QB1 Primer: Week 3

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Whew… despite all the carnage spread abroad throughout Week 2, our choices for QB1s still found a way to visit the top 12 pantheon. We had a solid week as 50% is better than average according to FantasyPros PAY scale. We’re dealing with so many variables and factors week to week as we take into account game flow, Vegas totals, and even unforeseen injuries.

In our third weekly installment of The QB Primer, we look at the varying tiers of quarterbacks, assessing risk, home/away matchups, and realizing each week will have a bit of spontaneity. Remember this isn’t predicting order simply identifying who is likely to be among the top 12.

Moving into Week 3, let’s take a stab at two monster duels, some mid-level options, and some absolute dart throws as well.

“Four”-Sures

Drew Brees vs. ATL
Breen definitely let fantasy owners down last week with his seemingly juicy matchup against the Giants. He comes home for a Monday night showdown against their hated division rivals and a Falcons defense that has registered one measly sack so far this season. Without pressure on the QB, I expect Brees to carve up the Falcons for 300+ yards and 2-3 TDs.

Matt Ryan @ NO
Fantasy’s QB1 so far through two weeks draws the Saints on the road, a defense that has been pummeled the last couple of years. He was solid last year against New Orleans averaging 314.5 ypg and 2 TDs, a super safe floor for QB1 territory. If Ryan is somehow sitting on your waiver wire, pick him up and start him with confidence in Vegas’ highest scoring total (54) of the weekend, an astronomically high mark.

Andrew Luck vs. SD
I recommended Luck being sat last week against the Broncos but it’s time to plug him back in the lineup against the Chargers at home.Although Donte Moncrief is out and CB Jason Verrett could take T.Y. Hilton out of the picture, I love Luck in a shootout against Rivers. Vegas thinks so too with the second highest total (52) of the weekend slate. Turnovers aside, Luck has a huge ceiling against secondary giving up 324.5 yards per game, 4th worst in the NFL.

Philip Rivers @ IND
Luck’s dueling-mate, Rivers, is coming off a 4-TD performance as the veteran QB still looks comfortable slinging the ball all over the field despite the loss of Keenan Allen for the year. Even with Danny Woodhead also gone for the year, I still like Rivers on the road against the Colts, perhaps the most uninspiring and nameless defense in the league this year. They’re giving up 36.5 points per game, worst in the league and I love the chances for 45-40 type of game.

Com-Four-table

Derek Carr @ TEN
Carr has been QB8 and QB3 in the first two weeks of the season and came through again last week despite losing to the Falcons at home. He definitely has also shown some maturity spreading the ball around to his stable of pass-catching backs as well as Michael Crabtree, Amari Cooper, and Clive Walford. Vegas projects this being the third highest line (47) of the weekend and one in which you should start the young gunslinger.

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cpalmCarson Palmer @ BUF
You have to keep loving Palmer as a weekly QB1 machine. He was the 4th most consistent QB1 performer last year and last week he showed he could get it done as QB5 to the tune of 308 yards and 3 TDs. The Bills showcased last Thursday night how god-awful their defensive approach is and I love Palmer as a relatively safe option even on road. I can see a floor of 260+ yards and 2 TDs.

Aaron Rodgers vs. DET
Rodgers has yet to put it together this season but I think this is the week he gets back on track. His efficiency hasn’t been what it has been in the past but the Lions give up 296 passing yards per game and 6 passing TDs, third most in the league. Give me A-Rod at home as a QB1.

Matthew Stafford @ GB
Stafford has been a consistent threat and even on the road he definitely can compile passing volume against a Packers defense minus CB Sam Shields. The Vegas line of 48 makes us salivate at the possibility of a 40 attempt game by Stafford. I like Marvin Jones to visit the red zone this week and Stafford to utilize Theo Riddick in the passing game.

Last Four In

Ryan Tannehill vs. CLE
This seems to be one of the most popular streams of the week especially after Tannehill flexed his garbage time muscles and finished last week against the Patriots as QB7. You have to love his prospects at home against the Browns, one of the league’s worst overall defenses giving up 41 passing attempts per game. The only knock on Tannehill might be if the Fins get out to an early lead on the ground. And the fact that he is as frustrating a fantasy QB to start as anyone outside of Jay Cutler.

Marcus Mariota vs. OAK
Mariota has been more than respectable through two weeks, although he has yet to have a breakout performance. I expect this game to be a high-scoring affair as the Oakland secondary is Swiss cheese thin after two weeks and the defense is giving up 517.5 yards per game, worst in the league. They’ve given up 13 plays of 20+ yards of more already this year and seem like a defense to target weekly. I love Mariota to have a safe floor with a huge added ceiling. I’ll be starting him in my home league.

fitzryanRyan Fitzpatrick @ KC
Fitz played like an animal even on the road last week and although he has troubles in the past, I like this to be a high-scoring affair. Using mostly 3 and 4WR sets, there are ample opportunities for Fitz to acquire passing yards through volume. The Chiefs defense is not what it was last year as they only have 3 sacks through the first 2 games. I can see Fitz going for 300+ and 2 TDs.

Alex Smith vs. NYJ
This is risky but give me Smith against a vulnerable NYJ secondary that gave up tons of big plays against Buffalo last week. Revis Island clearly is not a thing anymore and I expect this game to be a back and forth high scoring affair. Coming off a dreadful Week 2 performance, I expect Smith’s ownership percentage to be under 3% so he seems like a perfect GPP candidate, as I wrote elsewhere. He could totally repeat his Week 1 numbers when he finished as the QB3. Could be an absolute dart throw or week killer…

Four-get About It

Cam Newton vs. MIN
I know this will be unpopular and you probably don’t have any better options, but I’ll be among the minority not paying up for Newton in DFS. This has defensive struggle written all over it with a low Vegas line (43) with terrible weather predicted. I just can’t see a ceiling this week that I’d want with Cam.

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Blake Bortles vs. BAL
Bortles has been maddening this year especially last week as they looked like a JV squad against the Chargers on the road. He consistently threw the ball to T.J. Yeldon behind the line of scrimmage as Allen Robinson was blanketed by Jason Verrett. And yet somehow Bortles ended up as QB15 not the week.  His ceiling is usually pretty high but I’ll be fading him even at home against the Ravens, who are giving up the least passing yards (168.5) per game in the league. They also know how to rush the passer and until Bortles figures it out, I have to recommend him to sit down.

Tyrod Taylor vs. ARZ
Don’t buy into Taylor’s Week 2 stat line as it was a result of blown coverage and Darrelle Revis no longer being a “thing”. His long bombs were fluky at best and I can’t recommend him against a Cardinals defense that made Jameis Winston look terrible last week and have forced 4 INTs already. Don’t even think about starting Taylor.

Blaine Gabbert @ SEA
Although this seems like an easy sit, I’ve been getting lots of questions about Gabbert’s startability. He’s been a more consistent QB1 performer than Aaron Rodgers over the last 10 games stretching back to last year. He’s also averaged 17.1 fantasy points per game, 15th best and better than more hyped names than Jameis Winston, Eli Manning, and Kirk Cousins. But this week on the road, you need to sit Gabba-Gabba.


Last Week’s Record: 6/12 = 50%

2016 Overall Record: 46%

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