Roethlisberger had three playable games in the daily space in 2016 (22 for 27 for 300 yards and five TDs, 34 for 47 for 380 yards and four TDs, and 37 for 46 for 408 yards and three TDs) with each game coming at home vs. KC, NYJ, and DAL. He had seven games in his 14 starts with three TDs or more while failing to pass for 300 yards in his last six games. In Ben’s only start against the Browns on the road, he passed for 167 yards and no TDs. Last year Cleveland allowed the second most Fantasy point to the QB position, but only two teams scored over 30 Fantasy points. The Browns added a premier edge pass rusher and a talented safety in this year’s draft to help defend the pass. Roethlisberger should have the services of the electric Martavis Bryant in 2017 to help him reach another level. Talented QB playing in an offense with high upside especially at home. I expect the Steelers to be more balanced offensively on the road while Cleveland tries to control the clock on the ground. Ben has the weapons to post a winning score, but his high salary would keep me away on the road.
2016 was a tough season for Newton. He lost his accuracy due to a bum right shoulder that required surgery after the season. Headed into Week 1 of the regular season, Cam has played in one series for the Panthers (2-for-2 for 21 yards and a TD) in the preseason. He didn’t start throwing until late July. His slow progress has led to him falling in the season long drafts. On paper, Newton has a favorable match, but the 49ers’ defense does have talent even with poor 2016 stats due to multiple injuries. He has an upgrade in the passing game at RB with Christian McCaffrey and I expect Curtis Samuel to be an intriguing addition at well at some point in the season. Cam isn’t going to run as much early in the season to protect the healthy of his right shoulder. Overpriced for me while Carolina runs a more balanced attack in Week 1. More steady than explosive.
Rodgers is the slickest QB in the NFL. His movements and throws on the run are unmatched by any QB in the league. He makes minimal mistakes with high upside in passing TDs in most games. His stats have failed to match the top QBs in the game in yards due to only attempting over 600 passes once in his nine seasons as a starting QB for the Packers. He enters 2017 with three strong WRs and a pass catching TE with scoring ability and a talented pass catching option out of the backfield. In 2016, Aaron had eight games with three passing TDs or more with five of those games coming at home. In his matchup vs. Seattle at home, Rodgers passed for 246 yards with three TDs. The Seahawks ranked fifth in QB defense in 2016 with no team scoring over 30 Fantasy points. As great as he is, Aaron will be an against the grain play in Week 1. 300 passing yards and three TDs is well within reach, but it may not be enough to separate from the field due to his higher salary.
Ryan had an incredible season in 2016 leading to a career high 38 passing TDs while gaining 9.3 yards per passing attempts. This came even with a down season from his elite lead wide receiver. The Falcons’ offense has talent as well at RB, which may lead to a balanced attack at times. Chicago was league average defending QBs in 2016 with only one team scoring over 30 Fantasy points from the QB position. In 2016, Atlanta scored 28 points or more in 15 of their 19 games played so it’s tough to write Matt off in any week. Winnable matchup, but a ball control offense may lead to a mix of rushing and passing TDs plus I question whether Bears will push the issue on the scoreboard.
With a bum ankle and a knee issue, Wilson was given the best opportunity of his career to throw in 2016 (546 passing attempts) despite career low in rushing yards (239). He set a career high in passing yards (4219) while struggling to create TDs (22). This year his offensive line has risk plus the RB position remains in flux. He has two viable options in the passing game (Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham) while still looking for someone to emerge at the second WR slot. Last season he had one of his worst game of his career in Green Bay (240 passing yards with five Ints). The Packers have risk in the secondary. In 2016, they ranked 26th in the NFL defending QBs with four teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points at the QB position. Russell has one of the better value as far as Fantasy points per $1000 of salary (4.03), which is helped by the Packers’ ability to score. Wilson is in play for me in Week 1.
