Fantasy QB Rankings Week 1: Who to start, sit at quarterback in fantasy football

After grueling hours of research and ultimately fantasy drafts, Week 1 is finally upon us, and it’s time to set those starting lineups. This year, fans are back in stadiums (for now) after a COVID-plagued season, and visiting quarterbacks will once again be affected by home-field advantages. Many fantasy owners possess QBs who you simply aren’t going to bench, no matter the matchup. Obviously, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Patrick Mahomes are locked into your starting lineups (unless you’re in a six-team league…don’t be in a six-team league), but some opt to draft a pair of late-round fliers or a high-floor, low-ceiling guy to pair with a rookie waiting to crack the starting lineup. If you’re one of those people, be sure to know who to start in this opening week. Our Week 1 Fantasy QB rankings can help.

Our Week 1 rankings don’t look all that different from our preseason rankings, but matchups and injuries to key skill players will always be a factor for QBs. This week, sleepers like Jimmy Garoppolo (@ Lions) and Jalen Hurts (@ Falcons) might surprise people with their high rankings, while stud QB Josh Allen’s place on the list could have the same effect the other way.

WEEK 1 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts | Start ’em, Sit ’em

Garoppolo takes his 49ers squad into Detroit Week 1, and the Lions are expected to be among the very worst defenses (offenses and special teams, too, for what it’s worth). There will likely be a common theme with QBs who play against the Lions — start ’em. Yes, Garoppolo is an unexciting fantasy (and real-life) QB, but if you have him, you probably took him as one of your last picks in the draft. We also don’t expect Trey Lance to see much, if any, action right away outside of garbage time. If Garoppolo has a nice game as we expect, that late-round pick already pays off.

WEEK 1 PPR RANKINGS:
Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Meanwhile, Josh Allen (vs. Steelers) faces the Pittsburgh defense in Week 1. Most quarterbacks will be ranked well below where we have him (QB9) when they face Pittsburgh. Allen is our preseason QB3, so it’s still considered a significant drop. That being said, how likely is it that you possess someone ranked ahead of Allen in Week 1 if you spent the early draft capital to get him? Dak Prescott (@ Buccaneeers) falls to QB11 in Week 1, as he will likely come in with some rust and faces off against the defending Super Bowl champs on the road.

WEEK 1 STANDARD RANKINGS:
Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Trevor Lawrence (@ Texans) is inside our top-15 thanks to what projects as a highly favorable matchup. Even though he’s a rookie in his first game — it’s the Texans. Enough said.

It may sound crazy, but in very deep leagues or two-QB/superflex leagues, Sam Darnold (vs. Jets) is playable this week. He’s a low-end QB2 as his former team heads into Carolina. Can you insert him in your lineup without feeling sick? It may be tough, but it can be done. One of the most boring QBs in NFL history, Tyrod Taylor (vs. Jaguars) ranks just behind him. This will probably be the only time he’s playable, but he’s there for what it’s worth.

WEEK 1 DFS LINEUPS: DraftKings | Yahoo | FanDuel

Of course, Week 1 can be tough to project, but we considered all factors when building the rankings. This list will matter more or less to you depending on your league size and scoring formats, but QBs see less movement than skill players with the obvious PPR vs standard differences.

MORE WEEK 1 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder

Note: We’ll be updating these QB rankings as needed throughout the week, so check back for the latest changes and analysis.

Fantasy QB Rankings Week 1: Who to start at quarterback

Rankings are based on standard, four-point passing TD scoring formats.

Individual analysis will be added early next week and updated throughout the week to reflect any changes to the rankings.

