryan should have a field day with a newly constructed Chicago secondary with zero returning starters from a year ago. Following closely behind is Big Ben with his annual trip to Cleveland to take on the rival Browns.

It is very possible Roethlisberger finds himself floating around the top 5 throughout the year. When he has Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell all healthy, he averages 300 yards per game and two touchdowns — I expect the same here to start the season.

Intriguing matchups for Kirk Cousins and Derek Carr help make it a deep week at quarterback. Andy Dalton with an expanded repertoire of offensive weapons makes for an intriguing play against Baltimore. Looking for a deep sleeper? Jared Goff is a tempting play in DFL facing a Colts defense without Vontae Davis.

Rank Player Team Opp.
1 Matt Ryan ATL @ CHI
2 Ben Roethlisberger PIT @ CLE
3 Tom Brady NE vs. KC
4 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. SEA
5 Russell Wilson SEA @ GB
6 Drew Brees NO @ MIN
7 Cam Newton CAR @ SF
8 Kirk Cousins WAS vs. PHI
9 Derek Carr OAK @ TEN
10 Jameis Winston TB @ MIA
11 Marcus Mariota TEN vs. OAK
12 Eli Manning NYG @ DAL
13 Dak Prescott DAL vs. NYG
14 Andy Dalton CIN vs. BAL
15 Carson Palmer ARI @ DET
16 Carson Wentz PHI @ WAS
17 Matthew Stafford DET vs. AZ
18 Philip Rivers LAC @ DEN
19 Sam Bradford MIN vs. NO
20 Tyrod Taylor BUF vs. NYJ
21 Jay Cutler MIA vs. TB
22 Joe Flacco BAL @ CIN
23 Alex Smith KC @ NE
24 Jared Goff LAR vs. IND
25 Blake Bortles JAC @ HOU

Running Back

Until further notice, expect Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson to be some combination of 1-2 in our weekly rankings.

It’s apparent to anyone just how ahead of the game they are versus everyone else. While Johnson was a consensus #1 overall pick this year, Bell did average more points per game. This week’s juicy matchup with Cleveland has the Steelers running back atop the rankings.

Dalvin Cook and Bilal Powell both have matchups that set them up nicely for potential top 10 weeks. Vikings may lean heavily on their rookie with the limitations of Sam Bradford’s arm — the only question is will they keep the Saints’ high-powered offense from running away. On the opposite end, will Adrian Peterson get his revenge on Minnesota? I wouldn’t bet against it, although I wouldn’t bet on how Sean Payton splits carries.

Deep plays this week include “Not Fat Anymore” Rob Kelley and Jeremy Hill who has managed to reappear as the #1 running back on the Bengals’ depth chart. We’ll get a much clearer view of that backfield following their showdown with Baltimore.

Rank Player Team Opp.
1 Le’Veon Bell PIT @ CLE
2 David Johnson ARI @ DET
3 LeSean McCoy CAR @ SF
4 DeMarco Murray TEN @ OAK
5 Devonta Freeman ATL @ CHI
6 Ezekiel Elliott DAL vs. NYG
7 Jordan Howard CHI vs. ATL
8 Christian McCaffrey CAR @ SF
9 Melvin Gordon LAC @ DEN
10 Todd Gurley LAR vs. IND
11 Jay Ajayi MIA vs. TB
12 Marshawn Lynch OAK @ TEN
13 Kareem Hunt KC @ NE
14 Dalvin Cook MIN vs. NO
15 Adrian Peterson NO @ MIN
16 Bilal Powell NYJ @ BUF
17 Carlos Hyde SF @ CAR
18 Jacquizz Rodgers TB @ MIA
19 Lamar Miller HOU vs. JAC
20 Ty Montgomery GB vs. SEA
21 Leonard Fournette JAC @ HOU
22 Isaiah Crowell CLE vs. PIT
23 C.J. Anderson DEN vs. LAC
24 Terrance West BAL @ CIN
25 Danny Woodhead BAL @ CIN
26 Joe Mixon CIN vs. BAL
27 Ameer Abdullah DET vs. AZ
28 Frank Gore IND @ LAR
29 Duke Johnson Jr. CLE vs. PIT
30 Tevin Coleman ATL @ CHI
31 Robert Kelley WAS vs. PHI
32 Mark Ingram NO @ MIN
33 LeGarrette Blount PHI @ WAS
34 Paul Perkins NYG @ DAL
35 Jonathan Stewart CAR @ SF
36 Mike Gillislee NE vs. KC
37 Jeremy Hill CIN vs. BAL
38 Eddie Lacy SEA @ GB
39 Thomas Rawls SEA @ GB
40 Shane Vereen NYG @ DAL
41 Derrick Henry TEN vs. OAK
42 Darren McFadden DAL vs. NYG
43 Darren Sproles PHI @ WAS
44 Matt Forte NYJ @ BUF
45 Dion Lewis NE vs. KC
46 Theo Riddick DET vs. AZ
47 Latavius Murray MIN vs. NO
48 C.J. Prosise SEA @ GB
49 James White NE vs. KC
50 Charcandrick West KC @ NE

