Week 1 Rankings (2018): Top 25 Quarterbacks

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s finally time for the regular season to start!  Week 1 is one of the more difficult to predict, as the preseason generally gives little insight into what we should expect.  The NFL is always changing, so even looking at results and numbers from 2017 doesn’t necessarily bear much value.  That said there are injuries and other issues that influence perspective value, so let’s take a look at the best quarterback options heading into Week 1:

  1. Tom Brady – New England Patriots – vs. Houston
  2. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – vs. Chicago
  3. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers – vs. Dallas
  4. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Cleveland
  5. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
  6. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks – at Denver
  7. Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings – vs. San Francisco
  8. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions – vs. New York Jets
  9. Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans – at New England
  10. Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams – at Oakland
  11. Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Kansas City
  12. Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs – at Los Angeles Chargers
  13. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Cincinnati
  14. Alex Smith – Washington Redskins – at Arizona
  15. Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals – at Indianapolis
  16. Nick Foles – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Atlanta
  17. Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans – at Miami
  18. Jimmy Garoppolo – San Francisco 49ers – at Minnesota
  19. Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys – at Carolina
  20. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – at Philadelphia
  21. Mitch Trubisky – Chicago Bears – at Green Bay
  22. Eli Manning – New York Giants – vs. Jacksonville
  23. Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Buffalo
  24. Sam Bradford – Arizona Cardinals – vs. Washington
  25. Case Keenum – Denver Broncos – vs. Seattle

Thoughts:

  • Do we downgrade Aaron Rodgers given the sudden presence of Khalil Mack on the Chicago defense?  He’s not going to have much time to get up to speed and we wouldn’t overestimate his potential Week 1 impact.  He will certainly change things, making them a dynamic defense, and come Week 2 or Week 3 they will likely have emerged as a defense that you want to avoid with a mediocre quarterback.
  • Could the Houston-New England game morph into a shootout?  It’s possible, but at the same time what type of performance can we really expect from Deshaun Watson?  He wasn’t all that impressive during the preseason after having his season ended with a knee injury in Week 8.  If he’s on the field his upside is going to keep him as a QB1, but don’t ignore the risk until we actually see him perform well in the regular season.
  • This is the second consecutive season that Le’Veon Bell has sat out the entire preseason.  Last year he struggled in Week 1, as you’d expect, taking 10 carries for 32 yards and catching 3 passes for 15 yards.  Would it be a big surprise if Bell has a similar struggle in Week 1 of 2018?  That potential is going to push Roethlisberger higher up on the rankings than normal, and consider him a must start option and a potentially elite option.
  • No one is going to argue the potential value a healthy Luck brings, but is anyone willing to bet that he’s truly healthy?  A minor foot injury had him sidelined this past week, and that missed time coupled with sitting out all of ‘17 is going to loom large.  It’s easy to imagine that he’s going to need to be eased back into the mix and will suppress his ranking for Week 1.
  • The Chargers were among the better defenses against opposing quarterbacks a year ago, including allowing 16 TD (third fewest in the league).  That said Alex Smith had 2 TD in each of his two starts against them in ’17, and with the weapons around him it’s easy to imagine Mahomes having similar success.  Despite the matchup, don’t make the mistake of underestimating him.
  • The Bears didn’t really open up the offense for Trubisky last season, but the handcuffs should be off immediately in ’18.  He had one of his best games of ’17 against Green Bay, going for 297 yards, 1 TD and 0 INT.  There’s obviously a lot of risk, but as a QB2 he’s not a bad candidate.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 1 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
Week 1 Rankings (2018): Top 40 Running Backs
2018 Preseason Rankings: Updated Top 40 Running Backs: What Does Jerick McKinnon's Loss Mean & More

20 comments

  1. Ker mit says:

    Hey Prof – I will have to decide by week 4 about keeping Alex Smith or Cam Newton as they both have week 4 Byes. Should I pick up Nick Foles now and drop Smith? Picking up 2 week 4 bye QB’s was a draft brain fart. 10 team PPR RB/WR/TE flex league. As always – Thanks for your feedback.

  2. Stan Cal says:

    So, I had every drafter’s worst nightmare: having to draft while in an area with limited network access. The result was a hodgepodge of what limited input I could get in and an auto draft system that doesn’t take quantity of position into account:
    Stafford, Mahomes, Luck
    Hunt, Gordon, Lynch, Cohen, Ingram
    Evans, Thielen, Baldwin, Shepard, Davis
    Olsen
    Broncos
    (None)

    All things considering, it could have gone much worse. Obviously I’m gonna need a kicker and to cut bait with one of the two high-upside QBs. I also don’t know if I care about Davis, since I already have him as a lottery ticket in another league. Notable RBs on the board include Powell, Morris, Bernard, and Conner while WRs include Amendola, Cole, Golladay, and Benjamin. Thoughts as to how much of this roster needs reworking? Thanks again!

  3. M says:

    I’ve got a trade proposal and I’d like to know your opinion on it: an opposing team wants to trade me Joe Mixon, Keenan Allen, and Jared Goff for Tom Brady. My immediate thought is to not do it. What do you think? Is this a quality trade or no?

  4. Foot Fantasy says:

    Andrew luck or Matt Ryan week 1? I see Luck is ahead on the rankings, but is he going to do better than Ryan with Philly?

  5. Andy says:

    I have QB Jimmy and Dak , who should I start this week ? If Andy Dalton should I pick him up for this week and who should i drop ? Thanks

  6. trevor says:

    standard-newton or rivers

  7. trevor says:

    standard-dion lewis & peyton barber

  8. Chris Zeller says:

    Rotoprofessor, I was the last person in my league 12 tm PPR to take a Qb. I got Dak Prescott in the 13th round. Which I thought was excellent value. My questions are this: Why is everyone in the industry so down on Dak? Its not like Witten and Bryant were great receivers. And Hurns and Beasley have both proven that they can be useful. Additionally, Gallup appears to be a very talented wide out. As long as the box is stacked to stop Zeke Dak should be able to perform well. Or am I totally wrong? If I am I guess I could stream Andy Dalton but I just feel like Dak has way more upside especially with the rushing ability.

    • I think you are undervaluing the guys who are no longer there. They are far superior to the current group and it’s tough to count on Gallup as a rookie. Maybe he proves me wrong but I want to see it first

  9. OtisP says:

    Professor, I have a trade question for you – been offered Goff and either Stills or Crowder for Trubisky and Jordan Wilkins (the owner has Marlon Mack). Seems like a no-brainer for me and I should do it. Thoughts?

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