Rank Player
1 Patrick Mahomes, KC vs. CLE
2 Kyler Murray, ARI @ TEN
3 Lamar Jackson, BAL @ LV
4 Tom Brady, TB vs. DAL
5 Ryan Tannehill, TEN vs. ARI
6 Jalen Hurts, PHI @ ATL. Hurts has been labeled a sleeper heading into this season, and he should see an explosive Week 1 performance against a bad Atlanta defense. They gave up 24 fantasy points per game (FPPG) to QBs last season (second most), and it’s tough to see a drastic improvement so early in the season. Even if Hurts isn’t efficient through the air, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him feast on the ground.
7 Matthew Stafford, LAR vs. CHI
8 Aaron Rodgers, GB vs. NO
9 Josh Allen, BUF vs. PIT. You’re obviously not benching Josh Allen this week (or ever), but he does face one of the league’s top defenses. Pittsburgh was No. 2 in FPPG allowed to quarterbacks (15.3) a season ago, so it’s possible Allen doesn’t have an earth-shattering day.
10 Russell Wilson, SEA @ IND. Wilson has overall QB1 upside this year, but playing a stout Colts defense (10th in FPPG allowed to QBs last year) on the road could complicate Week 1 for him.
11 Dak Prescott, DAL @ TB. Prescott was among our top-six QBs in the preseason rankings, but he’s returning to action for the first time in nearly a year, and does so without Zack Martin (COVID) and possibly La’el Collins (neck) facing off against the elite Tampa Bay pass rush. Again, you’re likely not benching him, but don’t be shocked to see him struggle as he shakes off the rust. (Update: Collins is playing.)
12 Justin Herbert, LAC @ WAS. Herbert is among the best season-long players at QB this season. He’ll get his points, but the Washington defense is stout on all three levels.
13 Trevor Lawrence, JAX @ HOU. Lawrence begins his Jaguars career with a very nice matchup. The Texans’ entire roster was has been gutted, and they’re in a clear rebuild. Jacksonville has enough weapons on offense for him to get off to a great start.
14 Kirk Cousins, MIN @ CIN. Cousins faces off against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The hope is Joe Burrow and company will keep the game competitive so Minnesota doesn’t merely ground-and-pound all game long. Cousins has quietly been a serviceable play at QB over his career and has two stud receivers who can help him rack up points in a hurry.
15 Matt Ryan, ATL vs. PHI. Ryan has been up and down in fantasy seemingly week-to-week and is always a boom-or-bust candidate, but he does have a favorable matchup against the Eagles. We’ll see how quickly he clicks with Kyle Pitts, but there are a ton of fantasy-relevant options in this game featuring two bad defenses.
16 Jimmy Garoppolo, SF @ DET. It can be weird to see Jimmy G’s name anywhere close to the top-15 of any list, but he’s playing against a putrid Detroit defense (last in FFPG allowed to QBs last season). Put simply, the 49ers skill-groups outmatch Detroit’s defense from top to bottom. It’ll all come down to the game script, but Garoppolo has the chance to produce a solid fantasy outing. This may be the only time you can confidently plug him in if Trey Lance emerges soon, but for now, take advantage of his opportunity. This is another offense you want to target this week.
17 Joe Burrow, CIN vs. MIN. Minnesota’s defense was bad last year, but it’s expected to take a step forward. Burrow has a high ceiling, but he barely did anything in the preseason. In some leagues, you’ll have no choice but to start him, but he may struggle in his first action back from a brutal knee injury. He likely will attempt a high number of passes, so he could outperform his ranking due to pure volume, but in single-QB leagues, you can probably find a safer option.
18 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT @ BUF. Roethlisberger has been a polarizing players in the eyes of fantasy owners, but if he continues his pace of high passing attempts, he has some fantasy relevance. There is a chance the matchup with the Bills is a defensive struggle. If that’s the case, Najee Harris will hover around 20 carries, and Big Ben’s fantasy prospects this week will be build on efficiency and touchdowns.
19 Baker Mayfield, CLE @ KC. Kansas City gave up the 12th-most FPPG to quarterbacks last year. This isn’t because they’re necessarily a bad defense, but Kansas City has the tendency to put teams in shootouts. In Cleveland’s ideal world, they want to run the ball early and often. However, with Patrick Mahomes on the other side of the ball, they’ll likely have to pass to keep up. This could create a nice fantasy outing for Mayfield because of the passing volume.
20 Jameis Winston, NO vs. GB
21 Ryan Fitzpatrick, WAS vs. LAC
22 Zach Wilson, NYJ @ CAR
23 Teddy Bridgewater, DEN @ NYG
24 Sam Darnold, CAR vs. NYJ
25 Tyrod Taylor, HOU vs. JAX
26 Tua Tagovailoa, MIA @ NE
27 Derek Carr, LV vs. BAL
28 Daniel Jones, NYG vs. DEN
29 Carson Wentz, IND vs. SEA
30 Jared Goff, DET vs. SF
31 Andy Dalton, CHI @ LAR
32 Mac Jones, NE vs. MIA

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