QB1 Primer: Week 11

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We’re moving dangerously close to the playoffs and I want to comment how tough a week it is for streaming QBs. The top options (Rodgers, Brady and company) all have some ridiculously advantageous matchups this week. If you haven’t grabbed a top guy, take this time to look ahead at QBs with great playoff schedules and listen to the most recent podcast, “The Playoff Primer”.

Just a weekly reminder: Here at the QB1 Primer, 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 predicting order, but simply identifying who is likely to be among the top 12.

***Note: Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Trevor Siemian, and whoever the Jets want to roll out there were not considered as their respective teams are on bye.


Aaron Rodgers @ WAS
Rodgers has been on fire posting 4 top 5 QB1 finishes in a row since the offense basically has not been able to utilize a capable RB. Despite James Starks coming back in the mix, I still think Rodgers approaches the 23+ fantasy points he’s hit during these last 4 weeks. Although Washington has allowed only 10 passing TDs on the season, they still made Sam Bradford into a top 15 play last week so don’t worry folks. He’s leapfrogged Brady right now in terms of my most confident QB1 starts.

Tom Brady @ SF
For the first time since coming back from his suspension, Tom Terrific failed to register a top 12 performance. We turn the page and see that the Patriots have the highest team implied total of the week at 31.8 points. The only thing which could derail Thomas Brady from QB1-ville is the simple fact that the 49ers rank dead last against the run. If LeGarrette Blount and his buddies thrash San Francisco on the ground, then this could get over quickly and Brady could exit the game. Aside from trying to predict game flow, he’s an obvious start.

Cam Newton vs. NO
Newton produced a better fantasy day than real life numbers last week as the Panthers somehow let a win against Kansas City slip away. But this should be a fantasy feast. The Saints are 29th in defensive DVOA on the year and give up the most passing yards (292.7) per game in the league. They also give up the third worst 1st down percentage (39.6%) as well so expect Newton and the Panthers to move the ball without mercy in this one. Their 27.5 team implied total is 4th highest of the weekend so 3 TDs seems like a likely possibility for Newton. This should be a slam dunk.

Drew Brees @ CAR
Newton’s Thursday night dueling mate is coming off a QB1 performance against the vaunted Denver Broncos defense. Brees despite being on the road should be a top notch option against a team he’s already thrashed this year. In Week 6,  he threw for 465 yards and four touchdowns in their first meeting. Carolina has given up the 6th most fantasy points to QBs this season so expect this to be a back-and-forth affair.


Ben Roethlisberger @ CLE
Roethlisberger was money last week against Dallas throwing for 408 yards and 3 TDs, including a classic fake spike to Antonio Brown. Everyone knows he has dramatic home and road splits in his career but come on… this is the Browns. He threw for 349+ and 3 TDs in both matchups last year. It doesn’t hurt that Cleveland ranks dead last in DVOA against the pass and has given up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. Yes you’re starting him and yes this should be safe ground.

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Andrew Luck vs. TEN
Coming off his Week 10 bye, Luck and the Colts take on the suddenly dangerous Tennessee Titans in Vegas’ highest game total (52) of the week. In his last 4 matchups with the Titans, Luck has thrown for 11 TDs while remaining unbeaten against them in 8 career games. In other words, this guy has owned the Titans and with a 27.5 team implied total, expect big results.

Marcus Mariota @ IND
Luck’s dueling-mate this week is the current hotness known as Marcus Mariota. Since Week 5, he’s averaged 24.9 fantasy points, the most for the QB position. What a superb gift in Week 11 versus an Indianapolis Colts defense that has given up the 4th most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. They rank 29th in DVOA versus the pass and 30th against the run. Start him and hopefully we’ll see a back-and-forth contest the way Vegas sees it.

Russell Wilson vs PHI
With 3 TDs to Doug Baldwin last week, Wilson has rescued his fantasy season almost eerily similar to what took place last year. For real, it’s kinda creepy. Although Philadelphia ranks 1st in DVOA against the pass, they’ve been particularly susceptible to pass catching running backs ranking 25th against them. The Seahawks 25.5 team implied total still demands for points to be scored so don’t be scared off. Stay in the flames my friends. I love for peripheral options such as Tyler Lockett and C.J. Prosise to make some noise this week.

