Fantasy Football: Decoding the Top 12 QBs for Week 5
Boooyahhhh! Week 4 was an absolute gold mine for the Decoder’s predictions hitting 9-out-of-12. Here were the top 12 in standard (4 point per passing) leagues with the bold picked in last week’s column:
Watson, Newton, Dalton, Manning, Wilson, Smith, Winston, Rodgers, Prescott, Cousins, Brady, Rivers
Man, we rocked it especially lower-owned streaming options. Now the bye weeks start which lowers our potential pool of QBs from 32 to 28 with the Falcons, Broncos, Saints, and Redskins out.
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 5.
Tom Brady @ TB
Easy money. Brady leads the league in passing yards and is tied with Aaron Rodgers for the most TD passes. This Bucs defense has given up the second most passing yards per game and some monster fantasy weeks recently. Pats have highest team implied total (30.5) so a 4-TD seems doable.
Aaron Rodgers @ DAL
Another slam dunk. He’s been absolutely bullet-proof as a QB1 in 15 out of his last 16 weeks. He’s unreal.
Dak Prescott vs. GB
Prescott has now posted 4 QB1 weeks to start the season pacing his dueling-mate Rodgers. They also ranked 13th worst in pass DVOA through the first three weeks this season. And with Aaron Rodgers exploiting a weak Cowboys defense on the other end, this game should very quickly turn into a shootout.
Russell Wilson @ LAR
Wilson got back on track last week as the Colts were blown out in the 2nd half. He’s trending towards set and forget it territory especially as he’s been averaging 30 yards on the ground per game. There’s a 47 point over/under currently the 3rd highest total of the weekend.These Rams have given up back-to-back QB1 weeks to Brian Hoyer and Dak Prescott so there will be yards and TDs to be had.
Jameis Winston vs. NE
Winston has averaged the 6th most fantasy points per game for QBs after a monster Week 4 finish against the Giants. He now gets a Thursday night home matchup against a Patriots defense giving up the most fantasy points for QBs, passing yards per game and rank dead last(!) in total defensive DVOA through the first four weeks. If he can avoid mistakes, Winston could go toe-to-toe with Brady in a game with a ridiculous 55.5 over/under.
Carson Wentz vs. ARI
After a couple pedestrian weeks, it’s time to fire up Wentz once again in a matchup which could see 90+ combined pass attempts between the Carsons. Wentz has also sneakily provided a rushing floor with 97 yards on the ground, tied for 6th best among QBs. With team implied total of 25.8 and being a 6.5 point home favorite, Wentz is in a good position to re-enter the QB1 conversation. I personally will be starting him in my home league so join me!
DeShaun Watson vs. KC
You got to stay in the flames with this guy. The Texans offense actually resembles an NFL offense and Watson offers the upside to be a top 5 option on the ground. These Chiefs are 25th against the pass and given up QB1 weeks to Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins thus far. There will be regression coming and rookies turnovers aplenty in the future. But a top 12 week seems in the cards especially with bye weeks here. Watson is Andy’s “Stream of the Week”.
Eli Manning vs. LAC
If you are started good Eli last week (and I did), it is a great feeling in fantasy as he peppered Odell Beckham Jr. with 15 targets. Stay with this plan Ben McAdoo! This is another week where you “bite your nails” as you start him but realize this offense is not trying to run the ball. They have a 24 point team implied total against the 20th ranked secondary in terms of DVOA versus the pass. Eli is Mike’s “Stream of the Week”.
Matthew Stafford vs. CAR
Stafford and the Lions won last week against a tough Minnesota defense but his fantasy production has been lacking. I think this is an awesome opportunity to pounce on Stafford at home as he’s averaged 3.69 more standard points per game in Detroit since 2006, according to our own Ben Cummins. As a 2.5 point home favorite, I can see Stafford establishing a relatively stable floor and a usable but probably forgotten man during the bye weeks. The Panthers rank 26th in defensive DVOA versus WR1s so if you think that’s Golden Tate or Marvin Jones Jr., expect something great.
Carson Palmer vs. PHI
This one feels a bit shaky but I’m selecting Palmer on sheer volume. Palmer has more passing attempts AND red-zone attempts than any other QB in the league. IN other words, this team is done trying to “pretend” to run the ball. The Eagles are allowing the seventh-most Fantasy points to quarterbacks and they’ve allowed the most catches to wideouts. In their last 2 matchups, Philly has allowed over 700 passing yards and I like Palmer’s upside to hit that 300+ yard mark with 2 TDs.
Jay Cutler vs. TEN
This has not been a pretty marriage thus far as the Dolphins have basically almost been shutout the last 2 weeks despite playing the Jets and the Saints. But I’m willing to believe this week as the Titans have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QBs. They’ve also given up the fifth most passing yards per game and rank fourth worst in pass DVOA. Cutler also has attempted the 2nd most deep passes (20+ yards in the air) in the league despite not playing Week 1. I’ll be pairing him with DeVante Parker or Kenny Stills in hopes of a long bomb. And praying…
Jacoby Brissett vs. SF
Gosh, this feels like a roll of the dice but Brissett has shown the ability to be a QB1 performer against sub-par defenses (see Cleveland Week 3). There seems to be a solid floor in place with almost 30+ yards rushing per game. The 49ers have given up the 10th most fantasy points to opposing QBs, the 11th most passing yards per game and ranks seventh worst in pass DVOA. Brissett is a dart throw in GPPs and deep leagues.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. JAX
People will be fading Big Ben because of the matchup and the fact the Jaguars have given up the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs and rank 1st in DVOA against the pass. I agree as it looks like they’re going to ride Le’Veon Bell for 30+ carries even at home. Things will correct for this offense just not yet with Big Ben.
Cam Newton @ DET
Newton exploded last week against the Patriots looking like his former MVP self. But I would sit him down this week against a Lions defense giving up the 5th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. They also have 7 INTs and have yet to give up a 300-yard passer. With this matchup on the road, Newton is a fade for me.
Jared Goff vs. SEA
Nope. Seattle’s defense is giving up only 184.5 passing yards per game and the 6th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. This is a “run it with Gurley” until it works kinda game.
Alex Smith @ HOU
Smith has been magic thus far but I’m not buying this road matchup against a Texans defense that seems to be heating up. Smith will regress to his old, safe-self especially if the Chiefs take an early lead with Kareem Hunt on the ground. I just don’t see the ceiling there this week for top 12.
Last Week’s Record: 9/12
2017 Overall Percentage: 56%