Week 14’s Decoder had a bit of a rough week considering who ended up in the top 12.
Roethlisberger, Wentz, Prescott, Hundley, Cutler, Wilson, Trubisky, Rivers, Keenum, Bortles, Yates, Kizer
Wow. If you had T.J. Yates in your top 12, please raise your hand. Even the Texans wouldn’t have seen that coming. Cutler, Trubisky, and Hundley all seem like major outliers.
Reminder: 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 15.
Russell Wilson vs. LAR
He’s overtaken Tom Brady as the surefire QB1 of the year after a 4th quarter fantasy performance against the Jaguars. He’s sixth in the league in passing yards, second in pass TDs, and has added 482 rushing yards and three rush TDs this season. Now he gets to play at home against a Rams defense that has allowed the eighth most passing yards per game over the past five weeks. This game has a 48 point over/under that should solely be propped up by Wilson on the Seahawks side.
Tom Brady @ PIT
Brady and the Pats slumped last week in an embarrassing Monday night loss against the Dolphins. They can claim their rightful place atop the AFC standings with a win in Pittsburgh. The Steeler defense has been rough recently allowing the most passing yards per game (336.4) in the entire league over the past five weeks. Wow! With Gronk returning to the Patriots’ lineup, Tom Brady should be doing cartwheels although his Achilles injury does cause some concern. Still, this guy leads the league in passing yards and ranks third in pass TDs. Autostart.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. NE
Big Ben is killing it lately as he’s hit 25+ fantasy points in three out his past four games. This game currently has an insane over/under of 53 points as people are calling this “The Game of the Year”. After throwing for 506 last week, he should have success against a Patriots defense that ranks 13th worst in pass DVOA and has allowed the seventh most passing yards per game over the past five weeks. If you’ve won with him lately, how can you bench him now?
Aaron Rodgers at CAR
As Davante Adams said in a tweet earlier, “the king has returned”. I wish I could place Rodgers higher on this list given his pedigree and his dominance but the matchup isn’t pretty. Before his injury, Rodgers had thrown for 300+ yards or at least three TDs in every game this season. Think about that… If you were fortunate enough to pick him up off waivers or have held onto to him all season long, start him!
Philip Rivers @ KC
Rivers has been perhaps only a step behind Russell Wilson over the last month as he’s had at least 319 passing yards in his last three games. He has six touchdowns over that span and 20+ fantasy points in two of those three games. Arrowhead isn’t a fun place to play but this defense knows how to give up points. The Chiefs allowed the fifth most passing yards and the seventh most fantasy points to QBs. Rivers is a top 5 guy.
Cam Newton vs. GB
Newton willed his team to victory in the second half last week but made many poor decision resulting in a subpar fantasy performance. We can’t ignore this game which currently has a 47 point over/under. This Packers defense ranks 12th worst in pass DVOA and has allowed the ninth most passing yards this season. As the home favorite, Newton is a great play in Week 15.
Drew Brees vs. NYJ
Most people will remember Brees’ end-zone INT last week that lost the Saints the game. Press reset because he was effective for most of that game against the Falcons. This week is a total “get-right” matchup as a 15.5 home favorite. The Jets have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Start Brees with confidence.
Dak Prescott @ OAK
Prescott looks back to his old self as he has five touchdowns and over 40 fantasy points in his last two starts. This is a great matchup in the playoff semi-final week especially for Dez Bryant. According to Football Outsiders, Oakland has THE WORST pass DVOA defense in the league. He should be rock solid.
Matt Ryan @ TB
This Monday night game is worth the wait for patient fantasy owners as Ryan has owned the Bucs in recent memory. He threw for 317 yards in Week 12 against them although their could’ve been more passing TDs. Don’t be scared off because his ceiling hasn’t been too high. This Bucs defense has allowed the second most total yards and THE MOST passing yards in the league. They’ve allowed the 11th most fantasy points so roll with Ryan in a NFC South division contest.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs. TEN
Jimmy G is now 2-0 as a starter, albeit against poor teams. Last week he threw for 334 yards and a TD against the Texans. He’ll be at home against a Titans defense that ranks eighth worst in pass DVOA and that has allowed the 11th most passing yards this season. Plus he looks the part. Start Jimmy G!
Nick Foles @ NYG
Foles will have his ups-and-downs in real life but for fantasy he’s a definite option in Week 15. He was 6-for-10 with 42 yards and made a couple critical throws last week to finish off the Rams. The Giants have allowed the second most passing yards and THE MOST fantasy points to quarterbacks. They have also allowed a league-high 26 passing touchdowns. Foles should be fine.
Blake Bortles vs. HOU
Bortles has been a last season savior with 16+ fantasy points in six of his last 7 contests. He’s thrown for at least 268 yards and two TDs in two straight. He also knows how to get it done on the ground with the 8th most rushing yards among QBs. The Texans have allowed the seventh most passing yards on the season. Bortles is a viable streamer this week.
Andy Dalton @ MIN
Dalton on the road against Minnesota is a train wreck waiting to happen. The Vikings have allowed the 5th fewest fantasy points to QBs on the season. The Red Rifle probably won’t be changing that this week.
DeShone Kizer vs. BAL
Some people might be trying to catch lightning in a bottle but Kizer won’t have the same success he had last week. The Ravens have allowed the 2nd fewest fantasy points on the season to QBs.
Jared Goff @ SEA
I think the mojo is running out for Goff as some of his decision making skills are being exposed. The Seahawks defense, though depleted, knows how to play sound defensive football. They’ve allowed the 8th fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs and Goff has averaged only 15 fantasy points per contest over the last month. His ceiling isn’t there for me.
Alex Smith vs LAC
The Chargers defense is on fire and Smith seems to have returned to being a middling QB option. They’ve allowed the 3rd fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs on the year. I’m benching him in a league simply because I don’t want to be stuck with a dud in Week 15.
Last Week’s Record: 4/12
2017 Overall Percentage: 56%