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Changing the Call: Quarterback Start/Sits Week 1

Week 1 of the NFL season is almost here! In this first installment of his weekly QB Start/Sit column, @Spydes78 tells you which signal callers will start hot (and a few that simply will not). It’s still not to late to call an audible, so check it out!

Hey Nerds! The Dynasty Nerds writers are here to provide you with weekly starts and sits. We will be making our recommendations based on weekly consensus PPR rankings from FantasyPros. Here is our squad and the position groups they will be covering to help you each week. Follow us, friend us, tweet us.

We look forward to hearing from you!

NOTE: Rankings are based on a 12-team PPR league. So, saying WR2 means top 24, or TE1 means top 12, etc., and are pulled from Fantasy Pros consensus expert rankings.

START

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Kyler Murray

In his sophomore campaign, Murray continued to improve on the promise of his rookie season.  Assembling nearly 4,000 passing yards and over 800 yards rushing, he earned his stripes as a trusted signal-caller.  Based on his 2020 breakout, Murray has been consistently regarded as a top-5 quarterback asset heading into the coming season.

The Week 1 matchup shapes up to be an excellent one.  Murray and the Cardinals travel east to face a Titans defense who surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020.  In contrast, Arizona was quietly the sixth most potent offense in the NFL last season, posting an average of 386.4 yards of total offense per game.  By pairing coveted rookie Rondale Moore with superstar Deandre Hopkins, the Cardinals’ have solidified their receiving corps as an ascending unit.

Murray has no shortage of talent or weapons at his disposal.  Take advantage of a beautiful Nashville forecast (sunny and mid-80s), and get Kyler Murray into your lineup for a worry-free Week 1.

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Lamar Jackson

The stage is set for Lamar to kickstart his 2021 season with a favorable Monday night matchup against the Raiders.  Last year, Jackson continued his reign as the league’s premier rushing quarterback by eclipsing 1,000 yards rushing for the second consecutive season.  Meanwhile, Las Vegas gave up the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020.  

Perhaps the biggest strain posed by a dual-threat quarterback is that to the linebacking corps of the opposing defense.  Sideline to sideline agility, disciplined zone technique, and the means to spy are all critical attributes to stopping a player like Jackson.  Now consider that the Raiders linebacking group is one ‘in transition,’ to put it favorably.  Longtime Seahawk K.J. Wright just signed with the Raiders last week and is expected to play significant snaps.  Denzel Perryman is also expected to have a role in the group despite being a late camp addition via trade.  The unit is not short on NFL experience but lacks familiarity with one another.  

A disorganized second level is a weakness that the Ravens are sure to exploit through their hallmark run game.  With J.K. Dobbins on the shelf, it’s fair to speculate that Jackson may end up with the most Baltimore rushing yards on the season.  Given a juicy primetime matchup, I fully expect to see those evasive talents on display in Week 1.

SIT

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Justin Herbert

After an unexpected but electric rookie season, Justin Herbert has rightfully become a darling of the fantasy community.  With the return of Austin Ekeler and another year under his belt, the 2020 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year seems primed for another big season.  

So, how does Justin, the wunderkind, find himself sitting in the sit column for Week 1?  Well, the truth is that I have no concerns about Herbert’s talent nor the Chargers’ potential.  No, my apprehension is far more about the matchup.  In the opening frame of the season, Los Angeles draws a road game against the Washington Football Team.

By drafting the athletic Jamin Davis to an already imposing unit, Washington may now boast the most daunting front seven in the entire league.  The defensive line, headlined by budding superstar Chase Young, is built to bring unrelenting heat on the passer.  This tenacious defense conceded the 3rd fewest points to opposing quarterbacks in 2020, and there is no relief in sight for signal-callers.

A young quarterback traveling cross-country to stare into the snarl of a top-shelf defense?  And, without a single snap of rust-clearing, preseason action to speak of?  A great formula for success, it does not make.  For these reasons, if you have a reasonable alternative, I would seriously consider putting your Herbert love on the shelf for just one week.

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Jared Goff

Ok, I get it.  If your fantasy season hinged on Jared Goff going bananas in Detroit, you were probably in trouble anyway.  But Goff was a first overall NFL pick not long ago, and it’s not unreasonable to think that some may be counting on him as a streaming option this season.  To those people, I say, “Week 1 is not the week to go to Jared.”

Dan Campbell, the new head man in Detroit, wasted no time molding his team in his image.  He wants a hard-nosed, kneecap-biting Lions team that harkens back to the glory days of the Black and Blue Division.  In fact, the team has embraced a rushing identity so strongly that they’ve seemingly abandoned the receiver position altogether.

Surely, you’re familiar with the narrative that the biggest benefactor of this new philosophy will be T.J. Hockenson.  With little competition for targets, many expect the ascending tight end to gobble up receptions in the Campbell offense.  However, in Week 1, the Lions face a Niners squad who capitulated the fewest fantasy points to tight ends last season.

So, to recap, Goff is looking to rebound from an inauspicious 2020.  His top two receivers are Tyrell Williams and a rookie.  His top talent, Hockenson, may be neutralized by a tough matchup.  Oh, and he’s facing a San Francisco team intimately familiar with his weaknesses after facing him twice per season during his 5-year tenure with the rival Rams.

Look elsewhere, folks.  There are unquestionably better options available this week.

I thoroughly enjoyed bringing you this piece and would love to continue the conversation on quarterback start/sits.  Please feel free to comment below or contact me @Spydes78 on Twitter.  And also, stay tuned to @DynastyNerds for a steady pipeline of content from our eminently qualified staff to carry you through your season.  Enjoy the grind!

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