Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top 12 QBs for Week 14

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It’s fantasy playoff time so selecting a QB could never be more important. Here was last week’s top 12 (with the bold being correctly called) in standard 4 points per passing TD leagues…

Smith, McCown, Bortles, Wilson, Newton, Dalton, Flacco, Winston, Mariota, Roethlisberger, Rivers, Keenum

A repeated performance of 6-out-12 again keeps us moving but disappointing when you consider Alex Smith was left off the list. Flacco visited the top 12 for the first time all year and Roethlisberger/Dalton ended up here after an epic Monday night throw-down.

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 14.


Tom Brady @ MIA
Yes last week was rough for fantasy but honestly the TDs just decided to go way of the running game and Rex Burkhead. Chalk it up to being an outlier and know that Brady is still an autostart. He’s averaged 1.9 passing TDs per game against the Dolphins in his career so consider that his floor this week. With the highest team implied total (29) of the week, this should be a fantasy feast.

Russell Wilson @ JAX
It’s easy to get scared off at the matchup but come on… This guy is the league MVP. Russell Wilson is averaging the most fantasy points per game, sixth in the league in passing yards, tied for second in pass TDs, and has also added 432 rushing yards and three rush TDs. As our own Ben Cummins said “He IS the Seahawks offense both through the air and on the ground”. He’s brought you this far in fantasy so don’t get cute and try to bench him.

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Philip Rivers vs. WAS
Rivers is on fire so stay in the flames against a Washington defense that has given up the 13th most fantasy points to QBs on the year. His connection with Keenan Allen is spot on. Over the past 5 weeks, this Redskins defense that has allowed the sixth most passing yards per game over the past five weeks. Jump on a 6 point home favorite in a game with a 46 point over/under.

Carson Wentz @ LAR
It’s hard to stay away from Wentz despite a somewhat pedestrian performance last week albeit against Seattle. He still leads the league in passing TDs and should see the volume you want this week in a game with a current over/under of 49.5 points. Over the last 5 weeks, the Rams have allowed the third most passing yards per game so don’t let their season-long numbers fool you. If this game is a shootout, he can easily be a top 5 option.


Drew Brees @ ATL
The line in this game opened at 55.5 and now it’s dropped to only 51.5, still the highest total of the week. Brees on the road can scare people off and he’s a different QB this year. The ceiling is lowered as he has only one game with over two passing touchdowns while he had 8 of at least 3 passing TDs last year. The Falcons have given up QB1 performances 2 out of the last 3 weeks and rank 24th in defensive DVOA. Even with a 27.5 point team implied total, the running game could continue to pound away as the Falcons rank 31st against the run.

Matt Ryan vs NO
Brees’ counterpart is Matt Ryan at home in Atlanta which also has a healthy team implied total (25.5) for a Thursday night matchup. Although the Saints have been solid most of the year, the last 3 weeks they’ve given up an average of 22 fantasy points to the QB position, all 3 being QB1 performances. Follow the points and don’t fret starting Ryan at home.

Derek Carr @ KC
This is a great spot for Carr against a Chiefs team he destroyed in Week 7. This game has a healthy 47 point Over/Under as both defenses are absolute trash. With Chiefs CB Marcus Peters suspended, Michael Crabtree returning from his one-game suspension and Amari Cooper possibly returning as well, this has the chance to be an “Air Raid”. The Chiefs have allowed the fifth most passing yards and the 5th most fantasy points to opposing QBs on the year.

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Alex Smith vs OAK
Smith resurfaced to fantasy relevance with a monster game against the Jets for 366 passing yards and four touchdowns, 70 more on the ground and a 37 fantasy point performance. He thrashed the Raiders earlier this year in Week 7. Oakland ranks DEAD LAST in DVOA against the pass according to Football Outsiders. He’s also shown a safe floor going for 25+ rushing yards in four of his last five games. Hopefully Kareem Hunt can help him out…

Four In the Door

Kirk Cousins @ LAC
Cousins might slip through the cracks this week as they are higher profile matchups in front of us. The numbers don’t look great against the Chargers but I think there’s volume here in play. This is more a vote towards Cousins’ prowess towards compiling stats in garbage time as the Redskins are 6 point road underdogs. I wouldn’t start him in season-long leagues but think he can end up in the top 12 in a game against Philip Rivers with a 46 point over/under.

Jameis Winston vs DET
Winston’s ceiling this week at home against the Lions presents us with a tough decision. He’s frustrating to own much less start but if you’re looking for a giant game this could be it. The Lions rank 20th in total defensive DVOA and have been torched with 3 QB1 performances out of their last 4 weeks including Joe Flacco (#imdead).  I’m calling for a Mike Evans break-out game.

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Eli Manning vs. DAL
Eli is your “stream of the week” after being benched the previous week. This Cowboys defense ranks seventh worst in pass DVOA and that has allowed the 12th most passing yards. Dallas has given up the 10th most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season. It’s a recipe for a sneaky bounce-back game.

Blaine Gabbert vs. TEN
The “Blonde Bombshell” Blaine Gabbert will be a popular cheap DFS option this week. The matchup bears witness as the Titans rank ninth worst in pass DVOA and allowed the eighth most passing yards. He’s shown the ability for big games and this is your chance to play him mostly in DFS and 2QB leagues.


Ben Roethlisberger vs BAL
Big Ben’s ride atop the QB1 pantheon lately ends here against a Baltimore defense that has given up the 2nd fewest fantasy points to the QB position. In their Week 4 matchup, Roethlisberger threw for 216 yards and compiled only 11.5 fantasy points. There’s better streaming options with higher ceilings I’d rather have.

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Josh McCown @ DEN
This magic ends here. I don’t want any part of my fantasy playoffs on the road with Josh McCown against this Denver defense. Yes they are not the same but they’ve honestly been put in continuous bad spots with the horrific QB play. Aqib Talib is back so I don’t want Robby Anderson in DFS either.

Cam Newton vs MIN
No thank you. This defense has shut people down and forced them to play their way. Minnesota gives up the 4th fewest fantasy points to the QB position including 3 straight weeks under 15 fantasy points.

Jimmy Garoppolo @ HOU
Some might be tempted to start the dashingly good-looking QB simply because of the matchup. I’m not sold on this game’s over/under (43) nor Jimmy G’s potential to “light it up”. He hasn’t been asked to present us with much volume in the passing game although he has been efficient. The ceiling just isn’t there for me with 20 point team implied total.

Last Week’s Record: 6/12

2017 Overall Percentage: 57.7%

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