QB scoring went through the roof last week with a couple monster performances at the top.
Last week was a violent reminder that having a top-end QB in name doesn’t always give you a week-in and week-out top-12 guy. Patrick Mahomes, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady all ended outside of QB1 territory. The Top-12 decoder from Week 10 still ended at 50% for the week.
If you don’t see your guy, here’s a reminder of how I categorize decoding the top-12 list each week. This isn’t about predicting the order of the top-12 nor who is a safer option but who could end up as a QB1.
Four-Sures: Top 4 for the week and definite must-starts.
Com-Four-table: Four QBs with relatively safe floors with added upside to be a solid top-12 choice.
Four In the Door: Four QBs who could sneak into the top-12 including the Ballers “Stream of the Week” options and at least one daring dart throw.
Four-Get-About-It: Four QBs I’m fading this week and projecting to finish outside the top 12. Often this includes some higher profile QBs with tougher matchups that could underperform.
Patrick Mahomes @ LAR
Jared Goff vs. KC
I’m grouping these two together for one simple reason. This game has a 64 over/under that is absolutely bonkers! Mahomes is the QB1 for a reason and Goff has been uber-efficient. Be prepared for some big plays: The Chiefs have allowed the most 20+ yard plays (43) in the league while the Rams are not much better giving up the 5th most. Have full confidence starting both of these in what many are pegging as the game of the year.
Drew Brees vs. PHI
Brees and the Saints rolled last week putting up 51 points on the road. The Saints have the 2nd highest team implied total (31.3) of the weekend and will be at home in the Superdome. At home, Brees is completing 80%(!) of his passes, hasn’t thrown an INT and still seeing 9.6 yards per attempt. Next.
Cam Newton @ DET
Newton was harassed all night long by the Steelers defensive front last week and they got blown out on the road. This matchup should help him return to top-5 form. Detroit ranks 30th in DVOA against the pass and was just annihilated by Mitch Trubisky for 4 total TDs. The Lions have given up the 10th most fantasy points to opposing QBs and the 2nd highest QB rating (116.8) in the league. It’s Booty Scootin’ time.
Andrew Luck vs. TEN
Luck has been unbelievable this year including six straight weeks as a QB1. He should be fired up again as in 9 career starts against Tennessee, Luck has never lost to the Titans. That bodes well for a 2.5 point home favorite in a game with a 48 point over/under. The Titans rank 24th in DVOA against the pass and Luck should be able to take advantage especially with his fixation on feeding his multiple TEs.
Matt Ryan vs. DAL
Ryan and the offense sputtered in Cleveland last week but he still ended up as a QB1 on sheer volume. He should be started again as a 3 point home favorite against Dallas. The Cowboys rank 26th in DVOA against the pass and are allowing the 6th best QB rating (101.3) in the league. Ryan has been a top-12 play in 6 of 9 weeks thus far and seems like a safe bet again as he averages the most passing yards per game (335) in the league.
Philip Rivers vs. DEN
Talk about safety: Rivers has thrown multiple TD passes in all nine games this season. You know you’re getting a safe floor and the Chargers as actually only 1 game back from the Chiefs in the loss column. He’s averaging 9 yards per completion (4th best) and only 4 INTs (5th best among qualifiers). Expect big things for Keenan Allen too as the Broncos rank 29th in DVOA against WR1s. As 7 point home favorites, I love Rivers as a mid-range QB1.
Ben Roethlisberger @ JAX
I’m not too scared off by this road matchup like I would’ve been in the past. This Steelers offense is on cruise control and Big Ben has been a QB1 in his last 2 road matchups. The Jags are no longer the shutdown defense we once feared. Despite their season-long numbers which make this matchup show up in red, they’ve allowed a top-10 QB performance in 3 of their last 4 weeks. With a 26.5 team implied total, I’m still comfortable with Big Ben on the road as a top-10 play.
Four in the Door
Russell Wilson vs. GB
The second half is Wilson’s time to shine. Per TJ Hernandez, over the past six weeks, no player is averaging more fantasy points per pass attempt than Wilson. He’s also turned his ground game into a 2nd gear with 41 and 92 yards rushing in last 2 games. The Packers rank 21st in DVOA against the pass and over the last 6 weeks, they’ve given up the 3rd most WR fantasy points. He’s a fine start as discussed on Wednesday’s podcast for the Thursday Night Preview.
Eli Manning vs. TB
This is your annual Eli blow up spot. At home, the Giants have their highest team implied total (26.5) of the year against arguably the worst defense in the league. Tampa Bay has given up the most fantasy points to QBs, most passing TDs (23), and 31st in DVOA against the pass. He’s looked more competent the last 2 weeks and I get it if he feels like a complete roll of the dice. However, the ceiling is there this week to finish inside the top-5.
Ryan Fitzpatrick @ NYG
The yardage totals are ridiculous as Fitzmagic has thrown for 400+ yards in 4 games this year, which is tied for the season record with Peyton Manning and Dan Marino… and this is only Week 11! His willingness to throw is what fantasy owners want to see although last week the offense produced only 3 points. We also need to recognize that Fitz is averaging 36 rushing yards in games he’s finished this year. The Giants rank 27th in DVOA against the pass and registered the 2nd fewest sacks (10) in the league. I’m willing to side with Mr. Crazy Eyes and his volume in hopes of 2+ TDs.
Marcus Mariota @ IND
Mariota and the Titans offense turned in around last week trouncing the Patriots at home. He finally looked in-sync with Corey Davis and is averaging 29 rushing yards per game over the last month. The matchup is splendid as the Colts are allowing a 72% completion rate, 2nd worst in the league, and rank 25th in DVOA against the pass. Mariota is Mike’s “Start of the Week”.
Aaron Rodgers @ SEA
Ok… this won’t be super popular and yes, I think he’s the most talented QB to ever play the game. I’m not telling you to sit him by any means and I could be eating crow on Friday morning. I’m just not projecting him to have a QB1 week. For fantasy purposes, Rodgers has been a QB1 only 3 times this year. The Seahawks rank 5th in defensive DVOA, 5th in DVOA against the pass and has yet to allow a top-10 QB fantasy performance all year long.
Kirk Cousins @ CHI
You can’t be thrilled about starting Cousins on the road against a defense that is only allowing 236 passing yards per game. The Bears rank 1st overall in defensive DVOA and 4th in DVOA against the pass. Their creating pressure, ranking top 5 in sacks and created the most turnovers and INTS in the league. He’ll be sitting on my bench even coming off the bye.
Blake Bortles vs. PIT
Bortles was the QB8 last week in a game the Jaguars were trailing and trying to keep up with Andrew Luck for most of the afternoon. With the 4th lowest team implied total (21) and Bortles’ notorious struggles, I’m not excited about streaming his this week especially against that imposing Steelers pass rush. The passing weapons in Jacksonville just don’t get me going so I won’t be trusting Blake the Snake.
Deshaun Watson @ WAS
Watson and the Texans are coming off a bye week and travel to Washington.. This game has the 2nd lowest total (42.5) of the weekend and the pace of play could be extremely slow as Washington ranks 29th in situation neutral plays per game according to Football Outsiders. Watson needs a back and forth affair to blow up and I’m not crazy about a road matchup against a team that is allowing the 4th fewest points per game.
Previous Week’s Record: 6/12
2018 Overall Percentage: 54.2%