Fantasy Football Week 1: Start or Sit Winston, Stafford, or Garoppolo?

It’s fantasy football week one, which means the first of sixteen weeks of agonizing over every single lineup decision. We at Football Absurdity want to help you with the hardest decisions you have every week. First up, we want to take a look at some quarterbacks on the fringes of starting. Maybe these are your second QB, or they’re your stable of QBs in a two-quarterback league. No matter how you ended up here, we hope you walk away knowing whether you should start or sit Jameis Winston, Matthew Stafford, or Jimmy Garoppolo?

Start or Sit Jameis Winston versus San Francisco?

This one is a real toughie to start off. There were lots of changes to the Tampa Bay offense and the 49ers defense since either team played a down. Namely, the Bucs jettisoned their coaching staff, Ryan Fitzpatrick, DeSean Jackson, and Adam Humphries. They really only added a new coaching staff led by Bruce Arians. The 49ers went all-in on upgrading their front-seven this offseason. They added Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, and Kwon Alexander to DeForest Buckner to build a formidable pass rush.

The 49ers forgot to upgrade in one very important area, as they left the secondary to rot with Richard Sherman and a bunch of question marks left roving the backfield. Should the Bucs offensive line hold up to that front seven, then Jameis Winston should have a ton of opportunity in week one. And Jameis gets that opportunity under noted QB guru Bruce Arians, who tries to make Jameis his newest project.

Let’s assume the 49ers defense is somewhat improved, and Jameis is afforded equal opportunity to be approved, where did they end up last year? Well, the 49ers were one of the worst teams in the league, allowing 19.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, including at least 19 fantasy points to five of the last seven QBs they faced.

As for Jameis, he was the #4 quarterback in fantasy points per game last season when considering solely the weeks he started while ping-ponging with Ryan Fitzpatrick. He threw for multiple touchdowns in six-of-nine starts, and four touchdowns twice. The Niners-Bucs tilt should be a massive back-and-forth (more on that below), with an over/under set at 50 points on the week. Thanks to the disgusting TB run game, a lot of that should come from Winston’s cannon arm picking apart the suspect 49ers secondary. He presents a high-ceiling, low floor prospect.  He threw multiple picks in one-third of his starts last year. Tread lightly with Jameis.

Start or Sit Matthew Stafford at Arizona?

What’s the difference between jelly and jam? I’m not figuring out a way to jelly Matthew Stafford into my week one lineups. I went into all the reasons I love Matthew Stafford this week in the Sleeper Quarterbacks piece for week one, but I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version of his portion of that article.

The Cardinals are without their top-two cornerbacks and are starting a bunch of journeymen in the secondary. Even if Arizona’s pass rush makes it home against Stafford, he will just chuck it to wide-open receivers. We all think Stafford played poorly last season because he lost three of his top-four weapons (Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr., and Kerryon Johnson) mid-season, and the offense never recovered. Now he has MJJ and Kerryon back, and the Lions swapped Tate out for Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson. Stafford, like Jameis, has a somewhat low floor if they decide to run the ball a ton. I don’t think they do that, and he presents a two-to-four touchdown range for this week.

Start or Sit Jimmy Garoppolo at Tampa Bay?

Ah, Handsome James. The 49ers quarterback tore his ACL three games 2018. Last year, he ended up going top-ten at quarterback in fantasy football drafts. Understandably, this upset a lot of fantasy football owners, like you. You could not live with their own failure. And where did that bring you? Back to Jimmy G. The 49ers did a ton this offseason to retool their offense, snagging Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, and Jalen Hurd. Add a fully healthy Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis to the mix and you have too many weapons for Jimmy G to fail this week. Or do you?

More exciting than JG’s offensive weaponry is the truly terrible opponent he faces this week with the Buccaneers, in what should be a high-scoring affair. The Buccaneers absolutely hemorrhaged fantasy football points to opposing signal-callers last season, allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. After that truly dreadful affair, they went on to lose Kwon Alexander and Gerald McCoy. They retooled through the draft, adding four defensive players in the first 99 picks in the draft, as well as Ndamukong Suh in free agency. They should do better than they did last season, but it remains to be seen if their picks were worth their slot. Even if the Bucs made good picks, it’s unlikely they all contribute mightily in their first NFL action. Jimmy G has a better floor than Jameis in this matchup, but not nearly as high a ceiling.

The Verdict

All three of these players are decent options this week if you are desperate at quarterback. Winston ended up going inside the top-ten in most drafts, so he has the early lead on Stafford and Garoppolo. He is the pick to start this week, followed by Matthew Stafford, and ultimately, Jimmy Garoppolo. However, none of these guys are truly dreadful fantasy football options for you in week one.

(Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/11/Jimmy_Garoppolo_49ers.jpg/753px-Jimmy_Garoppolo_49ers.jpg under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en)

About Jeff Krisko

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