Wide Receiver 

Like his running back counterpart, Antonio Brown is primed to start 2017 off on the right foot against Cleveland. The three wideouts behind him are primed to do the same as we expect from them every season.

Jordy Nelson and Michael Thomas draw the toughest assignments in this week’s top 10 facing off against the likes of Richard Sherman and Xavier Rhodes respectively.

Expect Alshon Jeffery to make an immediate impact in his first game as an Eagle despite having to put up with Josh Norman, while other receivers past this tier, T.Y. Hilton and Allen Robinson, are stay away players this week due to both their quarterbacks and the defenses they’ll face.

DeVante Parker’s long-awaited breakout may come this season and what better time than Week 1? With Jay Cutler, the #1 will be fed, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see a top 20 week from the Dolphin. Same goes for Zay Jones in Buffalo because really, who else are the Bills going to throw to?

Rank Player Team Opp.
1 Antonio Brown PIT @ CLE
2 Julio Jones ATL @ CHI
3 A.J. Green CIN vs. BAL
4 Mike Evans TB @ MIA
5 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG @ DAL
6 Amari Cooper OAK @ TEN
7 Jordy Nelson GB vs. SEA
8 Michael Thomas NO @ MIN
9 Brandin Cooks NE vs. KC
10 Doug Baldwin SEA @ GB
11 Dez Bryant DAL vs. NYG
12 Larry Fitzgerald ARI @ DET
13 Michael Crabtree OAK @ TEN
14 Alshon Jeffery PHI @ WAS
15 DeAndre Hopkins HOU vs. JAC
16 Demaryius Thomas DEN vs. LAC
17 Kelvin Benjamin CAR @ SF
18 Davante Adams GB vs. SEA
19 T.Y. Hilton IND @ LAR
20 Allen Robinson JAC @ HOU
21 Martavis Bryant PIT @ CLE
22 Stefon Diggs MIN vs. NO
23 Terrelle Pryor Sr. WAS vs. PHI
24 Tyreek Hill KC @ NE
25 Emmanuel Sanders DEN vs. LAC
26 Pierre Garcon SF vs. CAR
27 Jamison Crowder WAS vs. PHI
28 Eric Decker TEN vs. OAK
29 Keenan Allen LAC @ DEN
30 Golden Tate DET vs. AZ
31 Jarvis Landry MIA vs. TB
32 John Brown ARI @ DET
33 Jeremy Maclin BAL @ CIN
34 DeVante Parker MIA vs. TB
35 Sammy Watkins LAR vs. IND
36 DeSean Jackson TB @ MIA
37 Mike Wallace BAL @ CIN
38 Taylor Gabriel ATL @ CHI
39 Kendall Wright CHI vs. ATL
40 Donte Moncrief IND @ LAR
41 Zay Jones BUF vs. NYJ
42 Randall Cobb GB vs. SEA
43 Brandon Marshall NYG @ DAL
44 Adam Thielen MIN vs. NO
45 Kenny Britt CLE vs. PIT
46 Tyrell Williams LAC @ DEN
47 Marvin Jones DET vs. AZ
48 Rishard Matthews TEN vs. OAK
49 Corey Coleman CLE vs. PIT
50 Kevin White CHI vs. ATL

Tight End

A few changes here and there among the game’s top options with Gronk ruling above all until his inevitable injury.

