This is it. The last week before playoffs starts in a majority of leagues. Time to decipher, decode and figure out QBs one last time. As you know, QB scoring as a whole is one of the easiest to predict; however, there is week-to-week variance and you saw some of that in Week 12. Here was last week’s decoder ring and the successes and failures we saw.
An 8-out-12 week pushes the decoder over the 57% mark for the season. A couple of lower-tier options came through as Mayfield, Watson, and Cousins were fringe-QB1 starters in most consensus rankings. Putting Aaron Rodgers outside the top 12 was the boldest call but he’s only been in the top-12 4 times this year as discussed on Monday’s podcast. I whiffed though on some rushing QBs as Dak, Josh Allen, Marcus Mariota and Russell Wilson all were strong starts.
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.
REMINDER: There are 15-20 viable QB starts each week. If you don’t see your guy listed on here, that’s ok. This is about predicting the top 12 not neccessarily who is safest. Check out where Andy, Mike, and Jason have their QBs ranked for Week 13.
Patrick Mahomes @ OAK
This feels unfair. Mahomes gets to thrash the Raiders who rank dead last in DVOA against the pass as a 15 point road favorite. With a Chiefs 35.3 team implied total, honestly how many Raiders fans are showing up to see their own team?
Cam Newton @ TB
He’s been a top-5 option all season so you know it’s going to continue this week against Tampa Bay. The Bucs have slightly improved recently but still ranks 27th in passing yards allowed per game and 32nd in Pass DVOA. With an over/under of 56.5 points, Cam will be responsible for 3 TDs.
Drew Brees @ DAL
This guy is automatic throwing for 3 or more passing TDs in 4 straight games. And it doesn’t really matter who is on the other end as showcased last week with 4 UDFAs catching the TDs. With a ridiculous 70+% completion percentage for the 3rd time in his career, he’s locked-in as a top-4 QB according to the Ballers Consensus rankings.
Jared Goff @ DET
After a marathon performance in Week 11, Goff and the Rams return off the bye against an exploitable Lions defense. You know how good the Rams offense is: Goff ranks 4th in passing yards per game, the Rams rank 2nd in yards per game and 3rd in points per game. The Lions rank 31st in DVOA against the pass so be ready to feast on a Los Angeles 32.5 team implied total.
Andrew Luck @ JAX
Another player who has been absolutely unbelievable with 3+ TD passes in 8 straight games, tied with Peyton Manning for most all-time. Luck has also been getting it done in the red zone with 25 passing TDs. The Jaguars defense has a name but has been exposed over during their 7 game losing streak. Over the last 6 games, the Jags have given up the 7th most fantasy points to QBs.
Tom Brady vs. MIN
Tom Brady at home is what you want to hear. The Patriots have a 27.3 team implied total and the Vikings defense has some specific weakness I think Uncle Bill will exploit. They rank 29th against pass catching RBs and 27th against TEs according to Football Outsiders. I don’t expect the Pats to have a ton of success running the ball so expect the points to come from Tom Terrific.
Aaron Rodgers vs. ARI
It’s been a rough season if you went the early QB route. Rodgers is still a glaringly easy start this week at home as a 14 point favorite. He sports a shiny 20:1 TD to INT ratio but just hasn’t had the volume to put up big fantasy totals. The Packers sport the 4th highest team implied total (29.3) and I like the Pack to get on track at Lambeau.
Jameis Winston vs. CAR
Jameis was a top-10 play last week and will likely end up there again in a game with an over/under of 56.5 points. The Bucs are gaining the most yards per game and 9th most points per game. Carolina ranks 22nd in passing yards allowed per game and 27th in Pass DVOA. There will likely be turnovers but you can live with it when 300+ passing yards seems like the floor. Winston is Mike’s QB “Start of the Week”.
Four in the Door
Deshaun Watson vs. CLE
Watson had been cold before he showed up as the QB2 last week. He should be a solid low-end QB1 start against a Browns defense that ranks 29th in passing yards allowed per game. Over the last 6 weeks, the Browns have given up the 3rd most fantasy points to the QB position. Watson is Andy’s QB “Start of the Week“.
Lamar Jackson @ ATL
Lamar has run for 190 yards in his two starts and now gets to play against a Falcons defense that ranks 28th in passing yards allowed per game and 29th in Pass DVOA. Atlanta has also allowed the 7th most QB rushing yards on the year. He’s a safe option with a floor to prop yourself on. Jackson is the Ballers’ Consensus QB12.
Matt Ryan vs. BAL
Ryan is going to be written off as the Falcons have nosedived to 4-7 on the year. He’s averaging 335 pass yards per game, a career-high. The Ravens defense season-long numbers look intimidating but over the last 6 weeks they’ve given up the 8th most fantasy points to QBs. In fact, the Ravens have allowed top-12 QB performances in 3 of last 4 weeks. At home, I think Ryan gets there on sheer volume.
Case Keenum @ CIN
We haven’t heard this name in a long time. Keenum has been downright horrible this season and hasn’t been considered a viable streamer since Week 3. This matchup is bananas against arguably the worst defense in the league. The Bengals rank 31st in passing yards allowed per game and 26th in Pass DVOA. They’ve been so bad that they’ve have allowed a QB1 performance every week in 2018 except Ryan Tannehill.
Philip Rivers @ PIT
It pains me to put Rivers here after a league-record 25 straight completions to start the game last week. However, this matchup scares me, especially against that fearsome Steelers pass rush. He could certainly get there by sheer volume but I don’t really endorse him with Melvin Gordon out. The Ballers agree as he’s the Consensus QB13 with Jason being the lowest at QB16.
Baker Mayfield @ HOU
Baker is on fire throwing multiple TD passes in 5 straight games. However, just as Andy “Pumped the Brakes” on Wednesday’s show, this isn’t a great week to start him on the road. The Texans have won 8 in a row and given up the 5th fewest QB fantasy points over the last 6 weeks. I love Baker but not willing to trust the rookie in order to move into the playoffs.
Matthew Stafford vs. LAR
Listen, you’ve long forgotten about Stafford and he’s probably been rotting on your waiver wire for the last 2 months. He’s been on average the QB19 over the last 9 weeks. The matchup in a game with a 55(!) point over/under where he’ll try to keep pace with Jared Goff might be enticing. But with Marvin Jones out for the year and Kerryon Johnson likely out, he’ll be at home only with Kenny G and his smooth routes to throw to.
Chase Daniel @ NYG
Don’t try to get cute. Daniel was fine on Thanksgiving but he’s not a fantasy difference maker nor someone you want to start in Week 13 heading into the playoffs.
Previous Week’s Record: 8/12
2018 Overall Percentage: 57%