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Estimated Reading Time: 16 minutes
Deciding who to start or sit in fantasy football can be as easy as looking at the PFF rankings and going with the higher-ranked player. This start’em, sit’em column digs a step deeper, looking into why someone you might typically start might not have a good week, or why someone overlooked might have a good week. In many cases, it’s the usual starters who should star, but we want to explore the borderline players, too.
- Smith finished last season with 314.9 fantasy points, which ranked fifth among quarterbacks.
- The Seahawks are the only team with a perfect matchup for quarterbacks this week, according to PFF's strength of schedule tool. They face the Los Angeles Rams‘ defense.
- Smith faced the Rams' defense twice last season, gaining 580 passing yards and 54 rushing yards and throwing for four touchdowns.
- He was QB3 and QB13 in the respective weeks.
- The Rams' defense had six players last season with 500 or more snaps and a PFF defensive grade of 65.0 or better. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the only one still on the roster.
- Los Angeles is going from Jalen Ramsey (86.4) and Troy Hill (65.4) at outside cornerback to Ahkello Witherspoon (45.4) and Derion Kendrick (43.7).
- The Seahawks are clear favorites in this game. The only concern is if they build a big lead, after which they could run too much in the second half.
- Cousins finished last season with the eighth-most fantasy points but was inconsistent as a weekly fantasy starter.
- He had five games as a top-six fantasy quarterback but also six games outside of the top 16.
- Minnesota plays the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week — a good enough matchup for Cousins, who should have one of his better games.
- Cousins has played much better against zone defenses than man defenses in his career, including last season. He achieved an 80.3 passing grade against zone compared to a 64.2 mark against man.
- His completion percentage is over 20 percentage points higher against zone compared to man.
- The Buccaneers played zone at the seventh-highest rate last season.
- Cousins should also benefit from the Buccaneers' lack of pass rush.
- The Vikings' offensive line has the eighth-best matchup against the Buccaneers' defensive line in terms of pass protection and pass rushing, according to PFF's offensive line matchup chart.
- Tampa Bay recorded the fourth-lowest team pass-rush grade in 2022.
- The Buccaneers added some rookies, but they might not make an immediate difference.
- This all adds up to a relatively safe situation for Cousins in Week 1.