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STREAM of the Crop (Week 1 QBs)

Here is a review of your options to start at quarterback that you may be able to find available in your leagues.

For this article, I am looking at options that are started in less than 50% of either ESPN and Yahoo leagues, and what you may be able to expect from them.

I’ll be looking for games with high implied point totals, ideally for a team that is supposed to win, but also looking at past trends to see if there are any match-up specific notes worth taking into consideration.

**Ownership and odds gathered 9/5/2020**

Best Bets (possibly available, but owned in more than 50% in either ESPN or Yahoo)

Jimmy Garoppolo - (ESPN 36%, Yahoo 52%) vs. ARI

-7.5 // 45.5 (Implied totals: W 26.5 – 19)

In 2019, the Cardinals were unable to stop tight-ends. Which bodes well for a team that features one of the NFL’s best in George Kittle. Garoppolo took advantage of the Cardinals last year, posting two different four touchdown games. Can he repeat his success this year? He’ll do it with a banged up wide receiver corps, but he will still have Kittle. If Garoppolo is available in your league, plug him in with confidence in what should be a game the 49ers win, that should feature plenty of scoring from both teams.

Jared Goff - (ESPN 39%, Yahoo 66%) vs. DAL

2.5 // 50.5 (Implied totals: L 24 – 26.5)

Goff is another QB that should probably already be owned in your league, however he’s still out there in a good number of leagues. He starts off the year against Dallas, who should boast one of the best offenses in the league. If they have any chance of winning (which being only 2.5 point dogs suggests they do have a chance) they’ll need to score points. After losing Todd Gurley from last year, the running back position is unsettled, and likely to show inconsistency as roles are worked out and players return from injury. In the meantime, Goff returns many weapons in the passing game, and they should be relied upon to deliver in a big week one match-up.

Mitch Trubisky - (ESPN 2%, Yahoo 3%) vs. DET

PK // 44 (Implied totals: T 22 – 22)

After being named the starter on Friday, all eyes in Chicago turn from the QB competition to the Week 1 opponent. Detroit has one of the worst pass rushes in the league, and also lost corner back Darius Slay this off-season. Additionally, David Montgomery went down with a groin injury, and his availability for Week 1 is in doubt. Trubisky has also shown extremely well against Detroit in his career; averaging 19.8 fantasy points. I would expect the Bears to prepare a pass-heavy plan of attack leaning on veteran receivers Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller and TE Jimmy Graham. Tarik Cohen will also be busy as a receiver out of the backfield, giving Trubisky plenty of options as he looks to prove why he won the starting job. Trubisky could be looking at a hot start to the season with a 250 yard, two TD effort, while tacking on an additional 30 yards rushing.

Teddy Bridgewater - (ESPN 14%, Yahoo 24%) vs. LV

PK // 46.5 (Implied totals: T 23.25 – 23.25)

In five games started with the Saints in 2019, Bridgewater averaged 17.52 fantasy points-per-game. However, as a backup, the Saints were able to rely on their running backs to carry the load while continuing to win games (the team went 5-0 in that stretch.) With possibly the worst defense in the NFL, Carolina will be relying on Bridgewater to try to play catch up often in 2020, and with dynamic weapons in D.J. Moore, Christian McCaffery, Curtis Samuel, and Robby Anderson, there should be plenty of weapons to score points; regardless of whether it is actually enough to win games. The Raiders aren’t a particularly scary defense to face, and I would expect this to be higher scoring than Vegas is projecting, as the Raiders will look to showcase their new weapons in a pair of rookie receivers Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards. If the game does turn into a wide-open shootout, Teddy could very well surprise and post low end QB1 numbers to open the season. 225 passing yards, two TDs are very much in play.

Dwayne Haskins (ESPN 3%, Yahoo 6%) vs. PHI

+5.5 // 45.5 (Implied totals: L 20.25 – 25.25)

In his lone game against the Eagles last year, Haskins was 19/28 passing for 261 yards, two TDs, and added three rushes for 26 yards. That was good for 21.04 fantasy points. With a corner back upgrade (adding Darius Slay,) and a tenacious front seven; this match-up doesn’t look as juicy as it would have last year when the Eagles were a pass-funnel defense that fantasy managers should have been targeting. However, Haskins should be able to provide serviceable numbers in Week 1 relying on some yet un-scouted weapons. Defenses already know about Terry McLaurin, but will have to guess at how the team will use RB Antonio Gibson and TE Logan Thomas. It is clear the coaches are looking to get Gibson in space and feed him touches in creative ways – potentially that means that Haskins could gain some cheap fantasy points in the quick passing or screen game, letting Gibson do the heavy lifting to make defenders miss. 200 passing yards, two TDs with another 25 on the ground seem likely again in the season opener.

Derek Carr (ESPN 12%, Yahoo 19%) vs. CAR

PK // 46.5 (Implied totals: T 23.25 – 23.25)

Derek Carr, as opposed to Teddy Bridgewater, is more likely to have game-script working against him. If the Raiders can build an early lead, expect a heavy dose of Josh Jacobs to salt away Week 1, keep any exotic plays hidden in the playbook, and minimize the number of plays needed in the game. However, Carr is an accurate QB, with solid receiving weapons in Ruggs, Edwards, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller. He will certainly have opportunity against a porous Panthers defense. The question will come down to touchdowns – are they scored through the air or on the ground. 200 passing yards, one TD should be his floor; but there is upside here to add extra scores.

Tyrod Taylor (ESPN 3%, Yahoo 8%) vs. CIN

-3.5 // 46.5 (Implied totals: W 23.5 – 20)

Tyrod gets a decent match-up to start the year, after seeing reports that his starting position is very secure heading into the year. This one is a bit risky after Mike Williams’ shoulder injury may keep him out for the first few weeks. Tyrod is going to have to focus his passing to route-running stud Keenan Allen and oft-injured TE Hunter Henry. Luckily for Tyrod, he also has Austin Ekeler, one of the premier pass-catching RBs in the NFL. In 45 starts, Tyrod has averaged 200 yards passing, but only one TD per game. However, he does have some mobility that can unlock a bit higher ceiling in any given match-up, averaging another 36 yards-per-game on the ground. While I don’t see a huge game coming from Tyrod in this spot, I do think you could do worse, as he should be able to hit his career averages and provide a nice floor of 16 fantasy points with upside for more if his receivers can do some work after the catch.

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