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Fantasy Football Week 1 Starters: Our 12 Featured Lineup Picks

Fantasy expert Scott Engel helps you get your lineup right for Week 1.

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Scott Engel is in his 11th season as the official Fantasy Football writer and analyst for He is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's Hall of Fame. Scott is a four-time FSWA award winner and a 10-time nominee, including being a finalist for the 2020 FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year Award, which he won previously. Scott was the No. 1 most accurate fantasy football draft ranker at tight end and No. 6 at running back on in 2021. You can find more of his fantasy football analysis, including 2022 player rankings, at The Game Day this season.

The 2022 NFL season is here, and for Seahawks fans and fantasy football players, it's a welcomed point of new beginnings. For followers of the team, it's time to put on or acquire your Action Green apparel in anticipation of the Monday night season opener vs. Denver. Fantasy football players are excited to set their first lineups of the new season and revel in all of the Sunday and Monday excitement as the points roll in.

New challenges accompany the start of the new fantasy football year, and we will be here every week to help you make the tough lineup calls. For Week 1 fantasy football lineups, we pinpoint the starters who should get the nod in tight decisions and may also outperform expectations. Here are our 12 Week 1 fantasy football lineup picks that could boost your team to a victory.

Week 1 Fantasy Football Starts: Lock Them Into Your Lineups

Running Backs

Rashaad Penny, Seahawks vs. Denver: Penny is ready to open the 2022 season and build on his memorable finish to the 2021 campaign. From Weeks 14 through 17 last year, Penny outscored all other running backs with 85.2 points in points per reception formats. He was a more complete runner than ever before, displaying his trademark open-field explosiveness while also emerging as a more physical ball carrier. Penny is going to be a major focal point of the Seahawks offense on Monday night, and he is an ideal starter at your flex position if you were able to draft him as a third running back.

Antonio Gibson, Washington vs. Jacksonville: Gibson will start off the season as the lead running back for the Commanders, and he will play an important role in the first week against the Jaguars. Washington is breaking in a new quarterback, Carson Wentz, and establishing a good ground game can only help him in his Commanders debut. Gibson will be a key to his team winning the time of possession battle and he should be able to fare well against the Jaguars' defensive front seven. Gibson has a strong chance of being a drive finisher for the Commanders, as he has rushed for 18 touchdowns over the past two seasons.


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Chase Edmonds, Miami vs. New England: Edmonds should be a heavily featured running back for the first time in his career, starting in the Dolphins' season opener against a top rival. It is never easy against Bill Belichick, but Miami has speed everywhere on offense, including with Edmonds. He is a versatile performer who threatens defenses as a runner and receiver, and he can bust loose for big plays when he sees open field ahead of him. Miami's offense may prove to be too potent for New England in Week 1, and Edmonds has upside as a possible lead man out of the backfield.

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis vs. Houston: In deeper leagues, you should consider Hines as a flex option. The Colts now have Matt Ryan at quarterback, and he is comfortable throwing to his running backs. Jonathan Taylor is the obvious lead RB for Indianapolis against the highly vulnerable Texans defense, but Hines is his top complement and has some TD potential while also being a very good pass-catching RB. Ryan is going to find Hines to be one of his more reliable targets early in his Indianapolis tenure, so he does have appeal if you have a lineup hole to fill in a PPR format. Hines had 63 receptions and seven TDs from scrimmage two years ago, and he could recapture that form in 2022. 

Wide Receivers

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City vs. Arizona: Smith-Schuster gets a new start in Kansas City working with a superstar quarterback, and he should be the new No. 1 target at wide receiver for Patrick Mahomes. Two seasons ago, he caught 97 passes with nine TD receptions, and now Smith-Schuster will be operating in the best passing offense of his career. He is a must-start option as a fantasy WR3 in Week 1, as the Chiefs' passing game has a very good draw against the Arizona secondary. 

DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia vs. Detroit: The Eagles were the most run-heavy team in the NFL last season, but that is about to change. Philadelphia's acquisition of standout WR A.J. Brown in the offseason was a major signal that the passing game will be upgraded. Brown will command a lot of defensive attention, and Smith can now take advantage of working across from another top wideout. Jalen Hurts will show that he is improving as a passer and Smith has a good shot of making some big plays downfield against Detroit. 

Chris Olave, New Orleans vs. Atlanta: Olave is regarded as one of the most polished wide receivers to come out of the 2022 NFL Draft class. Working with veterans Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry can only help accelerate his pro development. Olave should prove to be a dependable target for Jameis Winston on key downs, and he can also be a significant threat downfield. Olave might eventually remind Seahawks fans of Doug Baldwin in terms of being able to challenge defenses on all types of routes and at every level. He should have a productive opener against an Atlanta defense that will spend a lot of time on the field against Jameis Winston. 

Alec Pierce, Indianapolis vs. Houston: Pierce is one of our favorite WR sleepers right now, and he was not drafted in many fantasy leagues. Add him now if he is available, and get ahead of the pack before next week. Pierce should be strongly considered as a starter if you have a need at the flex position. The rookie will quickly emerge as Ryan's top WR opposite Michael Pittman Jr. He is a big target with significant PPR potential and he could be a frequent TD threat for the Colts.


Trey Lance, San Francisco vs. Chicago: Lance will open the season as the confirmed starter for the 49ers, and he should be able to take advantage of a good matchup vs. Chicago. Lance has a host of playmakers to depend on, including Deebo Samuel, the premier yardage after the catch WR in the game. He averaged 10.0 yards after reception last season, easily the best mark at his position. Brandon Aiyuk may be headed for a breakthrough season. The 49ers have good depth at WR and Lance also has rushing upside working in an RPO attack with a sturdy running game. You can start Lance with confidence in Week 1.

Derek Carr, Las Vegas vs. Los Angeles Chargers: Carr passed for a career-high 4,804 yards last season, and now he should have the best receiving group of his career after the Raiders acquired Davante Adams in the offseason. Carr and Adams played together at Fresno State and will quickly re-establish a strong connection, plus premier TE Darren Waller and the highly trustworthy Hunter Renfrow are back in the receiving mix for Las Vegas. Carr should open the 2022 season with a flourish in what can be a high-scoring affair between the Raiders and Chargers.

Tight Ends

Cole Kmet, Chicago vs. San Francisco: Justin Fields is going to face heavy defensive pressure in his 2022 opener. Getting the ball out quickly to his TE will be a prime focus. Kmet is ready to step forward in 2022 as one of the top pass-catchers for the Bears. He should function as a fantasy TE1 right away, as Kmet will be a very dependable target for Fields.

Evan Engram, Jacksonville vs. Washington: The Jaguars have made an effort to improve the supporting cast around Trevor Lawrence, and Engram will be one of his preferred new targets. He is working in Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Press Taylor's new TE-friendly system. If you waited until the later rounds to draft your tight end, Engram can be a viable starter for Week 1.

For more fantasy football analysis from Scott Engel, visitThe Game Day for his weekly sleepers and waiver recommendations.

On April 24, 1988, the Seahawks selected wide receiver Brian Blades in the second round of the NFL Draft. Blades finished his career ranked second to Steve Largent on the Seahawks' all-time list in receptions (581) and receiving yards (7,620). Take a look back at photos of Blades throughout his career.

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