Week 1 QB Rankings, Projections and Analysis
Week 1 Quarterback Sleepers
Week 1 Start N' Sit
Fantasy Football Advice from NFL players

QBs title bar graphic
Saints QB Drew Brees
This is how we rank the QBs for Week 1 of the fantasy season. Our rankings aren't just based on name value or past performance - each week we take a comprehensive look at the match-ups and each QBs past performance and factor that into our projections. Just click on the links to read our rationale behind the ranking. The ratings are based on a standard league where 25 passing yards equal 1 point, passing and rushing TDs equal 6 pts. and INTs or fumbles deduct 2 points.

QB Rankings
Cardinals QB Carson Palmer
Paying attention to the match-ups each week can help you identify less heralded players with the upside to surprise and help you avoid some potential land mines. This is our list of players we expect to surpass expectations, along with a few stud QBs who may fail to deliver:

Colin Kaepernick
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick
A lot of fantasy owners are going to be reluctant to start Kaepernick based on the 49ers unimpressive showing in the pre-season. However, since teams have different approaches to what they're trying to accomplish, there's seldom much correlation to the regular season. Sometimes the pre-season results reflect problems with the personnel either due to off-season defections or injuries. This may be true of the Niners defense but the offense should, if anything, be even better this season with the return of Michael Crabtree and addition of Carlos Hyde. Crabtree faces a beleagured Cowboys defense who couldn't stop anybody last year and enters the season missing their best playmaker on defense and one of their starting corners. The Boys ranked 30th in the league in passing yards allowed, 26th in completion percentage allowed, and 27th in yards per attempt allowed last year. It's a good bet the Niners offense suddenly gets healthy and we expect Kaep to pick apart the Cowboys D.

Philip Rivers
Chargers QB Philip Rivers
Rivers faces a tough match-up on the road against a young, aggressive Cardinals defense that ranked 5th in the league in yards per attempt allowed and 7th in opposing QB completion percentage. The Cardinals may be missing safety Tyrann Mathieu and ILB Kevin Minter but are otherwise healthy. We're expecting a Wild West shoot-out in the desert and would start Rivers in spite of what looks to be a bad match-up on paper. Carson Palmer has a history of 300 yard games against San Diego and we expect Rivers to keep pace with him. We don't advise starting him over top tier QBs with favorable match-ups but consider him a good fallback option.

Matt Ryan
Falcons QB Matt Ryan
Ryan faces off against a vaunted Saints' pass defense that ranked 2nd in the league in passing yards allowed last year and added playmaker Jairus Byrd in the off-season. However, we wouldn't be afraid of starting him in this match-up if you don't have a QB1 with a better match-up. There's a history of offensive fireworks when these two teams meet and in 5 of his last 6 meetings against the Saints Ryan put up 300+ total yards. Additionally, the Saints will be without the services of one of their starting corners, Patrick Robinson, who's out for the season with a knee injury.

Aaron Rodgers
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers is an elite talent who many fantasy players start regardless of match-up. However, coming off of season-ending surgery and facing the league's number one pass defense on the road in Seattle, a notoriously difficult stadium to play in, this may be the week to ignore the old adage "roll with your studs". The last time Rodgers played in Seattle he didn't exactly light it up, with only 240 total yards and no TDs in what was a low-scoring affair. We'd sit him in favor of a QB with a better match-up.

Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
Big Ben squares off against an 8th ranked Browns pass defense that has limited him to 134 and 179 yards their past two meetings in Pittsburgh. The Browns ranked 3rd in the league in yards per attempt allowed and with stud corner Joe Haden blanketing Antonio Brown, we'll find out soon enough how much of an impact the loss of Emmanuel Sanders has. We expect a typical smashmouth AFC North battle and advise sitting Roethlisberger unless you're desparately thin at the QB position.

Jay Cutler
Bears QB Jay Cutler
Cutler faces a tough 4th ranked Bills pass defense this week. Granted Buffalo no longer has ballhawk Jairus Byrd and the Bears are playing at home but we expect the game plans of both teams to center around the worst and fifth-worst run defenses in the league and see this one turning into a low-scoring war of attrition. E.J. Manuel has also failed to instill much confidence, so we expect Buffalo to give plenty of reps to C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, which should eat up a lot of clock and limit Cutler's opportunities. There are better options than Cutler available on your waiver wire so sit him and wait for a better match-up.

Carson Palmer
Cardinals QB Carson Palmer
Our top sleeper of the week, Palmer faces the 29th-ranked San Diego pass defense, a team against whom he's averaged an eye-popping 339 yards a game with 14 TDs to only 3 INTs in six career meetings. The laid-back surfer dude Palmer always seems to get pumped up for meetings against his hometown Chargers. If he can avoid the costly interceptions that have plagued him throughout his career, he has the potential to top the fantasy leaderboard in Week 1. Our swami sense tells us this game should be a shoot-out and we see Palmer having a great game, even if it's just because it's San Diego.

Chad Henne
Jaguars QB Chad Henne
Henne may not be one of the sexier names out there but he faces an Eagles defense that allowed a league-worst 290 yards a game last year. While we don't think he's got the weapons to keep pace with Chip Kelly's high-flying offense, we expect plenty of opportunities to rack up passing yards in garbage time. If your starter has a tough match-up, he's not a bad one game fill-in.

Ryan Fitzpatrick
Texans QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
The "bearded one" is a nice spot start this week. He faces off against an iffy Washington pass defense that yielded 244 passing yards per game and the 2nd worst yards per attempt in the league last year and will be without their starting safety Brandon Meriwether, who was suspended two games for a questionable hit. The last time he faced the Redskins in 2011 as the Bills QB he threw for 262 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT. We think he has the potential to be a pleasant surprise this year, given the fact his receiving corps is much more talented than what he had to work with in Tennessee and Buffalo. Don't be afraid to start him if your QB1 has a poor match-up.

Lions RB Reggie Bush
There's no better source of advice on fantasy QBs than the players who have to face them week-in and week-out. We're very grateful to the following NFL players and retired players who were kind enough to answer our questions and provide our readers with advice:

Rich Gannon
Retired NFL Quarterback
Former NFL QB Rich Gannon

Brian Robison
DE Minnesota Vikings
Vikings DE Brian Robison

Darius Butler
CB Indianapolis Colts
Colts CB Darius Butler

Tank Johnson
Retired NFL Defensive Tackle
Former NFL DT Tank Johnson