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Week 1 QB Rankings and Streaming Options

QB rankings and streaming advice for Week 1 of the 2018 fantasy football season.

We finally made it through the offseason and returned to the fun and games of fantasy football. While we were away, Tyrod Taylor became a Brown, Case Keenum became a Bronco, Kirk Cousins became a Viking, and Aaron Rodgers became the highest paid anyone ever in football.

Last year, I provided the top streaming options in one- and two-QB leagues. This year, I’m changing things up a bit to provide more value regardless of where we are in the season as it relates to the top quarterbacks of each week. I’ll be referencing each starting quarterback with weekly QB rankings (because you can never have enough rankings) based on a combination of Game Level Similarity Projections (GLSP) rankings, matchups, and quarterback success in fantasy this season (or for this week, last season).

I’ll also call out a few headlines — including my TwoQB pick of the week, my favorite streamer, and a “bounceback candidate” who is coming off a bad fantasy week but still worthy of a start. Similar to last year, I’ll be sure to recap how I did each week with these headliners and any complete miss in the rankings (here’s to hoping those are few and far between).

And with that, here are your Week 1 QB Rankings to start the 2018 season (!!).1

Week 1 Quarterback Rankings

Quarterback Matchup Ranking
Drew Brees vs Buccs 1
Matthew Stafford vs Jets 2
Aaron Rodgers vs Bears 3
Alex Smith at Arizona 4
Russell Wilson at Denver 5
Deshaun Watson at New England 6
Tom Brady vs Texans 7
Kirk Cousins vs San Francisco 8
Blake Bortles at Giants 9
Jared Goff at Oakland 10
Cam Newton vs Cowboys 11
Dak Prescott at Carolina 12
Andy Dalton at Colts 13
Ryan Tannehill vs Titans 14
Ben Roethlisberger at Cleveland 15
Nick Foles vs Falcons 16
Matt Ryan at Eagles 17
Case Keenum vs Seahawks 18
Philip Rivers vs Chiefs 19
Andrew Luck vs Bengals 20
Tyrod Taylor vs Steelers 21
Marcus Mariota at Miami 22
Joe Flacco vs Bills 23
Jimmy Garoppolo at Vikings 24
Patrick Mahomes at Chargers 25
Derek Carr vs Rams 26
Sam Bradford vs Redskins 27
Mitchell Trubisky at Green Bay 28
Eli Manning vs Jags 29
Ryan Fitzpatrick at New Orleans 30
Sam Darnold at Detriot 31
Nathan Peterman at Baltimore 32

TwoQB Pick of the Week – Case Keenum vs. Seahawks

Projected: 15.6
Ownership: 13.1%
GSLP: 22.5

I’ve made the Case for Keenum a lot this offseason, and that optimism remains consistent going into Week 1. Keenum’s Broncos will face the Seahawks, whose defense without Sheldon Richardson, Michael Bennett, and Richard Sherman does not seem as threatening as it once was. It can be argued that Keenum might have a higher level of talent than he had last season in Minnesota. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas have been making subpar quarterbacks look better for a few years now, and it will be interesting to see what this offense looks like with a competent quarterback at the helm. Keenum, who averaged 17 fantasy points per week last season, can be a valiant QB2 even if he’s still getting acclimated with the new offense. He is a widely underrated option to enter the season and he’s my favorite QB2 in two-quarterback leagues.

Favorite Streamer – Andy Dalton at Colts

Projected: 17.1
Ownership: 18.7%
GSLP: 14.2

The seemingly forgotten red-headed step child, fantasy owners tend to have no doubts in owning A.J. Green or other pieces of the Bengals offense, but easily pass on their signal caller. To start the season, Andy Dalton was gifted a Colts defense that has one of the weakest secondaries in the league and thus the lowest ranked defense by ESPN. When the two teams met in Indianapolis last season, Dalton torched them for 242 yards and two touchdowns.

If you’re planning on sticking with the streaming strategy throughout the season, Dalton — who’s passer rating increased from 53 to 78 percent last year — should be able to deliver with a seemingly strong offensive line and a slew of healthy options in AJ Green, Tyler Eifert, Joe Mixon, and John Ross.

“Bounceback Candidate” – Tyrod Taylor vs. Steelers

Projected: 19.4
Ownership: 29.2%
GSLP: 18

Though no one has yet to have an off week, it can be said that Tyrod Taylor has had an off (or misunderstood) career. Even in the midst of getting the Bills to the postseason last year for the first time since 1999, he was benched for Nathan Peterman in Week 11, who gave the job right back to Taylor in less than one half of football (and five interceptions). Still, the Bills traded Taylor to the Browns, and he now finds himself with more weapons than he did last season.

In his last three seasons, Taylor’s 283 carries for 1,575 yards and 14 touchdowns trail only Cam Newton. He’s also averaged more than 17 points per game in that same time frame. I’d like to nothing more than to see one of my favorite streamers last year finally prove his NFL and fantasy potential against a strong Steelers defense. I don’t think the Browns will get a win, but I believe Taylor can.

  1. Ownership and projected points are from one of our partners at ESPN Fantasy.  (back)

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