The 2021 NFL season begins Thursday when the Dallas Cowboys meet the defending Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the return of football comes the return of fantasy football and daily fantasy sports. Most rosters are set after the draft, but the waiver wire is a great place to find weekly value plays. Here are the best quarterbacks likely available on the waiver wire in your league for Week 1.
Roster percentages are courtesy of ESPN.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (45.5%)
Ryan has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league, starting 205 games in his career. He has 10 straight seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards and is once again set to be in a pass-heavy offense. The veteran has some great weapons at his disposal with Calvin Ridley, Kyle Pitts and Russell Gage, but the loss of Julio Jones makes Ryan a streaming option against favorable matchups. The Eagles present that great matchup in Week 1 for owners needing quarterback help.
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints (26.1%)
Winston is a volatile quarterback, putting up plenty of yards but also throwing interceptions left and right. The latter part of the equation should improve under Sean Payton, but New Orleans will be without star receiver Michael Thomas for at least six weeks. Marquez Callaway has emerged as a threat and Winston is never shy about putting the ball in the air, but turnovers are going to negate a lot of the points the quarterback does put up. It may take a few weeks for him to truly be trusted by fantasy owners.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (24.1%)
This is another frustrating player when it comes to fantasy football, but Cousins has two great weapons in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. That makes him a viable fantasy option at quarterback, especially against favorable defenses. The Bengals fit the bill in Week 1, bringing last year’s 19th ranked passing defense into the contest. Cousins himself is coming off a career season with 35 touchdown passes.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington Football Team (23.3%)
This is the same logic as Winston, but with far more of a sample size. Fitzpatrick has decent weapons in Washington and isn’t going to be afraid to use them. Even if Antonio Gibson leads a strong running game, the Football Team needs balance. A great defense will allow Washington to take some risks offensively, something Fitzpatrick has plenty of experience doing. In a decent matchup against the Chargers Week 1, Fitzpatrick could offer good DFS value as well as a streaming option for owners shorthanded at the position.