Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top-12 QBs for Week 15
How? Seriously did you have Josh Johnson starting in your league? Because the Redskins surely didn’t until Mark Sanchez predictably pooped the bed again. All Johnson did was come off the street and in less than 5 possessions he posted a top-6 fantasy week. Here were the rest of Week 14’s mostly unpredictable week QB fantasy performances.
Last week’s decoder dropped us to below 55% (not as fun as the drop on the podcast) with some low-end big-name wins while striking out on lower level options and betting against Brady in Miami.
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 necessarily who is safest. Check out where Andy, Mike, and Jason have their QBs ranked for Week 15.
Patrick Mahomes vs. LAC
No-look passes and the flair for the dramatic aside, Mahomes has locked down THE QB1 spot like no-one we’ve seen since Peyton Manning‘s 55 TD season. In Week 1 at the Chargers, Mahomes burst on the scene with 4 TDs despite completing only 15 passes. The Chargers are tough on the QB position but Mahomes has been a QB1 11-of-13 weeks… incredible.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. NE
Roethlisberger is the #2 fantasy QB on the year and has the volume you dream of. The Steelers have the most pass plays in the league and Big Ben ranks #1 in attempts per game and 2nd in passing yards. The Patriots rank 21st in defensive DVOA and have given up the 9th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. At home, he has a 16:4 TD to INT ratio this year.
Drew Brees @ CAR
Brees and the Saints looked sluggish in Tampa Bay last week although Brees saved his fantasy day with a goal-line rushing TD. Take your hurt feelings aside and be confident in Week 15. Carolina ranks 29th in DVOA against the pass and given up the 8th most fantasy points to QBs this season. Brees should get back on track as the Saints have the 2nd highest team implied total (29) of the weekend.
Jared Goff vs. PHI
It was bad in Chicago last week. So bad that I would’ve scored more fantasy points typing out this article than Goff did as he spun a negative game on the road in a loss. Don’t do something rash like dropping him to waivers. The Rams have the highest team implied total (31.5) of the weekend and the Eagles rank 23rd in DVOA against the pass. That Philadelphia secondary is in shambles so take advantage and start Goff at home as a 9-point favorite.
Cam Newton vs. NO
Newton has had two awful weeks in a row and it’s painful to watch because you know he has among the highest weekly ceilings. He’s still a top-10 QB each week. New Orleans has given up the 4th most fantasy points to QBs this season. The Saints rank 30th against pass-catching RBs so get ready for some Christian McCaffrey. Cam also has all 4 of his rushing TDs at home this year to go with a pristine 70% completion rate in Charlotte.
Tom Brady @ PIT
Brady was THE QB1 last week exorcising his Miami road demons while the team lost on probably my favorite play of the year by my man Kenyan Drake. This is a classic AFC battle as Big Ben and Brady have met 9 times in the regular season and surprisingly only twice in the playoffs. Brady carries a 9-2 record including a 70% completion percentage against the Steelers in his career. Pittsburgh has given up the 10th most fantasy points to QBs this season, ranks 21st in DVOA against the pass and 31st against TEs. This could be another week for Gronk to shine once more.
Andrew Luck vs. DAL
Luck returned to form last week with 399 yards and 2 TDs in a hard-fought road win against division rival Houston. The Cowboys can be an intimidating defense as they’ve given up the 10th fewest fantasy points to QBs on the season. Luck, on the other hand, has been money at home all year completing nearly 73% of his passes, averaging over 3 passing TDs per game and sporting an impressive 116 QB rating. The Colts are 3-point home favorites and Luck is a top-6 QB in the Ballers consensus rankings.
Philip Rivers @ KC
This one is tough. Rivers has led the Chargers to within a game of the Chiefs for the AFC West division lead and has turned in one of the finest statistical seasons of his career. Over his last 4 games in Kansas City, Rivers hasn’t been good with 2 TDs and 6 INTs and no games over 300 yards passing. However, I’m still willing to roll him out as KC has given up the 4th most fantasy points to QBs this season and ranks 26th in defensive DVOA. Rivers is the Ballers Consensus QB5 this week.
