Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

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Week 1 Rankings

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Updated 9/10 at 12:00 PM ET. Removed Odell Beckham. All the evidence suggests he will sit. Moved up Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard. Removed Thomas Rawls. Moved Eddie Lacy up. Ticked down Eli Manning, ticked up Chris Carson. Removed Sebastian Janikowski. Added new Raiders K Giorgio Tavecchio.  


We’re down a game before we even begin — be safe Puerto Rico, be safe South Florida — but at long last, our seven-month national nightmare is over. No more offseason tedium, no more drafts, no more projections, no more drawing different conclusions depending on the day from the same 2016 data. We have real, live football, and with it, real, live dilemmas. Namely, how do you strike the right balance between trusting your summer observations and taking into account the Week 1 matchups? You should read Evan Silva’s Matchups, for starters. And Raymond Summerlin’s Waived Wired, and Rich Hribar’s Worksheet and Nick Mensio’s Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em, etc. etc. We won’t always be right, but we’ll certainly be bursting with information. Good luck. Here’s to the best fantasy season yet.        


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Week 1 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Tom Brady vs. KC -
2 Russell Wilson at GB -
3 Aaron Rodgers vs. SEA -
4 Marcus Mariota vs. OAK -
5 Matt Ryan at CHI -
6 Ben Roethlisberger at CLE -
7 Cam Newton at SF Questionable (shoulder)
8 Kirk Cousins vs. PHI -
9 Derek Carr at TEN -
10 Carson Palmer at DET -
11 Drew Brees at MIN -
12 Dak Prescott vs. NYG -
13 Matthew Stafford vs. ARZ -
14 Sam Bradford vs. NO -
15 Carson Wentz at WAS -
16 Alex Smith at NE -
17 Andy Dalton vs. BAL -
18 Eli Manning at DAL -
19 Philip Rivers at DEN -
20 Tyrod Taylor vs. NYJ -
21 DeShone Kizer vs. PIT -
22 Joe Flacco at CIN -
23 Jared Goff vs. IND -
24 Trevor Siemian vs. LAC -
25 Brian Hoyer vs. CAR -
26 Mike Glennon vs. ATL -
27 Blake Bortles at HOU -
28 Scott Tolzien at LAR -
29 Tom Savage vs. JAC -
30 Josh McCown at BUF -

QB Notes: Only 15 quarterbacks in NFL history have made at least eight starts in their age-39 season or beyond. Tom Brady became the 15th in 2016. His 112.2 QB rating ranked first amongst his fellow 39-plus year olds, as did his 8.23 YPA, 6.5 touchdown percentage, 0.46 interception percentage and 296 yards per game. Brady was otherworldly good for any age, but particularly 39. Just four players — Brett Favre, Warren Moon, Vinny Testaverde and Matt Hasselbeck — have started at least half a season at age 40 or older. Brady seems poised to not only become the fifth, but to do so in genuinely elite fashion. … Russell Wilson dealt with horrid offensive line play, but the main reason for his disappointing 2016? He got hurt in Week 1 and never really got healthy. The low point was a five-interception Week 14 performance in Green Bay. Back to full health, both the Packers and fantasy owners will be seeing a different Wilson. … The Seahawks defense Aaron Rodgers torched last Week 14 in Green Bay was walking wounded. Earl Thomas was missing and Richard Sherman was limping. This will be a different unit. It will also be the same Rodgers, a player who is impossible to bet against at Lambeau Field.   

Marcus Mariota seems primed to put it all together in 2017. His Week 1 opponent is in danger of falling apart on defense. The Raiders have a dire situation at linebacker, and major concerns at safety and cornerback. If the Titans can contain Khalil Mack, Mariota could be conducting passing drills. … Matt Ryan’s 9.26 YPA last season was the highest since Kurt Warner’s abbreviated 2000. Kyle Shanahan is gone, and the Bears’ defense is better than meets the eye, but Ryan’s only real Week 1 concern is the Falcons going too run heavy in a game that’s never in doubt. … Is the Ben Roethlisberger “home/road splits” narrative real or fake news? That’s a debate for a longer column, but Big Ben has only four touchdowns over his past three starts in Cleveland. What that means is up to the sample-size gods. This is a huge game for the Browns, a Week 1 showcase for a team with an exciting young quarterback and improved talent on both sides of the ball. I will still bet on Ben, and his trio of imposing weapons in Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant.

