Fantasy Football Rankings Week 1, 2021: Model who beat pundits says to start Brandon Aiyuk, sit Justin Herbert


One of the biggest targets of Fantasy Football breakouts is the sophomore receivers. Last season Washington’s Terry McLaurin and Tennessee’s AJ Brown were two players who exploded with over 1,000 years of yards. Justin Jefferson of Minnesota may have some extra gear after his incredible rookie year and is near the top of the Week 1 fantasy football standings as wide receiver. Others have signaled players like Jerry Jeudy, Tee Higgins and Laviska Shenault to take another step forward in 2021.

A full set of Week 1 fantasy football picks is crucial for knowing where emerging players will rank among the best-known top players in the opening games of the season. Before you lock in your rosters, be sure to check out the Week 1 fantasy football rankings from SportsLine’s proven computer model.

When it comes to player rankings, SportsLine’s model has beaten human fantasy football experts in recent seasons, especially when there were big differences in rankings. Over the course of a season, that could literally be the difference between winning your championship or coming home empty-handed.

Last year, the model accurately predicted that Bills quarterback Josh Allen was significantly undervalued. His fantasy football ADP barely made it into the top 70, but the model ranked him in the top five fantasy quarterbacks, a QB1 who would finish well ahead of players like Kyler Murray, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Allen ended up being Fantasy QB’s second scorer, surpassing the other three quarterbacks and even passing Patrick Mahomes. The fantastic players who took SportsLine’s advice reaped a lot of value with this pick.

Now the model, who simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, has revealed her fantasy football ranking for week 1 of the 2021 NFL season. Head over to SportsLine now to see them.

Top fantasy football picks of week 1

A player the role model is extremely high on this week: 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. He got off to a slow start last year when he missed Game 1 and only played 44 snaps in Week 2. In four of the last six games of his rookie season, he has had a number of targets who hit double-digit territory and caught 10 passes for 119 yards in Week 13 against Washington.

The Lions have one of the less experienced side players in the NFL and are led by a defensive coordinator for the first time in the person of Aaron Glenn. Until San Francisco makes a definitive move to first-round selection Trey Lance as quarterback, Aiyuk’s volume should remain constant. To start the year, he’ll run free against the league’s third-worst pass defense in a year and is among the top five receivers in SportsLine’s updated rankings for Week 1 of Fantasy Football.

A huge shock: Chargers QB Justin Herbert, who threw for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, stumbles big and barely ranks in the top 15 for his position. Herbert has had an impressive rookie season, averaging 25.5 fantasy points per game. However, Herbert could be grappling with some rust after not playing in the preseason and a clash against the Washington soccer team will do him no favor.

Washington’s defense allowed just 191.8 passing yards per game last season, earning it second in the NFL. Additionally, Washington recorded 47 total sacks in 2020. With such a tough game on Sunday, Herbert is a player to consider benching in Week 1.

How To Set Your Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings

The model also calls for a surprising quarterback you wouldn’t even think of to finish in the top 10 of his Fantasy Football rankings. This choice could be the difference between winning big and coming home with nothing. You can’t see who it is here.

So who should you start and sit down this week? And what surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get the Week 1 fantasy football rankings for each position, and see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to make it into the top 10, all from the model that has outperformed the pundits at scale.

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