The NFL season is finally here with the Lions vs. Chiefs! It also means that fantasy football is in full swing. The drafts are done and now is the time to set your lineups for week 1. While fantasy seasons are not won and lost in week 1, getting off to a fast start always feels nice. The first opportunity to score some points comes on Thursday night. Who should you start and who should you be wary of?
Fantasy Football Outlook Lions Vs. Chiefs
Overall this is a favorable matchup for both offenses. Each team boasted a top ten passing offense in 2022 with the Chiefs being first and the Lions being eighth. Vegas agrees that this is going to be a high-scoring affair. Caeser’s Sportsbook has the over/under for total points as 54.0 which is the highest of any matchup in week 1. This means that you should start players on either team with confidence! However, not everyone is a slam dunk start.
Players To Start
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are your obvious starts in fantasy football. Mahomes never scored less than 15 fantasy points last season and that outing was in week 18 when the team did not have a lot to play for. Mahomes went over 25 points nine times last season. I suppose you could worry that the pass-catching group is young but that shouldn’t stop you from playing Mahomes. Kelce is an anomaly in the tight-end position. He puts up wide receiver numbers. Last year he caught 110 balls for 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns. This puts him up there with the rest of the top wideouts. Kelce is going to be targeted a lot.
Outside of those players, rookie Jahmyr Gibbs is a must-start. Rookies are always tough to gauge in week 1. While teams can talk all they want about how they are going to use their new players, we really don’t know. However, I think Gibbs is the exception. Other teams talk about their rookies. The Lions have been fawning over the running back since they took him 12th overall. Outside of that, it is a great matchup for Gibbs. The Chiefs gave up the most receptions and fourth-most receiving yards to running backs in 2022. Pair that with Chris Jones not playing and I feel comfortable starting Gibbs.
Skyy Moore is another player that I believe is a safe start in week 1. Kelce cannot catch every ball from Mahomes this year. While we truly don’t know who will be his favorite target, Moore plays a position that Mahomes likes. Moore will likely play in the slot this season and outside of Kelce, Mahomes targets players in the slot the most. Per PFF, since 2021 Mahomes has led all active quarterbacks in slot targets at about 9.1 per game. While I am not sure whether Moore can make a second-year jump, he should definitely get plenty of opportunities in fantasy football.
Players To Sit
While Gibbs is a very safe bet, I’m a little wary of another Lions rookie Sam LaPorta. Rookie tight ends are historically unproductive in their first year. Outside of a couple of players in history, most rookie tight ends average about 500 yards and a handful of touchdowns in their inaugural season. Until it is clear that Jared Goff is heavily targeting LaPorta and he has adjusted to the NFL, I would be cautious.
By way of extension, other Lions pass-catchers are the ones I would sit. While one of them might have a good game, good luck trying to figure out which one. With heavy targets expected for Gibbs and St. Brown, the risk is too high to start anyone else. I feel the same way about other Chiefs pass-catchers. Trying to predict which receiver or other tight end might gain targets is tricky. Sit everyone else and wait for week 1.
The challenge with any Thursday night game, especially one that is this favorable for fantasy football, is not overdoing it on starting players. Everyone is available in week 1 and there are plenty of good matchups out there. Be ready for lots of fantasy points to be scored in the Lions vs. Chiefs game on Thursday night.