Week 1 QB Waiver Pickups & Adds: It’s Jimmy G Time

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It’s week 1 and we’re ready for football to come back! Did you keep passing up on a quarterback, round after round, until you found yourself without a bonafide every-week starter? Look no further. Here are a handful of options that are likely available right now in your league:

NameTeamOpponentFAABOwn %
Jimmy Garoppolo49ersCardinals3%52.5
Gardner MinshewJaguarsColts1%19.9
Teddy BridgewaterPanthersRaiders1%22.8
Philip RiversColtsJaguars2%9.9
Derek CarrRaidersPanthers1%5.8

Jimmy Garoppolo

A perfect-storm matchup can make a mediocre fantasy quarterback a one-hit-wonder, and that’s precisely what we have with Jimmy Garoppolo in week one. Arizona was the second-worst team against fantasy quarterbacks and the fifth-worst team against fantasy tight ends in 2019. As a unit, they were slightly better against the run, which is a perfect opportunity for the 49ers usually run-first offense to showcase what Garoppolo and Kittle have to offer. Last year, Garoppolo posted scores of 28.88 and 29.66 in his two matchups against the Cardinals.

Gardner Minshew

Where is my free beer? Putting aside Bud Light’s promotion with Gardner Minshew, he is a solid waiver wire option for week one. Why? Minshew showed a solid floor in 2019, averaging nearly 16.5 fantasy points per game across his 14 starts. He averaged nearly 25 yards rushing per game as well, and put up 24.5 points against the Colts in week 17. With a depleted defense and a potential positive game script, and a Leonard Fournette-less backfield, Minshew could be in for a healthy number of pass attempts.

Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater averaged just over 14 points per game across his five starts while Drew Brees was out. Now in Carolina, he will be surrounded by a new group of talented skill players and has plus matchup against the Raiders, who allowed the 10th highest average to the quarterback position in 2019. The Raiders were also much better against the run than they were the pass, which makes it more likely Carolina’s game plan will feature Bridgewater a little more often. A healthy dose of targets to Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Robby Anderson should give Bridgewater a solid floor.

Philip Rivers

Many have written off Philip Rivers after his boom-and-bust 2019 season, despite finishing with over 4500 yards passing and 23 touchdowns (he also threw 20 interceptions). Prior to 2019, Rivers was the model of late-round quarterback consistency. Rivers will now likely finish his career in Indianapolis, where he will quietly have a chance to succeed. I wouldn’t expect numbers on a weekly basis for the 38-year-old, but week one is a good matchup against Jacksonville, who just traded their star-young defensive end to the Vikings. Jacksonville was already 13th-worst against the quarterback in terms of average weekly points, and they lost many key pieces to their defensive unit.

Derek Carr

My dark horse for week one, Derek Carr. Carr has been finishing middle-of-the-pack year after year since joining the league in 2014. He averaged just over 15 points per game and looks to have an incredible matchup in week one. Carolina was the worst team in the league last year against the quarterback position, saw the departure of several key players on defense, and projects to have another rough year. With the positive matchup, and likely a few deep bomb attempts to new toy Henry Ruggs III, Carr has a chance to be a boom in week one.

Zach Boeder is a high school math teacher that has a passion for sports and data journalism. Zach received a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Arizona. He currently teaches in Saint Paul and Lives in Minneapolis with his partner Sarah, their dog Dozier, and cat Remy. Zach plans to argue for a very long time that "2020 would have been the Twins' year if baseball hadn't been shut down."

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