There’s a lot to like about Mariota and the Titans this season. He has three WRs that have a chance to be Fantasy assets plus a TE who grades as an edge. Both of his RBs can make plays in the passing game. In addition, Marcus will add value with his legs. This game has one of the highest over/under on the week (51.5) pointing to a high scoring game. The Titans will score rushing TDs while being one of the better teams in the league scoring touchdowns in the red zone. Last year Oakland was 25th in the league defending QBs with three teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points (all over the first five weeks of the season). There’s a very good chance Mariota comes in. If not, one of Tennessee’s RBs will pay off. In my thoughts, but I prefer a healthy core of WRs.
I have the feeling that Carr is the QBs to own in the daily games in Week 1. Tennessee played well in 2016 vs. the run (3rd lowest Fantasy points allowed) while ranking 28th defending QBs. They allowed three teams to score over 30 Fantasy points from the QB position (none over the last six weeks of the year). Derek had five games in 15 starts with three TDs or more and four games with over 300 yards passing. He did struggle in Tennessee in 2016 (249 yards and one TD). The Titans have risk at CB, which is a win for Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.
Winston has more receiving talent in 2017 with DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard added to the roster. A healthy Charles Sims will give him a threat out of the backfield on passing downs as well. In 2016, Jameis had only three games with over 300 yards passing and four games with three passing TDs or more. Miami will rush the QB, but they did have risk defending QBs last year (30th in Fantasy points allowed). Four teams scored over 30 Fantasy points from the QB position. Mike Evans is an elite scoring option and the Dolphins don’t have a CB to shut him down. This game could be more wide open than most expect with both teams having upside receiving talent. Rated low in Week 1 meaning he’ll be an against the grain type option. Confident of two passing TDs, but he’ll need a third to be in play. His biggest downside could be his offensive line.
I have Luck listed as out in Week 1. I’ll update if I get a better report. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum in the offseason. He’s been throwing on the side with improved arm strength while remaining in the PUP list.
Cousins is a talented QB with plus accuracy. It’s debatable if his weapons in the passing game are better than 2016 with the key being the health of Jordan Reed. In 2016, Kirk had two games with over 400 yards passing plus five other games with over 300 passing yards. He did struggle to throw passing TDs (only three games with three passing TDs). In his two games vs. the Eagles, Cousins had 497 combined passing yards with four TDs. Philly ranked 10th defending QBs last year with one team scoring over 30 Fantasy points. I don’t respect their CBs. Washington will move the ball, but the final value for Kirk in Week 1 comes down to Reed. Winnable matchup, but the numbers don’t point to a difference maker score.
Dak had a impressive rookie season leading to a 13-3 season. Prescott only attempted 30 passing per game over his first 15 games (only eight in Week 16 due to an early hook). He flashed accuracy (67.8) and TD ability (29) while his legs (57/282/6) offset some of his shortfalls in the passing game. In his two games vs. the Giants, Dak had 405 combined yards with only one TD. New York has an improving defense while finishing 2016 2nd in QB Fantasy defense. No QB scored over 23 Fantasy points vs. the Giants last year. Clear avoid for me even if Elliott plays.
Taylor has never passed for more than 20 TDs in a season in his career. He can still have a plus game or two during the season due to his legs (2015 – 104/568/4 and 2016 – 95/580/6). The lost of Sammy Watkins takes away a big play threat while his replacement Jordan Matthews doesn’t look healthy after suffering a chest injury in August. Zay Jones has talent, but he has a lot to prove in the NFL. This team is built on running the football and the Jets won’t push the issue on the scoreboard. In 2016, Tyrod played well at home vs. New York (32 combined yards with three TDs) while missing the second game on the road. The Jets placed 20th in the league defending QBs in 2016 with two teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points. More boring than explosive with short passing attempts expected. Taylor heads into Week 1 with a questionable tag due to a concussion suffered in the preseason.
