Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top-12 QBs for Week 9
Here were Week 8’s top-12 QB scorers with our cover boy Ryan Fitzpatrick crashing the party in style!
Last week’s decoder made a gutsy call with Carr and it paid off as the QB3 while I still can’t seem to correctly identify when Mitch Trubisky will fail. Facepalm. Overall another week over 50% is solid.
Here’s your reminder how I categorize decoding the top-12 list each week. Remember this isn’t about predicting the order of the top-12 nor who is a safer option but who is likely to 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.
Aaron Rodgers @ NE
It’s shocking that Aaron Rodgers has only faced Tom Brady once his career. This should be a fun one in Foxboro against arguably the two greatest QBs of all time. The Patriots are allowing the 6th most passing yards per game (277.2), the 5th most completions, and the 2nd worst adjusted sack rate in the league. In other words, Rodgers is going to have more than enough time to make plays and pick apart the Patriots even on the road.
Tom Brady vs. GB
Brady and the Patriot offense sputtered in Buffalo last week but the Packers should be a “get right” matchup. They were carved up on the road against the Rams and now have lost safety HaHa Clinton-Dix after trading him to the Redskins. The Patriots have the highest team implied total (31.3) of the weekend and will be 5.5 home favorites. Brady is averaging 308 passing yards per game in Foxboro and Green Bay ranks 20th in defensive DVOA. He should be gold for 2+ TDs.
Patrick Mahomes @ CLE
The matchup is surprisingly difficult although the Browns are a team in turmoil after firing Hue Jackson. The Browns rank 1st in pass DVOA and are allowing just 59.8 completion percentage, 3rd best in the league. But c’mon, it’s Mahomes who has been a top 12 guy 7-out-8 weeks, which is just ridiculous. He’s the QB1 for a reason.
Cam Newton vs. TB
Newton is on a roll and was top-5 QB last week against a top-notch Baltimore defense. He’s an auto-start this week with a 30.5 team implied total and a giant ceiling against Tampa Bay. We’ve picked on them all year long as they rank DEAD LAST in pass DVOA and give up 33.3 points per game. Done deal.
Drew Brees vs. LAR
Jared Goff @ NO
While this game has the highest over/under of the weekend (59.5!), I’m dropping these QBs slightly down a tier simply because they both possess elite running games that could lower their prospective ceilings. Nevertheless, the Saints (30.5) and Rams (29.0) have extremely high team implied totals with QBs who have a plethora of weapons to choose from. Brees at home is always an automatic start and Goff lit up the Packers last week for 295 yards and 3 TDs.
Kirk Cousins vs. DET
Cousins looked lost against the Saints last week and still was able to garbage time his way into a top-10 showing. The volume in pass attempts is there for him every week and the Lions are a perfect home matchup for him. They give up on average a passer rating of 114.2 (31st) and rank 28th in passing DVOA according to Football Outsiders. Regardless of who Lions CB Darius Slay matches up on, either Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs will have Teez Tabor on the other side. He’s ranked as PFF’s 180th out of 181 CB in coverage this year and has been embarrassed all year long.
Ryan Fitzpatrick @ CAR
You gotta roll with Fitzmagic as he somehow ended last week as QB1 despite not starting the game. If you were to combine Tampa Bay QB production from both Jameis Winston and Fitzpatrick, you’re looking at the 2nd most QB fantasy points in the league behind only Patrick Mahomes. The Panthers aren’t as intimidating on defense as you may think as they rank 26th in passing DVOA. He’s always capable of blowing up (both good and bad). Fitzpatrick is Mike’s “Stream of the Week” and his Halloween costume, which you need to check out on Youtube.
Four In the Door
Phillip Rivers @ SEA
Something has to give in this matchup… Rivers has been so solid throwing multiple TDs in every game this year. On the other hand, the Seahawks have been stout against the pass ranking 3rd in DVOA and not allowing a top-12 performance all year long. I’m willing to trust the veteran and his weapons coming off a bye week. Rivers has the 2nd best QB Rating (117.8) in the league along with the 5th most passing plays of 20+ yards. I think this is the week Keenan Allen starts his 2nd half explosion.
Matthew Stafford @ MIN
Stafford probably is sitting on your waiver wire as he’s finished above QB14 just once on the season. I’m willing to roll him out there as I don’t believe the Lions will have as much success running the ball. The Vikings defense is a shadow of the shutdown unit we saw in 2017. Although they’ve improved recently, they’ve been exposed all year to pass catching RBs and rank dead last in DVOA against the position. The Vikings have allowed the 3rd most plays over 20+ yards and there’s room for more with Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr.
Alex Smith vs. ATL
It’s been ugly this year as Smith has regressed to his former self after a career year in 2017. He’s been unstartable as a QB16 or lower in six straight games but I’m willing to say the trend stops this week. Atlanta has allowed a top-10 QB performance 6 games in a row, ranks 29th in pass DVOA and 29th in passing yards allowed per game (320.6). As a home favorite in a game with a 47.5 over/under, I can see Smith as a low-end streamer this week.
Derek Carr vs. SF
It’s time to “send in the Carr” one more time after guessing right last week with our decoder ring. If he gets volume, Carr is capable of huge yardage totals despite having a depleted corp of pass catchers. The 49ers have given up multiple TD passes in 7 of their 8 games this year and rank 24th in defensive DVOA. They’ve given up 18 passing TDs (tied for 2nd most) and only 2 INTs (tied for 2nd fewest). Carr is Jason’s “Stream of the Week”.
Matt Ryan @ WAS
Listen I’m a Falcons fan and it pains me to put my man here. But I dropped Ryan in a league before the bye because I saw this matchup coming. Ryan has struggled on the road turning in subpar performances as the QB24 and the QB19 in his only two road starts. He certainly could get to a being top-12 based on volume but the Redskins rank 9th in DVOA against the pass and allowing just 19.1 points per game, 5th best in the NFL.
Ben Roethlisberger @ BAL
Yes, this is the typical Big Ben on the road narrative but the matchup with the Ravens should scare us despite getting roasted by Cam Newton last week. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, Baltimore has allowed just 3 top-12 QB performances. Think about that. The Ravens rank 6th in defensive DVOA, give up the 2nd fewest passing yards per game (195.6) while also registering the most sacks (27) in the league. That’s a recipe for trouble and a banishment for Big Ben to outside the top-12.
Deshaun Watson @ DEN
Watson was super efficient last week en route to 5 TDs on just 20 pass attempts. He gets a new teammate in Demaryius Thomas while also subtracting Will Fuller, who is out for the year. I’ll call that a downgrade to the ceiling of Watson as he’s averaged barely 200 yards a game with Fuller out. This matchup isn’t too inviting as the Broncos, according to Football Outsiders, have the 5th-best adjusted sack rate (8.1% percent) against Watson who takes the most sacks per game in the league. Denver is 2nd in DVOA against the pass and I’ll be sitting Watson down especially riding the high of last week’s bonkers performance.
Mitch Trubisky @ BUF
I think the train stops this week as Trubisky has been a top-10 QB his last 4 starts. Buffalo showed their defense has some fight on Monday night holding Tom Brady without a passing TD. The Bills rank 4th in DVOA against the pass and have allowed only 1 QB on the year to finish better than a QB15. Yes, the rushing floor is there but a game with the lowest over/under total (37.5) of the year is disgusting.
Previous Week’s Record: 7/12
2018 Overall Percentage: 55.2%