QB1 Primer: Week 6
Last week’s QB1 Primer was on the money as we nailed 9 out of the top 12 (a ridiculous 75%) and 10 of the first 13. Bye weeks can be especially kind as the number of options dwindles each week. Before we get on our high horse, let’s remember the QB1 from Week 5, Marcus Mariota, wasn’t even on our radar and the highest ranking for any expert on FantasyPros was QB7.
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: Jameis Winston and Sam Bradford (aka the slender looking 9th grader in a varsity Vikings jersey) were not considered as their respective teams are on bye.
Tom Brady vs. CIN
Angry Tom returned with a vengeance as he pummeled the hapless Browns to the tune of 400+ yards and 3 TDs, all to Martellus Bennett. He looked like he was in complete control of the offense and I think we all know he’s a worthy QB1 selection at home against a Cincinnati defense that made Dak Prescott look like a world-beater last week. Cincy also ranks 24th in DVOA versus pass catching running backs so look for James White to be utilized heavily.
Cam Newton @ NO
This is a softball for Newton as he returns from concussion protocol. The Panthers also have the highest team implied total (28) this weekend as well as also the potential return of RB Jonathan Stewart. The Saints are allowing the 4th most passing yards per game (301.2) with a healthy 68.4 completion percentage. You have to love Cam’s ceiling in a divisional contest like this.
Drew Brees vs CAR
His dueling mate is none other than Drew Brees coming off a bye week. Breen is notorious for murdering in home matchups and he faces a Panthers defense that has been exposed the last couple of weeks in front of national TV audiences. Carolina has given up the 9th most fantasy points to QBs this season and has been torched by WR1s. I like Brandin Cooks and company to get back to business and Brees to be a huge beneficiary which should be a shootout.
Russell Wilson vs ATL
Wilson returned to form in Week 4 with a top 5 performance against the 49ers. The Falcons are giving up the 2nd most passing attempts per game (42.8) while surrendering 14 TDs in the air, tied with the Lions for worst in the league. Wilson should be healed up after last week’s bye and ready to rock and roll as a QB1 starter at home. I can see 290 total yards and 3 TDs coming.
Derek Carr vs KC
Carr has been on fire through 5 weeks as he’s finished as QB8, QB3, QB20, QB5, and QB8. Carr along with Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger are the only QBs to visit the top 12 pantheon 4 times to start the year. He’s been as consistent as they come. He’ll be at home this week against a Chiefs defense that has registered the second fewest sacks (5) in the league and I don’t expect that to change much against one of the league’s best offensive lines.
Aaron Rodgers vs DAL
Rodgers looked mystifyingly inept this past Sunday night against the Giants after starting out the game hot. I expect him to right the ship in a game that has Vegas’ 2nd highest total (47.5) for the weekend slate with Green Bay’s team implied total being a healthy 25.8. There are points to score here against a Dallas pass defense currently ranking 25th against the pass in DVOA. Confidently start Rodgers in Lambeau.
Ben Roethlisberger @ MIA
Big Ben has been the epitome of an every week starter throwing for 3 TDs in every contest except for one. He faces a Miami passing defense which has given up the 10th most fantasy points to opposing QBs and x yards. The Steelers team implied total of 27.3 bodes well for a blowout. This one won’t be too hard for fantasy owners to once again pull the trigger on.
Carson Palmer vs NYJ
Palmer is returning from an injury to start Monday night against the Jets, whose pass defense which ranks dead last in the NFL. The Jets have been bottom 5 against the pass all year along with being ranked 27th in DVOA. Palmer, when healthy last year, was a QB1 machine and New York has given up the 4th most fantasy points to QBs this season. I like him to right the ship for the Cardinals and finish with low-end QB1 totals.
Last Four In
Alex Smith @ OAK
Smith will be lauded across many experts as the “stream of the week” although it’s quite obvious when any starting NFL QB plays against the Raiders these days. The rap sheet for Oakland: most passing yards per game (330.5) and also 4th worst against pass catching running backs according to DVOA. Smith also has shown the ability to accrue volume in the passing game and Vegas has set the total at a robust 47 points. Smith is more than a stream this week. He has a ceiling as a top 5 guy.
Blake Bortles @ CHI
Bortles has not had quite the same success he displayed last year in the passing game although finished as QB3 in Week 4. Following last week’s bye, Bortles now faces a Chicago defense that has been torched by WR1s so far ranking 27th in DVOA. Allen Robinson looks like he’s about to feast and I’ll roll with Mr. Bortles in game Vegas has set the over/under at 47 total points. It could get ugly but the end result is what we’re looking for here.
Tyrod Taylor vs SF
It’s been awhile since I’ve jumped on board #TeamRodTaylor despite the preseason love I gave him in “The Case for Tyrod Taylor“. Shockingly, this offense has turned it around despite the firing of their offensive coordinator and WR Sammy Watkins being placed on the IR. Even more shocking is the fact that Buffalo’s team implied total of 25.8 this week outpaces the Saints, Broncos, and Raiders this week. Taylor has shown the ability to be a consistent QB1 performing visiting the podium 8 times last year with that added cheat code of running the ball for 30-40 yards. I like him at home versus San Francisco’s soft pass defense.
Ryan Tannehill vs PIT
This is a complete GPP dart throw. Trust me I hate trusting in this guy and I don’t recommend starting him in season-long formats. But the numbers suggest that Mr. Garbage Man himself could end up in the top 12 this week. The Steelers are giving up 302 passing yards per game, 3rd worst in the NFL, while also registering only 8 sacks. In other words, their defense has not struck fear in the hearts of any opposing offense. I expect Big Ben to lead Pittsburgh out to an early lead and force “TannyPannies” to throw 45+ times to try and keep up. I’m looking for sheer volume and garbage time people, not a best friend.
Matt Ryan @ SEA
For the second week in a row, fantasy’s top QB is not a recommendation to end up as a QB1. When passing offenses go to Seattle, they go to die and be buried. They allow the fewest total yards per game (264) as well as the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs, although they haven’t exactly faced murderer’s row through 5 weeks (Ryan Tannehill, Case Keenum, Blaine Gabbert, and Ryan Fitzpatrick). I’d rather just fade the Falcons QB rather than take my chances in Seattle.
Philip Rivers vs DEN
Despite being a weekly QB1 option, Rivers runs into a matchup with the vaunted Denver defense that most recently shut down Julio Jones and company last week. The Broncos defense is allowing just 185.6 passing yards a game this season and the 7th fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. Since 2011, Rivers has failed to throw for more than 258 passing yards against the Broncos including last year’s two abysmal performances in which he completed just over 50% of his passes in two losses. No thank you.
Andrew Luck @ HOU
Although Andrew Luck and the Colts offense is coming off their third 300-yard passing game of the season, I don’t like his prospects on the road against Houston and their 1st ranked passing defense. I liken this game to a field-goal fest as the Colts and Texans rank 29th and 30th in terms of pace and plays per game. I just don’t see this turning into a game for Luck to have a high ceiling.
Dak Prescott @ GB
I think this is where things begin to regress for the ultra-efficient rookie. Nobody likes going to Lambeau to play against an aggressive pass rush which has registered 14 sacks, 5th most in league despite also having a bye week in Week 4. The Packers have the league’s best run defense so far so I think the rookie will not be able to lean on Ezekiel Elliott as much. He should be forced into a number of uncomfortable situations creating turnovers. This seems like a sluggish spot to start Dak.
Last Week’s Record: 9/12 = 75% (Booyah!)
2016 Overall Record: 58.3%