Fantasy Football Week 1: Best and Worst QB Plays for Opening Week
Fantasy football owners are getting ready to go this week, so here are some quarterbacks that are worth the start and some that should not make your lineup.
Owners need to be able play quarterbacks based on matchups, so make sure you know who your quarterback is playing before inserting them into the lineup.
Here are a couple of passers that deserve starts and a couple that should be avoided this week.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts surprised everyone last year by making the playoffs after going 2-14 in 2011. Andrew Luck was the biggest reason for the turnaround, and he will be able to get off to a good start to his second year in the league when the Colts host the Oakland Raiders.
Oakland ranked 20th in pass defense last season. It allowed 235.9 passing yards per game and had only 11 interceptions last year. The Raiders defense is going to allow yards and a lot of points. They allowed 27.7 points per game, which was the fifth-most in the NFL.
All of those numbers point to giving Luck a start.
The quarterback has plenty of receivers to work with. Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey give Luck options in the passing game.
Indianapolis should have no problem moving the football against the Raiders, so give Luck a start this week. He may struggle at times this year, but this is going to be a big week for the 23-year-old.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Like Luck, Matt Ryan is facing a defense that was one of the worst in the league last year. The New Orleans Saints will host the Falcons this week, so it should be a high-scoring game.
The Saints allowed 28.4 points and 292.6 passing yards per game last season, both of which put them as the second-worst defense in the league.
The quarterback set several career highs last season. He threw for 4,719 yards, 32 touchdowns and completed 68.6 percent of his passes.
Last year Ryan averaged 288 yards per game and combined for four touchdowns and only one interception against the Saints.
His breakout season plus the Saints' poor defense means that Ryan should be starting in every league this week.
Geno Smith, New York Jets
This has nothing to do with piling on the Jets. They have had a crazy offseason and preseason, but this has more to do with their opponent.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers allowed 297.4 passing yards per game last season, which was the most in the NFL. They saw that they needed to make tweaks to their roster and got the job done.
Darrelle Revis will get to play against his former team, and Dashon Goldson will also make his Tampa Bay debut. Two Pro Bowl players will help the Buccaneers as they look to compete in the NFC South.
New York doesn't have explosiveness at receiver. Jeremy Kerley is a solid wideout, but Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill are both coming off injury-plagued seasons.
The Buccaneers have an improved secondary that will be tough to throw on, and the Jets have struggled throwing the football. A rookie quarterback making his first start against a tough secondary is not a good combination.
If you picked up Smith, sit him this week.
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
A few years ago, Philip Rivers would have been an easy choice to start every week. Now he should only be used based on matchups, and this week does not favor him.
Rivers is already without Danario Alexander and needs players to step up. Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal all need to help Rivers as the Chargers hope to surprise everyone this season. Antonio Gates isn't the same player he was four years ago.
Rivers has thrown 35 interceptions and has fumbled 20 times in the last two seasons. He is still throwing touchdowns, as he has averaged 29 since 2009.
San Diego will host the Houston Texans on Monday, and they are tough to throw on. Johnathan Joseph leads a secondary that allowed 225.8 passing yards per game last year.
NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt will be pressuring Rivers all game, which helps the secondary. Rivers will be forced to make quick passes and make poor decisions under pressure.
Houston ranked fifth in the league with 44 sacks and were in the top half of the NFL with 15 interceptions. That's a combination that makes it tough on opposing quarterbacks.
The Chargers don't have great playmakers at receiver, and Rivers is past his prime. The 31-year-old can still put up good numbers, but this is an unfavorable matchup for Rivers.
*All stats are courtesy of NFL.com
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