QB1 Primer: Week 16
If you disregarded every piece of advice I offered and decided to start Matt Moore last Thursday night, congratulations you got the QB2 for the week. He was no-where to be found in my QB1 rankings last week along with another barf-worthy and surprising QB1 finisher, Robert Griffin III. Whoops sorry people.
And yet, for the 3rd week in a row, my high-end recommended sit of the week (Tom Brady) followed through with a dreadful performance. Maybe I should just tell you who to NOT start and we can go from there. I’m 3-for-3 the last couple of weeks in my “Four-Get-About-It” section and I’ll look to continue to trend below.
Let’s finish out the year strong in Week 16 and win a #footclantitle. 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. There are some great options available in the 13-18 range that I had to unfortunately cut. You just simply can’t have everyone statted out finishing in the top 12.
Want to see where Andy, Mike, and Jason have each QB ranked? Check out their Week 16 QB Consensus Rankings.
Tom Brady vs NYJ
Brady seems like the slam dunk of the week against a Jets defense ranked dead last in DVOA versus the pass. New York has given up the 7th most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. I’m not sure he has the highest ceiling as this game could get out of hand but you have to like his chances at 3 TDs as the heavy home favorite with the highest team implied total (30.3) of the weekend.
Drew Brees vs TB
Brees returned to his former glory last week with 389 yards and 4 TDs in Arizona. Despite looking atrocious against the Buccaneers in Week 14, he’s an auto-start at home against Tampa Bay. He leads the league in passing yards (4559), TDs (34), and attempts per game (42.1)… what more could you want from a fantasy QB? The Saints have a healthy team implied total (27.8) and Brees should be good for 2-3 TDs.
Matt Ryan @ CAR
Ryan has delivered time and time again for fantasy owners and has destroyed easy matchups the last two weeks against the Rams and 49ers. It’s time to trust him one more time versus Carolina. The Panthers rank dead last against the pass (274.8 ypg) and 27th in DVOA versus WR1s so expect big things from Julio Jones if he plays. They are allowing 25.1 points per game and Vegas gives the Falcons a 28 team implied total. He’s a top tier start for fantasy championships even on the road.
Ben Roethlisberger vs BAL
Roethlisberger, coming off a tough divisional win over the Bengals and now 5 wins in a row, takes on hated rival Baltimore at home. Big Ben has averaged roughly 26.4 fantasy points per game at home this season, the highest in the league. One area of weakness for Baltimore is against pass catching running backs as they rank 26th in DVOA. It just so happens that the Steelers run out the best pass catching RB in Le’Veon Bell so expect 6+ catches from this unstoppable force. Their 24.5 team implied total still leaves room for Big Ben to hit the 250+ and 2 threshold we’re looking for even against a stout Ravens defense.
Derek Carr vs IND
Last week it was rough sending in the Carr as he fell flat against the Chargers in a hard fought divisional win. The Colts, despite crushing the Vikings last week, sport one of the most anemic defenses in the league ranking 29th in total DVOA. This game has Vegas’ highest over/under of the weekend at 53 and the Raiders have the 2nd highest team implied total (28.3) of the weekend. If you believe that Carr has improved from his nagging finger injury, this game has the potential to be a fantasy bonaza and Carr can have as a high ceiling as anyone.
Andrew Luck @ OAK
Carr’s dueling-mate will be Andrew Luck who shredded Minnesota to a 34-6 stomping and the golden 250 yards and 2 TDs you’re looking for in a QB1 weekly. He travels to Oakland to take on a secondary that has given up the 9th most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season. The Raiders also have a penchant for giving up the big play as seen in their league-high 54 plays given up over 20+ yards in the passing game. Plug in Luck as a solid QB1 start.
Philip Rivers @ CLE
You probably know the rap sheet by now of the lowly Cleveland Browns. They’ve allowed the most passing TDs (31), the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs, and registered the fewest sacks (22) in the league. They rank dead last in total DVOA, dead last versus the run, and 2nd to last versus the pass. Woof. Rivers and the Chargers should feast and continue the Cleveland winless ways with a 25 point team total.