Russell Wilson @ SF
Wilson and the entire Seattle passing attack looked rough last week with only 10 completions and 70 yards passing. Woof. Tyler Lockett and the passing weapons should get back on track as Wilson threw for 4 TDs in Week 13 against the 49ers. San Francisco has given up the 7th most fantasy points to QBs this season and ranks 25th in DVOA against the pass.
Josh Allen vs. DET
It’s time to go for it and roll the dice if you’re an underdog in your fantasy semi-final matchup. Allen is leading the league in QB rushing yards despite missing 4 games and not starting/finishing 2 more. While Detroit has allowed the fewest QB rushing yards (62) on the season, they rank 31st in DVOA against the pass. He’s been a QB1 3 weeks in a row so time to get on the train in a plus home matchup. Allen is Andy’s “Stream of the Week” and is ranked as high as QB12 in the Ballers’ Week 15 ranks.
Kirk Cousins vs. MIA
After falling flat on their faces against the Seahawks on Monday night football, I’m expecting the Vikings to trounce the Dolphins at home. Miami ranks 26th in DVOA against the pass and has given up 3 30-point fantasy games to QBs in a row. In fact, the Dolphins have allowed multiple TD passes in 7 of their last 8 games. Cousins is due for a blow-up game with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, especially with a 25.8 team implied total as a home favorite.
Lamar Jackson vs. TB
Vegas must still love some Lamar Jackson as the Ravens have the 4th highest team implied total (27.3) this week. He’s a rookie and has shown the ineptitude to make some easy throws and turn the ball over multiple times a game. However, the Bucs rank 28th in DVOA against the pass and have given up the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs on the season. Jackson is at home as a favorite so look for him to be responsible for at least 2 TDs along with his added rushing floor.
Jeff Driskel vs. OAK
Heck, why not? Driskel is a fun play but should not be encouraged as a Week 15 start. His upside in a matchup with Oakland is worth mentioning as a DFS dart throw. The Raiders (who somehow beat the Steelers) still rank dead last in DVOA against the pass and 31st overall in defensive DVOA. Oakland has given up the 6th most fantasy points to QBs this season. Driskel also likes to run a little bit including 2 rushing TDs and almost 20 yards per game.
Aaron Rodgers @ CHI
It seems like an eternity ago but let’s travel back to Week 1 when a hobbled Aaron Rodgers somehow led the Packers to an improbable comeback against Khalil Mack and the Bears defense. This game is at Soldier Field against the #1 defense against the pass and the run according to Football Outsiders. As 5.5-point road underdogs, the line says you need to bench Rodgers in your fantasy playoffs regardless of his name.
Jameis Winston @ BAL
For all the boatloads of fantasy points that Tampa Bay QBs have given us this season (I miss you Fitzmagic!), you don’t want to trust Winston and his self-implosive ways this week on the road against arguably the best defense in the league. The Ravens rank 2nd in defensive DVOA, 4th against the pass, and have allowed the 8th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season.
Baker Mayfield @ DEN
Mayfield threw some absolute dimes last week and looked great in a win against Carolina. Sit down the rookie in a tough road matchup in Denver. The Broncos rank 2nd in DVOA against the pass and have a fearsome pass rush headed by Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, who lead the league in sacks as a duo.
Deshaun Watson @ NYJ
Watson sputtered last week in what I thought would’ve been a cupcake matchup at home against the Colts. The Jets haven’t been too bad ranking 11th in DVOA against the pass. Watson has had such low volume recently averaging just 208 passing yards per game over his last 8 games. In 6 games on the road this season, he’s only thrown 9 total TDs and is also seeing almost 4 sacks a game.
Previous Week’s Record: 5/12
2018 Overall Percentage: 54%