A jam-packed Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season will conclude with an intriguing matchup on Monday Night Football between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, which pits new Broncos QB Russell Wilson against his former team in Seattle.
Monday Night Football Fantasy Picks
This matchup features some of the biggest names in football and there's no shortage of fantasy football-relevant players on either side.
With that in mind, here is The Duel's start 'em, sit 'em advice for Monday's showdown at Lumen Field.
Russell Wilson Fantasy
Start Russell Wilson, QB, Denver Broncos: There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about Wilson heading into this Week 1 matchup. Not only is he 33 years old and coming off one of the worst seasons of his career, but he's also going up against his old head coach who will know exactly how to plan for him. Even so, this is still a good spot for Wilson to make his Broncos debut. For starters, he's flourished at Lumen Field throughout his career, going 57-21 with a 156:35 TD/INT ratio and a 105.2 QB Rating. He's also going up against a shaky Seahawks secondary that allowed the second-most passing yards in the NFL last year. Wilson will have plenty of opportunities considering the offensive scheme from new head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Last year's Packers squad threw the ball 57.1% of the time. That's something Wilson's former team did just three times dating back to 2016. Wilson was a top six QB twice in that span and top 12 in all three.
Rashaad Penny Fantasy
Start Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll loves to establish the run, and you can bet that's what he'll try to do on Monday, especially with Smith under center. Accordingly, expect Penny to get plenty of carries, especially after finishing last year on a tear. Penny put together three games with 15+ carries, averaging 165 yards per game with four total touchdowns down the stretch. The Seahawks went with a heavy run script in all three of Geno Smith's starts a year ago, tallying 80 rushing attempts to just 78 passing plays. Keep in mind, Seattle also trailed in two of those three games. He will be heavily involved in the offense, especially with fellow RB Kenneth Walker listed as questionable and unlikely to play. Even if Walker does suit up, Penny should still return strong RB2/FLEX numbers.
Melvin Gordon Fantasy
Sit Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos: It's really hard to know how the Broncos' timeshare at running back will play out. Judging solely by performance and discounting all other factors, Javonte Williams should have enjoyed a monster year in 2021. Instead he racked up only RB17 numbers while Gordon came in at RB21. The two put up nearly identical numbers including 203 rushing attempts, just a tick over 900 yards. Williams was more of a threat in the passing attack based on his 53 targets to Gordon's 38, but Gordon outpaced the rookie by 12 red zone carries. All that in mind and the Broncos still brought Gordon back. This is a wait-and-see situation. Especially considering Hackett's favoring of the passing attack and a legitimate Pro Bowl talent at quarterback. Let's see how the Broncos divvy up the rushing duties before thrusting Gordon into a starting lineup.
D.K. Metcalf Fantasy
Sit D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks: The 2021 season was a tale of two halves for Metcalf, who opened the year on fire but fell off a cliff in the second half. Oddly, his demise coincided with the return of Wilson from the IR in Week 9. From that point forward, Metcalf averaged just four receptions and 43 yards per game while managing four touchdowns in nine games, three of which came during Week 17. Accordingly, it's tough to trust Metcalf as anything more than a WR3/FLEX option with Smith leading the offense, especially if the Seahawks end up going run-heavy. Despite being the WR20 on FanDuel's Week 1 PPR rankings, he's a risky play.
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