If winning isn't everything why do they keep score?
When the Packers and Seahawks kickoff in week 1 of the 2014 regular season, it will culminate a seemingly interminable wait since the Seahawks defeated Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII, followed by Richard Sherman's memorable postgame interview with Erin Andrews. Yet, as you begin examining the Week 1 Quarterback Rankings for 2014, you can feel secure in the knowledge that we have managed to survive the NFL's latest unwelcome hiatus, and will now be presented with the first opportunity to witness our freshly sculpted rosters perform. As part of that experience, you will also have your initial chance to observe your QB in regular season action. This will be the case whether you delayed the selection of your QB until the mid to late rounds, or chose to grab your signal caller early in the process. In many cases, your starter is locked into the lineup, particularly if you invested an always critical early round pick in exchange for the privilege of using him.
For instance, if you declined an opportunity to select a RB or WR in Round 2 or 3 of your draft so that you could secure Aaron Rodgers, you are not going to sit when the Packers face Seattle's suffocating defense. But knowing that he is unlikely to deliver the high degree of productivity that you can reasonably expect during his other matchups this season, could influence your other lineup decisions, as you endeavor to squeeze additional points out of other areas within your roster. However, if you have two lower end QB1s on your roster, and are planning to make your decisions based upon matchups on a weekly basis, this column will be beneficial. And it will also provide valuable facts about each signal caller, even if you are fully committed to starting him. Plus, those of you who play in 2QB and Superflex leagues will not be forgotten. With that groundwork established, here are the ranking for Week 1, followed by the best and worst QB matchups.
TOP 25 RANKINGS
1. Peyton Manning vs. Colts He launched 49 passes against his former team last October, while amassing 386 yards and three TDs. But 33 points were not enough to outscore the Colts. Expect similar numbers, but a different outcome as he exacts revenge.
2. Drew Brees at Falcons He will attempt to expand his 34-19 career record against Atlanta, and should encounter little resistance from his division rival. The Falcons do not have the personnel that would be necessary to contain Brees and his multitude of targets.
3. Matthew Stafford vs. Giants Dominique Rogers-Cromartie will bolster a Giant defense that ranked a respectable 10th versus the pass last season, but Stafford’s expanded collection of receiving weapons will help him accumulate yardage and fantasy points.
4. Jay Cutler vs. Bills He should exceed his career high of 27 TDs this season if he can avoid injury. Even though the Bills defense can be troublesome, Cutler's weapons will combine with Marc Trestman's guidance to overcome the opportunistic unit.
5. Aaron Rodgers at Seahawks This is not to suggest that you should avoid starting him, but it will be his most daunting matchup of the year. Anyone who invested an early pick on Rodgers will have to wait another week for him to stockpile fantasy points.
6. Matt Ryan vs. Saints The days of repeatedly feasting on a helpless Saint pass defense are over. New Orleans ranked second in that category last season, and should be even better. Fortunately, the exceptional Julio Jones and the still dangerous Roddy White will help Ryan produce respectable numbers.
7. Nick Foles at Jaguars The talent level in Jacksonville is slowly improving, but they are not yet capable of containing Philly's offense. Which will allow Foles to reward owners with impressive opening day production.
8. Tom Brady at Dolphins Miami's defense is respectable, and several offseason additions could improve them even further. But Brady should begin his 14th season with a strong performance for his owners. And if Rob Gronkowski is able to perform, then Brady should be elevated several slots in these rankings.
9. Tony Romo vs. 49ers Owners should prepare for a succession of shootouts this season, as the Cowboys have the components for an explosive offense, but will also have the league's most hospitable defense.
10. Andrew Luck at Broncos He punctured the Broncos for four TDs last season, including three through the air. However, he will fall far short of replicating that production against a revamped unit in Denver.
11. Colin Kaepernick at Cowboys The woeful preseason output by what was expected to be a strong San Francisco offense has been partially due to insufficient line play. But the deficiencies within the Dallas defense should help Kaepernick attain far better results.
12. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Browns Roethlisberger’s unrelenting success against Cleveland simply cannot be dismissed. He has generated 27 touchdowns, and exceeded 4,000 yards, while compiling a 17-1 record versus the Browns.
13. Robert Griffin III at Texans
14. Russell Wilson vs. Packers
15. Carson Palmer vs. Chargers
16. Philip Rivers at Cardinals
17. Geno Smith vs. Raiders
18. Ryan Tannehill vs. Patriots
19. Andy Dalton at Ravens
20. Cam Newton at Buccaneers
21. Josh McCown vs. Panthers
22. Alex Smith vs. Titans
23. Jake Locker at Chiefs
24. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Redskins
25. Shaun Hill vs. Vikings
Drew Brees at Falcons Only three teams surrendered more TDs through the air than Atlanta last season, only two managed fewer INTs, and not enough was done to improve the secondary. Colin Kaepernick at Cowboys An alarmingly unproductive preseason has elicited concerns about his viability. But the Cowboys allowed a league worst 415 YPG last season, and will provide the perfect elixir for Kaepernick's ineffectiveness. Geno Smith vs. Raiders Owners in 2QB and Superflex leagues may be predisposed toward avoiding him. But Raider CBs Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers are extremely vulnerable, and Smith should have frequent opportunities to exploit them. Because the Jet defense should encounter little trouble with Oakland's offense, supplying Gang Green's offense with a mammoth number of snaps.
Aaron Rodgers at Seahawks He could spearhead the NFL's most prolific attack this season. But Seattle's stingy pass defense permitted a league best 172 YPG last season, just 16 TDs, and will performing in front of their raucous fans. All of which will combine to limit Rodgers’ output.
Andrew Luck at Broncos He has an excellent chance of finishing as a top five signal caller this season if his line can handle their assignments. But collecting impressive numbers against a fortified Denver defense presents a formidable task.
Andy Dalton at Ravens Owners in 2QB and Superflex leagues should be aware that the Ravens seized seven of Andy Dalton’s passes last season, and have pilfered more of his throws than any other franchise during his career (11).