Last Four In

Kirk Cousins vs GB
Cousins is rounding into his 2015 end-of-the-season form as he’s registered 3 QB1 starts in a row. He now takes on a horrendous Packers secondary that just gave up 5 passing TDs to the Titans. The Redskins 26.5 team implied total suggests Cousins will be the one getting things done on the scoreboard as the Packers rank 6th best against the run. This should be another epic tilt as Rodgers versus Cousins could easily push over the 50.5 game total.

Tyrod Taylor @ CIN
Taylor is Jason’s “Stream of the Week” and a solid low-end option. The Bengals are simply not a scary defense to play. They’ve made Kirk Cousins and Eli Manning look marvelous the last 2 weeks and, if you remember, gave up Trevor Siemian’s 4-TD, QB1 game earlier in the season.  Cincinnati has given up the 5th most fantasy points to QBs and ranks 24th in DVOA versus the pass. Taylor should be relatively safe with a game total of 47. I actually like Charles Clay as well in this matchup to be a super “sneaky snark”.

Colin Kaepernick vs. NE
Everyone’s favorite fro-man and Andy’s “Stream of the Week” has been steady since taking over the job 4 weeks ago. He’s averaged 20.1 fantasy points in that span as QB9 while also averaging 57 yards on the ground. That of course gives him among the safest floors of all QBs. The Patriots’ defense surprisingly ranks 26th in DVOA versus the pass. I like Kap to keep it going and finish in the top 12 in a game which they enter as heavy underdogs at +13.0.

Blake Bortles @ DET
Whew it pains me to make this jump with Bortles. Game flow and expectations are almost always in the barf bag whenever the Jaguars signal caller is in view. However he quietly has put together back-to-back QB1 spots and now faces a Lions secondary that ranks 31st in the league in DVOA versus the pass. Bortles leads the league with 380 pass attempts despite already having his team’s bye. In other words, we want volume and we want him to force feed Allen Robinson.


Carson Palmer @ MIN
Palmer’s juicy matchup against the 49ers last week turned sour as he threw 3 INTs and disappointed fantasy owners. I recommend sitting him down again with this tough matchup in Minnesota. The Vikings are 6th best against the pass allowing a paltry 211.8 yards per game in the air. With the second lowest over/under of 41, expect this to be a defensive dogfight.

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Derek Carr vs HOU
Wait a second? This guy was lighting the world on fire before going on a bye and now you want to relegate him to the pit of despair? This Monday night matchup screams rough and ugly as the Texans rank 7th best in DVOA against the pass and 4th best against WR1 & WR2s. I like the Raiders to utilize a similar game plan as they used against the Broncos and go run heavy with Latavius Murray and Co. I just don’t see the ceiling being there for a big game and 35+ attempts.

Dak Prescott vs. BAL
Prescott is the hot item right now as he looked poised and in control last week in Pittsburgh. I think we should pump the brakes this week as the Ravens rank 5th best in terms of total defensive DVOA and 1st against the run. They allow only 17.8 points per game to opposing offenses, tied for 3rd best in the league. I think Dallas will be forced to lean on Prescott although Baltimore has also given up the 9th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season and collected the 2nd most INTs (11) in the league. This isn’t shaking out as one of Dak’s finer days capable of being a top 12 guy.

Jameis Winston @ KC
Winston has been a great mid-range QB1 since coming off his Week 6 bye as QB6, QB13, QB10, and QB11 in the last 4 weeks. But I want to warn you that this week is not set up well for the Buccaneers QB. The Chiefs have forced the most turnovers in the league including a league-high 13 INTs. With Justin Houston also expected to return as an elite pass rusher, this is an equation for a major explosion on Winston’s part. Stay away. Stay far away.

Last Week’s Record: 6/12 = 50%

2016 Overall Record: 56%

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