QB1 Primer: Week 10

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As we inch ever closer to the fantasy playoffs, it’s important for us to take advantage of these bye weeks as the pool of possible QB1s shrinking to just 28 possible options. In other words, the likelihood of selecting the top 12 increases while also giving us ulcers each week when someone outside our realm of QB1 understanding makes his way into the elite.

On bye this week: Tyrod Taylor, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, and Andrew Luck

Just a weekly reminder: We are looking at the varying tiers of quarterbacks, assessing risk, home/away matchups, Vegas totals, DVOA against the pass and realizing each week will have a bit of spontaneity. This isn’t predicting order, but simply identifying who is likely to be among the top 12.

Four-Sures

Tom Brady vs SEA
Each week there’s not much more to say for the QB1 standard as Brady has thrown for 2 TDs every week thus far and averaging 26+ fantasy points per contest. Even though this Seattle secondary has allowed just 6 passing TDs this year, I still think Brady is an auto-start until proven vulnerable.

Aaron Rodgers @ TEN
Rodgers has turned it into high gear recently averaging 45+ passes and 289 yards over his last 3 games while throwing for 10 TDs. He’s returned to fantasy elite status as a QB1 and gets an excellent slate with a recently soft defense. Tennessee has allowed three quarterbacks to top 330 yards over the last four games. The Titans also rank 30th in DVOA against pass catching running backs so everyone’s favorite hybrid back, Ty Montgomery, should have a field day.

Matt Ryan @ PHI
This could be tougher sledding against an Eagles defense ranked 1st in DVOA against the pass and yet to allow a 300-yard passer this season. However, they have had a weakness for pass catching RBs ranked 26th in the league. Vegas has this game at a 50 point total, the highest of the weekend so there will be points scored. Ryan is another auto start proving to owners that he was capable in the roughest of spots (Seattle and Denver). I still like him as QB1.

Philip Rivers vs MIA
Rivers has been fairly quiet not registering a QB1 week since Week 5 at Oakland. I think this is the week he gets back on track against a Miami defense ranked 27th in DVOA versus WR1. The question is who is that WR1 talent on the Chargers: Tyrell Williams? Dontrelle Inman? Travis Benjamin? Regardless, someone should emerge with a big game in which the Chargers have a healthy team implied total of 25.8, 5th highest of the weekend.

Com-Four-Table

Cam Newton vs KC
Newton could not get going last week in Los Angeles as the Rams applied constant pressure to the tune of 5 sacks. This could be easier sledding as the Chiefs defense is averaging just two per game, ranked 21st in the league. KC has also surrendered multiple touchdowns and 50+ yards rushing to the QB position the last 2 weeks. That is Newton’s forte and I expect the Panthers to get things done at home as 3 point favorites.

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Carson Palmer vs SF
The Cardinals come off their bye week at home against a 49ers defense that is the worst against the run by far in the league. Despite this looking like a game Bruce Arians leans heavily on David Johnson, San Francisco has also given up the 10th most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season. The Cardinals are 13.5 point favorites with the highest team implied total (31) of the weekend. There will be scoring and Palmer could easily turn in a 210 yard/3 TD performance as a low-end QB1.

Drew Brees vs DEN
I know, I know. The rule of thumb has always been don’t start your QBs versus Denver. And yet another fantasy constant has been starting Drew Brees at home in the Superdome. He’s been on fire recently with 20+ fantasy points 4 weeks in a row and now has five 300-yard, three-plus touchdown games this season. The Broncos have been especially leaky in the run game and they rank 19th in DVOA against pass catching RBs, something I expect Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower and co. can exploit like they did a couple weeks ago versus Seattle. I still like Brees as a contrarian play in GPPs as well as a low-end QB1 performer.

Ben Roethlisberger vs DAL
The Steelers have the 4th highest team implied total (26.3) of the weekend as 2.5 point favorites. Roethlisberger will have to grind out yards through volume, something we all know he is quite capable of especially at home. I found this comparison from the Wall Street Journal of all places quite telling of Big Ben’s fantasy prowess considering home/away splits: “Roethlisberger’s recent passing numbers at home are on par with those of 1984 Dan Marino. On the road, they are roughly the stats of 2016 Case Keenum.” Roll him out at home despite the fact the Cowboys are middle of the road (17th) against the pass and expect QB1 numbers.

