Fantasy Football Week 1 Booms and Busts

Hardik Singhal, Staff Writer

With the NFL season starting this weekend, Fantasy Football begins. In my decade of watching football and playing Fantasy Football, I’ve learned many things along the way that helped me win several fantasy championships over the years. 

If you are in a league where the buy-in is serious and you have a lot of money invested, or your league’s loser has an embarrassing punishment, or even if it’s just for bragging rights, let my weekly guide of Fantasy Football help you win the crown of your league.

Setting your lineup each and every week can sometimes be confusing and frustrating, especially when you have players on Bye weeks or players who are injured. Making sure you fill those guys in with the right players, as well as keeping the wrong players on the bench, is essential to winning week in and week out.

This guide will preview three players I expect to get well over their projected point total, or Booms, and three guys I expect to get under, who are the Busts. So let’s get into it with the NFL’s opening week.

Boom #1: WR DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks (vs DEN)

It may come as a surprise having DK up here, especially after Seattle shipped his star QB, Russell Wilson, off to Denver this past offseason, but those who followed him last year know how well he can perform without Wilson. In the absence of Wilson (injury) in 2021, Metcalf put up an average of 17.2 fantasy points per week above his projected average. He had that success with Geno Smith last year, and now as the certain WR1, he should have more passes thrown his way. With an ESPN projection of 13.7 points, things are looking as if he could have a solid performance against his old QB in the season opener. DK is definitely a must start for Week 1 and should give your team an upside to win in the first week of your league. 

My Projection: 21.9 points (7 Rec, 89 yards, 1 TD)

Bust #1: RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (at TB)

ESPN currently has projected the former All Pro RB to get 13.3 points against Tampa’s strong run defense. The biggest red flag here is the matchup. We saw Zeke play Tampa in the opening week last year as well, when he only got 5.9 points and disappointed many fantasy owners. Elliott, who doesn’t pose much of a threat in the passing game, will have trouble moving the ball against the Bucs’ #1 ranked run defense. Unless the Cowboys give him a few punches on the goal line for some sweet touchdowns, his point total should leave fantasy owners dissatisfied for the second year in a row. 

My Projection: 8.7 points (35 rush yards, 2 rec, 22 rec yards)

Boom #2: RB AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers (at MIN)

Projected a flat 10.0 points, Green Bay’s RB2 should be in for a huge performance against divisional rival Minnesota. After a very pass-run balanced offense last year and after trading star WR Davante Adams this past offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Packers lean towards the run this year, especially early on. With the lack of experience in their WR room, the two running backs, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, should take off. Jones should pose a bigger threat in the receiving game and it is likely Rodgers mainly hands the ball off to Dillon. It’s looking as if Dillon will get most of the red zone work, which should result in the sweet 6 point touchdowns. I definitely recommend having Dillon in your FLEX spot or possibly even RB2 for opening week.

My projection: 24.8 points (73 yards, 2 TDs, 3 rec, 25 rec yards)

Bust #2: WR Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs DAL)

Coming off his ACL injury late in the season last year, it is currently uncertain if he plays in Tampa’s home opener against Dallas. However, ESPN believes he will play and gives him a projection of 15.0 points. When coming off such a serious injury, teams often tread lightly and tend to limit a player’s snap count. Being WR2 to Mike Evans, surrounded by a stacked WR room and not fully 100% are things to take into consideration when setting your lineups this week. Chris is a must start when healthy, but at this point of the season, it’s a big risk as there’s a high chance he doesn’t get the snap count fans are looking for, increasing his chance of a bust.

My projection: 4.9 points (2 rec, 29 yards)

Boom #3: WR Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens (at NYJ)

After missing some time in his rookie year, the 2021 first round draft pick is looking to showcase his talents in the NFL. To his benefit, he doesn’t have much target competition with the Ravens current WR room. Bateman is currently the clear cut WR1, and apart from TE Mark Andrews, he will be Lamar Jackson’s primary target. Although Baltimore plays with a run first offense, there is no guarantee that their two starting RBs, JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, even play due to the injuries they faced last year. Even if they do, Coach John Harbaugh won’t feed their workload and snap count, forcing Baltimore to pass the ball more. When they do, Bateman could be the go-to guy and should dominate and beat ESPN’s projection of 12.2.

My projection: 19.7 points (5 rec, 87 yards, 1 TD)

Bust #3: RB David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (vs SF)

With a projection of 13.4 points, there is a lot of space for David Montgomery to underperform. In a RB room with Khalil Herbert, who showed some flashes during Montgomery’s absence last year, and under a horrible offensive line, Montgomery will have trouble finding statistical success this Sunday. The mismatch in the trenches between Chicago and San Francisco makes it so much more difficult for the Bears to successfully run the football. While he may get some short targets in the passing game, finding the end zone and racking up yards is something I don’t expect him to do this weekend. The Bears offense is just not good enough for him to have success, especially against San Francisco’s elite defense.

My Projection: 8.2 points (37 yards, 3 rec, 15 rec yards)