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Welcome to QB List’s weekly rankings! Each week, I’ll be taking a look at the upcoming matchups and ranking each position, as well as flex positions.
Week 1 Notes:
- I could easily see Drew Brees having a really good Week 1. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a terrible secondary that was ranked second-to-last in pass defense DVOA last year, which means Brees should be able to throw all over them. That should be good news for not only Brees, but Michael Thomas and potentially Cameron Meredith.
- I know, Ben Roethlisberger is on the road, so you might be hesitant to start him, but I think he makes for a solid QB1 this week against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns’ secondary was pretty middle-of-the-pack last year and there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding them this year, especially in the safety play, as Jabrill Peppers is pretty bad, and Damarious Randall is pretty meh.
- I’m a bit down on Russell Wilson this week for two reasons: First, Wilson almost always starts off the year slow (though that’s not necessarily a guarantee that he does this year). Second, Denver has a really solid secondary, and perhaps more importantly, a really good pass rush, and considering the Seahawks’ offensive line is terrible, that’s going to create a lot of pressure for Wilson. Any other QB, this might take him out of the QB1 consideration, but Wilson can still perform well under pressure, so you’re likely still starting him, but just be prepared for him to not have an explosive, top-five week.
- If you love Jimmy Garoppolo as much as I do, you may be ready to slot him in immediately as a QB1 this week, but you need to be cautious. He’s going up against a Minnesota Vikings secondary that ranked fourth in DVOA last year. I believe in Jimmy G, but you might want to temper your expectations this week.
- My ranking of Le’Veon Bell obviously assumes that he plays. If he doesn’t, James Conner will draw the start and will likely be slated in as a low-end RB2. Cleveland has a solid run defense that ranked top in the league in stuffing the running back last year and was top-10 in preventing short-yardage gains, as well as runs of 10 yards or more. Someone like Bell can overcome that to be an RB1, I’m not convinced Conner can.
- The Ravens have a solid run defense and the Bills have a terrible offensive line, which means I’m kind of worried about LeSean McCoy‘s production this week. I would imagine, given the Ravens’ secondary is better than their run defense, the Bills will rely on McCoy this game, and I don’t know how much production he’s going to put out. I still see him as an RB2, just a low-end one.
- Yes, the Rams have Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald, and Ndamukong Suh on their interior, but other than them, there’s not a single above-average run defender in their front seven, which means I think Marshawn Lynch should be fine for low-end RB2/high-end RB3 production this week.
- My ranking of Alfred Morris assumes he has the starting job over Matt Breida. As of now, that’s not a certainty, but I’m assuming he gets the majority of the carries this week. While the Vikings have a very good run defense, his volume (if it plays out like I expect) should warrant a flex play at the very least.
- Both T.Y. Hilton and Chris Hogan are above Larry Fitzgerald and Mike Evans and both for the same reason — they’re all talented number one receivers, but Hilton and Hogan both have better quarterbacks and will be going up against bad secondaries, while Fitz and Evans will be facing good secondaries. As a result, I’m more confident in Andrew Luck and Tom Brady than I am Sam Bradford and Ryan Fitzpatrick. I also expect Evans to be shadowed by Marcus Lattimore, which will be a difficult matchup.
- The Chargers don’t have a great run defense, but they do have a good secondary, which means I expect gameflow to move more towards Kareem Hunt than the passing game. I especially am pessimistic about Sammy Watkins‘ prospects this week as I expect him to be shadowed by Casey Hayward. I’m not as worried about Tyreek Hill, but I’d probably avoid Watkins this week.
- With Alshon Jeffrey out this week, Nelson Agholor should be the number one option in Philadelphia. He’ll have Nick Foles throwing the ball to him, which is definitely a downgrade from Carson Wentz, but given that the Falcons’ secondary isn’t all that great, I think Agholor could have some nice flex appeal this week.
- I’m a Jack Doyle fan this week, as I expect him to have a very favorable matchup given that his primary defender will likely be Shawn Williams. Luck has made tight ends fantasy assets in the past and I expect him to do it again this week, making Doyle a solid TE1.
- I’ve been kind of low on Jimmy Graham all offseason simply because I’ve trusted Packers’ tight ends too many times in the past and gotten burned. Still, that’s not really why I’m down on him this week (though it’s part of it). I expect him to primarily be defended by Adrian Amos, which I would expect will put Graham at a disadvantage. He’s still a TE1, but I don’t think he’s a high-end one.
Check out the rankings below: