QB1 Primer: Week 17

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It’s the final week of the regular season which could lead you to believe this task should be cake. Unfortunately, playing a 16th game in terms of fantasy calculations and projections is a bit of a conundrum. We are dealing with resting players for playoff teams and other mailing in the rest of the season because they want to go home.

Last week’s QB1 Primer, we nailed some low-end streamers highlighted by a shocking Blake Bortles performance. While biting my nails, Bortles won me our FFBallers writers league championship with 329 yards passing, a TD, and an unforeseen 20-yard TD grab from the unlikely arm of WR Marqise Lee. #FootClanTitle

For the last edition of the QB1 Primer for 2016, 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 about 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 17 QB Consensus Rankings.


Tom Brady @ MIA
After coming through with 3 TDs last week in a 41-3 thrashing of the Jets, the Patriots and Tom Brady are vying for home-field throughout the playoffs in Week 17. Miami has given up the 4th most fantasy points to opposing QBs in the league and tied for 25th in 27 passing TDs allowed. This should be a sure-fire fantasy feast.

Aaron Rodgers @ DET
Rodgers annihilated the Vikings last week for 5 TDs and now has the most compelling matchup of the weekend in terms of playoff implications. The Lions rank 30th in DVOA versus the pass and allow by far the highest completion percentage (72.9) in the league, a full 5 percent more than the next best team. Another slam dunk and a reminder that the Packers are 1 win away from “running the table” as ARod had predicted earlier.

Matt Ryan vs NO
Ryan and the Falcons trounced the hapless Panthers last week despite Julio Jones being involved in a limited basis. He gets a dream Week 17 matchup as the Falcons are hoping for the 2 seed in the playoffs and a 1st round bye. The Saints are 30th in the league against the pass (270.5 ypg) and allow 27.7 points per game, also 30th in the league. The Falcons have the highest team implied total (31.5) of the weekend as 7 point home favorites. All of this adds up to a tasty recipe for QB1 numbers. He might have the safest floor this week.

Drew Brees @ ATL
It’s a shame Brees wasn’t named to the Pro Bowl as he leads the league in completions, passing yards, and one behind Aaron Rodgers in TDs. He has an unbelievable matchup in Atlanta against a team allowing the most attempts per game (40.3) and the most fantasy points to opposing QBs. It’s a dream scenario for DFSers and anyone playing their title game in Week 17. This game has an unreal 56.5 over/under so points will be scored in bunches. If it is the shootout we hope for, Brees has a legitimate shot at 3+ TDs and 350+ yards.

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Ben Roethlisberger vs CLE
After winning our hearts last week against the Chargers, it’s time to pounce on the lowly Browns on the road with Big Ben. Cleveland is historically awful ranking last in total defensive DVOA, 31st against the pass, and last against the run. It’s hard to be that bad at both these days but it’s the Browns… Big Ben at home has averaged more than 26 fantasy points per game and is an easy QB1 selection for Week 17.

Russell Wilson @ SF
Wilson had lots of garbage-fueled fantasy numbers last week with 350 yards and 4 TDs in a loss to the Cardinals. The Seahawks were knocked out of the 2 seed last week but now can take out their vengeance on a 49er team allowing the most points per game (30.3). The 49ers are ashamedly disgusting this year on defense ranking dead last against the run and 29th against the pass.  I like Wilson as a solid mid-tier QB with upside to pour it on in blowout fashion.

Matthew Stafford vs GB
The Lions and Packers have an exciting showdown for the NFC North division crown. Stafford destroyed the Pack in Lambeau for 385 yards and three TDs in their Week 3 shootout. Green Bay has given up the 7th most fantasy points to opposing QBs and 30 passing TDs, tied with the Jets at 31st in the league. He should hit near 300 yards for only the 4th time this season against this punchless secondary allowing the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs . Stafford has been pedestrian at best during the second half but is a strong QB1 play this week in a game with the 2nd highest over/under (47) of the weekend.

Andrew Luck vs JAX
Luck is averaging 20.7 fantasy points per contest, 5th best among QBs, although the Colts’ season has been a disappointment missing out on the playoffs. He’s still in that upper echelon of fantasy QBs at home versus Jacksonville. Don’t let the Jaguars gaudy pass defense numbers (3rd fewest yards) fool you. Their matchups over the last 7 weeks have included Nick Foles, Brock Osweiler twice, Paxton Lunch, Tyrod Taylor, Sam Bradford and Marcus Mariota who was hurt. Not exactly Murderer’s Row! The Colts have a healthy team implied total (25.8) and Luck threw for 2 TDs in their last meeting in Week 4. Fire away!

Four in the Door

Blake Bortles @ IND
Luck’s dueling mate is the enigmatic Bortles. As I stated earlier, Bortles was a league-winning pick last week and I want to recommend him yet again in Indianapolis. They rank 29th in DVOA versus the pass and 28th overall. The Colts allow the 8th most fantasy points to the QB position including 3 TDs and 25 fantasy points to Bortles in their London showdown in Week 4. He is once again Jason’s “Stream of the Week“.

Jameis Winston vs CAR
I keep returning to Winston who has another a great opportunity to enter into QB1 territory after finishing just outside (QB16) last week. The Panthers are allowing the most passing yards per game (273.5) in the league and rank 25th against WR1s so expect Mike Evans to feast. With the 3rd highest team implied total (26.3) and as 6.5 point favorites, I like Winston’s chances at 2 TDs and a relatively safe floor.

Kirk Cousins vs NYG
Cousins decided that he hate “Fat Rob” Kelley last week culturing 2 rushing TDs in the red zone for a banner fantasy day. In Week 17, Kirk Cousins faces the 22nd-ranked Giants pass defense (251.5). He picked them apart in a Week 3 win for 296 yards and 2 TDs and another QB1 performance. Cousins now has 9 QB1 weeks tied with Drew Brees for 3rd most among QBs.

Tom Savage @ TEN
Savage is a great Week 17 play for a team that already clinched the AFC South but is presented a favorable matchup against their division foes. The Titans have tanked over the last few weeks and allow the 2nd most yards through the air (270.9) in the league. Tennessee has also given up the 3rd most fantasy points to Quarterbacks and made Blake Bortles look like a legit No. 3 overall pick. Savage showed 2 weeks ago against Jacksonville he is capable of hitting DeAndre Hopkins and I like him to do the same and post sneaky QB1 numbers.

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Dak Prescott @ PHI
Prescott returned with a double exclamation point last week on Monday night football showing that he is a worthy QB of the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Cowboys’ game plans seem to be up-in-the-air with 3rd stringer Mark Sanchez getting some love. The Eagles rank 2nd in DVOA versus the pass and with a 18.3 team implied total, this doesn’t seem like a game from a fantasy perspective I’d want to invest in.

Eli Manning @ WAS
Rumors abound that Eli could play a limited role since the Giants have locked up the 5 seed in the playoffs. Although they’d love to ruin their division mate Washington’s playoff hopes, Coach Ben McAdoo most likely will give way to backup Josh Johnson at some point limiting the fantasy ceiling. Because of these variable factors on the road, it’s best to stay away from Eli in Week 17.

Philip Rivers vs KC
Despite throwing multiple touchdown passes in eight straight games, Rivers has also “padded” his INT totals to a league-leading 19! I expect him to force feed Antonio Gates this week to try and break Tony Gonzalez’s TE record. The Chiefs rank 8th in DVOA against the pass and 3rd stingiest completion percentage (58.6) in the league. This KC defense limited him all the way back in Week 1 to 243 yards and 1 TD and I don’t want any action on this game.

Cam Newton @ TB
It’s time to mail in this season for Newton owners and realize there was no way you are getting 2015 back. The expectations were through the roof for an offense that simply lacks dynamic playmakers and dependable receiving options apart from Greg Olsen. Newton’s completion percentage is the lowest in the league among starters and he’s failed to hit 200 yards in 4 out of his last 6 games. I don’t like him on the road against a surging Buccaneers defense ranked 7th in DVOA versus the pass. No thank you.


Last Week’s Record: 6/12 = 50%

2016 Overall Record: 52%


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