QB1 Primer: Week 14

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It’s playoff time and no position is more important in terms of start/sits than QB. Last week was a nuclear disaster with the lowest combined totals for QB1s on the season. Heck even Brock Osweiler (excuse me as I go vomit…) made it as QB9. My one shining moment of glory was recommending Colin Kaepernick as an obvious sit and we know what happened 4 passing yards later…

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: The bye weeks are over so we’re dealing with all 32 QBs to take into consideration. Therefore, pegging the top 12 is an even harder task as we must eliminate 20 guys. There are some great options available in the 13-18 range that I had to unfortunately cut. So if you don’t see your guy, please note that I’m not asking you to bench Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford or Kirk Cousins. I just simply don’t have them statted out as finishing as a top 12.

Want to see where Andy, Mike, and Jason have each QB ranked? Check out their Week 14 QB Consensus Rankings.

Four-Sures

Aaron Rodgers vs SEA
Rodgers has been on a roll as fantasy’s #1 QB and 7 straight QB1 performances. He’s an auto-start at this point especially as the Packer run game is and will be nonexistent against Seattle. Besides this past week’s snow-game against Houston, Rodgers has thrown at least 38 passes in every game since Week 5 so the volume is there.

Tom Brady vs BAL
The matchup this week is a bit uninviting with the Ravens ranking 5th in defensive DVOA versus the pass and the 9th fewest fantasy points allowed to QBs. But you shouldn’t consider benching Brady at playoff time as the Patriots are tied for the 2nd highest team implied total (26.3) as 7 point favorites at home. It’s not hard to foresee Baltimore shutting down the run and seeing Tom torch the secondary for 250+ yards and 2+ TDs.

Drew Brees @ TB
While he was shut down last week in a shocking home defeat with 3 INTs, Brees still leads the league with 30 passing TDs and looks to build on that against the Buccaneers. Brees has averaged 283 yards and 2 TDs in his career versus the Bucs and this should be a high scoring affair with a 51.5 over/under, the highest of the weekend. While last week’s imminent barn-burner fell short, you have to place your bets once again in Brees’ hands to be in the top 12.

Andrew Luck vs HOU
Luck, Dwayne Allen, and the Colts rolled over the Jets on Monday night reminding us what kind of offensive firepower they are capable of. The Colts have an ultra important AFC South divisional matchup with the winner moving into 1st place. Since their Week 9 bye, the Texans have given up 4 QB1 performances in a row with 10 passing TDs, the most in the league over that span. Don’t be fooled by their numbers which lay claim that they are top 5 in the league against the pass. Luck has had multiple TDs against the Texans in every single game of his career! I like that trend to continue.

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Dak Prescott @ NYG
I recommended sitting Prescott last week in Minnesota as the Cowboys eeked out a win to improve to 11-1 on the season. However, he had been on a roll before registering 8 QB1 starts out of his previous 9 starts, an unbelievable stretch especially for a rookie. The Giants have been a top 10 defense all year and yet have allowed 46 plays of 20+ yards, 2nd most in the league. The Cowboys team implied total (25.3) is tied for 4th highest as this game has a 47.5 over/under. Trust in Dak for playoff time.

Eli Manning vs DAL
Eli and the Giants laid a stink bomb last week in Pittsburgh. But he returns home for an important NFC East battle against a Dallas team he beat in Week 1 with 3 TDs. For all the publicity the Cowboys are receiving, their passing defense has been routinely beat this season for 276.2 yards per game, 29th in the league. The Cowboys are also allowing the 2nd highest completion percentage (70.3), essentially comparable to facing Drew Brees each week. I usually shy away from recommending Eli as he’s as combustible as any player in the league. However, this is a matchup fantasy owners can stream away especially against a defense that’s forced only 4 INTs, second fewest in football.

Jameis Winston vs NO
Winston enters the much heralded part of his playoff schedule that fantasy owners have been waiting for. The Saints allow the 2nd most passing yards (276.8) per game in the NFL and rank 26th in DVOA versus the pass. This seems like a great upside play as the Buccaneers shockingly have the high team implied total (26.8) of Week 14. I’m starting Winston in my home league and feel confident about seeing a top 10 finish this week.

