Welcome to Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Quarterbacks edition for Week 1 of the NFL season. In this week’s quarterback edition, we feature a former Heisman trophy winner looking to live up to sky-high expectations. Plus, a one-time league MVP looks to get off on the right foot in his new digs.
* Reminder: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em is intended to present you with the non-obvious choices for your fantasy lineup. We dig deep into player matchups, scoring trends, and other factors to best help you with your fantasy decisions. Superstars such as Patrick Mahomes will not be found in this column. If you’re looking for players of his caliber check out our weekly fantasy football quarterback rankings.
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QB: Start ‘Em
Start of the Week: Ben Roethlisberger at NYG
Roethlisberger hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since undergoing elbow surgery following Week 2 of last season. He gets a more than welcoming matchup in his return to the lineup against the fifth-worst pass defense in football from a season ago. A pass defense missing three of their projected top-five defensive backs entering the year. Big Ben has averaged 42-plus pass attempts and 20.7 fantasy points over his past 17 full games. The Giants allowed 21.31 ppg to opposing QBs last season, third-most in football.
Cam Newton vs. MIA
Cam has big shoes to fill in New England, which will certainly be no small task. However, from a fantasy perspective, it may be wise not to doubt the former MVP. Removing last season from the equation, Newton has finished three of the last four seasons as the QB5 on average, while scoring 25 rushing touchdowns over that span. Opponents of the Dolphins scored a touchdown on 80-percent of their red zone visits over the final three weeks of last season. While Miami has improved their roster this season, history doesn’t bode well for them improving in said category, as they’ve averaged out as the seventh-worst red zone defense over three of the last four seasons.
Josh Allen vs. NYJ
Allen scored 17.96 points in his lone full start against Gang Green last season, tacking on to his nearly 20.0 ppg output on the year, ranking him as QB6 in 2019. The Jets defense allowed an average of 19.62 points to opposing quarterbacks over their final eight games of last season against QBs not named Mason Rudolph and Matt Barkley. And that was with Jamal Adams in the lineup.
Sleeper: Jimmy Garoppolo vs. ARI
The Niners are getting knocked for their injuries at receiver, but it’s not like Garoppolo had an all-star cast to throw to a season ago either. Deebo Samuel is good to go, Brandon Aiyuk may practice on Wednesday and George Kittle is arguably a top-10 target in the league. No defense allowed more points to quarterbacks last season than the Cardinals, including an average of 30.27 points to Garoppolo over their two matchups.
Deep Sleeper: Mitchell Trubisky at DET
Chances are you’re not going to roll the dice with Trubisky, not in Week 1. However, it’s worth noting that he performed exceptionally well down the final stretch of last season, averaging the fifth-most fantasy points by a quarterback from Week 10 through Week 15. The Lions allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to the position a season ago. That includes a total of six touchdowns and an average of 22.32 ppg to Trubisky over their two matchups.
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QB: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Sam Darnold at BUF
Darnold rallied off a few solid outings towards the latter end of last season, yet still finished as just the QB27 on the year. Buffalo, on the other hand, surrendered the third-fewest points to QBs in 2019. Darnold averaged just 11.88 in his two games against Buffalo last year, a defense who held five different signal-callers below double-digit fantasy points.
Daniel Jones vs. PIT
I like Jones’ upside this season, but he gets dealt a tough matchup to kick things off. Since acquiring safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, only the Patriots have outscored the Steelers D/ST. The unit allowed the fourth-fewest points to signal-callers a season ago, including a mere 9.27 ppg average over six of their final eight games. Even worse for Jones, who led the league in turnovers as a rookie, the Steelers forced 0.6 quarterback fumbles per game in 2019, tops in the NFL.
Buyers Beware: Kyler Murray at SF
The 49ers allowed the 10th-fewest points to QBs in 2019. While it’s worth noting Murray did perform admirably against San Fran a season ago, he also did close out the season averaging just 12.25 points over four of his final five games.
- *Check out our other Week 1 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Ems to further optimize your lineups
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