Fantasy Football Week 1 Rankings: Top Quarterbacks to Start with Confidence

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 24:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys throws the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during a preseason game at AT&T Stadium on August 24, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After a preseason spent preaching patience on the quarterback front, the passers now on your squad could make or break the opening week of the fantasy football season.

The bad news is: Anyone still deciding what quarterback to start this weekend doesn't own Peyton Manning. Let's hope you at least aren't facing him and his seven touchdowns from Thursday night.

While the Denver Broncos passer set the bar high, these quarterbacks are also in line to compile massive point totals of their own to kick off the season.

There's no need to get cute if you own Drew Brees, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but someone who drafted Cam Newton might want to consider sitting him if a high-quality alternative exists. Some of this week's top signal-callers include guys who were not universally drafted as starters.

That doesn't mean they can't assume that role during Week 1.


1Drew Brees (vs. Atlanta Falcons
2Matt Ryan (at New Orleans Saints)
3Tom Brady (at Buffalo Bills)
4Aaron Rodgers (at San Francisco 49ers)
5Tony Romo (vs. New York Giants)
6Colin Kaepernick (vs. Green Bay Packers)
7Andrew Luck (vs. Oakland Raiders)
8Matthew Stafford (vs. Minnesota Vikings)
9Eli Manning (at Dallas Cowboys)


Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Tennessee Titans)


Tony Romo (vs. New York Giants)

Although Tony Romo coughed up four interceptions the last time he faced the G-Men, the Dallas star is still a great play this Sunday night against a Giants defense limping to the starting line.

Despite the turnovers, Romo amassed 744 passing yards and four passing touchdowns in two games against New York last season. With ball-hawking safety Stevie Brown out for the season, Romo has less to fret about.

But that won't delight Romo as much as Jason Pierre-Paul's possible absence. Ebeneezer Samuel of the New York Daily News played Scrooge to Giants fans wishing for a merry season opener when he reported the star defensive end as "iffy."

Without Pierre-Paul, the Giants only have a declining Justin Tuck to pressure Romo, who would have all day to torment New York's weak secondary. Only four teams surrendered more total passing yards than the Giants last season.

The underrated stat-stuffer exceeded 300 passing yards nine times last season, securing a passing touchdown in all but one affair. 

Projection: 350 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, one interception


Eli Manning (at Dallas Cowboys)

So yeah, this game should be a shootout.

As Romo hikes up the score, Eli Manning will have to force the issue himself to keep the Giants afloat. Even though Manning struggled against Dallas last year, totaling 405 yards, a touchdown and a pick, he should thrive with Hakeem Nicks returning.

Last year, Manning struggled through a perfect storm of losing his top playmaker and facing a bevy of tough defenses. With Nicks back in the fray and Brandon Myers there to provide the passer with a security blanket at tight end, Manning should match his 2011 success against the Cowboys.

He won't hold a candle to his older brother's masterful performance, but Eli Manning could contribute to some fantasy victories this weekend.

Projection: 290 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, one interception


Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Tennessee Titans)

These are not your old, ground-and-pound Pittsburgh Steelers. This team will need to pass frequently to compete in the AFC North this season.

Without Le'Veon Bell this weekend, expect Pittsburgh to unleash Ben Roethlisberger, who produced sterling numbers last season that went unnoticed since he missed action.

Through 13 games, Roethlisberger heaved 26 touchdown strikes with a 63.3 completion percentage. Averaging 251.2 passing yards per contest, he would have surpassed 4,000 yards on the season with a full bill of health.

We know he's ready to go this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, who surrendered 363 passing yards to Big Ben last season. Tennessee's secondary struggled all season long, ranking 26th with 3,964 yards given up.

Don't fret Mike Wallace's departure too much; Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are ready to seize the opportunity as pivotal factors in Pittsburgh's passing game. They'll prove it against the Titans.

Projection: 275 passing yards, three passing touchdowns