Fantasy Football Week 1 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: Quarterbacks

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Editor's note: Welcome to Week 1! We're handling Jamey Eisenberg's Start 'Em & Sit 'Em column a bit differently this season. You're still getting the same in-depth analysis as always, we're just presenting a bit differently, in an effort to get it out to you earlier in the day. This column takes a long time to write, and in the past, we've usually gotten it out to you in the evening. This year, we're going to publish it position-by-position, to get it into your hands quicker. Here's Jamey's take on quarterbacks for this week. 

Don't worry: If you want the classic Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, we'll still be publishing that at the end of the day with every position included. For now, here's quarterbacks. 

Quarterbacks

Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.

Start 'Em
19.4 projected points
Philip Rivers Los Angeles Chargers QB
Rivers didn't play well against the Chiefs last year. In two games, he passed for just 464 yards with one touchdown and six interceptions. But forget about last year, because the Chiefs defense should be bad, especially if safety Eric Berry (heel) isn't ready to go. Rivers should benefit with the return of Antonio Gates, and hopefully we see more from second-year receiver Mike Williams. Rivers is also averaging 26.8 Fantasy points in his past five home openers.
18.8 projected points
Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions QB
Stafford has a great track record in season openers, and he comes into this matchup against the Jets averaging 27.8 Fantasy points in his past five Week 1 outings. He also averaged 23.0 Fantasy points per game at home last season. The Jets were one of four teams to allow 30 passing touchdowns last season, along with the Giants, Texans and Packers, and this defense is still a work in progress. Given that Stafford is at home in prime time, I expect him to play like a top-10 Fantasy quarterback this week.
20.0 projected points
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
Cousins will make his regular-season debut for the Vikings against the 49ers, and he should have a strong performance. San Francisco was miserable in pass defense last season, and the 49ers' secondary is still a work in progress, even with the addition of cornerback Richard Sherman. While Minnesota's offensive line is still banged up with center Pat Elflein (ankle/shoulder) ailing, and Cousins was shaky at times during the preseason, he still should make a solid impression in his first game for the Vikings.
20.2 projected points
Jared Goff Los Angeles Rams QB
Goff was great on the road last season as he averaged 21.5 Fantasy points in eight games. He should have the chance to score even more than that given the matchup against the Raiders. Oakland's defense was expected to be bad even with standout pass rusher Khalil Mack. With Mack now in Chicago, Goff and the Rams should have plenty of success, and we'll see how Brandin Cooks fits with his new team. The Rams took the preseason off with their starters, but Goff should be on in a big way in Week 1.
17.2 projected points
Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals QB
I'm genuinely excited for Dalton this week against the Colts. The Bengals have an improved offensive line with the additions of Cordy Glenn and Billy Price, and Dalton has healthy targets in Tyler Eifert and John Ross joining A.J. Green and Joe Mixon (one of my favorite running backs in Week 1). Dalton looked good in the third preseason game against Buffalo when he completed 11-of-16 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns, and he should have the chance for a similar performance given the matchup against Indianapolis. I'm starting Dalton is a couple of leagues, and I expect him to be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in Week 1.

Sleepers

  • Tyrod Taylor (vs. PIT): Taylor should be fine following his wrist/finger injury from the preseason, and he gets a bonus with Josh Gordon expected to play this week against the Steelers. Look for Taylor to be productive at home, especially if the Browns are chasing points late in the game.
  • Marcus Mariota (at MIA): The last time Mariota played at Miami was Week 5 in 2016, and he had 163 passing yards and three touchdowns along with 60 rushing yards and a touchdown, good for 36 Fantasy points. It's the third-most Fantasy points he's scored in his career. Let's hope for a repeat performance this week.
  • Sam Bradford (vs. WAS): When healthy, Bradford has been a decent Fantasy quarterback, and his track record in season-opening games reflects that. Over his last four season-opening games, Bradford is averaging 317 passing yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. He's a great streaming option in two-quarterback leagues in Week 1.  
Sit 'Em
14.8 projected points
Eli Manning New York Giants QB
I have some optimism for Manning this season with Odell Beckham coming back, the addition of rookie running back Saquon Barkley and a strong supporting cast with Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard, as well as an improved offensive line. But this is not the week to trust Manning, even in two-quarterback leagues. The Jaguars defense will make it tough on all the Giants, but Manning is the easy one to shy away from in all formats. His time will come as long as Beckham is healthy, but keep Manning on the bench in all leagues in Week 1.
16.0 projected points
Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons QB
Ryan has faced the Eagles in each of the past two seasons, including the playoffs, and he's combined for 477 yards, two touchdowns and one interception over two games The Eagles offense might be missing some key parts, but the defense should still be tough, even with linebacker Nigel Bradham suspended for this game. Ryan should rebound in 2018 after a down year in 2017, but this isn't the week to start him in most leagues.
15.4 projected points
Jimmy Garoppolo San Francisco 49ers QB
Over the final 13 games last season, the Vikings allowed multiple passing touchdowns to a quarterback just once, and this defense got better with the additions of Sheldon Richardson and George Iloka . Garoppolo should have the chance for a big year in 2018, but this isn't a good matchup to trust him on the road. In three road games last year at Chicago, Houston and the Rams, Garoppolo averaged just 15 Fantasy points a game.
16.8 projected points
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
Prescott will have to prove he can play well despite having his standout offensive line at less than full strength. With center Travis Frederick (illness) out, it could be tough for Prescott to have a solid Fantasy outing, especially with an unproven receiving corps. He comes into this game with one outing of more than 20 Fantasy points in his past eight games from last season, including three games with five or fewer points. Until Prescott proves he can handle Frederick's absence, as well as establishing a rapport with his new receiving corps, he's a questionable starting option even in two-quarterback leagues.
15.2 projected points
Derek Carr Oakland Raiders QB
The Jon Gruden era doesn't look like it will get off to a good start against the Rams now that Aaron Donald is scheduled to play. This Rams defense should be nasty this season, and Carr should be under duress all game, as well as trying to overcome a talented secondary. Carr will likely have plenty of good moments this season, but he's a risky starting option even in two-quarterback leagues. Gruden's return may turn out to be successful, but his first game back after a 10-year absence on the sideline could look ugly.

Bust Alert

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Russell Wilson SEA • QB • 3
WEEK 1 PROJECTION16

Let me explain how the Bust Alert works for those of you who are new to this column: This doesn't mean Wilson is a must-sit quarterback, especially in relation to the guys listed above. It's more of a caution that he could struggle given a tough matchup. 

And that's what Wilson has this week. The Broncos, despite some turnover on defense, should still have an elite pass rush with Von Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb. And this secondary should still be stout with Chris Harris and Bradley Roby, even with Aqib Talib gone. We don't know how healthy Doug Baldwin (knee) is, and the Seahawks are going to try and establish the run against Denver. Wilson is still worth starting in most leagues, just lower your expectations for him this week.

So who should you sit and start this week? And where does every player stack up? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 1 Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking TE is going to finish in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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