Fantasy Football Must Starts
Week 1

By James Collier

With the NFL season underway we now finally have the pleasure of worrying about setting the right lineups. 

Each week we will be presenting some “Must Start” players put forward by both myself and the rest of the team at The Touchdown along with some others suggested by the wider fantasy community. These players will vary from those that are probably on your radar already, to those that you wouldn’t normally consider.

Raheem Mostert @ LA Chargers

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My first Must Start player of the season is Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert. A couple of weeks ago there might have been some hesitation in starting a 31 year old running back with a history of getting injured at the wrong time for fantasy managers. But with Jeff Wilson on IR and rookie Devon Achane struggling with his own injuries, Mostert looks like a smash play this week. The Chargers allowed a league high 5.4 yards per carry last year and over 145 yards per game. Mostert has been a big play waiting to happen throughout his career and was a top 15 running back whenever he had more than 15 carries in 2022, a number he looks set to easily surpass this week.

Zay Flowers vs Houston Texans

Our first guest suggestion comes from Tom Strachan (@NFL_TStrack), writer for FantasyPros and co-creator of The Fantasy Sanctuary. We are big fans of Tom’s work and are delighted to have him suggesting a player for us each week. It’s not a huge surprise that his first suggestion is a Ravens player but we can’t fault the logic! 

“The Ravens could very well be in a position to take their foot off the gas earlier in this game than many fantasy managers would prefer, and while that might spell fewer snaps for Mark Andrews (quad injury), Odell Beckham (ankle/old) and Rashod Bateman (missed much of camp), rookie Zay Flowers could stand to benefit the most from more NFL playing time and it shouldn’t be surprising if he leads the pass-catchers in snap percentage and potentially even targets too, which against a weak Texans defense, could lead to a great debut.”

Brian Robinson Jr & Curtis Samuel vs Arizona Cardinals

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Next up we have two Commanders players suggested by The Touchdown Team. Rob Ward suggested running back Brian Robinson and Rhys Knott (@wrhys_writes) suggested a slightly spicier name, Curtis Samuel. 


“It’s not often (if at all) in the last few years that we’ve been excited about a Washington offensive weapon, but facing a pitiful Cardinals D fresh from an off season fire sale, it’s time to tuck in. Last year, Robinson became the most celebrated D.C. resident to survive a shooting since Reagan, quickly establishing himself as one of Rivera’s guys. Add to that the pass catching ability he started to demonstrate in pre-season and the fact we expect Washington to be in a position to run the game out in the second half, this opener sets up nicely for the bulldozing Crimson Tide alumni.”


“I quite like Curtis Samuel this week. Obviously the Cardinals defense doesn’t look too flash, but Samuel ran quite a few times last season as well as catching passes. And Bienemy is going to be pretty aggressive and call some funky plays, isn’t he?” 

Calvin Ridley @ Indianapolis Colts

Matt Guise (@MattGuise4) and Tom Edwards (@TomEdwards1987) from @TheFFCombine have put the next name forward. This might be a slightly more obvious play (especially compared to Curtis Samuel) but Ridley is the WR15 according to FantasyPros ECR which we feel is still a little low. 

“The Jaguars and Calvin Ridley will be out to put on a show in Week 1 and prove to the league that they mean business this year. They get a divisional matchup against a Colts team whose starting cornerbacks have just 17 NFL starts between them. Ridley can be plugged into your lineup without hesitation even if he hasn’t played an NFL game in almost two years.”

Tyler Higbee @ Seattle Seahawks

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Rounding us off each week we will have one member of The Fantasy Wildcard team giving us their start of the week as well. The guys have recently branched out into DFS and you can follow them at @WildcardDFS for their weekly show breaking down the best cash and GPP plays each week. For Week 1 we have Kev White (@dynasty_goat) and his play is LA Rams tight end, Tyler Higbee. 

“The Higbee start is one you can play confidently, with the Rams likely in a pass-heavy game script as road underdogs and a clear path to volume. Higbee has previously been a TE1 twice before in his career and in the Seahawks is facing a defense which was the second-worst against tight ends in 2022. I’m happy to play Higbee despite the loss of Cooper Kupp, no fear of losing targets to guys like Tutu Atwell or Puka Nacua.”

I hope these insights help a few of you with your lineups decisions this week and a big thank you to everyone for their suggestions!

Feature photo credit: AP Photo/Sam Hodge


Lead Fantasy Football Analyst

A Washington fan since the early 2010’s, James had no choice but to turn to fantasy football in search of happiness – and it wasn’t long until it became an obsession. You can follow him on Twitter @jamesc294.