Alex Smith, The Washington Football Team (vs. Indy)
62% owned in Yahoo! Leagues, 73.2% owned in ESPN Leagues
He was on the list last week because of his Week 1 (Arizona) and Week 2 (Indianapolis) matchups, even though his ownership percentage is a tad high. It was an oversight not to list his Week 3 date with Green Bay, a team that Mitchell Trubisky (Alex Smith-lite) put up some solid numbers against. This week though, Smith gets the swiss cheese Colts defense that Andy Dalton just roasted for 243 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, 1 INTs and 8 rushing yards. Roll Smith out there again for the next two weeks.
Case Keenum, Denver Broncos (vs. OAK)
25% owned in Yahoo! Leagues, 12.8% owned in ESPN Leagues
Keenum lit up Seattle last week (329 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs) and we should expect the same in Week 2 against the porous Oakland defense. He showed a willingness to spread the ball around, racking up receptions with 9 different players. Most notably, UDFA RB Phillip Lindsay who totalled 103 yards from scrimmage and a receiving touchdown. Keenum’s known for his slot receiver love (which continued -- Emmanuel Sanders paced the team with 11 targets) but it was great to see so many balls go to other players. Keenum can dish in the right system and the right matchup -- and that’s what on deck in Week 2.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears (vs. SEA)
18% owned in Yahoo! Leagues, 23.7$ owned in ESPN Leagues
I loved what I saw out of Trubisky in Week 1. He had modest passing yardage totals (171 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs) but he was used as a rusher in the redzone and that’s great for fantasy purposes. I did not like what I saw out of the Seahawks pass defense. Case Keenum burned them badly -- and yes, Denver has a loaded receiving corps but so does Chicago. The Bears face the Cardinals and Buccaneers in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively. These are great matchups for the young signal caller, and the cake walk continues after their Week 5 bye -- in his 2018 Football Preview, Warren Sharp projected the Bears to face the 5th softest pass defense schedule of 2018. Add Trubisky this week and don’t look back.
Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns (@ NO)
13% owned in Yahoo! Leagues, 37.1% owned in ESPN Leagues
Tyrod Taylor had a few bad throws and missed opportunities against Pittsburgh last week, but they were playing in a rain storm and Hue Jackson is his coach. The latter isn’t changing but that’s alright -- he got the job done (fantasy-wise) with his steady rushing ability. He gets the New Orleans defense that Ryan Fitzpatrick just took for 417 passing yards, 4 passing TDs, 12 rushes for 36 rushing yards, and 1 rushing TD. Taylor should put up videogame numbers against the Saints as well. Start him with confidence.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (@Indy)
I predicted Dalton would finish Week 1 as a QB1. He missed it by 3 spots, finishing as the QB15 in standard scoring. In the comments section, a reader asked me whether he should start Dalton over Russell Wilson. I suggested Dalton if he needed a high-floor play but that Wilson had the higher, riskier ceiling. Wilson fished as the QB7. I estimated Dalton would produce 250 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, and 0 INTs. Dalton finished with 243 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, 1 INT, and 8 rushing yards. Overall, I was off by 1.2 points.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (@NYG)
Bortles finished as the QB17 in standard scoring, a bit lower than I’d expected. I was hoping for a high-end QB2 finish. He did, however, produce on the ground (4 carries for 42 yards) -- something I said I thought might happen, after studying Evan Silva’s offseason analysis. Bortles will find himself on this list again but not for Week 2, after New England (the upcoming opponent) held Deshaun Watson thoroughly in check.
Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns (vs. Pit)
The weather on Sunday wasn’t as bad as Friday’s forecasts suggested. Rain did fall though, and my prediction that Taylor’s high rushing floor would rise because of it, held true. Taylor finished as the QB6, posting 197 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 1 INT, 77 rushing yards, and 1 rushing TD. He’s a criminally underappreciated fantasy asset and we should continue to exploit other owners’ oversight. Don’t sleep on Tyrod Taylor.
Alex Smith, The Washington Football Team (@ARI)
Alex Smith finished Week 1 as the QB13, hitting Arizona with 255 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, 0 INTs, and 14 rushing yards. As mentioned above, Smith will continue to be a usable fantasy quarterback in the coming weeks. Jay Gruden’s offense always produces at the quarterback position.