Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top-12 QBs for Week 16
Championship Week is here and perhaps its time to sit with the simple fact that QB scoring is the most predictive position while also understanding the ceiling can change each week. Check out the massacre in scoring that happened across the board last week.
Last week’s decoder was solid with 7 hits to bring us to 54% on the season. Above 55(!) is the goal and we have to 2 weeks to make it happen.
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 16.
Patrick Mahomes @ SEA
You have ridden him this far and its time to seal the deal. He’s been a QB1 in 13-of-15 weeks, an incredible feat. Over the last 6 weeks, the Seahawks have given up the 8th most fantasy points to QBs. Tyreek Hill is unreal on the road and Seattle ranks 28th against WR1s on the season. Get ready to feast.
Drew Brees vs. PIT
If you somehow have managed to make it your championship game in spite of Brees’ putrid 3-game run (that is me in 2 leagues!), this is the matchup you want. This game currently has a 57-point over/under and Brees is at home in the Superdome with the highest team implied total (29.5) of the weekend. The Steelers defense ranks 21st in Pass DVOA and some massive passing games to opposing QBs on the road this year.
Andrew Luck vs. NYG
Last week Marlon Mack had the big game while Luck produced only 192 passing yards and zero TDs. He’s still an MVP candidate with the 9th most pass yards and 2nd most pass TDs in the league. The Giants rank 23rd in Pass DVOA and dead last against WR1s. T.Y. Hilton is averaging 114 receiving yards per game at home so be ready for some fireworks with Luck.
Russell Wilson vs. KC
Wilson is primed for a shootout against Patrick Mahomes at home. The Chiefs rank 27th in defensive DVOA and 32nd against the run according to Football Outsiders. Over the last 6 weeks, the Chiefs have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs. He’s going to have to keep pace so expect more than his usual 25 pass attempts… more like 35+.
Ben Roethlisberger @ NO
Big Ben on the road usually gives us pause but if you own him this is the matchup to roll the dice and hope for a shootout. As stated earlier, this is Vegas’ highest over/under while the Steelers still have a 24 point implied total. The Saints defense does have some weaknesses ranking 30th against pass-catching RBs and 30th against WR2s. Pair him with Juju and Jaylen Samuels in DFS.
Tom Brady vs. BUF
Brady and the offense sputtered against the Steelers last week but the Patriots have a 28.3 team implied total (3rd most) this week. The matchup looks tough as the Bills have given up the fewest most fantasy points to QBs over the last 6 weeks. However, they have faced some boo-boo QBs and Brady’s short-passing game is still the offense. Despite Josh Gordon leaving the team, I’m still projecting him for 250 passing yards and 2+ TDs.
Baker Mayfield vs. CIN
Mayfield might win people some #FootClanTitles this week against the Bengals. In Week 12 against this hapless defense, he carved them up for 258 pass yards and 4 TDs. The Bengals are 31st in total yards, 26th in pass DVOA and the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs. It’s BAKER time!
Dak Prescott vs. TB
The Cowboys are vying for the NFC East crown and have a 27.3 team implied total versus a trash defense. The Bucs have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to QBs, rank 27th in passing yards allowed per game and 29th in Pass DVOA. Dak at home is an awesome Week 16 start and Jason ranks him the highest at QB7. Dak is Andy’s “Start of the Week”.
Aaron Rodgers @ NYJ
It’s been a lost season for the Packers despite Rodgers being uber-efficient and making another Pro Bowl. If you’ve made it this far and somehow have Rodgers as your QB, you can start him on the road. Over the last 6 weeks, the Jets have given up the 4th most fantasy points to QBs and rank dead last against WR1s on the season.
Matt Ryan @ CAR
Ryan was the QB1 last week in an overall down week for QBs with 3 total TDs. He’s averaging 309 passing yards per game on the road so don’t be afraid to roll him out. The Panthers are giving up the 8th most fantasy points over the last 6 weeks and rank 28th in pass DVOA.
Mitch Trubisky @ SF
Trubisky is a fringe QB1 this week after facing some difficult matchups recently. Despite being on the road, I like his path to Week 16 success. Over the last 6 weeks, the 49ers have given up the 5th most fantasy points to QBs and rank 25th in DVOA against the pass on the season. Trubisky also has some rushing upside averaging almost 34 yards per game on the ground,
Josh Allen @ NE
“Josh Stallion” has become this year’s Blake Bortles somehow and could win people a #FootClanTitle on the road. This pick isn’t for the faint of heart as playing in Foxboro as a 12-point road underdog is no cake. However, we’ve seen his rushing floor and this Patriots defense is nothing special. They rank 21st in defensive DVOA and given up the 7th most fantasy points to opposing QBs on the year. If you’re shooting for the moon in Week 16, Allen is the Stallion to ride.
Sam Darnold vs. GB
Darnold is my “dart throw of the week” at home against a mostly useless Packers defense. The Packers rank 24th in pass DVOA and 28th against pass catching RBs according to Football Outsiders. He’s strictly a fun DFS play to stack with Robby Anderson or Elijah McGuire. The rookie has shown some serious upside as a top-5 QB 3 times this year.
Lamar Jackson @ LAC
Jackson hasn’t finished below QB15 in any start thus far and has averaged 146 passing yards per start. I’m concerned as he’s fumbled at least once in every start and averaged 2 turnovers per game. Chargers have given up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to QBs over the last 6 weeks and rank 1st against TEs, the position Jackson targets the most. No thanks.
Philip Rivers vs. BAL
Jackson’s dueling mate Rivers is so close to being in the conversation as a QB1 this week. He’s a top-15 play but I’m projecting a bit more balance to the offense with Melvin Gordon expected to return from injury. The Ravens have given up the 4th fewest fantasy points to QBs on the year and rank 2nd in defensive DVOA and 2nd against the pass according to Football Outsiders. If you have to I get it, I just don’t have supreme confidence in him this week.
Jameis Winston @ DAL
Winston has nosedived the last two weeks with just 213 and 157 pass yards. I’m not at all interested in season-long leagues as Winston has lost 11 straight road games. The Cowboys have given up the 8th fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs and top-10 against fantasy WR1 and 2s according to Football Outsiders.
Deshaun Watson @ PHI
Watson came through big-time last week but its this road matchup in Philadelphia I’m a bit concerned with. The Philly front-7 is still elite and Watson taking 4 sacks per game on the road this season. His attempts, completions, and yards all suffer on the road and he hasn’t gone over 31 attempts since Week 5. I’m also concerned about the pace of this game as Nick Foles and the Eagles are going to try to slow this down and win a close game. He’s just outside of my top-12.
Previous Week’s Record: 7/12
2018 Overall Percentage: 54%