On the other sideline, Travis Kelce punished New England in his first game against the defending champs, would not be surprised to see the same on Thursday. If Tyrod Taylor plays on Sunday, Charles Clay may eat up a healthy share of targets en route to a top 10 day for the Bills.

Past the top 12, Kyle Rudolph aka Sam Bradford’s security blanket and Jack Doyle aka Scott Tolzien’s dump off option should be solid PPR options thanks to the limitations of their quarterbacks.

Rank Player Team Opp.
1 Rob Gronkowski NE vs. KC
2 Travis Kelce KC @ NE
3 Greg Olsen CAR @ SF
4 Jimmy Graham SEA @ GB
5 Tyler Eifert CIN vs. BAL
6 Jordan Reed WAS vs. PHI
7 Delanie Walker TEN vs. OAK
8 Charles Clay BUF vs. NYJ
9 Zach Ertz PHI @ WAS
10 Jason Witten DAL vs. NYG
11 Martellus Bennett GB vs. SEA
12 Hunter Henry LAC @ DEN
13 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. NO
14 Austin Hooper ATL @ CHI
15 Coby Fleener NO @ MIN
16 Jack Doyle IND @ LAR
17 Cameron Brate TB @ MIA
18 Julius Thomas MIA vs. TB
19 Eric Ebron DET vs. AZ
20 Evan Engram NYG @ DAL
21 Antonio Gates LAC @ DEN
22 C.J. Fiedorowicz HOU vs. JAC
23 Jared Cook OAK @ TEN
23 O.J. Howard TB @ MIA
24 Austin Seferian-Jenkins NYJ @ BUF
25 Jesse James PIT @ CLE


If the Houston defense stays healthy this season, do not be surprised if they finish as the top D/ST in fantasy football. Their front seven is one of the most menacing in recent history and they gave up the least yards in the league without JJ Watt the majority of the season.

The Rams offer up one of the best streaming options of the year facing an Andrew Luck-less Colts team. The Chargers also offer an intriguing option going up against Denver, especially if Demaryius Thomas is hobbled.

Rank Team Opp.
1 Houston Texans vs. JAC
2 Pittsburgh Steelers @ CLE
3 Carolina Panthers @ SF
4 Denver Broncos vs. LAC
5 Buffalo Bills vs. NYJ
6 Los Angeles Rams vs. IND
7 New England Patriots vs. KC
8 Atlanta Falcons @ CHI
9 Jacksonville Jaguars @ HOU
10 Seattle Seahawks @ GB
11 Arizona Cardinals @ DET
12 Los Angeles Chargers @ DEN
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ MIA
14 New York Giants @ DAL
15 Kansas City Chiefs @ NE
16 Baltimore Ravens @ CIN
17 Cincinnati Bengals vs. BAL
18 Detroit Lions vs. AZ
19 San Francisco 49ers vs. CAR
20 Dallas Cowboys vs. NYG
21 Miami Dolphins vs. TB
22 New York Jets @ BUF
23 Minnesota Vikings vs. NO
24 Philadelphia Eagles @ WAS
25 Green Bay Packers vs. SEA


(Rankings based off .5 PPR projections)

Stephen Johnson

Host of ChiCitySports’ The Bear Front podcast, Stephen previously spent 8 years with ESPN Radio and as a TV reporter. He is an avid fantasy sports player and is a former Fantasy Football Expert for Chicago’s 670am The Score.

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