Predicting the Top-12 QBs for Week 16 (Fantasy Football)
This is the week to get your house in order. No more playing around. Do you have the stones to stream or count on your stud who got you to the championship?
Last week’s article steadied the ship with seven of the 12 identified including mid-tier options such as Ryan Tannehill, Dak Prescott, and Jameis Winston with another monster game. But I’ll be honest… I didn’t see rookies Gardner Minshew AND Dwayne Haskins both making it in while Deshaun Watson sputtered.
Here is how I will breakdown the QBs heading into Week 16:
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 16.
Lamar Jackson @ CLE
There is fear that Jackson and the Ravens could be rested this weekend if the Patriots lose to the Bills at home. I trust in Uncle Bill to get that done so I’m moving forward with the game-breaking, league MVP who has finished outside the top-12 just once on the season. He not only has the record for most QB rushing yards in a season but is leading the league with 33 passing TDs. The Ravens are 10-point road favorites with the 2nd highest team implied total (29.3) of the week.
Russell Wilson vs ARZ
Wilson has been basically “meh” over his last five as the QB25 averaging a pedestrian 14.8 fantasy points per game. But if you somehow made it to your league’s championship with him, he has the ceiling to be the QB1 this week. Arizona is historically bad on defense allowing the most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing QBs and most passing yards per game (290) in the league. The Seahawks are 9.5-point home favorites with the highest team implied total (29.3) of the week. Wilson is Andy’s Start of the Week.
Deshaun Watson @ TB
Watson is the QB2 on the season and after an all-important AFC South win versus Tennessee last week, he’s set up to absolutely smash in Week 16. Tampa Bay has allowed the 3rd most points per game and their secondary must be worn down seeing the highest percentage of pass plays (69%) in the NFL. This Saturday game is tied for the highest over/under (51) of the week with the Texans as 3-point road favorites.
Patrick Mahomes @ CHI
Mahomes has been more stable than great this year as a fantasy QB. He ranks 7th in fantasy points per game and 3rd in passing yards at 300.5 per game. But it’s the monster, week-winning ceiling games that he was drafted for. The Chiefs are 5.5-point road favorites at Soldier Field. The Bears have actually allowed the 9th most fantasy points to opposing WRs over the last month and haven’t pressured the QB nearly as much as their 2018 campaign. Mahomes is a safe play even though the Bears have allowed the 3rd fewest passing TDs in football.
Jameis Winston vs HOU
The Bucs have won four in a row but lost their two star WRs (Mike Evans & Chris Godwin) for the season. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter considering the way Winston has been playing scoring the 3rd most fantasy points among QBs over the last month. Winston has the most 20+ yard completions in the NFL, thanks in large part to Bruce Arians’ unwavering commitment to drive the ball down the field. Houston, on the other hand, has allowed the 5th most passing yards and the 4th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Since Week 5, Texans have given up top-12 QB production every week besides Gardner Minshew‘s turd in London and a middling Jacoby Brissett performance. Winston is Mike’s Start of the Week.
Drew Brees @ TEN
The all-time leader in passing TDs and now completion percentage in a game has looked every bit his Hall of Fame self over the last few weeks. Even on the road, he looks like a strong play in a game with a 51-point over/under, tied for the most of the week. The Titans have given up the 8th most passing yards and have the 3rd lowest pressure rate. When Brees has a clean pocket this season, his completion rate is 80 percent (!) and his QB Rating is 120. He’s among the best fantasy QBs of all time so start him with confidence in Week 16.
Matt Ryan vs JAX
The Jaguars used to be a matchup we would shy away from but this is a bizarro version of that once-dominant defensive unit known as “Sacksonville”. Tom Coughlin was fired as the management and the players are basically rolling over at the end of the season. The Jaguars rank 29th in defensive DVOA and have given up the 7th most fantasy points to opposing QBs over the last month. Beyond easy, locked-in QB1 performances such as Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, the Jaguars have also let Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, and Philip Rivers all visit the top-12. Trust Ryan at home as a 7.5-point favorite. He is Jason’s Start of the Week.
Ryan Tannehill vs NO
Tannehill has completely shifted the outlook on this franchise and his career in just seven short weeks. For fantasy, he’s opened things up in the offense not being scared of chucking it downfield. Tennessee somehow has the 10th most 20+ yard pass plays in the league, a drastic change from Marcus Mariota‘s dink-and-dunk fest. Tannehill will have to keep up with Brees in a game with a 51-point over/under. Heck, Vegas has the Titans as only 1-point underdogs at home. New Orleans has allowed the 4th most WR fantasy points over the last month and top-15 QB performances in five of their last six games.
