Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top 12 QBs for Week 13

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Here was last week’s top 12 (with the bold being correctly called) in standard 4 points per passing TD leagues…

Roethlisberger, Rivers, Keenum, McCown, Wentz, Wilson, Bortles, Hundley, Brady, Kizer, Goff, Dalton

6-out-12 again is acceptable but there were some extremely fluky performances in this past week’s top 12. McCown had a couple long bombs to Robby Anderson but played poorly and cost the Jets the game. Bortles’ 2 rushing TDs saved him but as a pocket passer he was atrocious. Hundley also was the beneficiary of some broken plays against the Steelers. In other words, a QB1 can come from almost anywhere.

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 13.


Tom Brady @ BUF
Brady is an obvious autostart even on the road. He has hit at least 17 fantasy points in six straight games. The Bills have allowed the 11th most passing yards so far this season. With a 28.5 team implied total, the Pats should roll.

Russell Wilson vs. PHI
This guy deserves more MVP love: he leads the league in passing attempts, 2nd in rushing yards and the most fantasy points per game at the position. He’s had at least 19 fantasy points in six straight games, and he’s averaging 27 points per game over the last month and a half. With an over/under of 47, Wilson will have to will his team to a victory solely on him.

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Carson Wentz @ SEA
Wentz and the Eagles rolled last week with relative ease over the Bears. His TD efficiency numbers (7.9%) are through the roof. To put that in perspective, that number would tie him with Sid Luckman’s career percentage record. It’s historic. This matchup would’ve scared us off a month ago but with a decimated secondary Wentz is an easy top 5 option. The Eagles have a 26.3 team implied total so multiple TDs through the air is a given.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Philip Rivers vs. CLE
The Chargers are peaking at just the right time as the rest of the AFC West tanks. Rivers has totaled 15+ fantasy points in eight of 11 games so far this season, so he’s been fairly dependable. Last week we saw the type of upside he can have with 4 TDs. The Browns give up the 9th most fantasy points to opposing QBs and ranks sixth worst in pass DVOA. These Chargers have the 2nd highest team implied total (28) of the weekend so stack ’em in DFS if you can.


Drew Brees vs. CAR
Brees has certainly disappointed but he was a recommended sit last week against the Rams. Don’t let this matchup against the Panthers deter you as last week they let Josh McCown finish out as QB4. In Week 3, Brees tore them apart for 3 TDs. With a 48 point over/under in the Superdome, don’t be afraid to have confidence in the future HoFer.

Kirk Cousins @ DAL
Cousins was slowed down last week shockingly against the Giants but has another NFC East matchup on the docket. The Cowboys rank seventh-worst against the pass according to Football Outsiders, and if LB Sean Lee sits out again, you can certainly feel confident about Cousins. Recently, the Cowboys have been absolutely destroyed at the QB position. They’ve allowed 58 fantasy points to QBs in their last two games and 8th most overall on the year.

Jared Goff @ ARI
It’s crazy we’re at the point where Goff seems like a no-brainer week-in and week-in. He is sixth in the league in passing yards and tied for 10th in pass TDs. While Patrick Peterson still has game, the rest of the Cardinals secondary is trash. They’ve allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing QBs. He’s a top 10 play for sure with a 26 point team implied total.

David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cam Newton @ NO
Newton was rough last week against the Jets but he did add an important rushing TD. He’s been getting done rushing averaging 8.23 fantasy points per game solely on the ground per our own Ben Cummins. He duels Drew Brees in a game with an over/under of 48 points. The Saints have allowed the 10th most passing yards over the last five weeks and 2 QB1 performances in a row (Cousins & Goff). His floor is relatively high with a big ceiling if this game is a shootout.


Case Keenum @ ATL
Case Keenum was named NFC Offensive Player of the month as he’s hit at least 17+ fantasy points in four straight games. He’s a solid option even on the road in a game with a 47 point over/under with the Falcons allowing the 11th most passing yards per game over the past five weeks. Keenum is Jason’s “Stream of the Week”.

Marcus Mariota vs. HOU
Last week was extremely disappointing as Mariota had the matchup and my blessing as the cover boy for my Week 12 picks. I’m willing to believe again against a Texans defense that has allowed the ninth-most passing yards,  the 2nd most pass TDs (22) and the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QBs. For those trying to lock up a playoff spot, Mariota has one of the highest variances of the week. Consider him a “swing for the fences”.

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Tyrod Taylor vs. NE
After being re-established as the starter, all Taylor did was lead the Bills on the road to a victory at Arrowhead Stadium, one of the hardest places to play in the NFL. Taylor could find himself in ultimate “catch-up” mode in order to keep pace with the Patriots. The Pats have allowed the 5th most fantasy points to opposing QBs, although they’ve played much better recently. They have been exposed by running QBs this year (Cam Newton, DeShaun Watson, Alex Smith) which bodes well with Taylor’s floor of averaging 27.5 yards per game on the ground. Follow the points in a 48.5 over/under at home.

Josh McCown vs. KC
As I stated earlier, McCown is a weekly enigma for me because his tape can look so bad but the fantasy points can still end up shiny. He isn’t afraid to challenge defenses as he’s carried the gunslinger mentality most of his long NFL career. The Chiefs allow the 6th most passing yards per game (246) in the league and have lost 5-of-6. As a 3 point home favorite, he’s definitely worth a look in Week 13. McCown is Andy’s “Stream of the Week”.

Getty Images Sport / Rob Foldy


*Derek Carr vs. NYG
I feel like this is a trap game for fantasy owners hoping to find lightening in a bottle. If Amari Cooper is declared out*, then count me among those not willing to place Carr among my top 12 this week. The last 2 weeks the Giants have played inspired football shutting down Alex Smith and Kirk Cousins. I feel like the 9 point home favorite line for the Raiders is a bit out of proportion.

Ben Roethlisberger @ CIN
Big Ben was one of the “Pump the Brakes” candidates on the show this week because of how high his ceiling has risen the last few weeks. The offense has looked in-sync while Antonio Brown has looked like the G.O.A.T. Still, this is a AFC North divisional matchup on the road against a Bengals secondary that has held Big Ben to under 225 yards passing in Week 7. This is going to be a “grind-it-out” Le’Veon Bell game in my opinion.

Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Andy Dalton vs. PIT
Roethlisberger’s counterpart is also a recommended sit this week. The Steelers have looked rough the last few weeks in the secondary but still has given up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to the QB position on the year. Dalton threw for a measly 140 yards and 2 INTs in their Week 7 showdown. Vegas gives this game only a 43.5 over/under with 19 point team implied total for the Bengals. No thanks.

Matthew Stafford @ BAL
Coming off Thanksgiving Day’s loss to the Vikings, Stafford runs into a brick wall in Week 13. Baltimore has given up the 2nd fewest fantasy points to QBs this season and only 2 passing TDs over the last 5 weeks. With a 43 point over/under, this is a game I want little to do with in terms of redraft leagues.

Last Week’s Record: 6/12

2017 Overall Percentage: 58.3%

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