Cam Newton’s coach doesn’t know what to expect from him this Sunday. Recovering from shoulder surgery, Newton attempted two passes this preseason. Like Ron Rivera, I don’t know how Cam is going to look. What I do know is that he’s facing a rebuilding defense that was a 2016 doormat. I’m expecting more 2015 than 2016 from the former MVP. … Only Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers have more yards than Kirk Cousins over the past two seasons. A slow start is a possibility as Cousins adjusts to a revamped supporting cast, but the back end of the Eagles’ defense is leaky. ... Merely the QB17 by average points last season, Derek Carr still had a propensity for big games, throwing for at least three touchdowns in 5-of-15 starts. With the Raiders’ defense in disarray, shootout conditions could rapidly develop in Tennessee. … The Vikings allowed the third-fewest passing yards and fifth-fewest aerial scores in 2016. Drew Brees, meanwhile, will be trekking away from the friendly confines of the Superdome with Ted Ginn as his No. 2 receiver. Monday figures to be one of Brees’ quieter days of the year.

Carson Palmer’s arm is hanging by a thread, but coach Bruce Arians adjusted for that reality down the stretch last season, changing the offense. Palmer responded with multi-score efforts in six of his final seven games. The Lions are an attackable Week 1 matchup for streamers. … The worst game of Dak Prescott’s rookie season was Dallas’ home opener against the Giants. The G-Men remain imposing on defense, but Dak is a different player than he was 12 months ago. He completed 18-of-22 passes (81.8 percent) for 219 yards (10.0 YPA) and two touchdowns this preseason. … Matthew Stafford has averaged a modest 25 touchdowns since his 41-score 2011. With the Lions still committed to keep-away offense, that number probably isn’t going to go up in 2017. … This is probably flying too close to the sun with Sam Bradford, but the hyper-efficient — if hyper-conservative — quarterback has an excellent opening week home matchup in a Saints defense that allowed the most passing touchdowns in football last season. Quietly, Bradford also has an impressive stable of weapons. … Eli Manning was atrocious last season, struggling to generate 4,027 yards on a whopping 598 attempts. Even against the Cowboys’ undermanned defense, Manning will have nowhere to hide if Odell Beckham (ankle) sits.

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Carson Wentz’s rookie season was inconclusive. Anything from next franchise quarterback to Bortlesville remains within the range of possibilities. … Alex Smith, of all people, was a puff piece staple this summer. He’s apparently seen the deep ball light as Patrick Mahomes breathes down his neck. The Patriots are not a plus matchup, but one of the NFL’s top game-planners in Andy Reid has had months to prepare for what should be a high-scoring affair. … The Broncos’ defense lived up to its reputation last season. DC Wade Phillips is gone, but it’s still going to be tough road sledding for Philip Rivers. … Andy Dalton has only six touchdowns over his past five starts against the Ravens. … Tyrod Taylor’s matchup is right, but not much else is. Coming off a concussion, Taylor has been stripped of his weapons. New coach Sean McDermott could barely bring himself to commit to Taylor this summer. … DeShone Kizer promises to be everyone’s new favorite YOLO play in DFS, but any 2017 peak figures to come with two valleys. … New Rams coach Sean McVay has had weeks to scheme for an awful Colts defense missing top CB Vontae Davis. Jared Goff in cash?..... … Wait on Trevor Siemian in two-QB leagues/DFS. He has Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, but is missing coach Gary Kubiak, and the Chargers are emerging as a shutdown defense.

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

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