Dak Prescott* @ PHI
I’m a little tentative with Dak this week but his raw volume should get him to top-12 ville. Dak has thrown for the 2nd most passing yards, the 3rd most 20+ yard plays, and his offensive line has allowed the lowest sack rate in the league. The Eagles can stop the run but their cornerbacks can easily be toasted by Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Dak was the QB10 against these Eagles in Week 7 with 21.3 fantasy points. I like him again a low-end QB1 this week. He’s the Ballers Consensus QB10 with Mike being the highest at QB8. [Note*: Dak had an MRI on his right shoulder and Jason Garrett said it’s hard for him to function right now. If Dak is out, I would pivot to Kirk Cousins versus Green Bay]
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs CIN
It’s REVENGE GAME time! Ok, at this point almost every single week is a revenge game for a guy who feels like he’s played for half the NFL. Fitzmagic somehow leads the Dolphins in rushing yards which has actually given him a cushion for fantasy because we know he’s prone to turnovers. While the Bengals have been much improved as a defensive unit over the last month, they’ve still allowed the 5th most 20+ yard pass plays in the league aka a Fitzpatrick/Devante Parker special. The Bengals rank 27th in pass DVOA and allowed the 9th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. It’s totally possible that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be winning someone a fantasy title, which is why we love this game.
Andy Dalton @ MIA
Since returning three weeks ago, Dalton led the Bengals to their first win but has only completed 57.5 percent of his passes and tossed four INTs last week against New England. He’s gifted with a freebie this week as the Dolphins have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. They rank dead last in pass DVOA, pressure rate, and sack rate. In other words, if Dalton has time in the pocket, Tyler Boyd (who has one of PFF’s biggest advantages in coverage this week) and John Ross should be able to get open. Joe Mixon has also been a rock for this offense (the RB4 over the last five weeks) so the issue won’t be whether they can move the ball or not.
Philip Rivers vs OAK
Hey, it’s easy to pick on Rivers as he’s a turnover and a final drive letdown waiting to happen each week. He destroyed the Jaguars for 314 & three TDs in Week 14 and fell apart at home against Minnesota last week with three INTs. He’s still the QB15 on the year and now faces a Raiders team at home that ranks 31st in Pass DVOA and has allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. The Chargers are 7-point favorites with an implied point total of 26.25 points. He’s a let’s get nuts and get our heart rate pumping type of pick if you need to feel alive as a human in Week 16.
Josh Allen @ NE
I’ve recommended Allen as a sit the last two weeks and he’s finished as the QB29 and the QB18. Let’s make it three in a row as the matchups have been as awful as they could possibly be. New England on the road is a death sentence even if Allen carries a solid floor because of his rushing equity every single week. They rank 1st in pass DVOA and given up the 3rd fewest passing yards on the season. Allen ranks dead last in completion percentage which is still an improvement from his rookie year. I wouldn’t trust him on the road in Foxboro if my fantasy season depended on it.
Tom Brady vs BUF
On the other side of the ball, I don’t want TB12 as my championship QB either. The Bills allow the 2nd fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs, just 13.3 a game. This has all the makings of an ugly, divisional slugfest as the over/under is currently 38.5. Brady was the QB27 when these teams met in Week 4 and I’m not expecting much different especially with a group oof banged-up New England receivers.
Aaron Rodgers @ MIN
If you have followed the podcast, you know “the plan” has been to play Rodgers in Weeks 13 & 14 and then “cut/bench” him for Week 15. He promptly turned in a QB21 performance against the Bears and should be left on the bench again versus Minnesota. This Monday night game in Minnesota strikes fear into me as the Vikings have allowed the 5th fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs over the last month. They rank 8th in pass DVOA and 6th overall in defensive DVOA. Over the last four years, Rodgers has yet to complete better than 60 percent of his passes in any game in Minnesota. Don’t start him just because of the name.
Kyler Murray @ SEA
The No. 1 overall pick has leveled off in recent weeks as he’s averaging just 17.4 fantasy points per game in his last five, just 0.4 more than Philip Rivers. While the Seahawks have allowed the 4th most passing yards, they also rank 31st in passing TD rate and haven’t allowed a top-12 QB performance since Week 9. Kyler has just three passing TDs over the last three weeks. As 9.5-point road underdogs, I’m not too thrilled with what Vegas thinks of this Cardinals squad.
Last Week: 7-of-12
2019 Predictions: 56%