Plus, why you should sit Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck this week
So Week 1 of the fantasy football season is in the books and several quarterbacks had outstanding games to kick things off but… did you start them? Patrick Mahomes showed off his big arm and big-play potential against the Chargers, but unless it was a two-QB league he may not have been a starter. And what about Ryan Fitzpatrick, who torched the Saints for 443 total yards and five touchdowns. Did you start him? Probably not since most likely he wasn't even on a roster.
But the cruel reality of fantasy football is that Fitzpatrick produced the most fantasy points of any player in Week 1 and Mahomes was in the same territory. That’s why paying attention to matchups is so important when choosing your starting quarterback, unless you own Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady.
So which QB could be this week's Fitzpatrick? And which should you consider leaving on your bench? Before we dive in to the Week 2 QB and defense/special teams (DST) start/sit advice, let's take a quick look back at Week 1.
Good Calls for Week 1...
Sit Jimmy Garoppolo (9.04 fantasy points) – Despite all the hype heading into the season, starting off in Minnesota against one the best defenses in football was a recipe for disaster
Sit Ben Roethlisberger (9 FP) – Road Ben strikes again! It’s getting too easy with Big Ben. Start him at home and sit him on the road.
Bad Calls for Week 1...
Sit Russell Wilson (20.42 FP) – Wilson is the entire Seattle offense and still managed to put up decent numbers in Denver against the Broncos' still formidable defense.
Start Matthew Stafford (8.04 FP) – Is the Jets' defense really that good or should we really start to worry about Stafford this season after his four-interception performance on Monday night?
START THESE QBS...
Patrick Mahomes, KC (at PIT)
The Steelers and Chiefs have played five times in four years, and the Steelers are 4-1 in those matchups. In fact, Pittsburgh has silenced the Chiefs' offense in those games, holding Alex Smith to one TD or fewer in all but one game. But last week's breakout performance proved Mahomes isn't Alex Smith! The combination of Mahomes' deep-ball threats mixed with Kansas City's speedsters making plays in the open field practically makes this offense matchup-proof. The Steelers' defense had a hard time corralling Tyrod Taylor and Jarvis Landry last week, and was very inconsistent covering the deep ball, so who knows how it will fare here, especially if it's without cornerback Joe Haden.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs. KC)
Last week Big Ben was my recommended sit, this week he bounces back in a huge way. Roethlisberger’s passer rating plummets when he goes on the road, in fact, he turns into a completely different QB based on location. Luckily the Steelers are at home in Week 2 and face off against a Chiefs secondary that Big Ben and company should pick apart. Kansas City looked explosive on offense, but that was necessary because of how poor the defense fared. The Chiefs gave up 418 passing yards and three scores to the Chargers, which included eight passes that went for more than 20 yards. Unless the weather is a factor again, Pittsburgh should be able to bounce back at home.
Jimmy Garoppolo, SF (vs. DET)
Garoppolo was a mess against the brutal Vikings' defense, including his pick-six, but there also were plenty of opportunities for a better game. He’ll go to work against the weary, overwhelmed Lions.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Alex Smith, WAS (vs. IND)
Smith played about as good a Week 1 against the Cardinals as the Redskins could have hoped for; he didn’t turn the ball over and took what the defense gave him, methodically working the ball down the field. Washington had 30 first downs last week, second most in the league behind the Chargers. The Skins get a seemingly overmatched Colts defense that is going to have to rely on hard work to get by this season. A week after posting the QB11 finish, Smith is very much stream-worthy with the Redskins’ implied team total of 26.5 points as the fifth highest on the board.
SIT THESE QBs...
Russell Wilson, SEA (at CHI, Mon.)
Wilson wasn’t bad last week in Denver, finishing tied with Kirk Cousins as the overall QB9, but he was sacked six times, tossed a pair of interceptions, and lost Doug Baldwin to a knee injury that is expected to sideline him for a couple games. Wilson was already working with a pretty barren cupboard and had to lean on rookie TE Will Dissly and veteran WR Brandon Marshall after Baldwin’s injury. The Seattle offensive line remains a total disaster and Khalil Mack and the Bears D are going to cause tons of problems. The 43.5-point over-under for Seattle-Chicago is also the third lowest of the week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB (vs. PHI)
Fitzpatrick had a magical Week 1, finishing as fantasy’s overall top scorer. He was surely a hot pickup among point-chasing owners after throwing for 417 yards and four touchdowns, adding a fifth touchdown on the ground. This Bucs' offense is beaming with talent, sporting one of the league’s better offensive lines with gobs of upside among its pass catchers, but it’s hard to get behind Fitzpatrick at home against the Super Bowl champs in a prime letdown spot. The Eagles shut down Matt Ryan in their opener and will have had 10 days of rest by Sunday. Fitzpatrick is a full-on Week 2 fade.
Tyrod Taylor, CLE (at NO)
The Saints' defense is due to rebound, so you are stepping into a potential trap by relying on another ex-Bills QB to put up big numbers.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Andrew Luck, IND (at WAS)
It’s great seeing Luck return to football, his long road to recovery was grueling and tough on Colts fans. Unfortunately, despite his great opening act, don’t expect much fantasy production this week. The Redskins were one of the biggest defensive surprises of the opening weekend. Not only did they go on the road and get a win against the Cardinals, but they did it in convincing fashion. The Cardinals were held to just 213 total yards on the day, which included keeping David Johnson (37 rushing yards). The Skins also limited Arizona to 145 yards through the air and were stingy on third down, allowing just one conversion in eight opportunities.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THESE DSTs...
Chicago Bears (vs. SEA, Mon.)
Despite the heartbreaking the loss, the Bears' defense played very well on the road. They had four sacks and a Khalil Mack interception that was returned for a touchdown. Chicago hosts the Seahawks on "Monday Night Football" and the Bears should be hungry for revenge after blowing the upset against the Packers last week.
New Orleans Saints (vs. CLE)
If at first, you don’t succeed, try again against a team giving up sacks and turnovers.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. NE)
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone considers Leonard Fournette’s hamstring injury to be “minor,” but even at 100 percent this game will be tough. Tom Brady rarely gets sacked and his team has the tools to rack up the score. Brady is known for mistake-free football; it’s hard to get points when your opponent rarely turns the ball over.
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. KC)
You might get a takeaway from Mahomes, but that’s not good enough.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.