Week 1 was a miserable week for most NFL fantasy quarterbacks. Only three passers topped 20 points in standard leagues, while two suffered the ignominy of scoring negative fantasy points.
You know how to make a bad day worse? Tell Andy Dalton that the NFL fantasy site lists every active quarterback, even if they are not on a roster right now. They all get zero points, so Dalton is currently listed as the 103rd worst quarterback in the league.
Don’t you laugh, Tom Savage. You are number 102 and since you might not play this week, you are probably going to be there longer than Dalton.
Now let’s see who might have a better week and who should stay firmly seated on our bench.
START THIS GUY: Tom Brady, New England (at New Orleans)
Normally, I wouldn’t bother mentioning Brady as a must play. But his NFL fantasy score of 10.68 against Kansas City in Week 1 and a serious question about passing touchdowns forces my hand. That question, of course, is whether he will toss any this season. It seemed like the running game took red zone precedence in the first game.
Fear not. Brady and his teammates are ticked off about the Kansas City game. Don’t even try to remind them that the last three times they lost an opening game they went on to win the Super Bowl. They don’t want to hear it. The only reason they won’t score 100 points this week is that the officials will make them stop playing at the final gun. Many of those points will come through the air, so play Brady with the usual level of confidence… and some!
SIT THIS GUY: Kirk Cousins, Washington (at LA Rams)
Okay… so I told you to start this guy last week. I said he wouldn’t miss DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garcon. I was wrong. He wound up as the 20th-ranked NFL fantasy QB after the Monday night games. It was apparent in his first game that he is not yet on the same page with Terrelle Pryor. It also didn’t help that Jamison Crowder was fighting a hip injury.
The Redskins passing game will get it together soon enough, but not this week. This week, Kirk and company face the LA Rams. That would be the same Rams D/ST who outscored most quarterbacks in Week 1. And the same Rams who are coached by Cousins’ former mentor, Sean McVay. He will know exactly how to disrupt Cousins and make him wax nostalgic about his Week 1 QB20 rating.
START THIS GUY: Drew Brees, New Orleans (vs. New England)
How long do you suppose it has been since Drew Brees and Tom Brady combined for only one touchdown in a week? I’m guessing it has been a really long time. I am also guessing it will not happen again this week. Brees might not be as angry as Brady, but he’s not happy. In his game against Minnesota, he was hurried and hit behind a suspect offensive line that suffered another injury during the game.
New Orleans will figure out how to protect Brees enough to get him going in Week 2. If anyone can keep up with an angry Tom Brady, it is Drew Brees. This could be a real slugfest- and a fantasy points dream- in New Orleans.
SIT THIS GUY: Matthew Stafford, Detroit (at New York Giants)
The Dallas Cowboys attacked cornerback Eli Apple after he appeared on the injury list with an ankle injury. Sure enough, he was a step behind all game. The rest of the defense was okay- but just okay. They could not get a sack. There were also no turnovers.
I expect the Giants to not expose an injured corner a second time. If Apple is still slowed, they will use one of their young backups. With a second chance to show what they are made of on national television, the Giants defense will put it to Stafford in their home opener. Whether the defense or Stafford’s issues with playing outdoors does him in, Detroit will not have a top-three QB this week.
START THIS GUY: Derek Carr, Oakland (vs. New York Jets)
The Jets made the Buffalo Bills look like an offense to be reckoned with last week. Tyrod Taylor wound up with the fifth-most NFL fantasy quarterback points. Derek Carr was right behind him going against Tennessee’s improved defense.
The only potential problem is if this game turns into such a route that Oakland converts to a rush-heavy attack by the second half. But I wouldn’t count on it, even if Marshawn Lynch is there to make the crowd cheer. If they don’t hold him back, Carr hits three different receivers for touchdowns and still lets Lynch score, too.
SIT THESE GUYS: Eli Manning, Andy Dalton, and every rookie quarterback
Manning on Monday nights is never a good idea, but especially until they fix his offensive line and put some vertical plays in the playbook.
Dalton may be emotionally scarred for life. Thursday is not enough time to recover enough from the beating Baltimore put on him and face an angry Houston defensive rush behind that offensive line.
The rookies all face good defenses that will further compromise rookie decision-making and excitement. Last week was a down week for quarterbacks. Consider it extended preseason and assume they will bounce back this week. Don’t replace anyone with a rookie.
Too-easy-to-write-about guys who should start
Ben Roethlisberger (because he’s home), Alex Smith and Carson Wentz (because each will face a defense without their best pass defender), Russell Wilson (it’s the 49ers), and Aaron Rodgers (because Mike Glennon almost passed the receiver-less Chicago Bears past the Falcons in Week 1).
This week’s flash-in-the-pan prediction
Three is the magic number for Jay Cutler visiting the LA Chargers. He will throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns, with three interceptions and three incompletions with the game on the line with three minutes left. Melvin Gordon runs out the clock while Cutler downs three cups of water.
Week 1 was a rough week all around. Only one of my Start ‘ems was a top-12 (Carr-QB6) and a second got bumped to 13th on Monday night. My sits ranked 11, 12 and 15. My flash in the pan was victimized by a dropped touchdown but came up a little short all around. Like the quarterbacks, I needed another week of preseason just like most offenses. But I’m better now!
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