Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top 12 QBs for Week 2

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Depending on how your fantasy squad performed in Week 1, you can have a very different outlook and opinion on the QB position. For those of us who waited on QB and snagged someone like… I don’t know… ANDY DALTON(?!?!), then you might be screaming right about now. The Red Rifle was beyond abysmal with 170 passing yards, 4 INTs, 1 fumble and a fantasy finish of 33 out of 33 QBs for the week. In most leagues, Dalton finished in the negative. In other words, I could’ve put a corpse in my lineup and scored more. Here is how the rest of the top 12 worked out in standard (4 point per passing TD) leagues:

A. Smith, Stafford, Bradford, Siemian, Wentz, Mariota*, Taylor*, Carr, Kizer, Ryan, Rivers, Prescott, Rodgers

With our decoder ring last week, we hit on a couple low-end streamers (Bradford, Kizer) while swinging and missing on a couple of the high-end options such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson. Whoops. The hardest part of doing this each week is finding out which middling QB sneaks their way in to the top 12 such as Trevor Siemian, Alex Smith, and Tyrod Taylor.

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 streanm 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 2.


Aaron Rodgers @ ATL
Rodgers travels to Atlanta, a team he faced in the NFC championship game. Don’t let the road matchup confuse you one bit as Rodgers has the 2nd most passing TDs on the road of any QB over the last calendar year. He also has not committed a turnover on the road since Week 10 last year. This game boasts a robust 53.5 over/under and I’m pegging Rodgers as #1 guy this week.

Matt Ryan vs. GB
His counterpart racked up 392 yards and 4 total TDs last time they met. Ryan is an auto-start especially at home where he had the highest passer rating (119.1), yards per attempt (9.5), and 2nd highest completion percentage (77.6%) in the league last year. Those are eye-popping numbers and with a 28 team implied total, Ryan has the ceiling to be the QB1 this week.

Drew Brees vs. NE
Brees and the Saints could not convert in the red zone for most of the night against the Vikings. He still finished in the top 15 for the week and now will matchup with his future Hall of Famer, TB12. Vegas is going bonkers for this matchup in New Orleans as it currently sees a 54.5 over/under. If Alex Smith showed anything last week, it’s that the Patriots defense is exploitable. Look for Brees to get Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara going out of the backfield.

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Tom Brady @ NO
To round out the top 4, we’re going to complete the matchup with an angry Tom Brady. After being embarrased at home last week, they now take on the Saints, who ranked third worst in pass DVOA and gave up the most passing yards in the league last year. Sam Bradford picked them apart with relative ease… what can the G.O.A.T. do? This is the highest over/under of both Weeks 1 and 2. Don’t get too cute, start him.


Derek Carr vs. NYJ
As 14 point favorites at home, you have to like Carr’s chances this week against the lowly Jets. The Raiders have the 2nd highest team implied total (28.8) and the Jets ranked dead last in DVOA against WR1s a year ago according to Football Outsiders. Now depending on who you talk to that could mean either Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree. Either way 240+ yards and 2+ TDs seems like a floor in this contest.

Russell Wilson vs. SF
It was a train wreck for those that championed Wilson (myself included) last week as he finished with under 10 fantasy points versus the Packers. But it’s time to turn the page as his Seahawks have the 3rd highest team implied total (28.3) and are 13.5 point home favorites. The 49ers “boast” one of the league’s worst defenses as they allowed 30 points per game last season. There’s a lot to like especially in GPPs as some will be off after the bad taste in their mouth from Week 1.

Philip Rivers vs. MIA
Rivers snuck his way into the top 12 last week with some late-game comeback magic before falling short in Denver. As 4.5 point home favorites, Rivers is in the conversation of startable QBs with a relatively safe floor. Although his turnovers can be a problem, Rivers completed the 3rd most passes of 40+ yards in the league in 2016. His WRs big play ability bode well against a Dolphins secondary that gave up the 6th most passing TDs in the league in 2016.

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Ben Roethlisberger vs. MIN
Big Ben at home is what owners want even in a tougher matchup against an intimidating Vikings defense. With a 25.8 team implied total, look for the Steelers to get Le’Veon Bell further involved than they did in Week 1. His offensive line has been superb allowing the fewest sacks in the league since Week 7 last year. Start the guy at Heinz Field.

Four In the Door

Eli Manning vs. DET
The Giants offense was a wreck last week as they seemed out of sync especially with Odell Beckham Jr. out. If he returns, I personally will roll with Manning at home in 2 leagues. He threw the 6th most TD passes in the league at home in 2016 and the Lions gave up the highest completion percentage (72.7) in the NFL. I’ll actually be taking the over (43.5) on this Monday night matchup.

Alex Smith vs. PHI
Smith follows up last week’s ridiculous QB1 overall performance in New England with an intriguing home matchup against a beatable Eagles secondary. With the 3rd highest over/under (47.5) of the weekend, there will be points scored. While projecting 380+ yards and 4 TDs again is ludicrous, the Eagles were one of the worst defenses in the league (30th in DVOA according to Football Outsiders) in terms of defending pass catchers out of the backfield. Could Kareem the Dream break out again?

Carson Wentz @ KC
I’m intrigued by Smith’s counterpart in this contest as a sneaky dart throw and GPP play. The Eagles offense looks bent on throwing the football as opposed to trying to establish any semblance of a running game with LeGarrette Blount. Wentz is not afraid to target his WRs down-the-field and air it out 40+ times a game. With a 48.5 over/under, this is something I’m buying into this week.

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Carson Palmer @ IND
Woof. After last week’s disgusting 3 INT game against the Lions, Palmer has a chance to redeem himself against the Colts who were thrashed by the Jared Goff and the Rams last week. However, he’ll have to do it without David Johnson which could force Palmer to air it out. Palmer owned the slant route with Larry Fitzgerald last year completing 77.8% of those throws, 2nd best in the NFL last year. Look for Bruce Arians to get creative as the Cardinals own the 6th highest team implied total of the weekend. If Vontae Davis is out again for the Colts, roll out Palmer in DFS. He is Andy’s “Stream of the Week”.

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Matthew Stafford @ NYG
Stafford blew up last week with 4 TDs at home versus the Cardinals. The storyline could look different this week as the Lions have a 19.5 team implied total on the road against a Giants secondary which allowed the 2nd fewest TD passes in the league (16) in 2016. At home, they were especially devastating allowing under 15 points per game. Stafford can have some up-and-down weeks where there are few deep shots and he becomes more of a dink-and-dunk guy. Monday night in the Meadowlands doesn’t seem like a place I want to start him.

Marcus Mariota @ JAX
Albeit against the Texans and Tom Savage, the Jaguars defense definitely looks upgraded and willing to get after the QB. Their secondary allowed the 6th fewest passing TDs (20) in the league last year. I still think there is some regression looming for some of Mariota’s efficiency metrics especially in terms of turnovers. I just don’t see the ceiling there in a 43.5 over/under.

Dak Prescott @ DEN
Despite Rivers coming through last week, it’s still recommended to fade QBs that face Denver especially on the road. They allowed the fewest passing yards per game (185.8) and passing TDs (13) in the league last year. This looks like a game Dallas will ride Zeke hard. Sit down Dak this week.

Tyrod Taylor @ CAR
If Buffalo has any issues running the ball, I can’t see Taylor being able to take advantage of their suspect secondary especially without any valid deep threats. Carolina’s defense, especially their front seven, looks refreshed and driven thus far. The Bills have an extremely low team implied total (16.8), the 4th lowest of the weekend slate. No thanks this week.

Last Week’s Record: 5/12

2017 Overall Percentage: 42%

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