QB1 Primer: Week 12
It’s time for me to butter/fatten you up for a Thanksgiving edition of the QB1 Primer. If you’re truly in the fantasy football festive mood, check out the “Turkey Day Awards 2016” to see which of our fantasy friends most look/taste like a classic Thanksgiving dish.
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: We enter into tough territory for QB1s as Week 12 curiously offers no bye teams. In other words, we have the entire pool of 32 teams to choose from while narrowing our picks down to just 12 fortunate guys. 20 guys to lop off is not easy business my friends.
Tom Brady @ NYJ
Brady returned with a vengeance and 4 TDs against the hapless 49ers secondary. In fact, he’s been a QB1 every week besides Week 10’s hiccup versus the Seahawks. I need not write a long dissertation as to why Mr. Brady is an obvious start. This is a duh.
Drew Brees vs LA
Here’s all you need to know about Brees this week: he’s been a QB1 every single home start this year averaging 27 fantasy points per contest at the Superdome. The Rams matchup shouldn’t scare you off despite the fact they’ve given up the 7th fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. I think Brees will also be overlooked in the midst of a bunch of options so feel free to roll him out in DFS.
Matt Ryan vs. ARZ
Ryan struggled on the road against the Eagles before Atlanta’s Week 11 bye but should still be a strong start in Week 12. He owns a 24-to-5 TD:INT ratio and has averaged 25+ fantasy points per contest at home in the Georgia Dome. With the 4th highest team implied total of 27.3 and Vegas’ second highest line, I can easily look over Arizona’s highly rated pass defense in this one. Points will be scored and Ryan shouldn’t be on your bench.
Russell Wilson @ TB
Tampa Bay has given up the 7th most fantasy points to QBs this season. They also have a penchant for giving up the big play with 12 of 40+ yards, most in the league. I don’t mind going out on a limb and saying that Wilson is THE QB1 the rest of the way so he’s a must-start. To see what other writers think about Wilson the ROS, check out this week’s Burning Questions.
Aaron Rodgers @ PHI
Since losing their running game for the rest of the year, Rodgers has been on fire as a top 5 play finishing as QB4, QB2, QB3, QB3, and QB1 over the past five weeks. In other words, this guy is nails each week especially when he’s seeing 40+ attempts per game. Don’t be scared off by the Eagles and their apparent top rated DVOA numbers. Rodgers is still a top 5 QB play for me now.
Dak Prescott vs. WAS
Dak is the talk of the league as he’s been QB5, QB7, QB10, and QB3 since his Week 7 bye leading the team to a 9-1 record. This Thanksgiving he gets a great matchup at home as the Redskins rank 21st in defensive DVOA. They’ve also given up 3 QB1 games in a row and over 300 yards and 2 TDs in the last two. The Cowboys have the highest team implied total (29.3) for the weekend so brace your stuffed turkey-filled gut for end zone celebrations in this game. The only caveat is that Washington’s ineptitude in the stopping the run could call for TDs to fall Zeke Elliott’s way. Still, Dak is a weekly start.
Kirk Cousins @ DAL
The Redskins look to be right in the thick of the NFC playoff picture as Cousins has turned it on recently. Since Week 7, Captain Kirk has set his phasers to kill averaging 23 fantasy points per contest, 3rd highest among QBs in that span. Remember that Cousins torched the Cowboys earlier in Week 2 for 364 yards. It also shocks me seeing that the Cowboys give up the 2nd highest completion percentage (69.3) in the league, something Cousins led all QBs in 2015. This game has Vegas’ highest over/under of 51 so I’ll definitely be “liking that!” this week.
Ben Roethlisberger @ IND
Big Ben and the Steelers essentially yawned their way to a victory last week in Cleveland. Unfortunately, he didn’t deliver the fantasy goods but Christmas can come early. The Colts give up the most passing yards per game (284.5) in the league while also forcing the fewest INTs (3) as well. This is an aerial recipe for Roethlisberger and the Steelers to feast on Thanksgiving Day. You’re starting him despite any road “woes” people hang on him. Listen he’s still got a well-oiled offensive machine and it’s the Colts for crying out loud.
Last Four In
Derek Carr vs CAR
Carr threw for 295 yards and 3 TDs on Monday night while garnering some MVP talk. While this might be mere banter, he definitely has turned into a solid weekly QB1 performer averaging 19.2 points per game as the current QB7. I like him at home against a Panthers defense which is depleted losing Luke Kuechly and Mario Addison last week. The Panthers rank 27th against the pass, give up the 4th highest completion percentage (67.1), and the 8th most fantasy points to QBs this season.
Cam Newton @ OAK
Newton has been a disappointment this year as he was drafted as THE QB1. Currently, he’s only visited the QB1 podium 4 times this year compared to 7 at this point last year. However, this game should be a shootout as Oakland has given up the 9th most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. The Raiders have also given up 41 plays of 20+ yards, tied for 3rd most in the league. This isn’t the same offensive juggernaut as last year but I think Newton is still a top 10 play this week with the Raiders registering the fewest sacks in the league (15).
Eli Manning @ CLE
Eli has been up-and-down all year but gets a dream matchup as teams inch ever closer to the playoffs. The Browns rank 31st in DVOA versus the pass while allowing the 25 TDs through the air, worst in the league. Cleveland has also given up the 4th most fantasy points to QBs this season. Manning is usually a dice roll but he seems to have a safe floor with a team implied total of 25.8.
Carson Palmer @ ATL
Palmer was atrocious last week against the Vikings throwing his patented “pick-six” and forcing the ball in double coverage on multiple occasions. This is what we have in a late career Palmer: he’s not afraid to be a gunslinger and this can totally work out for fantasy purposes. This week you should definitely see him as a top 10 play as the Falcons allow the most passing attempts per game (41.8) and the second most passing TDs (23) in the league.
Alex Smith @ DEN
You know the rules: sit ’em versus the Broncos and especially if it’s in Denver. They’ve given up the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs this season and Alex Smith is not likely to suddenly become an elite downfield thrower. Expect a litany of dink and dunk poo that certainly should not pay fantasy dividends.
Jameis Winston vs SEA
Winston has grown up as a QB1 especially in a surprising victory in Kansas City. He’s thrown for back-to-back 300-yard games but runs into the Seattle Seahawks defensive machine. The Seahawks are tied for first in sacks forced (31) while also giving up the stingiest points per game (17.3) in the league. His time will come but obviously not this week.
Andy Dalton @ BAL
After a week of injury carnage losing offensive stalwarts A.J. Green and Gio Bernard, it’s time to cut bait with the Bengals offense, especially in this week’s matchup. The Ravens ranked 2nd in defensive DVOA allowing just 219 yards per game in the air, 7th best in the league. Dalton’s squad also owns the lowest team implied total of the week at 18. Not a good sign and not a recommended start.
Matthew Stafford vs MIN
Since a scintillating start in which he was QB3 through the first 7 weeks of the season, Stafford has cooled down considerably as he’s averaged out as QB25 over the last 4 weeks. He’s a sit once again as the Vikings rank 3rd against the pass and have forced 12 INTs, 2nd most in the league. Despite this being at home and on Thanksgiving, do not get in a festive mood because of all the food you’ve consumed and roll with the pudgy-faced Lions QB.
Last Week’s Record: 7/12 = 58.3%
2016 Overall Record: 57%