Joe Burrow did not score a lot of Fantasy points against the Pittsburgh Steelers last year and the points he did score don't seem particularly sustainable. In Week 3 he scored a respectable 23.6 but only because he threw three touchdowns on 18 attempts. In Week 12 he scored 18.4, but only because his lone rush attempt found the end zone. In the two games combined he only threw 42 passes for 362 yards. That might be enough to make you consider sitting him.
I hope to help you reconsider.
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The truth is that Burrow was phenomenal against Pittsburgh. He completed 80% of his passes, had a quarterback rating of 114.5, and averaged 8.6 yards per pass attempt. Those are otherworldly numbers. The problem had nothing to do with Burrow or the Steelers defense, it had everything to do with the fact that the Bengals beat the Steelers by a combined 45 points in those two matchups. I am not benching my No. 1 quarterback because I'm afraid his team is going to win too easily.
If you drafted Burrow as a top-12 option it's because you believe the Bengals are going to let him throw more passes this year, and there were certainly signs down the stretch that will be the case. It would be completely conrtradictory to sit him in Week 1 because you're afraid of his pass volume unless you really think he's not recovered from his appendectomy.
Burrow is a superstar quarterback who just took his team to the Super Bowl in his second season. He's not someone we should be benching because of matchup. Especially when he absolutely shredded that defense twice in 2021.
Let's get to the rest of the preview:
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Week 1 QB Preview
Numbers to know
- 5 -- In his only career start vs. the Jets, Lamar Jackson threw for a career-high five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
- 332.0 -- In his past four matchups versus the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers has averaged 332 passing yards per game to go along with 13 touchdown passes and zero interceptions.
- 17 -- Matthew Stafford was tied for a league-high 17 interceptions last year, while the Bills defense forced the third most interceptions.
- 125.3 -- Russell Wilson led the NFL with a 125.3 passer rating before suffering a finger injury in Week 5.
- 14 -- In four career Week 1 starts, Patrick Mahomes is 4-0, has thrown 14 touchdowns, and committed zero turnovers.
- 120 -- Trey Lance rushed for 120 yards in his two complete games of 2021. That rushing floor should help cover any struggles he has as a passer.
- 22.3 -- Justin Fields averaged 22.3 Fantasy points per game in his past four complete games.
- 25.4 -- The Commanders gave up a league-worst 25.4 FPPG to quarterbacks last year.
- 37.8 -- Joe Burrow averaged 37.8 pass attempts per game in his final six starts including the playoffs.
Matchups that matter
Waiver Wire Targets
I don't generally list players above 65% in this section, but Fields is worth an exception. Rushing quarterbacks like him (and Trey Lance) are exactly the type of players who emerge from the double-digit rounds to become league-winners. Even with his lack of weapons and a Difficult Week 1 matchup, Fields has that upside. He should be rostered in close to 90% of leagues.
Carson Wentz QB
WAS Washington • #11
Age: 29 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Wentz is my highest-ranked starter for Week 1 who is rostered in less than 60% of leagues. That being said, he's QB19 for me and 2.5 points behind Fields in my Week 1 projections. We should expect he'll be a high-end QB2 this week, and beyond because that's what he's been for most of his career. If Jahan Dotson pops alongside Terry McLaurin, then Wentz could be even more than that. Especially against Jacksonville.
Matt Ryan QB
IND Indianapolis • #2
Age: 37 • Experience: 15 yrs.
Wentz is probably my answer here as well, but Ryan gets Jacksonville in Week 2 and there's a chance Frank Reich is going to make a significant shift in offensive philosophy now that he has a quarterback he trusts. If Ryan gets 35-plus attempts against Houston, I'll be far more interested in him long-term. Speaking of long-term, Kenny Pickett and Desmond Ridder are both good long-term stashes.
Jalen Hurts QB
PHI Philadelphia • #1
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Hurts should be the chalk play on both FanDuel and DraftKings. I prefer him on FanDuel, where he has QB1 upside just about every week. Hurts possesses elite rushing ability, and the Eagles have put elite weapons around him. Add in a good matchup against the Lions, and you have the top cash game play on the slate.
I anticipate Trey Lance being very popular, and Lance is my third-favorite quarterback on FanDuel this week. But I'm not sure he's a great tournament play due to a projected high roster rate and a game script that could have him handing off and trying to do no harm. Fields has just as much upside and should have a much lower roster rate. That makes the choice in tournaments pretty easy. Just don't play Fields in a cash game, the floor is non-existent.