Predicting the Top-12 QBs for Week 12 (Fantasy Football)
Last week’s article whiffed on some low-end streamers as the elder statesmen, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers, completely fell apart. Kyle Allen shat the bed for one of my teams and I ended up losing by 0.04. Ouch. Luckily the mid-tier struck gold as Dak, Josh Allen and Jimmy G put up top-5 performances to win people weeks.
Going into Week 12, its imperative that the starting QB and streaming QB options fit the mold of your team. In other words, matchups and ceiling games might need to be taken into consideration now more than ever if you want to make the playoffs.
Four-Sures: 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 the top-12 including the Ballers “Stream of the Week” options 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.
***IMPORTANT NOTE*** There are 15-20 viable QB starts each week. If you don’t see your guy listed on here, that’s ok. This article is about predicting the top-12 not necessarily who is safest. I’d strongly advise you to follow Andy, Mike, and Jason’s advice for where they have QBs ranked for Week 12.
Lamar Jackson @ LAR
Jackson is just on another level this year. You got an absolute league-winner if you drafted him late with seven(!) finishes inside the top-3. To put that greatness in context, Patrick Mahomes, who arguably had the best fantasy season ever for a QB, was a top-3 QB only five times. His floor is as high as we’ve ever seen from a QB with 11.5 rush attempts per game. The matchup is almost irrelevant at this point but the Rams shouldn’t scare you off even on the road. They’ve been exploited against “heavy” personnel all season seeing the most snaps of any team against two TEs, the specialty of these Baltimore Ravens. We get to experience greatness and “must-watch tv” on Monday night.
Deshaun Watson vs IND
Last week’s battle in Baltimore was a disaster ending with five fantasy points and the worst game of Deshaun Watson’s life. If you have him, he’s starting this week for you on Thursday night. In Week 7 versus Indianapolis on the road, Watson threw for 308 and added 32 rushing yards. At home as a 3.5-point favorite, Watson is as safe as they come.
Matt Ryan vs TB
While the Falcons have turned things around since the bye, they’ve been winning by their suddenly stout defense and simply controlling the clock. Ryan is an elite play this week at home against arguably the most fantasy-friendly defense to passing attacks. Tampa Bay is giving up most WR fantasy pts per game, the 3rd MOST slot WR pts, and 3rd most to QBs. They rank 27th in pass DVOA and the 2nd most passing yards allowed. Ryan is the Footballers #1 ranked QB on the week and Jason’s Start of the Week.
Drew Brees vs CAR
Brees got back on track last week with three TDs against Tampa Bay and has a similar ceiling against Carolina at home. Alvin Kamara should feast as the Panthers have allowed the most fantasy points to RBs over the last month. Heck, Michael Thomas should own too as they’ve allowed the 4th most to WRs on the season. He’s completing 75 percent of his passes, the highest rate in the league, and is averaging 6.2 red zone passing attempts per game.
Russell Wilson @ PHI
Wilson’s consistency has him at the forefront of the MVP conversation with Lamar Jackson as he’s scored 15 fantasy points or more in eight straight and has five top-5 fantasy weeks on the season. Philadelphia has been tough recently giving up only 160 passing yards per game over the last month. Nevertheless, they rank 26th in DVOA against WRs according to Football Outsiders and Russell Wilson is averaging 3.9 20+ yard pass plays per game, the 3rd most in the NFL. This game has the second-highest over/under (48.5) of the week so I’m expecting a back a forth affair between two green-based bird teams. If I like Wilson, then I also like…
Carson Wentz vs SEA
Wentz started off the year on a roll with top-10 QB performances in five of his first six games. It’s been a struggle since with a murderer’s row of opponents over the last month: @DAL, @BUF, CHI, NE. It’s time to go back to the Eagles signal-caller with a home matchup against Seattle and the 5th highest team implied total (24.8) of the week. Seattle has given up the 5th most passing yards per game and had allowed six QB1 weeks in a row before Jimmy G’s 11-point outing before the bye. I’m personally rolling out Wentz in my main league with playoff positioning on the line. What could go wrong?
Josh Allen vs DEN
We had been waiting on the huge blowup game and last week versus Miami, Allen made it happen. He’s the 1st QB to throw for 250 and three TDs with 50+ rushing yards and another score in the same game since 2015. The QB6 on the season faces a challenging Denver defense that has allowed the 5th fewest passing yards per game. However, they folded in the 2nd half versus Kirk Cousins allowing three TDs in a deflating loss. Allen is averaging 33 rushing yards per game so the floor is always there. In fact, Allen has top-15 QB six weeks in a row as one of the most consistent QBs you could find in fantasy.
