The future car salesmen are cut, the Labor Day grills are extinguished, and it’s officially time for the spiritual beginning of fall… fantasy football week one! Every year, we take a look at some guys who should be available in your fantasy football leagues to help bolster a beleaguered squad. Hopefully, your brand new squad isn’t beleaguered yet (especially if you followed our fantasy football quarterback rankings). But maybe you had Andrew Luck in a 2QB league, missed out on Andrew Luck, and need another quarterback to help week one? These three guys are available in more than 50% of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues, with one of them available on more than 90% of leagues for you true deep divers out there.
Can the #1 quarterback in the last five games last season continue his torrid pace in 2019? That remains to be seen, but he will be off to a great start this season. He gets a retooled Jets defense that was so awful last season that they had a long way to go to just get to mediocre. Per sharpfootballstats.com, they allowed an explosive play (20+ yards gained, through a rush or pass) on 10.7% of all plays last season, which ranks towards the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency. They have a long way to get to being a defense you don’t attack, so let’s attack them week one, shall we?
The Jets upgraded in the offseason, but they allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks through the last five games of 2018, which means those upgrades would have to do a lot to offset how bad the Jets were down the stretch. Each of the last five quarterbacks to face them scored at least 20 fantasy points in those games, including Josh Allen, who rushed for 101 yards and a score in that span. Josh Allen showed that he could do it over a stretch of games, but let’s see if he can do it with a target on his back in his second season in the league.
This one is so simple that it’s pretty much a free square in a ton of daily fantasy football lineups going into week one. I’m not going to lie to you and say that Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions did a lot last season to inspire confidence in them going into week one, but I can tell you that things were going pretty well last season right up until the point that Matthew Stafford lost Marvin Jones Jr for the season in their week ten game at Chicago. Before that point, Stafford was on a pace to throw for 4,240 yards, 28 touchdowns, and just 14 interceptions.
The reason we have a sour taste in our mouth with regards to Stafford and the Lions is that after that point, he had five touchdowns and fewer than 1,400 yards in his final 7 games without MJJ (and Kerryon Johnson, actually). Now fully healthy and intact, and with additional weapons at his disposal (T.J. Hockenson and Danny Amendola), Matthew Stafford should be back to his old ways.
Now, the reason Matthew Stafford is a huge sleeper this week. The Lions take on the Cardinals. The Cardinals upped their defense this offseason, adding Terrell Suggs from the Ravens. However, nothing I can quote here or cite here matters except one simple fact: the Arizona Cardinals will be without their top-two cornerbacks. They’re starting Dontae Johnson, who is on his fifth team in two seasons. Fire up all your Lions, they should have a field day against this awful secondary.
Call me crazy, but I feel good about Joe Flacco at the backend of the QB2 ranks. It really feels like a lot of the pressure is off Flacco going into his first season with Denver and that he can just sling it. He has plenty of weapons at his disposal, with Emmanuel Sanders fully healthy, the addition of Noah Fant, and the returns of Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton. It’s hard to say exactly how this squad will do. The Broncos rebuilt with a completely new QB, but the Raiders defensive prowess from 2018 doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that they might stop him. The Raiders added some guys defensively, but then again, everyone seemingly adds guys defensively, and rarely any of them hit the ground running in week one.
Last season, the Raiders allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and a lot of it came from the deep ball. The Raiders allowed a 20+ pass play on 12% of pass attempts, the highest rate in the league in 2018. Why does that matter? The deep ball is Joe Flacco’s specialty, as his average intended air yards per pass ranked eleventh last season. Throw it deep, Joe, throw it where they aren’t, Joe. Throw it to get me some fantasy football points, Joe.
Need some other sleeper advice for fantasy football week one? Check out our other weekly articles below (updated as they publish)
He Better Be Good for Goodwin’s Sake (WR Sleepers)
…And Justice For Hill (RB Sleepers)
Waller, I Hardly Know ‘Er! (TE Sleepers)
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