Cam Newton vs ATL
Newton has been limited with a shoulder injury but should be good to go for a juicy championship matchup with the Falcons. Atlanta has given up the most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season and allow the 3rd most passing yards per game (267.4) in the league. He had a return to fantasy relevance last week with 300 yards and 2 TDs versus the Redskins and I expect close to the same this week.
Four in the Door
Jameis Winston @ NO
Winston has disappointed owners who stashed him early in the season for this supposed “fantasy playoff glory stretch”. Count me as one of them but I believe he’s worthy as a low-end QB1 this week in New Orleans. The Saints just made Carson Palmer look like 2015 Carson Palmer last week. They allow the 2nd most yards through the air (271.2) and 28 points per game, 3rd worst in the league. Winston should be forced to keep up with Brees in a game with a 52.5 over/under.
Dak Prescott vs DET
Dak returned with poise last week beating the Buccaneers for 279 yards in the air and 20 and a TD on the ground. He’ll stay in Dallas to facing an improved Detroit defense that still has given up the 6th most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season. The Lions also allow the highest completion percentage (72.8) in the league. I like the ultra efficient Prescott to get the job done at home against a Lions defense ranked 30th in DVOA. I’m shooting for 250+ and 2 TDs in our writers league championship game with Dak.
Andy Dalton @ HOU
Dalton is an under-the-radar play for Week 16 as he ranks outside most experts top 12 for the week. However, I like the matchup even on the road and especially if A.J. Green starts. The Texans have registered the 3rd fewest sacks (24) in the league and most of their elite pass defense totals are bolstered by some cupcake early season matchups. Before last week’s Blake Bortles-infused poop-fest of a game, the Texans had allowed multiple touchdown passes five games in a row, all QB1 performances. They’ve actually been a bottom 10 defense over the 2nd half of the year versus QBs. Give me Dalton as a contrarian play for 250+ yards and 2 TDs.
Blake Bortles vs TEN
Call me insane. Call me crazy. Do you want your season riding on the illustrious arm of the great Blake Bortles? Me neither. But I think there is reason to see Bortles as a great GPP play this week against a Titans defense that ranks 25th in DVOA versus the pass and allows the 4th most passing yards per game (266.6) in the league. Tennessee has given up the 4th most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season and a garbage time fueled QB1 performance in Week 8 versus Bortles. It could be the play that makes or breaks your title game. He’s also Jason’s “Stream of the Week” so if it doesn’t work out… just blame Jason.
Aaron Rodgers vs MIN
I’m shooting for 4 weeks in a row successfully recommend sitting a top 5 consensus QB. Rodgers finally came back down to earth last week throwing for 252 scoreless yards in a hard fought win over the Bears. The Vikings third-ranked pass defense that allows 206 yards per game and held Rodgers to only 213 in their Week 2 17-14 win. This game has a low 43 point over/under and the Vikings rank 2nd in DVOA versus the pass. It’s a recipe for a championship disappointment although he’s still in that 13-18 range for me. Just not the ceiling you want.
Eli Manning @ PHI
I’m not about to recommend anyone start Eli and his volatile fantasy arm in Philly in championship week. The Eagles rank 3rd in DVOA against the pass and 5th overall this season. They are a solid if unspectacular unit that preys on turnovers. This has all the makings of a divisional slugfest with a low 41.5 over/under. Sorry, I can’t in good conscience give you the thumbs up for Eli.
Russell Wilson vs ARI
The consensus rankings has Wilson as a top 12 play this week but I’m seeing a different story in the numbers. Arizona’s fifth-ranked pass defense (212.9 ypg) and the fact they’ve given up the 9th fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs makes me pause. The Cardinals rank 4th in DVOA versus the pass and 3rd in overall defense. Earlier this season, these two teams combined for a 6-6 slugfest of a tie and I expect much of the same defensive battle in Seattle. Hey that rhymed.
Joe Flacco @ PIT
Joe Cool has been slinging the ball all over the field registering the 2nd most pass attempts per game in the league. But it’s time to realize this volume is pretty empty as he’s thrown for only 19 TDs to go with 13 INTs. In his career, he’s averaged only 220 yards and barely a TD per game against the Steelers. I don’t like his chances on the road with a team implied total of just 19.5. He isn’t someone on my radar worthy of a championship game start.
Last Week’s Record: 5/12 = 42%
2016 Overall Record: 52%