by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Week 1 of the NFL season is always the toughest for fantasy owners, because there is a lot of unknowns. What we know from 2013, or should we say what we think we know, is really meaningless because so much changes from year to year. While it’s advisable to not do anything dramatic, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some better matchups than others. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how our Week 1 rankings currently look:
- Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos – vs. Indianapolis
- Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints – at Atlanta
- Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts – at Denver
- Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys – vs. San Francisco
- Nick Foles – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Jacksonville
- Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions – vs. New York Giants
- Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – vs. New Orleans
- Tom Brady – New England Patriots – at Miami
- Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – at Seattle
- Colin Kaepernick – San Francisco 49ers – at Dallas
- Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Green Bay
- Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers – at Arizona
- Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears – vs. Buffalo
- Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers – at Tampa Bay
- Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals – vs. San Diego
- Robert Griffin III – Washington Redskins – at Houston
- Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals – at Baltimore
- Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Cleveland
- Jake Locker – Tennessee Titans – at Kansas City
- Chad Henne – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Philadelphia
- Brian Hoyer – Cleveland Browns – at Pittsburgh
- Geno Smith – New York Jets – vs. Oakland
- Eli Manning – New York Giants – at Detroit
- Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Cincinnati
- Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Tennessee
- In what could easily be one of, if not the highest scoring game of the week, we are going to get to see Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck go toe-to-toe. With the Colts’ running game in serious question as it is, and with the necessity to put up a significant number of points, don’t be surprised if Luck is among the biggest scorers in the opening week.
- Aaron Rodgers draws an extremely tough matchup in Week 1, with the Super Bowl champs at home. Last season they allowed the fewest passing yards per game (172.0), the second fewest passing TD (16) and the most interceptions (28). No one is going to recommend sitting Rodgers, because as we’ve learned in the NFL you never know, but he’s got to be moved down your rankings a few spots.
- We still believe that, overall, Nick Foles is going to significantly regress from his performance in 2013. That said, the matchup this week still keeps him among the better options in the league.
- Generally a matchup against the 49ers would give you cause for concern, but not at this point. The defense has taken a hit this offseason and Tony Romo appears to be healthy and has a full assortment of weapons at his disposal. It’s hard not to like him at this point.
- Matthew Stafford is going to be a good option, but the Giants’ secondary should be significantly improved from a year ago. You also have to wonder how the secondary options are going to produce, whether it is rookie Eric Ebron or import Golden Tate. It’s hard to argue against him, but there is reason for at least a little bit of concern.
- Collin Kaepernick has a matchup you have to like, but the Cowboys defense is much worse against the run as opposed to the pass (though, that’s not to say that they are good against the pass). He’s a QB1, but don’t push him too highly.
- If Cam Newton were healthy he’d be an easy call to start. However, at this point he still has a questionable receiving corps and a rib injury that could hinder him. It makes him tough to trust, depending on your alternatives.
- Do you trust Robert Griffin III? It’s hard to say bench him, given the upside, but it’s also incredibly hard to recommend using him. Proceed at your own risk.
- We love Ryan Tannehill for a breakout this season, but in Week 1 he draws the revamped Patriots secondary featuring Darrelle Revis. That’s going to be an incredibly tough sell, to say the least.
- Even without Josh Gordon, we saw what Brian Hoyer was capable of when healthy last season. There’s a lot to like, and he has significant upside among the “lower tier” quarterbacks.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 1 rankings: