Fantasy football analyst Sal Vetri will use this space to deliver his keys to victory every week of the 2023 NFL season.
Finding No. 1: The best (RB) spot of the week
This title belongs to Brian Robinson. He enters Week 1 as part of a 7-point favorite Commanders team against the Cardinals' No. 32-ranked defensive line from 2022.
This Arizona unit lost JJ Watt, Zach Allen and Markus Golden this offseason. It enters Week 1 projected to be the worst-ranked defensive line once again.
In three games as a favorite last season, Robinson averaged 13 fantasy points on nearly 17 touches per game. Get him in your lineup in Week 1.
Finding No. 2: The reliable TE streamer
Pick up and play Cowboys TE Jake Ferguson (33% rostered). Ferguson is a former fourth-round pick and he was a strong college producer. He earned 28% of his college team’s offensive production.
This is better than what Dalton Schultz did in college. I mention this because Dalton Schultz was a top-10 TE for the past two seasons with Dak Prescott.
Ferguson earned the eighth-most yards per route run among TEs last season and now he’s going to run even more routes. If you need a TE, he’s your guy.
Finding No. 3: The QB dream
Tua Tagovailoa is in an ideal spot this week. He has the best game environment on the slate as a three-point underdog with a 51-point total. Historically, this is the No. 1 spot for fantasy QBs. As the underdog in a high total game, it implies Tua will potentially throw 40-plus times.
In three similar spots in his career, Tua averaged 24 fantasy points on 39 attempts.
Finding No. 4: The messy backfield
This week’s messy backfield takes us to Indy. No Jonathan Taylor, a questionable Zack Moss and Deon Jackson is projected to start. Let’s make this easy for you: just avoid this backfield.
Deon Jackson was solid last season as a starter and even posted 28 points in one game. But Jackson relies on receiving-game work to find success. He was just 70th in rush efficiency last season.
His receiving work will now be limited by mobile QB Anthony Richardson, who only targeted RBs five percent of the time last year.
Finding No. 5: The sketchy spot of the week
Najee Harris is in a sketchy situation. He’ll face the 49ers' stout defensive line that adds elite tackle Javon Hargrave from the Eagles. Nick Bosa signing his deal on Wednesday makes matters even worse for Najee.
This San Francisco defense also features the No. 1 linebacker unit led by Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw.
Against top-10 defenses last season, Najee Harris averaged a fantasy finish of RB25, and he now has Jaylen Warren breathing down his neck. If you have a viable replacement, consider sitting Najee.
Finding No. 6: A surprising name who will finish in the top-10 rankings
The Week 1 surprise is Jamaal Williams. With Alvin Kamara suspended and rookie Kendre Miller injured, Williams is expected to handle the entire workload for New Orleans.
It’s not an ideal matchup against Tennessee, but Williams is a favorite and will rush behind strong run-blockers Trevor Penning & Ryan Ramczyk.
In 15 career starts, Williams averaged 17 fantasy points on 21 touches per game.
Finding No. 7: A quietly concerning offensive line
The Texans' offensive line is banged up big time. It is down three starting linemen this past week alone. Guard Kenyon Green and center Juice Scruggs are the latest starters to be placed on IR.
Houston will head into Week 1 as a 10-point underdog in Baltimore, the largest point spread of the week.
All of this is bad news for Dameon Pierce.
In four games as a big underdog last year, Pierce averaged just 10 points per game.
Finding No. 8: A new role
J.K. Dobbins is healthy and behind a top-five offensive line led by LT Ronnie Stanley.
Dobbins’ role is expected to change for the better. He’s likely to earn more targets with pass-friendly offensive coordinator Todd Monken now in charge. Dobbins showed he was capable of catching passes in college. He caught three balls per game across 42 college starts.
You could argue no RB has a better situation than Dobbins in Week 1. He’s a 10-point favorite against Houston. Dobbins has played five career games as a 10-point favorite or better and averages 13.6 points in these contests.
Finding No. 9: A consistent WR
Start Chris Godwin. While Tom Brady is no longer his QB, Godwin has averaged 73 yards without Brady.
Baker Mayfield now takes over and he loves targeting slot WRs. This is fantastic news because Godwin led all WRs in slot receptions in 2022.
Godwin draws a great matchup against the Vikings' bottom-10 secondary that allowed the second-most explosive plays to WRs last year.
Finding No. 10: The Trade Secret
This is a tip for fantasy trades after Week 1. It’s all about catering to your league mates' needs and not your wants. Research their team and identify which positions they need to improve most.
Show them you’ve done the work and that a discussion is worth their time.
Look, trading in fantasy football is just sales. Get your league mates feeling good about your interaction and it takes down any walls they may have about your trade offer.