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NFL Rankings

Week 1 Fantasy Football Rankings: QB

by Patrick Daugherty
Updated On: September 9, 2021, 2:31 pm ET

Kyler Murray looks to pick up where he left off in 2020, Jalen Hurts hopes to start hot against the Falcons and Jameis Winston begins the long journey toward replacing Drew Brees.  

Other positions: Running Back | Receiver | Tight End/Kickers/Defense

Week 1 Quarterbacks 

RK

Player

Opp

1

Patrick Mahomes

CLE

2

Lamar Jackson

@LV

3

Kyler Murray

@TEN

4

Josh Allen

PIT

5

Tom Brady

DAL

6

Aaron Rodgers

@NO

7

Russell Wilson

@IND

8

Ryan Tannehill

ARI

9

Dak Prescott

@TB

10

Jalen Hurts

@ATL

11

Matthew Stafford

CHI

12

Justin Herbert

@WAS

13

Ben Roethlisberger

@BUF

14

Matt Ryan

PHI

15

Kirk Cousins

@CIN

16

Baker Mayfield

@KC

17

Trevor Lawrence

@HOU

18

Joe Burrow

MIN

19

Sam Darnold

NYJ

20

Jameis Winston

GB

21

Tua Tagovailoa

@NE

22

Ryan Fitzpatrick

LAC

23

Jimmy Garoppolo

@DET

24

Daniel Jones

DEN

25

Derek Carr

BAL

26

Zach Wilson

@CAR

27

Carson Wentz

SEA

28

Teddy Bridgewater

@NYG

29

Mac Jones

MIA

30

Tyrod Taylor

JAC

31

Jared Goff

SF

32

Andy Dalton

@LA

33

Taysom Hill

GB

34

Trey Lance

@DET

 

QB Notes: Patrick Mahomes has eight more touchdowns than any other quarterback since taking over as starter in 2018. Operating behind a completely remade offensive line, he gets to usher in 2021 with the week’s highest-totaled game against the Browns. … Lamar Jackson opens the season against a Raiders defense scrambling for bodies at linebacker. Throw in Jon Gruden’s lumbering secondary, and you have all the ingredients for an L-Jax explosion even with his receiver corps at less than 100 percent. … Kyler Murray is at the nexus of modern quarterbacking. Amongst the pure dual threats, he is the best passer. Amongst the runners, only Jackson is more dangerous. Although the Titans’ defense can’t possibly be as bad as it was last year, they are not an imposing Week 1 matchup. Only Chiefs/Browns has a higher over/under. … On the one hand, it seems like Josh Allen has to statistically regress this season. On the other, the Bills literally did not attempt a rush in the first quarter of their regular season dress rehearsal during the preseason. Cam Newton is no longer a starter, but Allen is his proper evolution. 

We know Aaron Rodgers’ outlier-level 9.0 touchdown percentage will regress. We also know he has an enhanced supporting cast and has reached levels of efficiency — whether it comes to completions, turnovers, etc. — never before seen at the NFL level. The Saints’ defense won’t be the matchup it was in 2020. … Hopefully recovered from last year’s second half identity crisis, Russell Wilson begins the year on the road against one of the league’s better defenses in the Colts. New OC Shane Waldron comes from a coaching tree that should know what to do with Wilson’s efficient yet big-play friendly skill-set. … Ryan Tannehill is adjusting to life without the coordinator in Arthur Smith who oversaw his stunning career revival. That hurts. Julio Jones’ arrival helps pillow the blow. Although the Cardinals’ defense punched above its weight last season, it is not a concerning foe for this near-guaranteed shootout. … Recovering from leg and shoulder ailments behind an offensive line that barely played together in 2021, Dak Prescott has the worst possible opening-week setup in a road date with the Bucs’ league-best defense. The good news for fantasy managers is that sheer volume will have to take the day, keeping Prescott in the QB1 ranks even in this toughest of spots. 

