The fantasy season is off and running at last. With Week 2 on the horizon, let's look at some start/sit options at quarterback on Sunday.
Week 1 answered some questions (Drew Brees is still great; Cam Newton got his toughest matchup out of the way early), while creating some new concerns (Aaron Rodgers was less than sharp again). But for the most part, you shouldn't go too wild with your fantasy lineups this early in the season. If you drafted an elite quarterback in the early rounds, keep starting them until they give you a reason not to. And with no major injury concerns from Week 1 (outside of one, which we'll get to later), it's not the time to reinvent the wheel.
However, some owners will have toss-up options they'll have to weigh, depending on matchup and talent. We're here to help you sort out which quarterbacks to take the plunge on this week, and recommend who to sit.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (@ Cleveland Browns)
Showing no ill-effects from his torn ACL last year, Flacco returned in time for Week 1 and had a solid debut, throwing for 258 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions on 22-of-33 passing against the Buffalo Bills. With Mike Wallace now in the fold, the Ravens' offense has a deep-threat element it's lacked ever since Torrey Smith left. Flacco has QB1 upside against a Browns defense that got lit up by rookie Carson Wentz last week.
Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. New Orleans Saints)
Manning will be a must-start quarterback most weeks, but he gets possibly his best matchup of the year against New Orleans. The Saints had no answers for Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders, and the defense once again looks like one of the worst in the league. Fire up Eli as a top-10 QB in all fantasy leagues this week.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (@ Los Angeles Rams)
There are plenty of reasons to fade Wilson this week -- he has a sore ankle, which could limit his running ability, and the Rams' defense has typically owned Wilson in recent years. However, this year's Rams team looks much more beatable, and they managed to make Blaine Gabbert almost look like a real NFL quarterback last week. This early in the season, I abide by the "don't sit your studs" rule, and that still applies to Wilson, even with his injury concern. Keep him in your lineups for the time being.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (@ Houston Texans)
Smith was awfully impressive last week, racking up 363 yards, two passing touchdowns and one rushing score in a comeback win over the San Diego Chargers. It will probably also be his best stat line of the season, as Smith remains one of the most risk-averse quarterbacks in football. Going up against a Texans defense that features J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and a resurgent Jadeveon Clowney, Smith should fall back to the low-end QB2 level he's been for most of his Chiefs career. He's not a must-start in 12-team leagues.
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)
The Chargers' offense looked like a well-oiled machine in the first half against the Chiefs. Then Keenan Allen went down with a torn ACL, and the team ran out of ideas. Rivers struggled without Allen last year, and that could continue again with him done for the season. He's a fairly easy fade against an improved Jaguars defense.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ Arizona Cardinals)
Winston's gunslinging mentality will give him plenty of boom fantasy weeks, but that style could also lead to low numbers if his deep bombs aren't connecting. And though the Cardinals' defense looked ordinary against the New England Patriots last week, they still have plenty of elite talent in the secondary with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Winston will be a quality starter for most of the season, but a tough matchup on the road might be the one spot where you want to sit him if you have higher-floor options available.