Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

print article archives RSS

Week 1 Rankings

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Updated 9/8/2013 at 12:00 PM ET.

The journey across the desert is complete: The 2013 fantasy football season is finally upon us. But long though the trek has been, it’s important to remain patient, and not fall prey to Week 1 overthink. After a nine-month break, you’re just dying to start the 12th-round flier you’re positive is going to be the difference in your league. But there’s one fantasy credo that rings most true in Week 1: Start your studs. Yes, there are some spots where deviation from your masterplan will prove unavoidable. Say, for example, benching Eddie Lacy in his NFL debut against a fearsome 49ers run defense on the road. But you didn’t spend all winter, spring and summer preparing for this moment only to let a couple of rash decisions start you in an 0-1 hole. Stick with the process that got you here. There will be plenty of time to get cute before it’s all said and done.  

Two quick notes. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to take the baton handed off by Chris Wesseling (and Gregg Rosenthal before him) if I didn’t acknowledge the great role he’s had in shaping my career and football knowledge. Thanks Chris, and here’s to a great year. Also don’t forget to check out Evan Silva’s incomparable Matchups column on Friday. It’s the single greatest weekly article the fantasy industry has to offer, bar none. Here’s his preview of tonight’s opener.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $25,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1. It's $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Here's the link.


Week 1 Quarterbacks 

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Drew Brees vs. ATL -
2 Aaron Rodgers at SF -
3 Tom Brady at BUF -
4 Matt Ryan at NO -
5 Andrew Luck vs. OAK -
6 Colin Kaepernick vs. GB -
7 Peyton Manning vs. BAL -
8 Robert Griffin III vs. PHI -
9 Russell Wilson at CAR -
10 Matthew Stafford vs. MIN -
11 Tony Romo vs. NYG -
12 Michael Vick at WAS -
13 Cam Newton vs. SEA -
14 Eli Manning at DAL -
15 Ben Roethlisberger vs. TEN -
16 Joe Flacco at DEN -
17 Alex Smith at JAC -
18 Ryan Tannehill at CLE -
19 Jay Cutler vs. CIN -
20 Philip Rivers vs. HOU -
21 Andy Dalton at CHI -
22 Carson Palmer at STL -
23 Matt Schaub at SD -
24 Sam Bradford vs. ARZ -
25 Josh Freeman at NYJ -
26 Terrelle Pryor at IND -
27 Brandon Weeden vs. MIA -
28 Jake Locker at PIT -
29 Blaine Gabbert vs. KC -
30 Christian Ponder at DET -
31 E.J. Manuel vs. NE Probable (knee)
32 Geno Smith vs. TB -
33 Matt Flynn at IND -
34 Chad Henne vs. KC -

QB Notes: The No. 1 fantasy quarterback each of the past two seasons, and three of the past five, Drew Brees begins the year with a readymade shootout against archrival Atlanta at home. Brees was a bit of a mixed bag against the Falcons in 2012, averaging 320 yards but posting a 3:6 TD:INT ratio. Five of those picks came in Atlanta, however, while the Falcons are breaking in a rookie starting cornerback in Desmond Trufant, and adjusting to life without John Abraham. There are few better fantasy bets than Brees in a dome.

On paper, it’s a bear of a matchup for Rodgers, but the 49ers pass defense sprang multiple leaks down the stretch last season. Rodgers was one of the few opposing signal callers not to take advantage, limping to just 257 yards in Green Bay’s Divisional Round loss. Nevertheless, this is a unit that can be thrown on. At least that was the case with “Cowboy” Justin Smith at less than 100 percent, and CB Chris Culliver getting picked on all postseason. The question now is, is Vic Fangio’s imposing unit back in the saddle that allowed enemy quarterbacks to rack up just 3,203 yards last season (No. 4 in the NFL). Can Green Bay’s taped-and-glued offensive line handle The Smith Brothers? They’re questions worth pondering, but if anyone deserves the “start your studs” benefit of the doubt, it’s Rodgers.

You know those bands that are essentially one member? The ones that call themselves a group, but are really just one core performer? Think The Shins or Queens of the Stone Age. That’s the Patriots and Tom Brady. That is not to say Brady hasn’t had some extremely important supporting players. But just like QOTSA and Josh Homme, the trains are always going to run on time in New England as long as it’s Brady conducting, no matter how many Wes Welkers come and go. Despite his entirely new pass-catching corps, Brady should feast on a Bills defense missing Stephon Gilmore and Jairus Byrd.


Billed as the top quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning, all Andrew Luck did as a rookie was go out and shatter Cam Newton’s first-year passing record. Now poised to make the leap from star to superstar as a sophomore, Luck couldn’t ask for a better opening week opponent than an Oakland team with expansion-level talent on defense. … Where to rank RGIII is one of the great mysteries of the young season. Will the Redskins drastically cut back on his designed runs? Will defenses bite on his play fakes as hard as they did in 2012? The only thing we know for sure is, Griffin has an excellent Week 1 matchup in an Eagles defense that might as well be called “The Shootout Express.” There could be some bumps and bruises as Griffin works his way back to game day 100 percent, but there’s going to be plenty of fantasy points against Philly.

We’re bullish on Cam Newton this season, we truly are. But the schedule makers couldn’t have dreamed up a worse Week 1 opponent for a player adjusting to a new offensive coordinator, and dealing with an undermanned rushing attack. We know by now that there’s nothing fake about Cam’s fantasy dominance (or smile), but Week 1 could be a low point in a season that won’t see very many of them. … Vick ahead of Cam? It’s all about Chip Kelly, and the likely shootout Philly will engage in with Washington. Vick no longer has youth on his side, but is finally in an offense tailor made for his skill-set. Few players have provided more disappointment the past few seasons, but Vick’s upside is worth one more QB1 gamble.

Don’t be surprised if Flacco makes like it’s the Divisional Round and drops a ton of yards on a Broncos defense that will be without Elvis Dumervil (opposing sideline), Von Miller (suspension) and Champ Bailey (foot). … Carson Palmer is the first living, breathing quarterback the Cardinals have had since Kurt Warner retired, but has a tough road matchup in a team that led the league in sacks last season, and boasts one of the NFL’s better cornerback duos. … 13.1 percent of Matt Schaub’s 4,008 yards came in one game last season. … E.J. Manuel could eventually prove to be the latest, greatest dual-threat fantasy revelation, but he’s not worth the QB2 dice roll in his NFL debut. 

Don't forget, for the latest on everything NFL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, or follow @Rotoworld_FB or @RotoPat on Twitter.

continue story »
Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty

Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days

Video Center

    NASCAR Fantasy: Michigan

    NASCAR Fantasy: Michigan
    MLB Waiver Wire Options

    MLB Waiver Wire Options
    NASCAR Fantasy: Pocono

    NASCAR Fantasy: Pocono
    Waiver wire: Nimmo an option

    Waiver wire: Nimmo an option
    NASCAR Fantasy: Coke 600

    NASCAR Fantasy: Coke 600
    MLB: Buy, hold or sell?

    MLB: Buy, hold or sell?
    Waiver Wire: Need saves?

    Waiver Wire: Need saves?
    Baseball: Buy, hold, sell

    Baseball: Buy, hold, sell