Stafford is now the highest paid QB in the NFL. He tends to have plus pass attempts over the full season with improved accuracy in the last two seasons (67.2 in 2015 and 65.3 in 2016). Over the last 10 games in 2016. Matt failed to throw over two TDs in a game (11 combined TDs). He finished last year with four games with over 300 yards passing. Arizona did lose some talent in the secondary, but they still have Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu who grade as edges in pass coverage. The question will come down to the Cardinals’ pass rush. Last year Arizona placed 13th in the NFL defending QBs with two teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points from the QB position (Week 16 and Week 17). The Cardinals play man coverage leading to Stafford throwing a high volume of passes to the RB position in Week 1. Not the best matchup plus the Cardinals will run the ball a lot with Johnson.
Palmer failed to match his 2015 production (4671 passing yards and 35 TDs) in 2016 (4233 yards and 26 TDs). Carson had four games with three passing TDs and six games with over 300 yards passing. He has a great pass catching back plus Hall of Famer at WR. The Lions allowed the fourth most Fantasy points to QBs last year with three teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points. Palmer has looked sharp this summer and he may hit the ground running. He needs three TDs to payoff with one going to David Johnson. Not ideal with Johnson stealing his upside in the run game.
Dalton does have an interesting mix of receiving talent headed into 2017. His offensive line with be the key to his passing window. After a breakthrough in passing TDs (33) in 2013, Andy has come up flat over the last three season (19, 25, and 18) while sneaking in 11 rushing TDs over this period. In his two games vs. the Ravens last year, Dalton had 509 combined passing yards with two passing TDs. Baltimore finished last year 11th in QB Fantasy defense with one team scoring over 30 Fantasy points. Green is an explosive type player plus Tyler Eifert has scoring ability. In my thoughts as he tends to play well at home.
Prior to the Odell Beckham injury, Eli was one of the top value QBs on the board for me in Week 1. He has three upside WRs plus a rookie TE with talent. The Cowboys held Manning to 400 combined yards and four TDs in 2016 over two games while Odell Beckham struggled to get open (4/73 and 4/94/1) on 17 combined targets. This season Dallas will have risk in their secondary creating a larger opportunity in the passing game for Eli. In 2016, the Cowboys ended up 17th in the league defending QBs with two teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points. Part of their success was a ball control offense that helped keep their defense on the sidelines. If Beckham is cleared to play with no issues, Manning will be an attractive option for me in Week 1 as I expect regression in the play in the secondary for Dallas.
Flacco has been battling a back issue over the summer putting his Week 1 status in limbo. He’s expected to be cleared to practice before the start of the season giving him a chance to play vs. the Bengals. In 2016, Joe attempted a career high 672 passes, but he gained only 6.4 yards per pass attempt. In the offseason, Baltimore added Jeremy Maclin to hopefully give Flacco another viable option in the passing game. Last year he passed for 501 combined yards and only one TD against Cinci. The Bengals placed 14th in the league vs. the QB position with one team scoring over 30 Fantasy points. Over the last seven weeks of the season, no QB scored over 20 Fantasy points. Tough to trust.
Cutler may have the best receiving weapons of his career in Miami. Landry and Parker could have an impressive season in 2017 with Jay throwing the ball plus Julius Thomas will offer scoring ability at TE. In 2016, the Dolphins had the most success over the second of the season by rushing the ball and limiting the passing attempts by Ryan Tannehill. Cutler will make mistakes, but he does have the arm to make tighter throws while improving the deep passing game. Tampa ranked 19th in the NFL defending the QB position in 2016 with two teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points. Price to payoff if two of his receiving options have plus games. His downside would be the success of the run game.
Wentz has a year’s experience in the NFL. He needs to improve his ability to throw passing TDs in the red zone plus make bigger plays in the passing game. Last year he didn’t have one game with more than two passing TDs while passing for more than 300 yards in four games. He threw for 493 yards and a TD in his two game against the Redskins. Washington will try to take away Alshon Jeffery with Josh Norman leaving Carson to make his winning plays at his other receiving positions. The Redskins finished 18th in the league vs. the QB position with one team scoring over 30 Fantasy point. Three of those games came when Washington failed to matchup Norman on the opposing team’s top receiver over the first four games of the season. Not ready for prime time even with the traveling man carrying a flame for him.