After a summer of passing on praise for his starting quarterback, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni has finally admitted Jalen Hurts is a “stud." Everyone knows Hurts has passing limitations, but only Lamar Jackson produced more quarterback rushing yards after Hurts took over as starter last Week 13. Whether the Eagles admit it or not, the ground will be where Hurts is unleashed. The Falcons are a beautiful opening-week matchup. … Another year, another offseason of Matthew Stafford hype. This time is different, of course. Stafford has his best weapons since the Megatron days, and probably his best coaching staff since high school. Efficient but still aggressive down the field, he certainly feels like the missing link to coach Sean McVay’s offense. The Bears are further faded from their dominant 2018 form, though this is not a defense to trifle with. … West Coaster Justin Herbert makes the continent-length journey to Washington to face a Football Team that terrorized young quarterbacks in 2020. This should be one of Herbert’s lowest ranks of 2020 even if he feels like a somewhat-obvious statistical regression case. … What will be more improved: The Bills’ defense or Ben Roethlisberger’s arm strength? Big Ben’s weapons remain too enviable to fully fade him just yet. 

What if I told you Matt Ryan finished as a top-12 quarterback each of the past three seasons? I didn’t want to believe it, either, but it is something you know is true after a few seconds of the thought rattling around in your head. That includes the QB12 by average points last season even as Julio Jones struggled to stay on the field. Ryan’s attempts figure to drastically decrease this season. New coach Arthur Smith will also greatly increase his efficiency if his Tennessee track record is to be believed. Kyle Pitts looms above it all as one of 2021’s most intriguing X factors. … Kirk Cousins, bad. Bengals defense, even worse. Cousins is a matchup-based QB2 if there ever was one. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen vs. the Bengals is one tasty matchup. … 42 percent of Baker Mayfield’s 2020 passing scores came across his final six games as the Browns’ passing attack finally got in sync. The Chiefs limited enemy aerial production last season, but we know this is a shootout waiting to happen. Contrary to one of 2020’s dumbest memes, Odell Beckham’s healthy return provides a major boost, as well. … Even if Trey Lance (finger) isn’t ready for a Taysom Hill role, I am not expecting enough Jimmy Garoppolo attempts to keep the QB1 streamer light on.  

Trevor Lawrence is already being crowned in Rankingsland, but we don’t have this Jaguars offense figured out. I need to see at least a game of usage from Urban Meyer’s Big Brain before considering Lawrence’s low-end QB1 case, well, closed. If Lawrence does what he is supposed to do against the Texans, a trio of tasty matchups in the Cardinals, Bengals and Titans await after a tough Week 2 date with the Broncos. … Speaking of Big Brain bets, there is Sam Darnold in Carolina. After years of providing nothing in New York, Darnold has everything in Carolina. A Week 1 Jets revenge game will be a telling spot vs. a defense lacking back-end talent but looking decent up front. ... Joe Burrow has the weapons. Does he have the confidence in his surgically-repaired knee? It figures to be slow going in the early going for a quarterback who openly mused that he might not run as much in 2021. … Against all odds, the Saints sound prepared to scale back Taysom Hill’s role. The Packers’ ball-hawking secondary will let us know how “new” Jameis Winston really is. … Tua Tagovailoa has the feel of a preferred 2021 streamer. Nevertheless, his Week 1 is +Bill Belichick and -Will Fuller. Sit tight. … Remember that Ryan Fitzpatrick is always more fun in practice than reality. … Daniel Jones is our only real shot at a “Josh Allen third-year leap” in 2021. His horrendous offensive line is a major obstacle. … No rookie created more summer buzz than Zach Wilson. A plus Panthers matchup will tell how much of it was real vs. being graded on a curve. 

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Patrick Daugherty

Patrick Daugherty is the Senior Fantasy Football content creator for NBC Sports EDGE. You can find him on Twitter @RotoPat.