Last Four In

Dak Prescott @ PIT
Dak has been on fire and I felt like a champ starting him in a couple leagues over some more high profile options. He shredded the Browns (who doesn’t) for 3 TDs and peppered his buddy Jason Witten with gobbles of targets. The Cowboys face a Pittsburgh defense which ranks 25th in total DVOA and 26th in DVOA versus WR1s, which screams a return to Dez Bryant fantasy glory. Prescott is hot right now and maybe it’s best to stay in the flames with this rookie on the road against a team allowing 7.8 yards per attempt in their last 3 contest, 5th worst in the league. The only thing which could hinder his ceiling is if Ezekiel Elliott is ridden into the ground to protect a lead.

Carson Wentz vs ATL
Wentz has a luscious matchup this week at home against a Falcons pass defense ranked 31st in the league. Atlanta has also given up the most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. Doug Pederson has taken some of the reins off the rookie as Wentz attempted 43 and 47 passes his last two games including last week’s 364 yards against the Giants on the road. I like the upside available for Wentz to post top 12 numbers with added appeal as a cheap play in GPPs. Don’t forget that through the first 3 weeks of this season, Wentz was the QB10, averaging 17.6 fantasy points per contest.

Jay Cutler vs TB
Cutler returned before the bye week to post respectable numbers in a shocking Monday night win over the now exposed Vikings. He runs into a Tampa Bay defense that has given up the 5th most fantasy points to QBs including an astounding 857 yards passing and 8 TDs the last two weeks. I love Cutler’s opportunity to continually funnel targets Alshon Jeffrey’s way and accumulate QB1 numbers against a Bucs secondary allowing 7.9 yards per attempt, 30th in the league. There’s rarely the opportunity to pull the trigger on Smoking J-Cutty for more than 250 yards and 2 TDs. I think the potential is there this week.

Trevor Siemian @ NO
I understand that Siemian definitely isn’t the QB who gives you the most confidence from a talent perspective as this is purely a matchup play. You know the rap sheet by now for the Saints defense: 29th in total DVOA,  31st in the league at 8.1 yards per attempt allowed and averaging a league-worst 300 yards passing per game. This game also has the third highest total (49) for the weekend and I love Emmanuel Sanders as a stackable play as well in GPPs. Heck, our own Mike Wright recommends Siemian as his endorsed “Stream of the Week”. Although he’s not yet Twitter verified, at least there’s another person on the edge of the cliff with me.

Four-Get-About-It

Russell Wilson @ NE
Wilson has been atrocious on the road this season averaging a paltry 13.8 fantasy points per contest. that isn’t going to get it done in QB1 land. You have to expect Bill Belichick to take Seattle’s Monday night film and scheme in a way that limits Wilson, who still isn’t running effectively on the ground. The Seahawks have the 6th lowest team implied total (20.5) and are 7.5 point underdogs in New England. I’ll be staying away from Wilson.

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Andy Dalton @ NYG
Dalton is hard to trust in a road matchup in the Meadowlands. The Giants are allowing the 6th fewest yards per attempt (6.3) in the league and rank 9th best in DVOA versus the pass. New York has also given up the 5th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. I expect this game to be an ugly defensive struggle and I just see better, more attractive streaming options this week.

Kirk Cousins vs MIN
I have liked what I’ve seen from Cousins recently as he was uber efficient and less turnover prone in his two road matchups before the bye. However, he runs into a Minnesota defense, that though they may be less intimidating than the beginning of the season, has still given up the 4th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. The Vikings rank 4th in DVOA versus the pass and 3rd in INTs (10), as known as the Kirk Cousins specialty. I’d shy away from Cousins and promptly respond to his “You like that!?” with “No sir… I don’t like you in Week 10”.

Blake Bortles vs HOU
Bortles has been a train wreck the entire season and the subject of my frustration in last week’s article as he garbage-timed his way to being QB4 and QB. With a new OC, he could force the ball down field which is something Jacksonville had success with in 2015. However, the Texans are 2nd best against the pass allowing only 190.5 yards in the air while allowing just 6 passing TDs, tied for 2nd best in the league with Seattle. They haven’t been turnover friendly (only 3 INTs) but they also haven’t faced Bortles yet this season. No thanks.

Last Week’s Record: 7/12 = 58%

2016 Overall Record: 57%

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