Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top 12 QBs for Week 3

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With our decoder ring last week, we hit the jackpot! Here were last week’s top 12 QBs:

Brady, Wentz, Siemian, Brees, Carr, Rodgers, Watson, Roethlisberger, Rivers, Smith, Prescott, Palmer

A 9-out-12 is unreal considering we have to cut 20 QBs from out top 12 each week. I rode Wentz in a couple of leagues as well as striking gold with Smith and Palmer as low-end streamers. Now if I can just get on the right page with Trevor Siemian (see below) then I’ll feel that much better for Week 3.

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 3.


Aaron Rodgers vs. CIN
This guy belongs in the tier until something drastic happens. Tying for the 3rd highest team implied total (26.8) of the weekend gives us some cushion. Not much else to say here.

Tom Brady vs. HOU
Brady exorcised his demons last week and took out his frustrations on new Orleans secondary… well, I guess everyone gets that pleasure these days. He takes on a Texans’ team he meticulously tore up for 287 yards and 2 TDs last year in the playoffs. Don’t be scared of the defensive secondary numbers for the Texans so far… they’ve played the Jaguars and the Bengals. Set it and forget it.

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Matt Ryan @ DET
Ryan’s counting fantasy numbers were a bit lower last week but the Falcons had shifted into cruise control in the 2nd half as they throttled the Packers at home. The Falcons travel to Detroit to take on a suddenly dynamic Lions pass rush.

Derek Carr @ WAS
Carr has catapulted into this tier for Week 3 with two top 12 performances to start the year. He sees the highest over/under (54.5) of the weekend slates with a Redskins team that should improve from their offensive woes. I think the volume will be there in this high-scoring affair for the Raiders who are tied with the Patriots for the highest team implied total (28.5) of the weekend. Send in the Carr.


Matthew Stafford vs ATL
The Lions and Stafford have been sharp thus far but now have their truly toughest test of the young season against Atlanta. The Falcons are known victims in the passing game as they ranked 3rd worst in 2016. With a 50.5 over/under, points will be scored. The issue is whether Stafford will be forced to dink-and-dunk much like he did Monday night versus the Giants or stretch the field with some looks to Marvin Jones or Kenny Golladay. I like Theo Riddick to pair with Stafford in this matchup.

Ben Roethlisberger @ CHI
Roethlisberger has been a steadying hand so far as Le’Veon Bell hasn’t quite kicked into high gear at least in terms of fantasy production. Even on the road, I’m not scared off by this matchup especially with the Steelers as 7.5 point favorites on the road.

Cam Newton vs. NO
It pains me (and probably Cam too) to think about relying on this offense and his shoulders to hold up. However, this Saints defense has been historically bad in their first 2 contests and obviously ranking dead last in defensive DVOA versus the pass. Even with safety blanket Greg Olsen out, I like Cam’s opportunity in this matchup and think he’s worthy to be called a top 10 play this week.

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Kirk Cousins vs. OAK
I wrote the Case Against Kirk Cousins earlier this offseason citing chemistry issues and digression in his down-the-field passing metrics as major reasons not to depend on this guy. And thus far, the Redskins offense has looked lost and was bailed out by some long Chris Thompson TDs last week. I still think there is some offensive firepower to be unleashed and this is the matchup for it. The Redskins are the highest over/under (54.5) of the weekend and take on a Raiders secondary that gave up the QB13 performance to Josh McCown last week. In fact, the Jets looked somewhat competent for much of the 1st half. If Cousins can cut down on his turnovers, this could be a back-and-forth affair as the Raiders travel across the country to play in D.C.

Four In the Door

Carson Wentz vs. NYG
Wentz has been my boy for the first two weeks and I felt giddy getting to start him last week in a couple leagues as he blew up for 333 passing yards and 55 more on the ground. Now the rushing numbers will slow down, but Wentz is an athletic QB with tons of volume on his side. The Eagles ran 10 designed running plays last week despite being close to the Chiefs for much of the game. If he’s going to continue to see 40+ attempts per game, I like Wentz at home versus a downtrodden New York Giants squad. As 6 point favorites at home, this is a great place to plug Wentz in as a solid start.

Jay Cutler @ NYJ
Never thought I’d be typing up a blurb on J-Cutty but it’s almost automatic to start someone against the Jets. Even on the road, I can see a top 12 week especially if he connects with Kenny Stills or DeVante Parker on a long bomb. The Jets rank 29th in defensive DVOA and 29th against the pass so far this year. He’s Mike’s “Stream of the Week” and a fair option to start.

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Dak Prescott @ ARI
I’ll try to get on the right foot with Prescott who has fought his way to 2 QB1 performances to start the year. He’ll be on the road in Arizona, a tough place to play but should have Ezekiel Elliott contribute more on the ground than last week to open up passing lanes. With a 47 point over/under, you’re in the top tier of totals for the weekend slates including Dallas’ 25 team implied total, 9th highest overall. I like Prescott with a relatively safe floor adding on 5 rushing attempts. The ceiling isn’t there but he was as dependable as anyone in terms of consistency last year as a QB1.

Andy Dalton @ GB
Let’s get real crazy… I’m willing to overlook the first 2 weeks as historically bad QB play and give Dalton a shot in this road matchup versus the Packers. The Bengals fired their OC Ken Zampese and will look to grease the squeaky wheel and give AJ Green more meaningful targets. The Packers rank 28th in defensive DVOA versus WR1s thus far and have been known to give up some monster performances. I’ll roll with Dalton as a contrarian play in GPPs and pray to God he fixes his problems. I don’t recommend starting him in normal leagues.


Drew Brees @ CAR
I’m fading Brees this week, which is probably an unpopular opinion. The Panthers rank 2nd in defensive DVOA against the pass and have a front seven that will force Brees to make decisions quickly. With only a 20.5 team implied total, I don’t think the ceiling is quite there for the Saints to have a monster game.

Jameis Winston @ MIN
Winston was fine last week although he wasn’t asked to do too much with the Bucs defense getting them out to an early and comfortable lead. Minnesota at home seems like a giant red flag. This game is actually still TBD in terms of the over/under and I’m not waiting around to find out how this shakes out. He’s outside of the top 15 for me this week

Russell Wilson @ TEN
The Seahawks are starting to scare me. We can complain all day about their offensive line but they’ve seen just one passing TD through the air despite playing the Packers and 49ers secondaries, not exactly world-beaters. Until he proves himself, I’m staying away in this road matchup with just a 42.5 over/under.

Marcus Mariota vs. SEA
I’m also fading his counterpart, Mariota, considering I think this game will be won on the ground. The Seahawks rank 28th in DVOA against the run according to Football Outsiders. Mariota was also bottled up last week by the Jaguars and I don’t think he will have a ceiling worth shooting for. I can see Earl Thomas and the secondary forcing everything up and within 10 yards and dare one of the Titans receivers and Mariota to beat them deep. Sorry, no thanks.

Last Week’s Record: 9/12

2017 Overall Percentage: 58.33%

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