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Fantasy Football QB1 Primer: Week 1 (2021)

by Matt Barbato | @realmattbarbato | Featured Writer
Sep 9, 2021

Did you decide to wing it at quarterback during your recent fantasy draft? Do you have a quarterback with a bad matchup, an injury, or a bye week? Or do you need to decide between a couple of solid options? Whatever your need, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’ve decided to stream the position all season, or if you just need a fill-in for a bye week, injury, or bad matchup, I’ll give you some under-the-radar quarterback targets who can help you win. Each week using our FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings, I’ll outline my favorite:

  • Mid-range passers with QB1 upside.
  • Streaming options rostered in fewer than 60% of leagues with QB1 upside in 1QB and 2QB leagues.

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Mid-Range Passers with QB1 Upside 

Aaron Rodgers (GB) at New Orleans
Rodgers, the QB6 in ECR, will start what seems to be his farewell campaign in a bizarre situation. Due to Hurricane Ida, Rodgers and the Packers get out of starting the season at the raucous Caesars Superdome. Instead, they’ll play this game at a neutral site in Jacksonville, which is a big win for the road team.

We all know Rodgers is one of the greatest ever to play. His 2020 MVP season is all the proof you need. But the matchup is also intriguing, as the Saints are undergoing a slight overhaul in the secondary. Marshon Lattimore is still one of the game’s preeminent corners, but the Saints have uncertainty opposite him. In fact, they just traded for Texans cornerback Bradley Roby, but he’ll be suspended for the season opener.

The Saints’ defense isn’t as dominant on paper as it’s been in years past. Factor in the lack of a home-field advantage, and Rodgers could put up a monstrous Week 1 performance.

Jalen Hurts (PHI) at Atlanta
If you’ve been reading my work this summer, you know I’m skeptical of Hurts. However, he’ll get a great chance to prove me wrong in Week 1 against the Falcons.

Hurts can obviously win you a week with his rushing ability. That said, I’m really curious to see how he performs as a pocket passer against a young Falcons secondary that gave up the most passing yards in the NFL last season. Their corners are still young, and they’re now without safety Keanu Neal.

Hurts’ offensive line should be sturdy for at least one week after an injury-ravaged 2020. Plus, the Eagles have a pretty good set of weapons led by rookie receiver DeVonta Smith, tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, and second-year receiver Jalen Reagor.

It’ll be a red flag if Hurts — the QB8 in ECR — doesn’t perform well against this rebuilding Atlanta defense.

Trevor Lawrence (JAX) at Houston
It’s bold to expect a rookie to finish as a QB1 in his first career start. But Trevor Lawrence is a generational prospect, and the Houston Texans might be historically bad. They’ll rely on Desmond King, Terrance Mitchell, and Vernon Hargreaves III as their top cornerbacks. This secondary could be one of the league’s worst.

Plus, Jacksonville has equipped Lawrence with a pretty good set of weapons headlined by D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Marvin Jones. There are a lot of unknowns with Lawrence, but there is also a lot of upside. You can’t ask for a plushier situation for an NFL debut.

Honorable mention: Ryan Tannehill (TEN) vs. Arizona

Top Streaming Options Rostered in Less than 60% of Leagues

Sam Darnold (CAR) vs. New York Jets
Come on, I know you want to have some skin in the Sam Darnold Revenge Game. All kidding aside, Darnold has a pretty tough matchup against his former team. New York’s defensive strength is up the middle, where it has Quinnen Williams, Sheldon Rankins, and C.J. Mosley. However, the secondary looks like a train wreck. They have no proven entities aside from safety Marcus Maye.

Darnold could have a big day and is worth consideration as a streamer this week.

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) at Detroit
Kyle Shanahan officially named Garoppolo the team’s Week 1 starter. We don’t know how long he’ll keep the job over Trey Lance, but Garoppolo is worth a shot against Detroit for now. The Lions ranked last in passing defense DVOA, per FootballOutsiders. Garoppolo will also have his full stable of weapons, including George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk. Garoppolo could deliver big dividends against this woeful secondary.

Tyrod Taylor (HOU) vs. Jacksonville
So much has been written (including by me) about how awful the Texans are. But let’s not forget the Jaguars actually had a worse defense than Houston in terms of DVOA. Taylor isn’t a sexy option, but he does offer dual-threat capabilities. This may be the only week you can use him, but he offers some upside in deeper leagues.

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Matt Barbato is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato

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