Monday - Apr 19, 2021

Home / Injury / RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 1


We are live with the Week 1 edition of “Red Light, Green Light”, a matchup guide for all of this weekend’s NFL contests (and Monday night). With a new year ahead of us, Red Light, Green Light is introducing a new format:

In each NFL Week 1 game profile below, I will choose a total of 3 players to highlight as green, yellow or red light options.

green-light Green Light: Players who have a great matchup. These guys are usually flying under the radar, and can be counted on as a strong source of fantasy production.
yellow-light Yellow Light: Players with just an okay matchup and/or usage concerns. These guys are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire.
red-light Red Light: Players with serious matchup/usage concerns, thus requiring lowered expectations lowered for the week, and/or should just be avoided altogether if possible.

Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not carry your team to victory.

As always, the information conveyed below is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, but can be used to evaluate those decisions as well.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default PPR scoring system. Point Spreads and Over/Unders are based off the Fantasy Sharks consensus analysis.

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Eagles Football Team
Quarterback 18th 8th
Running Back 26th 3rd
Wide Receiver 4th 12th
Tight End 28th 4th
Defense/Special Teams 24th 2nd
Vegas Line: Eagles -6.5
Vegas Over/Under: 44

Green Light – Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI)

DeSean Jackson is an obvious choice for the green light, but Goedert is someone who has likely slipped under people’s radars. Outside of Goedert, the Eagles have nothing in the way of pass catching depth behind Jackson and Zach Ertz. Despite being listed as the Eagles’ no. 2 tight end, Goedert has averaged 7.9 targets per contest over his last 8 games played (including playoffs), and that all came while sharing the field with Ertz.

Update: The Eagles’ electric rookie wideout Jalen Reagor (shoulder) surprisingly returned to practice after going down on August 24, and appears on track to play Week 1. Reagor’s insertion into the lineup would almost certainly siphon targets away from Jackson and Goedert, but not enough to downgrade them significantly.

Yellow Light – Carson Wentz (QB, PHI)

In addition to the injuries to key pass catchers, Philadelphia is already down two starting offensive lineman, with impact starters Andre Dillard (arm) and Brandon Brooks (achilles) both lost for the season during the Summer. Wentz will likely be under siege all afternoon against Washington’s beefed up front seven that is led by rookie second overall pick Chase Young.

Red Light – Antonio Gibson (RB, WAS)

Folks are rightly excited to plug electric rookie Gibson into their starting lineups, but Week 1 isn’t the best time. Philadelphia was one of the stingiest against opposing running backs in 2019, and Washington head coach Ron Rivera has already hinted at starting out the season with a four person committee at running back.

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Dolphins Patriots
Quarterback 2nd 32nd
Running Back 7th 31st
Wide Receiver 3rd 32nd
Tight End 19th 24th
Defense/Special Teams 4th 28th
Vegas Line: Patriots -6.5
Vegas Over/Under: 43

Green Light – James White (RB, NEP)

Sony Michel (foot) is still getting up to speed after missing most of training camp, while Damien Harris (finger, IR) is out until at least Week 4. The starts are aligning for another fast start from White, who has a massed 159 receptions over the past two seasons.

Update: The Eagles’ electric rookie wideout Jalen Reagor (shoulder) surprisingly returned to practice after going down on August 24. Reagor’s insertion into the lineup would almost certainly siphon targets away from Jackson and Goedert, but not enough to downgrade them significantly.

Yellow Light – Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA)

One might be tempted to pick on this New England defense that had more opt-outs over the Summer than you can count on one hand considering Fitzpatrick’s strong 2019 finish (30.3 passing yards per game between Weeks 11 and 17). However, the Dolphins have issues of their own, as their top skill trio of DeVante Parker (hamstring), Preston Williams (knee), and Mike Gesicki (glute) are dealing with some sort of ailment.

Red Light – Cam Newton (WR, NEP)

The Dolphins were big spenders on defense during free agency (CB Byron Jones, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Shaq Lawson), while also using first and second round draft picks on CB Noah Igbinoghene and DT Raekwon Davis. Newton drew mixed review from Patriots’ training camp, and doesn’t have much to work with on offense outside of the aforementioned White and veteran Julian Edelman at wideout.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Packers Vikings
Quarterback 27th 25th
Running Back 8th 21st
Wide Receiver 24th 6th
Tight End 15th 26th
Defense/Special Teams 23rd 27th
Vegas Line: Vikings -3.5
Vegas Over/Under: 46.5

Green Light – Dalvin Cook –  (RB, MIN)

Only three teams allowed more rushing yards to opposing backfields than Green Bay, and they didn’t do much during the offseason to address the issue. Much of the offseason was spent speculating about Cook’s contract situation, but it appears he’ll be all systems go for Week 1.

Yellow Light – Adam Thielen (WR, MIN)

No more Stefon Diggs means Thielen will get targeted a ton, but it also means much more defensive attention. Green Bay has a talented CB duo in Jaire Alexander and Kevin King.

Red Light – Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

Cousins lost his big play threat in Diggs, and Green Bay was tied for having allowed the 4th-fewest touchdown passes last season (18).

Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2019 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Colts Jaguars
Quarterback 12th 14th
Running Back 23rd 2nd
Wide Receiver 7th 22nd
Tight End 16th 20th
Defense/Special Teams 20th 13th
Vegas Line: Colts -7
Vegas Over/Under: 45.5

Green Light – Marlon Mack – (RB, IND)

Yes, second-round rookie Jonathan Taylor going to make Mack irrelevant in Indianapolis sooner rather than later, but this Week 1 contest should facilitate a game script in which both gobble up rushing yards in bunches. Jacksonville allowed the 3rd-most rushing yards to opposing backfields in 2019, and has jettisoned pretty much very defensive player of value during the offseason.

Yellow Light – T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)

By all accounts, Hilton is healthy after an injury plagued 2019, and has struck up a strong rapport with new Colts quarterback Philip Rivers. However, this contest sets up as a much better situation for the team to flaunt their imposing rush attack.

Red Light – James Robinson (RB, JAC)

I like Robinson as a player, and am excited to see what he does with the opportunity to start Week 1 as an undrafted rookie. However, realize that game script will likely cause Jacksonville to have to air it out in an attempt to keep up on the scoreboard. Expect passing down specialist Chris Thompson to soak up most of the backfield snaps in this one.

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.