Jameis Winston @ ATL
Winston is a train wreck waiting to happen as he leads the league in INTs (18) and sacks taken (36). This sounds like a perfect receipe for the suddenly elite Atlanta defense, who is still a recommended play according to Ryan Weisse in this week’s DEF/ST Strategy article. Regardless, all we care about is fantasy points from the QB and Jameis can basically “Magoo” his way into the top-12. He’s still the QB10 on the season with five top-10 weeks, leads the league in Air Yards and is averaging 40.6 pass attempts per game. Atlanta allowed six top-12 performances in a row at one point and Jameis actually has scored 17 or more fantasy points in eight straight games.
Baker Mayfield vs MIA
If you drafted Baker or tried to stream him this year, then you know he’s basically been worthless. As an Odell Beckham Jr. owner, I’ve held on hoping things would break through and last Thursday we saw a glimpse. Baker had three combined TDs and now he’s gifted with a dream home matchup. The Dolphins rank 30th in pass DVOA and have allowed the 5th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. It also helps that Miami has the 2nd lowest pressure & sack rate in the league and gives a clean pocket for Baker. When under pressure this season, his yards per attempt is a laughable 2.99 and his QB Rating is 25.8. Things should be looking up as Cleveland is a 10-point home favorite with the 3rd highest team implied total (27) of the week. Baker is Andy’s Start of the Week.
Sam Darnold vs OAK
Darnold threw for four TDs last week against Washington and is paying dividends for those who looked at his juicy late-season schedule. Oakland ranks 29th in pass DVOA and allowing 6th most passing yards per game, a number that is skewed by Ryan Finley’s 73 passing yards last week. They’ve allowed the most 20+ Yard Pass Plays (4.7 per game) and last week Darnold was 3-of-4 on “deep attempts” for 94 Yards & two TDs. Darnold Schwarzenegger is a solid streamer and Mike’s Stream of the Week.
Jacoby Brissett @ HOU
He might feel like a forgotten man, but Brissett has been solid this year propped up by a high TD rate. It helps that the Colts have the highest pass rate inside the 10-yard line (70%) in the NFL. That sets up well as the Texans have allowed 86% of TDs scored against them this season via the air- the highest rate in the NFL. The Texans have allowed the 3rd most passing yards and 6th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Brissett has never thrown an INT versus Houston in four career starts and torched them for 326 passing yards and four TDs in Week 7.
Jeff Driskel @ WAS
Let’s go for one last big score! Driskel has been more than adequate as a fantasy option finishing as the QB12 and QB5 since starting for Matthew Stafford. Washington ranks 26th in pass DVOA and has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to QBs over the last month. He has some appeal with his legs tallying 88 rushing yards the last two weeks as well. This could be a downright ugly game but he is showing signs as a quietly effective fantasy QB. I’m not saying start him over some of these higher-profile guys.
Tom Brady vs DAL
Brady let me down last week in a big way last week throwing for just 216 TD-less yards. Interesting as Dallas is allowing just 216 passing yards per game in what should a defensive affair. Brady has the lowest TD rate of this career (3.5%) and his lowest yards per completion (10.8) since 2002. This offense is pedestrian at best averaging 5.1 yard per play (25th) and the fifth most incompletions per game. He could win with sheer guile but for fantasy Brady is a low-ceiling play.
Dak Prescott @ NE
Check out Dak’s last 16-games since Amari Cooper arrived in Dallas: 4,968 yards and 37 total TDs. If not for Lamar Jackson, we’d be talking about him as the late-round QB steal of the draft. But I’m going to be benching him this week in Foxboro. New England is 2nd in pass DVOA and allowed just one QB1 week on the year, Lamar Jackson in Week 9. Other than that, the highest was a QB16 out of Josh Allen. Dak is averaging over 300 yards per game and he could get there on sheer volume. But I trust Uncle Bill to scheme at home.
Aaron Rodgers @ SF
Yes, the Packers are coming off the bye. Yes, you usually don’t want to bet against Rodgers. But the away matchup against a 49ers defense ranked 1st in pass DVOA allowing 142.7 passing yards per game, the fewest in the NFL, doesn’t bode well. Let’s be honest at this point in the season and his career: he’s a coin-flip at best. Rodgers has finished outside the top-2o QBs five times on the year and inside the top-12 only four times. He’s a low-end QB1 option but not one I’d be excited to start.
Jared Goff vs BAL
Baltimore’s defense (well, the entire team) is on another level at this point. They’ve allowed only one top-12 finish on the season which was Week 3 versus Patrick Mahomes. They completely shut down Deshaun Watson last week and I don’t expect Goff to do much better. Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith, and Marlon Humphrey is making that secondary look elite and I want no part of trusting Goff in this Primetime game.
Last Week: 6/12
2019 Overall Percentage: 57.5%