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Fantasy football: Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray top Week 1 quarterback rankings

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is my No. 1 player at his position for Week 1. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is my No. 1 player at his position for Week 1. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray top my Week 1 fantasy football quarterback rankings for 2021.

Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts round out my Top 5 options for Week 1. Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan also land in my Top 10.

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Most of those players were among the first quarterbacks picked in your fantasy football draft, but other options are available this week due to great matchups.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Sam Darnold and Carson Wentz are among the quarterbacks I would consider starting this week if you are weak at the position.

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Here are some of my favorite players in this week's top 20 quarterback rankings:

TOP SHELF

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs host the Cleveland Browns at 4:25 p.m. EDT Sunday in Kansas City, Mo. Mahomes is my top-ranked quarterback for the 2021 season and tops my Week 1 rankings.

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The Browns allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season. They held Mahomes a passing score and a rushing score in a matchup last postseason, but the Chiefs quarterback still threw for 255 yards. Look for Mahomes to rebound from that performance in this home matchup.

He should total at least three touchdowns and eclipse 300 passing yards. This isn't the easiest matchup, but Mahomes' talent should push the Chiefs over the top.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is No. 2 in my Week 1 rankings. The Cardinals face the Tennessee Titans, who allowed the fifth-most fantasy points and second-most touchdown passes to quarterbacks in 2020.

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Murray returns to lead a pass friendly offense, which features DeAndre Hopkins, one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

Look for Murray and Hopkins to connect for at least one score. Murray also will provide value as a runner, which should lead to a productive fantasy football debut in 2021.

SNEAKY PLAYS

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts probably wasn't one of the first 10 quarterbacks selected in your fantasy draft, but he should log a phenomenal Week 1 performance.

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Hurts' Eagles battle the Atlanta Falcons, who allowed the most passing yards, second-most passing scores and third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020.

The Eagles made an effort to improve their arsenal of playmakers, adding wide receiver DeVonta Smith through the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. They also roster former first-round pick Jalen Reagor and two talented tight ends. Those pass-catching options should improve Hurts' efficiency and fantasy production.

Hurts is my No. 5 quarterback for Week 1. He is a near-lock for at least two passing scores and will provide additional value as a runner.

Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers is No. 13 in my Week 1 rankings, but should only be used if you are in a deep league and your other starter faces a tough matchup.

Garoppolo's 49ers battle the Detroit Lions. The Lions allowed the most fantasy points and passing scores to quarterbacks last season. They also totaled the second-fewest interceptions.

Look for the 49ers to dominate this matchup. The 49ers will lean on their running game for the most part, but Garoppolo could air it out for a few big plays. I expect at least two passing scores from the 49ers quarterback.

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LONGSHOTS

Sam Darnold of the Carolina Panthers is another player who should only be in your lineup if you are desperate at the position. The Panthers face Darnold's former team, the New York Jets, who allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season.

The Panthers also boast several capable weapons on offense, led by running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver D.J. Moore. Darnold should make use of those threats against this beatable secondary.

He is my No. 16 option for Week 1.

Like Darnold, quarterback Carson Wentz joined a new team this off-season. He'll lead the Indianapolis Colts in a Week 1 home matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks allowed the second-most passing yards and tied for allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks last season. The Colts offense is based off the running game, but Wentz will spread the ball around in what I believe will be a shootout.

Expect at least 300 passing yards and two scores from Wentz in Week 1.

He is my No. 18 option.

Week 1 fantasy football quarterback rankings

1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. CLE

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2. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals at TEN

3. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens at LV

4. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills vs. PIT

5. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles at ATL

6. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans vs. ARI

7. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks at IND

8. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at NO

9. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams vs. CHI

10. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. PHI

11. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers at WAS

12. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals vs. MIN

13. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers at DET

14. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings at CIN

15. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington Football Team vs. LAC

16. Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers vs. NYJ

17. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers at BUF

18. Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts vs. SEA

19. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns at KC

20. Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints vs. GB

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