Hoyer and the 49ers’ QBs have gained 9.4 yards per pass attempt in the preseason with six passing TDs. This offense will look to attack in the deep passing game while still having below par talent at most of the receiving positions. After three games in the preseason, San Fran has four completions over forty yards (46, 46, 63, and 87 yards) to four different receivers. Carolina sits 22nd defending the QB with three teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points, which includes two disaster games (ATL – 503 passing yards and 4 TDs and NO – 465 passing yards and four TDs). Brian can throw it well at times while making some lesser names shine at WR. More of a gamble as I don’t like the explosiveness at WR and TE.
Glennon is 5-13 over his 18 starts in the NFL while never throwing over two TDs in a game. In 2014, he did pass for over 300 yards in two games. The Bears have below average talent at WR and TE, which limits his upside. Atlanta had the worst defense in the league vs. the QB position with four teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points. The Falcons will have Desmond Trufant back in the starting lineup, which will upgrade the pass defense. In addition, this defense does have speed. More of a dink and dunker will question value in TDs.
This cat can throw the ball plus he’s willing to make plays with his legs. Kizer needs to improve his decision making plus learn when to throw the ball away. The Browns will try to run the ball while improving their value on defense. Game score will be the key to his value. I expect DeShone to come in more than once this year and this matchup kind of makes sense if the Steelers jump out to an early lead. I’d like to see a game or two under his belt before taking him to the daily dance. Pittsburgh finished sixth in the league against the QB with no team scoring over 25 Fantasy points.
Savage should get the start in Week 1 for the Texans. He has a nice arm with limited mobility. His ticket to playing time comes with his experience in the system and his ability to make calls in pass protection. If he stumbles out the gate, Deshaun Watson will be ready to steal the starting job. Houston is banged up at WR and TE giving Tom limited explosiveness in the passing game. I like the upside and rebound of DeAndre Hopkins, but this isn’t a great matchup. The Jaguars have an improving defense while ranking fifth in the NFL defending QBs in 2016 with no QB scoring over 30 Fantasy points. Pure pass for me.
The Fantasy world has written off Bortles and he’s barely hanging on as the starting QB. Even with a down season in 2016, Blake ended up 8th in the NFL in QB scoring with one edge game (359 combined yards with four TDs vs. the Titans). In his two games against Houston, he had 374 combined yards and two TDs. This included a poor game in Houston (92 passing yards with an Int). The Texans ranked third in the NFL vs. the QB position last year while playing without their top defensive player. Bad matchup while this game should be low scoring defensive battle with plenty of runs.
Todd Gurley is going to be a popular play in the daily games in Week 1. I’m sure the Colts know this and they will game plan to make Goff beat them. In his seven starts last year, Jared had one game with three TDs while never passing for over 235 yards in a game. Indy was 24th in the NFL defending QBs in 2016 with two teams scoring over 30 Fantasy points. The Colts will play this game without top CB Vontae Davis. This have risk at CB and one safety slot. No one on the roster can cover Sammy Watkins plus Goff does have an improved offensive line and receiving talent. Of all the backend QB options, Jared is my top choice while expecting Watkins to come in plus Cooper Kupp or Gerald Everett could be low value hookups. If he passes for 250+ yards with two TDs, he’ll be worth his price point. If Luck plays, he may need more to win.
Josh is 2-20 over his last 22 starts in the NFL. He earns the starting gig for one of the worst offenses in the league. New York has one of the weakest wide receiving cores in the league with a void at TE. The Bills have a talent on the defensive line with risk in the secondary. Unfortunately, the Jets will struggle to get the ball down field. Losing donation with an injury being a higher outcome than a productive game.