The following rankings support my top 25 picks, among fantasy quarterbacks, for Week 1.
To clarify, this countdown doesn't lean on a particular stat; it's merely an educated early guess of which signal-callers will have the best combination of total yards (passing/rushing) and total touchdowns for the NFL's opening week.
Regardless of how these rankings shake out from week to week, it shouldn't supersede two important factors that go into regular lineup consideration:
1. Always play your healthy superstars
The time may come when Sam Bradford or Josh Freeman rate ahead of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers for a particular Sunday. But that's still no excuse to bench fantasy's No. 1 quarterback (by a comfortable margin), when healthy. There's a reason why you invested a high Round 1 pick on Rodgers (4,643 yards passing, 48 TD last year)...and waited 13 or 14 rounds to land Bradford as a decent backup.
2. Always ride your gut instinct
You can read every website previewing games, and you can certainly ply fantasy gurus with Twitter-based lineup queries from Wednesday through Sunday morning. However, none of these shamans will have more interest in your fantasy squad...than you. At the end of the day (indulge me with a cliche this one time), no one else will be responsible for the success or failure of your roster/lineup.
Top 25 QBs For Week 1
1. Tom Brady @ Tennessee
2. Drew Brees vs. Washington
3. Eli Manning vs. Dallas
4. Aaron Rodgers vs. San Francisco
5. Matthew Stafford vs. St. Louis
6. Cam Newton @ Tampa Bay
7. Philip Rivers @ Oakland
8. Jay Cutler vs. Indianapolis
9. Carson Palmer vs. San Diego
10. Peyton Manning vs. Pittsburgh
11. Tony Romo @ N.Y. Giants
12. Michael Vick @ Cleveland
13. Matt Schaub vs. Miami
14. Matt Ryan @ Kansas City
15. Christian Ponder vs. Jacksonville
16. Joe Flacco vs. Cincinnati
17. Sam Bradford @ Detroit
18. Ben Roethlisberger @ Denver
19. Andy Dalton @ Baltimore
20. Ryan Fitzpatrick @ N.Y. Jets
21. Andrew Luck @ Chicago
22. Josh Freeman vs. Carolina
23. Alex Smith @ Green Bay
24. Jake Locker vs. New England
25. Robert Griffin III @ New Orleans
1. If I was a betting man, Patriots-Titans will end up being the highest-scoring game of Week 1. Within that belief, it makes perfect sense to project the best numbers for Tom Brady. And I'm not just saying this because Brady threw for 380 yards and six touchdowns against Tennessee in October 2009. (New England steamrolled to a 59-0 victory in the snow).
2. Take a screen-grab photo of Aaron Rodgers at No. 4...because it'll probably be the last time all season that he's a healthy omission from the top three.
3. Carson Palmer averaged 293 passing yards in nine starts with Oakland last year, while playing with virtual strangers at receiver, tailback and tight end. He also threw for 417 yards and two touchdowns against the Chargers in Week 17.
4. I would love to attach a higher ranking to Ben Roethlisberger. But I have a feeling Pittsburgh will emphasize its running game on Sunday night as a means of keeping Peyton Manning and the Denver offense on the sidelines
5. The Cowboys may have upgraded their secondary in two spots (Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne), but Eli Manning passed for 746 yards and five touchdowns in two games against Dallas last season. Plus, we shouldn't forget that Manning technically promised four touchdowns in a great NFL.com commercial promoting the season opener.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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