Fantasy Football Week 1 Impact Report: Quarterbacks

September 9 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) greets Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) following the game at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Steelers 31-19. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

There were a number of interesting storylines for quarterbacks in Week 1. Here are some of the most important performances, both good and bad.

Call me crazy, but I feel like football fans focus a lot on the quarterback position and the players that play there. I noticed that when there was all of this talk about Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and some other names you might be familiar with.

What's the deal? Doesn't anyone want to talk about centers and punters anymore?

With five rookie quarterbacks starting Week 1 and the return of Manning, there was plenty of news to go around for the opening week of 2012 in regards to QBs. Here are the biggest impacts from quarterbacks in Week 1.

Peyton Manning against the Steelers (GOOD)

I had quite a bit of skepticism about the return of Manning, and my fears were rarely alleviated by continuous stories in the preseason and camp that his neck injury was still an issue. Then Peyton said, "NOM NOM NOM" and ate up my fears when he looked like his old self against the Steelers on Sunday night. He went 19-of-26 for 253 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the league's No. 1 team in total defense in 2011.

He equally targeted Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker (seven times each) and just slipped football back on like a harness around John Elway's face.

Manning is a fine bet to be a top 10 QB this season, so concerns about his health shouldn't put anyone on panic mode. It's easy to forget that this guy had never missed a game before the injury. He'll face the Falcons in Week 2.

Brandon Weeden against the Eagles (LIKE A BROWN)

Good news, Brandon. It's likely never to get worse than this. I mean, if it gets any worse than going 12-for-35 for 118 yards, with four interceptions, no touchdowns and a 5.1 QB rating ... we will have to pick up our things and close up shop on the NFL. It's a good thing that this grizzled veteran is nearing retirement.

You owned Weeden? No, of course you didn't and you aren't going to start now. He's owned in seven percent of Yahoo! leagues because some leagues probably have 16 teams and two starting QBs, and Brad Smith can't be started at QB.

Matt Ryan against the Chiefs (AIR RAID)

Talk that the Falcons were going to take that next step toward a high-powered passing offense was just talk until they finally just did it on the field: Ryan went 23-for-31 for 299 yards and had four total touchdowns (three passing and one rushing). Kansas City was without Brandon Flowers and Tamba Hali, which is not insignificant, but Ryan should continue to threaten to join the top five quarterbacks in fantasy value. Week 1 was his highest QB rating in a full start since his rookie season.

Andrew Luck against the Bears (BAD, NOT ALL BAD)

I'm sure that he wanted to do better than throwing three interceptions in his NFL debut, but he's no Weeden. Luck completed an admirable 6.9 yards per attempt against a good Chicago defense, threw a touchdown and looked like what we think he is. Peyton Manning threw a lot of interceptions as a rookie and the Colts went 3-13.

The Colts scored 21 points, something that happened only three times in 2011. (One of those came on a pick six.)

I think that Luck will have a better performance next week against the Vikings and be worthy of a fantasy start several times this year.

Robert Griffin against the Saints (GREAT, ALL GREAT)

Well, not every rookie has a tough transition!

RG3 didn't look much different than he did at Baylor, except now he's doing it against the best players in the world. Even if they are the Saints defense, they're mostly the best in the world at football. Top 3 percent at least. Griffin threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed for 42 yards in an upset win over New Orleans. He was my personal favorite QB in this draft, and I think I'd like to just end this debate right now and say that I was right and never watch any more games ever.

His Week 2 start against the Saints might be a must-start in fantasy.

Jake Locker against the Patriots (WASN'T GOING SO BAD UNTIL HURT)

You've got to keep an eye on the Locker injury, because he's got a good chance to be a solid QB2 this season due to his dual-threat ability. He had 229 yards on 23-for-32 passing, along with a touchdown and an interception before leaving with a shoulder injury. The Pats defense isn't the most elite to pass against, but I never thought that Locker could complete that many passes in one game.

Hasselbeck isn't worth a start if he has to step back into the role for Tennessee.

Mark Sanchez against the Bills (GOOD WAIT WHAT?)

This isn't the first time that Sanchez has had a good game. He's had 12 games with a QB rating of 100 or better in his 52-game career. It's his inconsistent play and bad outings that make him a borderline NFL starter. We thought that the Bills were going to be a much better defense, but maybe they're not or at least not yet.

His 9.9 yards per attempt was the highest of his career in the regular season, and he obviously loves his new target, Stephen Hill, who could turn out to be a major upgrade over Plaxico Burress.

I'm not ready to buy that his three touchdown, 266-yard game is a sign of things to come, but we'll see. Other QBs have gotten better after a few years of sucking.

Cam Newton against the Bucs (BAD)

This is not what we've come to expect from Newton. (By comparison to what I said about Sanchez and his 9.9 Y/A career-high, Newton had three games as a rookie over 10 yards per attempt.)

He was 23-for-33 for 303 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions, but also ran for just 4 yards on five attempts.

Newton will face the Saints next week and will bounce right back.

Russell Wilson against the Cardinals (BAD AND I'M SAD)

The Seahawks' offensive line didn't do a very good job of protecting Wilson on Sunday, but he also didn't do a great job on long pass attempts and wasn't able to create much against the Cards. Toward the end of the game, he came very close to adding another touchdown pass but it didn't work out. Wilson finished at 18-for-34 for 153 yards, with a touchdown, an interception, 20 yards rushing and a backward pass that turned into a fumble.

I don't think there's any danger right now of Wilson taking a backseat to Matt Flynn. He did some good things, but this offense didn't look like one to make Wilson a fantasy starter right now. He'll take on the Cowboys in Week 2.


John Skelton looks very hurt and Kevin Kolb will probably be starting for awhile. Just how they expected the QB competition to play out.

Alex Smith looked very efficient, but it's too soon to say if he'll improve significantly over what he did last season: He had several similar games last season and wasn't a good fantasy play.

Josh Freeman will be a lot better this year and he avoided throwing an interception, but had just 5.8 yards per attempt against the Panthers.

In a matchup of second-year guys, Blaine Gabbert had two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Vikings, but Ponder had a higher QB rating and yards-per-attempt (a solid 10) though he didn't have a touchdown. It's too soon to say which one would be a better pick right now.

Ryan Tannehill didn't throw a touchdown, but he did have three interceptions -- and he's still no Brandon Weeden. The Dolphins are so bad.

Matthew Stafford reminded us how frustrating he can be by throwing three first-half interceptions. He's rather maddening and talented.

Did I say "maddening and talented"? Oh, hi, Michael Vick! Vick had more than 300 yards and two touchdowns, but also four interceptions and barely more than 50 percent of passes completed. There were a total of eight interceptions in the game.

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