Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top 12 QBs for Week 17

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If you played in a fantasy championship last week, hopefully Week 16’s Decoder helped you win that #footclantitle. Here were last week’s top 12 (with the bold being correctly called) in standard 4 points per passing TD leagues…

Goff, Cousins, Bortles, Garoppolo, Trubisky, Smith, Flacco, Roethlisberger, Rivers, Newton, Brady, Cutler

7-of-12 on championship weekend is more than solid boosting the year-end total to 56%. In fantasy football prognosticating terms, that’s essentially akin to getting a B+ on the season. However, Garoppolo against Jacksonville was unbelievable awesome although not foreseen The low-end streamers last week (Bortles and Flacco) likely won people championships.

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 17.


Russell Wilson vs ARI
Listen I know it’s been a less than conventional way recently as Wilson only had 93 passing yards last week, and only 142 the week before. Despite the lack of air attack, he has over 50 total yards on the ground with three passing touchdowns over that span. The Seahawks are fighting for a playoff spot and Wilson is at home. He’s still averaging the most fantasy points per game on the season. He’s the Ballers #1 QB for the week.

Tom Brady vs. NYJ
This Week 17 game matters as the Patriots are still vying for the #1 overall seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. It’s crazy considering these Patriots haven’t played on Wild Card weekend in the last 8 years! Despite a couple of dud games over the last month, if you’re still alive in Week 17 you have to start Tom Terrific. This Jets defense ranks 11th worst in pass DVOA and allowed the 10th most passing yards on the season. New York has also given up the 5th most fantasy points to QBs this season. His Achilles injury does need to be monitored.

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Drew Brees @ TB
There is no better trash matchup than to face the Bucs. Tampa Bay has allowed the MOST passing yards per game and most fantasy points to the WR position. The Saints are gunning for a NFC South crown, and the Saints have something to play for this week. Despite only having one game with more than two passing touchdowns on the year, Brees is a top 3 play in my opinion.

Cam Newton @ ATL
Cam has a huge ceiling in a game with a 45.5 point over/under and is averaging the second most fantasy points per game among QBs. His floor is among the safest as Cam has hit the 15 point mark in seven straight games. He has at least 51 rushing yards in four straight and at least 44 in NINE of his last 10 games. That’s fantasy gold for QBs. Throw in the fact Atlanta has allowed the ninth most passing yards over the last four weeks and the fourth most passing touchdowns (8) over that span, it’s easy to like Cam even on the road.


Philip Rivers vs OAK
Rivers went across the country and posted a top 10 performance last week against the Jets. His volume is what makes him a viable play as he has the fourth most passing attempts in the league. Melvin Gordon was spotted in a walking boot on Monday, which could force the gunslinger to throw 40 times in this home divisional match. Rivers has had 290+ yards passing in four of his last five games and the Raiders have the sixth worst pass DVOA in the league. He’s a solid Week 17 start.

Kirk Cousins @ NYG
Cousins came through against Denver last week and now has a season finale against a Giants team (especially its secondary) that is in disarray. They’ve allowed the MOST fantasy points to QBs and the second most passing yards on the year. Some are projecting this to be Cousins’ last game as a Redskin for what’s it worth. In 5 of his last 6, Cousins has thrown at least two TDs so he’s established a relatively safe floor. Last week he targeted Josh Doctson 13 times so expect that connection to develop.

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Jimmy Garoppolo @ LAR
Guys, I feel like the heart of every football fan is now tied to Jimmy G after dismantling the dominant Jaguars defense going 21-for-30 with three total touchdowns. He’s sexy, he’s undefeated and he’s startable on the road against a Rams team that will be resting most of their starters. Think of this as Jimmy G playing in the preseason but… it’s the regular season. Yea… He’s the hotness so stay in the flames.

Matthew Stafford vs. GB
Stafford was a major letdown last week as the Lions fell to the lowly Bengals. Although they’ve been eliminated from playoff contention, a matchup against the Packers is exactly what the doctor ordered. Green Bay has given up the 8th most fantasy points to QBs and rank 22nd against the pass. Stafford torched them for 361 and 2 TDs in their Week 9 matchup. As a 6.5 point home favorite, Stafford can get it done in Week 17.


Matt Ryan vs CAR
This will feel counterintuitive given Ryan’s disappointing 2017 season. However, there reasons to like while he only has three 300 yard passing games on the season,one came against Carolina in Week 9. The Panthers are allowing the second most passing yards over the last four weeks, and the most receiving yards to wideouts. They have allowed seven passing touchdowns over that span, which is the fifth most. Ryan at home championship weekend is a viable play.

Jacoby Brissett vs HOU
Brissett has visited the QB1 pantheon 3 times on the year and I think he’s due for one more. There’s a number of statistics that bode well for Mr. Beef Brisket. The Texans have the ninth worst pass DVOA defense, allowed the third most fantasy points to QBs, the seventh most passing yards, and the MOST points per game in the NFL. In Week 9, Brissett had 308 yards and two TDs against these hapless Texans. He’s a high ceiling, cheap DFS option.

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Tyrod Taylor @ MIA
I know Week 17 is getting desperate here at the end. Taylor might be on another team in 2018 but here’s a chance for him to finish the year strong. He’s a roll of the dice in DFS formats but did score 2 TDs and a QB1 performance in Week 15 against these Dolphins. The Bills still have a shot at the playoffs given some magic with the other playoff hopefuls.  This Dolphins defense has been trashed by rushing QBs (Tyrod, Alex Smith, and Cam Newton) so I expect much of the same. As a 2.5 point road favorite, I think the Bills will cover.

Joe Flacco vs CIN

Flacco has been sneaky consistent as of late including a 2 TD-QB1 performance last week on Saturday night. Flacco has 20+ Fantasy points in four straight contests and the Bengals have ranked in the bottom 10 against QBs over the last month after beginning the year strong. Baltimore can clinch the No. 5 seed with a win against their division rivals. Flacco is a bottom-end QB1 streamer.


Case Keenum vs. CHI
I faded Keenum last week successfully and will be doing the same in Week 17. The matchup isn’t great and the Vikings will not trying to be airing it out against a lesser opponent. Chicago has given up the 6th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. With a 39.5 over/under, that’s just too low to try and make my bones when Keenum could easily be taken out in the 2nd half with the game in hand.

Blake Bortles @ TEN
This is just a bet on Bortles and the starters being rested. The Jaguars have little to play for on the road as they cannot fall below the No. 3 seed, something I did not think I would be typing at the beginning of the year. The Titans are 3 point favorites as Vegas as assumes this game will be meaningless.

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Dak Prescott @ PHI
I trusted Dak in a fantasy championship game last week and won inspite of him and his lowly 7 fantasy points. He’s dropped off considerably and I don’t prefer him on the road in this NFC East matchup. Philadelphia has given up the 11th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. Another game with a 39.5 over/under makes me not want to buy in.

Jay Cutler vs BUF
He worked some magic last week somehow ending up as the QB12 against Kansas City by sheer volume. As a 2.5 point home underdog, the Dolphins can play spoiler to the Bills’ meager playoff hopes. I’m just not betting on JCutty against a Bills secondary that has given up the 5th fewest fantasy points to QBs and tied with the Vikings for fewest passing TDs allowed. Last time these two teams met in Week 15, Cutler threw 3 INTs.

Last Week’s Record: 7/12

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2017 Overall Percentage: 56%

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