Yahoo Fantasy analysts Matt Harmon and Dalton Del Don offer a pair of running backs and receivers to flex in the first week of the 2022 NFL season.
MATT HARMON: It's week one of the NFL season and we're gonna help you make some smart decisions courtesy of NerdWallet. NerdWallet helps people make smart choices every day with their side-by-side comparisons of top financial products. And you know you can rely on us to help you make smart player choices. So let's jump into some flex decisions starting with some options at running back. Dalton, get us kicked off here.
DALTON DEL DON: Elijah Mitchell is my guy. Yes, there are durability concerns but he enters healthy after resting throughout the preseason, gets a Chicago defense that lost Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack during the off-season. In a game that might be rainy, it's gonna be run-heavy. I mean, number 49ers pass catcher has an over-under of more than 50 yards in this game.
It's just Trey Lance's fourth start since 2019. 49ers running backs averaged 5.2 yards per carry when Lance was on the field last season. And Mitchell is gonna benefit as San Francisco's feature back in week one. And he looks like a smart value play.
MATT HARMON: I love it. Listen, if you drafted Elijah Mitchell this is the time to roll him out. This is probably the healthiest he's gonna be all season long. I'll stick with running back here and go with Chase Edmonds. Look, I came away from draft season just feeling better and better about Chase Edmonds the longer the process went.
Kind of really feeling like he is going to be the RB1 for the Miami Dolphins. They made him a priority signing in free agency. Like, I'm not really concerned about the committee approach that we thought might be coming to this Miami Dolphins offense.
And in this week one game against the New England Patriots, I expect it to be a lot of rush attempts, a lot of back-and-forth between these two ground games. Like, a close competitive contest. I don't see either team really run away from each other. So that speaks good for both runnings game-- running games.
But for Chase Edmonds, specifically, like this is a guy that just moves the chains. Last year, he converted first down on 27% of his rush attempts. That was a top five mark among running backs. And 81% of his third down rush attempts did he get a first down on. That was the second best among all relevant running backs last year.
Like, this guy just moves the offense. I think that's why Mike McDaniel liked him. And I think he can be an RB2 for you this week. But if he's in your flex, I think you're really cooking with gas. All right, Dalton, you're staying on brand here. You're bringing some heat for your receiver pick, an exciting rookie you're recommending throwing out there in week one.
DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, it's George Pickens. Diontae Johnson is banged up and might miss week one. Or even if he does play, it sounds like he could be compromised. Najee Harris is just five weeks removed from a Lisfranc sprain. Pickens was the star of camp throughout summer. I mean, many people are saying his floor looks like Randy Moss.
A first round talent-- first round talent who fell in the draft. Pickens, I think he could immediately see double-digit targets Sunday playing from behind against Cincinnati. Mitch Trubisky simply can't be worse than the version of Big Ben we saw last year. So Pickens is my smart value play in week one with a lot of upside.
MATT HARMON: I love that call. Love the ceiling on George Pickens. He's just a really good football player. Another really good football player, Elijah Moore. And I know, Joe Flacco, is going to start week one? He's going to start the next couple of games.
But Dalton we talked about this on our podcast for weeks now, is that really even a downgrade for Elijah Moore? I mean, last year, Elijah Moore 141 yards. His season high came in Joe Flacco's lone start. And this is a guy, Elijah Moore, who just gets open. Last year as a rookie, 75.7% success rate versus man coverage in reception perception.
Those guys that do that in their first season, they're like the stars of the league. Like, they're the guys that just continue to pile up numbers. And against this-- you know, we'll see what Baltimore's defense looks like but-- in this current year, but like previously they've been one of the most man coverage heavy teams in the entire NFL.
I think the Jets will be trailing. You don't love Flacco in negative game script. But at the same time, I think a lot of volume is going to go Elijah Moore's way. I am not panicking whatsoever about his week one outlook or his entire season, no matter how long Joe Flacco has to play.
All right, so be sure to get those guys in your roster for week one. And if you need to make a financial choice, make it a smart one with NerdWallet, the smartest decision for all your financial decisions.