Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top 12 QBs for Week 7
According to the Week 6 Decoder, we once again came out with some solid wins. Here was last week’s top 12 (with the bold being correctly called) in standard 4 points per passing TD leagues…
Cousins, Watson, Wentz, Palmer, Newton, Fitzpatrick, McCown, Brady, Siemian, Smith, Stafford, Rivers
Wow. Fitzpatrick was obviously off the radar as Winston’s backup and it’s wild to see Siemian on here considering the Broncos got destroyed at home by the Giants. Overall, QB scoring was incredibly low this week considering Stafford and Rivers both had under 15 points.
Each week we look at the varying tiers of quarterbacks, assessing risk, home/away matchups, Vegas totals and realizing each week will have a bit of spontaneity. This isn’t about predicting order, but simply identifying who is likely to be among the top 12. Here is how I break up the decoding each week:
Four-Sures: My 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 that top 12 including a stream of the week option 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.
Check out where Andy, Mike, and Jason have their QBs ranked for Week 7.
Tom Brady vs. ATL
Brady leads the league in passing yards and gets a Super Bowl rematch (insert my tears as a Falcons fan) against a team he carved up for SB record 446 yards. This Falcons defense ranks 11th worst in pass DVOA and somehow allowed Jay CUtler to steal a victory at home last week. In a game with a current Over/Under of 55 points, just put it on the board.
Matt Ryan @ NE
His opponent and reigning league MVP has been a fantasy disappointment thus far. This is the “get right” matchup as New England has given up the most fantasy points for opposing QBs, most passing yards per game (324.8), and ranks dead last in DVOA against the pass. They stink. This secondary made Josh McCown look like a Pro Bowler last week so give Ryan another shot.
Dak Prescott @ SF
Dak has been automatic thus far as the only player to register a QB1 performance every single week. The 49ers have given up the 7th most fantasy points, rank seventh worst in pass DVOA and the sixth most passing yards per game. His ceiling isn’t always the highest but the consistency is unmatched.
Drew Brees @ GB
Despite scoring 52 points as a team last week, Brees and the passing offense looked out of sync. With a 26.8 team implied total, I’ll still roll with Brees on the road against a middling Packers defense. Pair him with Alvin Kamara as the Pack rank 27th against pass catching RBs according to Football Outsiders.
Marcus Mariota @ CLE
A healthy Mariota looks like a slam dunk against a Browns team that has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QBs and tied with the Patriots for most TD passes (14) allowed. With DeMarco Murray having hamstring issues, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Titans go 3-wide consistently and open up the offense with Eric Decker in the slot. If he begins to run again, consider his upside even higher with a healthy 26.0 team implied total.
Kirk Cousins @ PHI
Cousins has been solid the last 3 weeks as I put him as the poster child for last week’s column and he came through. He travels on the road for Monday night to face an Eagles defense allowing the 10th most fantasy points to opposing QBs and the 4th most 273.5 passing yards per game (273.5) in the league. However, the most telling statistic is the fact the Eagles are allowing a league-high 42.5 passing attempts per game. In other words, opponents are being put into game scripts where they must throw the ball as Philadelphia ranks #1 in the league against the run allowing paltry 65.7 yards per game. Expect Captain “Dink-and-Dunk” to continue his QB1 ways.
Carson Wentz vs. WAS
Wentz was calm and collected last week leading the Eagles to a road victory over the Panthers alongside a top 3 QB performance. I love him at home on Monday night dueling Kirk Cousins. Remember that Wentz went for 307 and 2 TDs at Washington in Week 1. His 13 touchdowns are tied for the second most while he’s fifth in passing yards and fourth in rushing yards, a huge plus. He’s earned my trust as a weekly start especially with a 26.5 team implied total.
Tyrod Taylor vs. TB
After an incredible road victory in Atlanta, Tyrod comes off his bye week with the juiciest of matchups. The Buccaneers have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to QBs, the 2nd most passing yards per game (301.6), and fewest sacks (6) in the league. The last statistic matters considering Taylor led the league in that category in 2016. He’s a definite safe option at home against a defense ranked 31st in total DVOA. Taylor is Jason’s “Stream of the Week”.
Jared Goff vs. ARI (London)
Oh how far we have come with young Jared. Goff looks like a capable streamer this week against a Cardinals defense that made backup Ryan Fitzpatrick into the QB6 this past week. They’ve allowed the 5th most fantasy points to QBs and rank 24th in DVOA against the pass. Granted this game is at London’s Twickenham Stadium so who knows what to expect across the pond for these West Coast teams. With a 25.3 team implied total I still like him this week. Goff is Mike’s “Stream of the Week“.
Blake Bortles @ IND
Yuck. I know you thought Bortles would be forever banished to the basement for his suckage. However, this matchup is too good to pass up as the Colts have allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs, the 3rd most passing yards (295.8) and the most points per game (32.5) in the league. And if you want to talk about upside, the Colts have allowed 34 passing plays of 20+ yards, by far the most in the league. You might cringe at the thought of starting the Jaguars signal caller but he’s certainly shown the ability to “Magoo” his way into a QB1 season. Bortles is Andy’s “Stream of the Week”.
DeShone Kizer vs. TEN
The “dart throw” of the week is not inspiring when you consider how abysmal he’s been so far. However, Kizer has shown that he can get it done as a QB1 (Week 1 against Pittsburgh of all teams?) especially on the ground as he’s averaged over 25 yards on the ground per game in his career. The Titans have given up the 6th most fantasy points to opposing QBs and are tied with the Bucs for the worst 1st down percentage (41.3%) in the league. Kizer will most certainly be lightly owned and started this week in DFS so consider him if you want to take down a GPP.
CJ Beathard vs. DAL
Let’s throw another dart at the board and see if it sticks. Beathard was named the starter this week and gets an intriguing matchup at home versus the Cowboys. Dallas has allowed the 8th most fantasy points to QBs and ranks 30th in total defensive DVOA. At 25.3 seconds per play, these 49ers rank 1st in the league in terms of pace of play, something they’ll likely need to enforce against Dak Prescott. He’s the sneakiest of sneaky plays in GPPs and also a rookie. DFSers be warned.
Carson Palmer @ LAR (London)
I’m fading Palmer this weekend in London as he has a penchant for staying still in the pocket. These Rams have the 2nd most sacks (20) in the league and rank 6th in DVOA against the pass. With the travel, I expect at least one team to show up sleeping walking and my vote is the Cardinals.
Brett Hundley vs. NO
I’m not ready to plug in Hundley just yet despite his athletic measurables and familiarity with the Green Bay offense. This Saints defense has made a name for itself recently with big plays with 7 interceptions in the past 3 games. The Packers also have allowed a league-high 23 sacks so things could get ugly even at Lambeau.
Andy Dalton vs. PIT
This is a troubling matchup despite coming off the bye at home. The Steelers have allowed the fewest passing yards per game (153.5) in the league and rank 6th best in DVOA versus the pass. They’ve also allowed the fewest fantasy points to WRs. As 5.5 point underdogs, this isn’t the week to stack your Bengals.
Jamies Winston/Ryan Fitzpatrick @ BUF
As of this publishing, Winston’s Week 7 status is still unclear after a sprained AC joint forced him to leave last week’s game. Our longtime, bearded friend almost led the Bucs to a come from behind victory against Arizona. Last week’s Fitzmagic will not repeat itself against a Bills secondary that has allowed the fewest passing TDs (2) in the league. This is not a “revenge game” for the former Bills QB so don’t go down that narrative street.
Last Week’s Record: 7/12
2017 Overall Percentage: 57%