Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top 12 QBs for Week 4

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What a complete crapshoot… Here was last week’s top 12 (with the bold being correctly called in last week’s decoder)

Brady, Wilson, Keenum, Brissett, Bortles, Cousins, Hoyer, Rodgers, Goff, Prescott, Manning, Kizer

As Andy detailed on Monday’s podcast, here were the ESPN ownership percentages heading into the weekend

Keenum- 0.4%
Brissett- 0.8%
Bortles- 1.7%
Hoyer- 0.6%
Kizer- 5.1%
Goff- 7.1%
Watson- 11.4%

Obviously, the starting % is way lower. It was a relatively high week for QB scoring compared to the first 2 weeks. For instance, Drew Brees was QB14 despite 20+ points in 4pt leagues. These outliers did NOT likely affect many leagues. My one shining moment was being on the right side of Cousins’ masterful Sunday night game.

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 4.

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Four-Sures

Aaron Rodgers vs. CHI
This Thursday night matchup at home versus the Bears is cake. Rodgers has thrown for 300+ yards in every matchup so far.

Tom Brady vs. CAR
These aren’t your 2015 Carolina Panthers. The secondary should not scare you. Why type anymore when you are going to start this guy as he sets Ron Rivera‘s team ablaze?

Matt Ryan vs. BUF
Don’t fade Ryan after a fluky Week 3 stat line against the Lions. One of his INTs was off a tipped pass and the other the WR ran the wrong route. The Bills give up the 2nd fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs, another hollow stat considering they’ve faced Josh McCown, Cam Newton, and Trevor Siemian. Ryan is at home and he will right the ship in terms of fantasy production. Don’t be worried.

Drew Brees vs. MIA (London)
Brees looked confident and in control last week against the Panthers on the road. But this is a dream matchup in London. These Dolphins have allowed the 5th most passing yards in the league and were stomped on by the lowly Jets last week. They rank dead last in DVOA against the pass according to Football Outsiders. This isn’t a “road game” so tell the boo birds to chill out. Brees should be good to go across the pond in a game tied for the highest over/under (49.5) of the weekend slates.

Com-Four-table

Russell Wilson vs. IND
Wilson finally delivered for fantasy owners last week throwing 45 times, one of the most attempts for his career. The Colts have allowed the 8th most fantasy points to opposing QBs thus far and 283.7 passing yards per game, 31st in the league. Ride Wilson at home and reap the rewards.

Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

Dak Prescott vs. LAR
I keep trying to find ways to take Dak off this list each week but he continues to prove me wrong. Last week he made my final 12 cut and I think he still offers among the safest floors for QBs. As 6.5 point home favorites, Dak is put into the driver’s seat of keeping this offense humming. They have a 27 point team implied total against a Rams team which has scored the most points (35.7 per game) in the league thus far. This could be an exciting back-and-forth affair so I like Dak as a solid cash play in DFS lineups.

Alex Smith vs. WAS
Smith has been a dependable fantasy asset thus far and takes on the Redskins at home on Monday Night Football. As a home favorite in the second highest over/under of the weekend (49), this is a QB you want to lean in on even if his name is Alex Smith. The Chiefs have the 3rd highest team implied total (28.3) and Smith is currently the #2 QB in fantasy averaging 20.7 points per game. I don’t mind going there in GPPs as well.

Eli Manning vs. TB
Eli and the offense finally looked like a legitimate passing attack last week in the 2nd half versus the Eagles before losing at the buzzer. If Manning can continue to get the ball out quickly and work the middle to intermediate part of the field, we can at least make him a viable streaming option. Tampa Bay has given up the 5th most fantasy points to QBs and was annihilated by Case Keenum last week. They rank 29th in DVOA against the pass according to Football Outsiders. Eli on the road might give some concern but I think there are points to be scored. Eli is Andy’s “Stream of the Week”.

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Four-in-the-Door

Jameis Winston vs. NYG
I’ve been in the business of fading Winston this year but I’m on board for Week 4. This Giants defense is nowhere near what they were in 2016. They rank 27th in defensive DVOA and have given up QB1 performances to Dak Prescott and Matthew Stafford to start the season. Winston probably has a bad taste in many people’s mouths after last week’s turnover fest against Minnesota. He’s more an intriguing contrarian play but I think he has the ceiling this week to be in the top 12.

Trevor Siemian vs. OAK
Siemian came back to earth last week on the road in Buffalo but so far he’s been lights out at home. He faces the Raiders at Mile High and presents himself as a solid streaming option especially if owners dropped him after last week. Oakland has given up the 4th most fantasy points to QBs this season, rank 28th in DVOA against the pass and they looked completely lost as a team last week versus Washington. Siemian is Mike’s “Stream of the Week”.

DeShaun Watson vs. TEN
I’ll be honest this is where it gets a bit scary selecting a rookie QB but the weekly floor is there on the ground. Tennessee has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs so far this season and ranks 24th in DVOA against the pass. He can feel like a dice roll in 1 QB leagues but certainly has proved to be a capable 2nd option in 2QB leagues.

Andy Dalton @ CLE
The Red Rifle returned to form last week with a respectable fantasy showing against Green Bay. He now gets a juicy matchup against a Cleveland defense that has given up the 7th most fantasy points to QB this season. The Browns defense looked completely lost last week against Jacoby Brissett and WRs were able to roam the middle of the field freely especially in zone coverages. Pair him again with AJ Green.

Four-Get-About-It

Derek Carr @ DEN
You know the drill… fade QBs against the Broncos secondary. Carr had a rough week against Washington last week and this makes it worse.

Ben Roethlisberger @ BAL
He just hasn’t looked like himself as we keep waiting for this offense to kick it into high gear. Baltimore has given up the 9th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season and I’m willing to see this game as a divisional defensive slugfest. The Ravens defense has allowed a completion percentage of just 52.8% this season, 2nd best in NFL. Not in my top 12 for the week.

Kirk Cousins @ KC
After being on Cousins last week, I’m off this week as he plays in Arrowhead on Monday Night Football, not exactly the easiest place in the world. So far, these Chiefs have held both Tom Brady and Philip Rivers without a TD and are able to create turnovers. The Chiefs rank 8th best in DVOA versus the pass and I don’t like the road matchup with a mid-level team implied total (22). I’ll pass.

Carson Wentz @ LAC
It pains me to put the sophomore QB in this boat but this is a matchup to sit the youngster. Last week the offensive gameplan shifted dramatically as Wentz threw for just 176 yards and they decided to run the ball. These Chargers rank 2nd in the league with 11 sacks and have allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards. Not this week my friends.

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Last Week’s Record: 4/12

2017 Overall Percentage: 50%