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2021 NFL Handicapping/Picks/Survivor Pool: Week 1 (updated 9/12 for injury reports)

September 8, 2021 6:13 AM
September 12, 2021 8:30 AM


2021 NFL Handicapping/Picks/Survivor Pool: Week 1



MIN (-3.0) at CIN

The Computer says…Bengals by 7.7 (a 10.7 spread differential)

Where is the Vikings big edge here for them to be favored on the road? Burrow is as good/better than Cousins. The Vikes have O-Line issues. The Vikes have secondary issues. The Vikes have kicker issues.

Cincy went out and added a decent little defense in the offseason and it’s a weak O-Line but their best in a few years (all healthy for a moment). With the X-factor of a top rookie kicker added in vs. the Vikings garbage treatment of special teams.

We like Cincy for the outright win.


GB (-3.0) at NO

The Computer says…Packers by 9.5 (a 6.5 spread differential)

New Orleans just lost home field advantage hopes due to the storms, on top of a self-inflicted wound starting Jameis Winston, and the Saints have several players nicked up or out going into this game. This would be a lock for GB if David Bahktiari wasn’t on PUP to start the year for GB.


PIT at BUF (-6.5)

The Computer says…Buffalo by 11.9 (a 5.4 spread differential)

The Computer is pretty sure this is going to be a beat down. The Bills kept their great 2020 team intact, while the Steelers got worse all over (O-Line, secondary). I would bet this with my own money because the Bills are constantly undervalued by the public and Vegas…we made a killing playing the Bills weekly last year – they were 11-5 ATS last season, tied for best in the NFL.


NYJ at CAR (-5.5)

The Computer says…Carolina by 1.0 (a 4.5 spread differential)

With the Jets you get the better QB, albeit a rookie debut…and you get a better O-Line. However, you get a much better defense with Carolina. I wouldn’t bet this, but The Computer is sensing an outright upset here but gives honor to the home team and the experienced QB (who sucks, but the Jets D may suck more).


ARI at TEN (-3.0)

The Computer says…Cardinals by 1.2 (a 4.2 spread differential)

The Computer smells an upset led by the Cardinals defense, just enough offense, and the lack of Arthur Smith in Tennessee anymore.

SF (-7.5) at DET

The Computer says…49ers by 3.3 (a 4.2 spread differential) *Updated for Taylor Decker injury.

The Lions have just as good a QB, perhaps just as good an O-Line…or not far off the 49ers. The 49ers have defensive personnel issues in the secondary, but the Lions are worse…and much worse in the front seven vs. SF. The 49ers are better overall, but not that much better, and with this game at Detroit in a home opener with a new rabble-rousing coach…it might be a literal Lions’ den an overrated 49ers team walks into. Wrong time to play this Lions team.

The Computer has conviction, but I cannot personally make a bet on this Lions team…but I get the logic of what The Computer sees.

SEA (-3.0) at IND

The Computer says…Colts by 1.2 (a 4.2 spread differential) *Updated for Wentz status

This is assuming Wentz starts but knowing that’s up in the air. At Indy in a home opener with Wentz will make this a tight contest. If Eason starting…then you have to go with Seattle.


DAL at TB (-8.0)

The Computer says…Tampa Bay by 10.9 (a 2.9 spread differential)

No Zack Martin for Dallas really helps tip this into the Bucs favor to cover a pretty big line.


LAC (-1.0) at WSH

The Computer says…Washington by 1.7 (a 2.7 spread differential)

I would not touch this bet. Not sure who wins the battle of Herbert/new coach vs. elite defense of Washington.


JAX (-3.0) at HOU

The Computer says…Jags by 0.3 (a 2.7 spread differential)

Two bad teams…why not take the more experienced team (JAX rookie QB) playing at home getting points? I wouldn’t bet this with any conviction. 


PHI at ATL (-3.0)

The Computer says…Falcons by 0.5 (a 2.5 spread differential)

I’m curiously optimistic about the Falcons, but the Eagles have a better O-Line/run game (because of Hurts running) and enough defense to keep it close or win outright. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons won by 10+ or if the Eagles won by 10+. So, we’ll just take the points here for a pick. 


BAL (-4.0) at LV *UPDATE on the LV O-Line injuries*

The Computer says…Ravens by 2.0 (a 2.0 spread differential)

The Ravens have the better team but they’re dealing with some injuries and with this being the Raiders real new stadium home opener, and it being on a Monday Night…I’m OK just taking the points with the home dog.


CHI at LAR (-7.5)

The Computer says…Rams by 9.3 (a 1.8 spread differential)

There’s not one area of the field that Bears are better than the Rams in, so this one is the obvious one of the week.

*SURVIVOR PICK* Buffalo and Tampa Bay are projected by the Computer to win their games by 10+/more than the Rams are showing, but the risk levels of BUF-TB facing good QBs compared to the Rams facing a garbage team with garbage QB play…we’ll take the safer Rams.


MIA at NE (-3.0)

The Computer says…Patriots by 4.2 (a 1.2 spread differential)

You wanna go all-in on Belichick vs Tua, but it’s also a rookie QB going for NE in his debut game vs. a fairly stingy defense. I like NE, but I used to love them in this spot…but hard to roll with an unproven rookie in his debut. This game may set a league record for lowest passing air yards in a game.


CLE at KC (-5.5)

The Computer says…Chiefs by 6.2 (a 0.7 spread differential)

It’s a lot of points to lay considering how well Cleveland can run the ball/control time of possession. KC beat Cleveland by 5 when they met in the playoffs last year, so the Browns already know what it is like to face the Chiefs at KC.  

The Chiefs have improved their team since the one that faced them in the playoffs, but so have the Browns. I wouldn’t bet this, so we’ll just take the points for a pick.


DEN (-3.0) at NYG

The Computer says…Broncos by 3.4 (a 0.4 spread differential)

I like Denver here more than The Computer does here. But the Giants are at home, have a solid defense, and may have Saquon -- so they have a sliver of hope. I personally would take a small snack size bite on Denver laying the points.


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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>