Week 1 of the NFL regular season is finally here, as the Atlanta Falcons play host to the Carolina Panthers. All week we’ve discussed what could happen in the real world, so let’s turn our world to the land of focus, that’s right, fantasy football!
The always-growing and all-consuming game of fantasy football is back, and by now everyone has had their league drafts and are anxiously awaiting the rest of the Week 1 games to see how their individual teams are going to fare. Today, we’ll be focusing on which Falcons players should be in your lineups this week, and those that you may be better off leaving on your bench.
First off, it’s Week 1. So there’s some no-brainers you should be starting. If you drafted Bijan Robinson and/or Kyle Pitts, you’re starting them. Don’t overthink stuff in Week 1, as nobody really knows what will happen. For example, the Detroit Lions just defeated the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. Football is back and unpredictable as always.
I mention the Lions because Bijan and Lions’ rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs have been compared to each other due to their early selections from the 2023 NFL Draft. The Lions one, yes, but Gibbs was an afterthought. Many analysts, including myself, expected to see a lot more of him, but he displayed his talent and then went to the bench the very next play, throughout the entire game.
With Bijan, I think the usage will be much more frequent. Even with Allgeier present, Bijan’s ability to also work as pass-catcher should give him the leg up on Allgeier if the game is close. If the Falcons run away with it, Allgeier could be brought in to keep that clock ticking down. But overall, I feel pretty safe about Bijan in this game and predict that he will have both a rushing and receiving touchdown on Sunday.
Another name to watch for is Drake London. Most folks will likely have them in their lineup, but I know some fantasy owners may have other options on Sunday. I’m firing up London if I have him. London is coming off a 2022 rookie season where he averaged nearly 7 targets per game.
In 2023, London will be the team’s primary receiving option and should get around 8-10 targets per game. I predict London will have a stat line of 9 catches for 74 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers, which would be a fine day in fantasy.
Again, it’s Week 1 so we don’t have a lot of data to make decisions based on. If there’s one person I’m hesitant to start it’s kicker Younghoe Koo. Not because of anything Koo related, but I think there’s a chance that this isn’t a high scoring game and Koo maybe has one field goal on Sunday. If you’re content with six fantasy points from your kicker, by all means start him. But I think there are likely some kickers on your league free agent wire which will net you a few more this week.