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10 must-start fantasy football players for NFL Week 1

Rachel Wold
Kareem Hunt continues to dominate early in his NFL career.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 in the NFL of brings many exciting matchups to the big screen. There are also some tilts more favorable to particular players than others.

Some are already speculating that the game between the New England Patriots and Houston Texans will be a goldmine as far as points scored on both sides. Here, we cover a couple of star players in said matchup primed for monster performances.

Meanwhile, there are a handful of specific running backs who will be looking to feast on some very porous run defenses.

Here are 10 must-start fantasy football players for Week 1 of the NFL season.

Alvin Kamara, running back, New Orleans Saints

With Mark Ingram suspended, it should be the Kamara show all game long in Week 1. Kamara has an inviting fantasy matchup at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This team surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs last season. Might we also mention that Kamara, going up twice against the Bucs as a rookie, recorded a total of 280 yards and three touchdowns in two games. The young running back should continue to own the Bucs’ defense.

Philip Rivers, quarterback, Los Angeles ChargersĀ 

Philip Rivers, MVP candidate?

Week 1 is as good of a time as ever to get Rivers into fantasy lineups. The underrated quarterback has a sweet home matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs and their leaky secondary. Rivers should throw for yards galore in such a pass-friendly environment. Plus, he no longer has to hassle with former Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters. Instead, Rivers faces a defense that allowed the fourth-most passing yards last year.

Stefon Diggs, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings

In Week 1, Diggs will look to standout in Minnesota when the San Francisco 49ers come to town. This a defense that gave up 27 total passing touchdowns and an average of 246.4 yards through the air last season. Even with fellow wideout Adam Thielen sharing the field, Diggs remains a solid starter in Kirk Cousins Vikings debut.

Tom Brady, quarterback, New England Patriots

It is a no-brainer that Brady warrants a start every single game. But we particularly love his season-opening game against the Houston Texans. This is a team Brady unleashed 378 passing yards and five touchdowns on the last time the Texans came to Gillette Stadium. Once again, we should expect a huge performance from Brady at home, playing with a group of very talented pass-catchers. Get ready to watch the fantasy points come pouring in.

Jacksonville Jaguars defenseĀ 

Jalen Ramsey versus Odell Beckham Jr. and Sacksonville versus Eli Manning. Which side comes out ahead when the Giants host this menacing Jacksonville Jaguars defense? We definitely predict some success for the Jags here as they attempt to pick off one of the most turnover-prone quarterbacks in the league in that of Manning. When it comes to targeting OBJ, Manning might avoid that potentially dangerous situation altogether. This means the Jags defense wins as it looks to create headaches all game long for Manning and Co.

Kareem Hunt, running back, Kansas City Chiefs

Plug in Hunt in Week 1 and watch him fly! Hunt has an excellent fantasy matchup on tap against the Los Angeles Chargers. This unit gave up 131.1 rushing yards on average per game last year. That came at an average of 4.9 yards per tote. We already know Hunt is lightening fast and can exploit any run defense not playing its “A” game. If quarterback Patrick Mahomes finds himself struggling against the Chargers secondary, then that means all of the more touches for Hunt.

DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver, Houston Texans

Those who own Hopkins should reap all kinds of benefits in Week 1. The New England Patriots surrendered nearly 270 passing yards per game last year as well as the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. This game might have one of the highest over-unders on the schedule this week and Hopkins is poised to eat. A healthy return of Deshaun Watson makes for an even better matchup for Nuke.

Delanie Walker, tight end, Tennessee Titans

Walker is on course for an awesome Week 1 game when the Titans face the Miami Dolphins this Sunday. The Dolphins were one of only three teams that allowed more than 1,000 yards to tight ends last season. Not to mention, this defense gave up 10 touchdowns to opposing tight ends. Walker is quarterback Marcus Mariota’s security blanket in the passing game. He stands to score bank in fantasy points this week.

Andy Dalton, quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals

Red hot in the preseason just like his awesome mane of red hair, Dalton should continue producing at a high level with the Indianapolis Colts come into town. The Colts were wretched against the pass last year, allowing a 62.4 completion rate as well as 23 passing touchdowns on the season. Dalton looked fantastic last month and we like A.J. Green, a healthy Tyler Eifert, second-year John Ross and Joe Mixon to help Dalton pile up quite the stash of yards and touchdowns this week.

Marshawn Lynch, running back, Oakland Raiders

NFL Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch

The Raiders close out Week 1 with a late Monday Night Football game at home against the Los Angeles Rams. This is a Rams defense that does not seem to care how many rushing yards it allows on a weekly basis. The preseason was a prime example of that trend continuing. This came after the Rams’ run defense gave up an average of 122.4 yards per game last year. In other terms, the Rams allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs in 2017. This is a great game to roll with Lynch while he is healthy with fresh legs.