Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

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Week 1 Rankings

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Updated 9/7 at 12:15 PM ET. Andre Ellington and Cam Newton removed. Kenny Stills, Cecil Shorts and Aaron Dobson removed. Moved Antonio Gates and Greg Olsen down. 

Updated 9/7 at 12:50 PM ET. Moved Michael Crabtree down after he was labeled "true game-time decision" by FOX's Jay Glazer. 

Questions beget questions. You spent all summer pondering “so-and-so vs. so-and-so, and in what round?” Now those so-and-sos are no longer Xs and Ys, but your players. You got who you wanted, but heavy is the head that wears the crown. You have too many good options, and don’t know who to start. That’s where we — impartial arbiter of your weekly dilemmas — come in.

But do yourself a favor this first week: Don’t undo all your good work. Trust the process that got you to Week 1 with a squad you love. That means start your early-round studs, and resist cold feet with the sleepers you’ve been rejoicing in since May. At least for one week, let yourself sleep at night. You’re going to need the rest for the annual wild ride we’re all about to embark on.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a $20,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's games. It's only $25 to join and first prize is $3,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.

Week 1 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Peyton Manning vs. IND -
2 Drew Brees at ATL -
3 Matthew Stafford vs. NYG -
4 Andrew Luck at DEN -
5 Aaron Rodgers at SEA -
6 Matt Ryan vs. NO -
7 Nick Foles vs. JAC -
8 Jay Cutler vs. BUF -
9 Tom Brady at MIA Questionable (calf)
10 Russell Wilson vs. GB -
11 Tony Romo vs. SF Probable (back)
12 Colin Kaepernick at DAL -
13 Ben Roethlisberger vs. CLE -
14 Robert Griffin III at HOU -
15 Carson Palmer vs. SD -
16 Philip Rivers at ARZ -
17 Andy Dalton at BAL -
18 Ryan Tannehill vs. NE -
19 Alex Smith vs. TEN -
20 Joe Flacco vs. CIN -
21 Jake Locker at KC -
22 Geno Smith vs. OAK -
23 Josh McCown vs. CAR -
24 Shaun Hill vs. MIN -
25 Eli Manning at DET -
26 Matt Cassel at STL -
27 Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. WAS -
28 Chad Henne at PHI -
29 E.J. Manuel at CHI -
30 Derek Carr at NYJ -
31 Brian Hoyer at PIT -
32 Derek Anderson at TB -

QB Notes: Peyton Manning doesn’t have Wes Welker or Eric Decker. Thankfully, he still has Peyton Manning. … Drew Breeshome/road splits were starker than ever in 2013, but at the Georgia Dome against the Falcons’ swiss cheese defense is not a matchup you worry about. … Among the many things Matthew Stafford inspires, confidence isn’t usually one of them. But at home with a healthy Calvin Johnson, a legitimate No. 2 receiver (Golden Tate) and a brand new trio of coaching mentors, he should at least get off to a strong start against a Giants team that’s oscillated between “disarray” and “full-fledged anarchy” over the past calendar year. … This should be the last week you find Aaron Rodgers outside the top three. … Matt Ryan is a lead-pipe lock to bounce-back from his disappointing, but hardly dismal, 2013. … The simple part: Jay Cutler will be a top-12 quarterback if he stays healthy. The not simple part: Staying healthy.

Admittedly, I’ve been lower on Nick Foles than most, but this didn’t look like a quarterback ready to get “exposed” in the preseason. Sanity dictates that Foles won’t match his categorically-insane rates from 2013, but he is more than capable of a top-five fantasy finish in an offense satisfied with nothing less than warp speed. And despite the loss of DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant, Foles has as many targets — Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles — as any quarterback in the league. … You could sleep on Tom Brady, or you could bet on a quarterback who was a different player in the second half last season. After limping to 1,824 yards, a 55.7 completion percentage, 5.94 YPA and 9:6 TD:INT through his first eight games, Brady exploded for 2,519, 65.1, 7.85 and 16:5, respectively, over the season’s final two months. You could also think he lacks targets, or you could list them out: Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell, Kenbrell Thompkins, Rob Gronkowski, Tim Wright and Shane Vereen. Brady is far from done.

Coming off a preseason where he went 30-of-39 for 360 yards, two touchdowns, zero turnovers and three rushing scores, Russell Wilson looks ready to be unleashed. Going up against a defense that’s struggled against dual-threat quarterbacks the past two seasons, Wilson could set the tone for a dominant 2014 on Thursday evening. … Quietly disappointing for long stretches of 2013, Tony Romo needs to prove he’s healthy after two back surgeries in 16 months by dissecting an uncharacteristically-undermanned 49ers defense. … Colin Kaepernick has all the tools in the world. Now with Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and a healthy (Thursday note: Well, maybe not.) Michael Crabtree, he finally has a receiver corps to match. … Coming off his strongest season since 2009, Ben Roethlisberger is a quarterback with top-eight upside who nobody is talking about. … Banged up and breaking in a new supporting cast, this is as low as you will ever see Cam Newton (ribs). … Carson Palmer could prove to be 2014’s top streaming quarterback.

Robert Griffin III appeared to be two things in the preseason: 1. Out of control. 2. Healthy. The latter should be a boon to his fantasy standing. The former is why it could be short lived. RGIII is one of the most gifted players in football, but must clean up his fundamentals — and freaking learn to slide — if he wants to summit the mountain he nearly scaled as a rookie. … Philip Rivers was one of fantasy’s top stories in 2013, but owners looking for a repeat of his top-six finish are going to be sorely disappointed. The Bolts should continue to dial back Rivers’ pass attempts as they dial up the run. … The same could be true for Andy Dalton, but OC Hue Jackson had a knack for maximizing potential in Oakland. … It’s now-or-never for Ryan Tannehill, lest he wants to take up permanent residence in Bradfordland. … Alex Smith will be without a No. 1 receiver to make plays this weekend. You could argue that’s not too different from 2013, where he finished as fantasy’s No. 16 quarterback.   

Joe Flacco was a flat tire in 2013. He should be a spare in 2014. … Like Jay Cutler with less throwing ability and less durability, Jake Locker could be in for a top-16 season if he could somehow stay healthy. … Geno Smith looked legitimately impressive in the preseason, and his Week 1 opponent could scarcely be more appetizing. … Shaun Hill is 34 and has attempted only 16 passes since 2010, but quarterbacks with a gunslinger’s mentality. He could settle in as one of the year’s better streamers. … E.J. Manuel can’t be trusted in any format. He’s 1-2 bad starts away from losing his job to Kyle Orton, who’s being paid like a starter. … Looking impressive against preseason 2s and 3s is one thing. Looking impressive against Rex Ryan is quite another. Keep Derek Carr benched for his first career start. … So begins Brian Hoyer’s weekly dirge to delay Johnny Football.

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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