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Best fantasy football performances by position from Week 1

Matt Johnson
fantasy football performances
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 NFL season is underway and that means the return of fantasy football. Week 1 delivered plenty of thrilling games with key takeaways along with winners and losers from all the action. It also provided the football world with some incredible fantasy performances.

It’s a time of year that reminds everyone how bittersweet fantasy football can be. One moment managers are celebrating as Justin Jefferson scores his second touchdown, only to realize they are facing him in another league.

Monster performances can swing an entire matchup and odds are if one of your players delivered one of the biggest stat lines on Sunday, you came out on top this week and will start the season with a clean 1-0 record.

Related: Week 2 fantasy football rankings

Here are the best fantasy football performances from Week 1.

Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs

Syndication: Arizona Republic
Joe Rondone / USA TODAY NETWORK

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes made everyone forget Tyreek Hill exists. After having his former star receiver critique the quarterback’s accuracy, Mahomes completed 30-of-39 passes on Sunday and threw touchdown passes to four different players. We’d expect to see Mahomes on this list of top performers in Week 2 after he faces the Los Angeles Chargers.

  • Patrick Mahomes stats (2022): 360 passing yards, five passing touchdowns

Best fantasy football performances by QBs in Week 1

  • Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills – 297 passing yards, 56 rushing yards, four total touchdowns
  • Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles – 243 passing yards, 90 rushing yards, one touchdown
  • Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders – 313 passing yards, 12 rushing yards, four touchdowns
  • Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers – 279 passing yards, three touchdowns

Related: NFL quarterback rankings 2022

Saquon Barkley, running back, New York Giants

NFL: New York Giants at Tennessee Titans
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley is back. Remember that rookie running back who became a fantasy football star in 2018 with 2,028 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns? We might get something pretty close to that in 2022. Barkley fits perfectly into Brian Daboll’s offense, functioning as the workhorse as a ballcarrier and being heavily involved in the passing attack. Explosive runs, powering through defenders and all the touches he can handle. This won’t be the last RB1 performance for Barkley this season.

  • Saquon Barkley stats (2022): 164 rushing yards, 30 receiving yards, one touchdown

Best fantasy football performances by running backs in Week 1

  • Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts – 161 rushing yards, 14 receiving yards, one touchdown
  • D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions – 144 rushing yards, 31 receiving yards, one touchdown
  • Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns – 70 scrimmage yards, two touchdowns
  • Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons – 120 rushing yards, 16 receiving yards, one touchdown

Justin Jefferson, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Jefferson is the best wide receiver in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings star delivered over 3,000 receiving yards with 17 touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons. Remember, he did that in an offense that looked like it was pulled from the early 2010s. Kevin O’Connell is changing everything about this passing attack. Kirk Cousins is better and we saw that on full display in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers.

There’s also an important takeaway from this performance from a fantasy football perspective. Green Bay’s secondary is arguably one of the best in the NFL and it didn’t matter. The Vikings moved Jefferson around and O’Connell’s system is built on plays to let Jefferson explode in open space. He is going to finish the year as the No. 1 receiver in fantasy and might even go for the Triple Crown.

Top fantasy football performances by wide receivers in Week 1

  • Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams – 128 receiving yards, one touchdown on 15 targets
  • Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders – 141 receiving yards, one touchdown on 17 targets
  • Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals – 129 receiving yards, one touchdown on 16 targets
  • Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills – 122 receiving yards, one touchdown on 13 targets

Travis Kelce, tight end, Kansas City Chiefs

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Kelce doesn’t need Tyreek Hill stretching defenses to post monster stat lines. Kansas City’s receiving corps is now more versatile with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling attacking the field in different ways. It leaves enough open room for Kelce to find holes and that chemistry with Mahomes is unmatched. As long as Kelce and Mahomes are healthy, this is the best quarterback and pass-catching duo in fantasy football.

  • Travis Kelce stats (2022): 121 receiving yards, one touchdown on nine targets

Best fantasy football performances by TEs in Week 1

  • OJ Howard, Houston Texans – 38 receiving yards, two touchdowns on two targets
  • Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints – 81 rushing yards, one touchdown
  • Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers – 54 receiving yards, one touchdown on four targets
  • Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys – 62 receiving yards on nine targets
  • Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers – 75 receiving yards on 10 targets

Pittsburgh Steelers defense

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Defenses in fantasy football are always volatile with a pick-six or a few sacks changing the entire landscape of a week. On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense erupted against the Cincinnati Bengals. Minkah Fitzpatrick started things with a pick-six, the first of four interceptions for Joe Burrow. The Steelers recorded seven sacks, blocked one pick, recovered a fumble and allowed just 20 points to the reigning AFC champions.

It’s an incredible performance, but expect the Steelers D/ST to drop off considerably due to the T.J. Watt injury and the nature of regression for defenses that rely on takeaways.