Welcome to Week 1! I'm ecstatic to watch regular season NFL football again, and I hope you are too. We should be in for a high-scoring weekend from our fantasy quarterbacks, as Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger are the only two quarterbacks from my top 20 quarterbacks in season-long leagues to have tough matchups. I looked at 17 of the quarterbacks below and thought they could be a top-12 option this week.
I'm going to play around with how this column looks for the first few weeks of the season, so please let me know in the comments what you liked and what you'd wish to be different next week. This week, it's going to be five streamer plays followed by the full ranks list.
Ryan Tannehill vs. Washington Redskins
Washington allowed the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last year, which wasn't a surprise to those that follow the team. The secondary and the defense as a whole are much improved from that point in time, but it is still not a top-tier defense. Assuming left tackle Branden Albert is active to protect Tannehill from Ryan Kerrigan, the Dolphins passing game should go wild. I'd stack him with Jarvis Landry in cash games.
Carson Palmer vs. New Orleans Saints
So let's get this straight. The Saints allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to passers in 2014, per ESPN. Their best pass rusher in Junior Galette is gone and their two best defensive backs in safety Jairus Byrd and corner Keenan Lewis are out this week. Palmer, meanwhile, is known for eating in easy matchups, and we've spotted one. My guess is he's the best-performing quarterback not drafted in shallower leagues.
Jameis Winston vs. Tennessee Titans
Both Winston and Mariota figure to have solid fantasy days, but Winston gets the nod because he throws to Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. The Titans added pass rusher Brian Orakpo in free agency, but top cornerback Jason McCourty is likely (as in I couldn't find confirmation) out, meaning the Titans' defense should still be the punching bag it was last season. Winston will be highly owned in GPPs but is on many waiver wires.
Andy Dalton vs. Oakland Raiders
This game feels like a blowout. According to the Rotoviz Game Splits App, Dalton averages 23.7 fantasy points per game when the Bengals win by 14 points or more (17.81 in all other cases). At least for now, Dalton has the trio of AJ Green, Marvin Jones, and Tyler Eifert healthy, which means this is an opportune time to target him.
Tyrod Taylor vs. Indianapolis Colts
Taylor seems to be the X Factor of the week for me, as I couldn't figure out where to place him. I ended up going conservative at #24, as game script will define him. He would be better off leading the game, or playing with a small deficit, than airing it out down a few touchdowns. With the Colts' offense looking as it is, that latter case is certainly possible. Taylor is probably only in play in 2QB leagues and DFS cash games.
I'm not too strict with my ranks, so please don't be either. The gap between a lot of these players is so small there's no reason to fret about what looks to be a poor rank. For the column 'Pass Defense Rank', I used numberFire's Adjusted Defensive Pass Net Expected Points per Play, which adjusts for strength of schedule and measures how good a pass defense was on a per-play basis. To learn more about You can learn more about Net Expected Points here.
|Rank||Name||Team||Opponent||Pass Defense Rank|
|1||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||Chicago Bears||27|
|2||Ryan Tannehill||Miami Dolphins||Washington Redskins||32|
|3||Tony Romo||Dallas Cowboys||New York Giants||22|
|4||Russell Wilson||Seattle Seahawks||St. Louis Rams||12|
|5||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||Baltimore Ravens||17|
|6||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||Arionza Cardinals||11|
|7||Matt Ryan||Atlanta Falcons||Philadelphia Eagles||20|
|8||Tom Brady||New England Patriots||Pittsburgh Steelers||26|
|9||Sam Bradford||Philadelphia Eagles||Atlanta Falcons||28|
|10||Carson Palmer||Arizona Cardinals||New Orleans Saints||29|
|11||Andrew Luck||Indianapolis Colts||Buffalo Billls||2|
|12||Cam Newton||Carolina Panthers||Jacksonville Jaguars||16|
|13||Eli Manning||New York Giants||Dallas Cowboys||23|
|14||Matt Stafford||Detroit Lions||San Diego Chargers||24|
|15||Jay Cutler||Chicago Bears||Green Bay Packers||15|
|16||Jameis Winston||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Tennessee Titans||30|
|17||Joe Flacco||Baltimore Ravens||Denver Broncos||7|
|18||Marcus Mariota||Tennessee Titans||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||31|
|19||Andy Dalton||Cincinnati Bengals||Oakland Raiders||25|
|20||Teddy Bridgewater||Minnesota Vikings||San Francisco 49ers||14|
|21||Philip Rivers||San Diego Chargers||Detroit Lions||10|
|22||Ben Roethlisberger||Pittsburgh Steelers||New England Patriots||4|
|23||Colin Kaepernick||San Francisco 49ers||Minnesota Vikings||18|
|24||Tyrod Taylor||Buffalo Bills||Indianapolis Colts||13|
|25||Alex Smith||Kansas City Chiefs||Houston Texans||1|
|26||Kirk Cousins||Washington Redskins||Miami Dolphins||19|
|27||Ryan Fitzpatrick||New York Jets||Cleveland Browns||6|
|28||Blake Bortles||Jacksonville Jaguars||Carolina Panthers||8|
|29||Josh McCown||Cleveland Browns||New York Jets||21|
|30||Derek Carr||Oakland Raiders||Cincinnati Bengals||5|
|31||Nick Foles||St. Louis Rams||Seattle Seahawks||3|
|32||Brian Hoyer||Houston Texans||Kansas City Chiefs||9|