Russell Wilson @ GB
Despite dismantling the Panthers last Sunday night, Wilson turned in a subpar performance yet somehow ended up sneaking in as QB12. Here is another startable game as the Packers are allowing the highest yards per attempt (8.2) in the league while surrendering 24 passing TDs, 4th most in the NFL. I am siding with Wilson being able to move the chains as the Packers allow the 2nd highest 1st down % (38.9) in the league. In Green Bay, the weather could most certainly be a major factor. But these teams have played some classics over the last few years and I think this will be another as the NFC playoff picture becomes more severe.

Four in the Door

Derek Carr @ KC
I never feel completely comfortable rolling out a QB on Thursday night especially when it comes to playing in Arrowhead Stadium. But Carr has clearly placed himself into the MVP conversation and the upper echelon of QB1 starters.  The Chiefs have allowed the 7th most fantasy points to the QB position and rank 25th in DVOA versus WR1s. Depending on whether you believe that is Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree, I’m still willing to peg Carr as a QB1 in a vital AFC West showdown.

Matt Ryan @ LA
Ryan has slowed down since midseason but still snuck in as QB10 last week against the Chiefs despite throwing away the game to Eric Berry. Ryan still has thrown for the 3rd most yards (3,813) in the league and 267+ yards every week since Week 4. The Falcons are tied for the 3rd highest team implied total (25.5) while the Rams are middle of the road (16th) in defensive DVOA this year. I still love his potential for a top 10 output on the road.

Philip Rivers @ CAR
I wish I could rank Rivers higher on this list this week but there are so many good options available as bye weeks end. Carolina has given up the 8th most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season. This game also has Vegas’ 2nd highest over/under (48.5) of the weekend slate of games. The road matchup can be scary but I think there’s enough volume in play for Rivers to have a big day against a defense tied with the Saints at 31st in the league (276.8 ypg) against the pass.

Carson Palmer @ MIA
It’s been a nightmare season for owners who are still holding onto 2015’s magical season. He’s still a wonderful plug-in and play for Week 14 as Palmer leads the league averaging 41.8 passing attempts per game. Miami has also given up the 4th most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season and is 17th in defensive DVOA. I’m using Palmer in a home league and a GPP contrarian pick as I believe he’ll be lost among the plethora of options this week.

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Ben Roethlisberger @ BUF
I know I’ll be going against the grain with this pick but I think this is a week I’ll be fading Roethlisberger, especially in DFS lineups. We all know the story about his drastic home and road splits. Buffalo ranks 8th against the pass (230.1 ypg) while registering 33 sacks, 3rd most in the league. Buffalo’s slow-methodical pace on offense also helps their defense as they allow the 3rd fewest pass attempts per game (32.1) in the league. I’ll take the under in a game with a 47 point total.

Marcus Mariota vs DEN
It’s no secret… Denver gives up the fewest fantasy points to the QB position. They allow the fewest passing yards (192.7) per game. Regardless of location, the Broncos are a fantasy wasteland for QBs. They’ve allowed only 2 QB1 performances all year (Newton in Week 1 and Brees in Week 10) and I’m not willing to bet my playoff chances on Mariota becoming the third.

Cam Newton vs SD
Newton has been atrocious recently completing less than 50% of his passes with only the occasional big play by Ted Ginn Jr. to show for it. In a game with a huge over/under, I like the Panthers ground game lead by Jonathan Stewart to steal the production. I’m scared off by a Chargers defense in  that leads the league in interceptions and an improving pass-rush led by Joey Bosa. I’ll be sitting Cam in favor of Winston this week.

Blake Bortles vs MIN
This game sports a laughably low 39.5 point over/under, one of the lowest totals I’ve seen this year put out by Vegas. Bortles clearly hasn’t been on the same page with Allen Robinson and company this year and this screams a turnover fest. Don’t trust your playoffs on the bumbling Bortles.

Last Week’s Record: 6/12 = 50%

2016 Overall Record: 55%

Looking for a waiver-wire guy to help win this week? Check out the recommended Week 14 Streamers provided by Andy, Mike, and Jason.

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