QB1 Primer: Week 8

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Last week gave us some fantasy goodness as we struck gold with 8 out of the top 12 picked correctly. Of course, when you don’t invite Browns great Kevin Hogan to the party, he decides to rush for an obscene amount of yards and poop all over your QB1 pantheon. Brown(s) jokes aside (yes pun intended) we enter the “Byepocalypse” of Weeks 8 and 9 with a couple things to keep in mind.

On bye this week: Ryan Tannehill, Case Keenum, Landry Jones, Eli Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco… aka the poo poo platter of QB choices. In other words, despite the pool of possible QB1s shrinking to just 26 possible options, the 6 on bye most likely would’ve been counted out of my top 12 anyway. Well, this should make for an interesting week for the QB1 Primer.

Just a weekly reminder: We are looking at the varying tiers of quarterbacks, assessing risk, home/away matchups, Vegas totals, DVOA against the pass 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.


Tom Brady @ BUF
Brady has been superb in his three games coming off suspension finishing as QB3, QB5, and QB8. This is his toughest matchup yet against a Buffalo secondary that has allowed the 3rd fewest fantasy points to the QB position and only one QB1 spot in 2016 (Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 2). You still have to number Brady among the top 12 in a heavy bye week on the road. He’s still top 4, just not quite the ceiling you’re used to.

Aaron Rodgers @ ATL
Although this Packers offense is not even close to resembling the fantasy force of yesteryear, owners should be encouraged to see the volume of passes Rodgers is unleashing in this glorified flag football offense. It took him 56 attempts to get 326 yards last week against the Bears and now he sees a Falcons secondary that is giving up the 2nd most passing yards per game (295) as well as 15 passing TDs, tied for 3rd most in the league. I think this sets up well for the Pack and Rodgers to have a high ceiling with their team implied total of 25.

Cam Newton vs ARZ
Coming off the bye week and playing at home is definitely a luxury for Cam Newton and the Panthers despite the fact they play a Cardinals secondary giving up just 193 yards in the air per game, 3rd best in the league. Newton has among the safest floors at the QB position although it seems OC Mike Shula has called Jonathan Stewart’s number at the goal-line recently after Newton suffered a concussion a couple weeks ago. Like Brady, the tough matchup doesn’t deter me from selecting Cam as a likely QB1, just lower your ceiling.

Drew Brees vs SEA
Brees rounds out my top 4 with another nightmare matchup albeit at home in the Superdome where he plays lights out. He’s averaged over 3 TDs per game and over 400 yards in his 3 home starts. The Seahawks secondary has slipped recently as they’ve allowed back-to-back 300-yard passers although still only 4 passing TDs, tied for best in the NFL. I’d roll with Brees in a game Vegas has at a 48 game total.


Jameis Winston vs OAK
Winston turned in a solid performance last week against a lowly 49ers secondary with 3 TDs finishing as QB6 for the week. This part of the Buccaneers’ schedule is what experts have been lauding for owners to take a long look at Winston. He faces an Oakland secondary that has given up the 6th most fantasy points to QBs this season and yet has shored things up for the last couple of weeks. This still looks like a great matchup at home with Oakland’s DVOA being 29th in the league. Give me Winston for 280 yards and 2-3 scores.

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Andrew Luck vs KC
Luck has been a locked and loaded start over the last 4 weeks finishing as QB11, QB6, QB8, and last week as the QB1. Against the Titans, he finished with 370 total yards, adding a sneaky 17 on the ground with his 3 TDs.  He seems to be in rhythm with T.Y. Hilton and “check-down-Charlie” TE Jack Doyle. The Chiefs have been inept at rushing the passer with just 8 sacks on the season, tied with the Steelers for worst in the league. Until Luck falters, he’s a weekly start.

Matt Ryan vs GB
Ryan will look to right the ship of this Falcons team which has now lost 2 straight. The Packers rank 30th in DVOA versus WR1s, a statistic shouting for a huge game from Julio Jones. Ryan has been nails for most of the season averaging 22.6 fantasy points per game, the highest among QBs.  This game also boasts Vegas’ highest over/under at 52.5. I love Rodgers and Ryan getting into a shootout in the Georgia Dome.

Tyrod Taylor vs NE
After an abysmal Week 1, Taylor has been the model of consistency finishing no worse than QB15 and averaging 19.6 fantasy points per contest, 6th best in that span among QBs in standard 4 point per passing TD leagues. Taylor had his coming out party last year against these Patriots in Week 3 and with his top offensive weapons (Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, and LeSean McCoy) all out, the offense will be solely on his shoulders. New England has given up their fair share of yards and rank 25th in DVOA versus the pass. I like Charles Clay (if healthy) to be utilized heavily in this game as well as hopefully Taylor gets 40+ yards on the ground.

Last Four In

Carson Palmer @ CAR
This is the bounce back game for the Cardinals offensively that Palmer has the opportunity to take advantage of. The Carolina defense is 7th worst against the pass giving up 282 passing yards per game and 27th in DVOA. The Panthers also have given up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. I like Palmer as a low-end QB1 start this week.

Russell Wilson @ NO
This seems like the perfect matchup for Wilson and the Seahawks offense to get back on track. New Orleans has given up the 7th most fantasy points to QBs and ranks 30th against the pass. Although he clearly isn’t utilizing his rushing ability, Wilson has enough weapons on offense in a game Vegas gives Seattle a great team implied total of 25.5.

Ryan Fitzpatrick @ CLE
After Geno Smith went down with a season-ending ACL injury, our boy Fitz-Magic is back up to the plate and gets a juicy Week 8 matchup. According to our own Jason Moore, the Browns have not held a QB to less than 20 fantasy points this season. The Browns have also given up the most passing TDs (18) as well as a generous 285.7 passing yards per game, 4th worst in the league. This should be served up on a platter for the Fitz as Cleveland has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season. Stream away my friends!

Brock Osweiler vs DET
Let’s get crazy here. Why not? Osweiler goes up against a porous Lions secondary that has given up the most fantasy points to opposing QBs and ranks 31st in DVOA against the pass. If there is a matchup that can potentially bear fruit for the Brockness Monster, this is it against the team that has given up 18 passing TDs, tied with the Browns for most in the NFL.. He seems like the perfect GPP play as his ownership should be low especially after his anemic Sunday night game against Denver. Cautionary note: please do not start Osweiler over better options.


Philip Rivers @ DEN
This seems like a weekly sit recommendation as the Broncos are ranked 1st against the pass giving up 175 yards in the air per game. Other than Week 1 against Cam Newton, Denver has not allowed 15 fantasy points nor more than 1 total TD in any game to the QB position. Sit him down.

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Matthew Stafford @ HOU
It pains me to stick the guy who I lauded for all offseason as “THE Late Round QB of 2016”. Stafford has been superb but runs into a Houston secondary that gives up the 2nd fewest passing yards per game (184.7) and the 5th fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. I’m staying away from him this week and feel fine if owners would rather drop Stafford (at Minnesota next week and Week 10 Bye) and play a streamer off the wire.

Andy Dalton vs. WAS
I’m simply fading Dalton in London not because he’s been trash but because of the success I feel Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill will have on the ground. This is a Washington secondary that’s allowed one or fewer touchdown passes in each of their last six games. On the other hand, they’ve given up the 8th most fantasy points to RBs and almost 120 ypg on the ground. I’m viewing this as a pedestrian performance from Dalton without the giant ceiling.

Blake Bortles & Marcus Mariota
This is a two-for-one special and I’m trying to double down here by getting you to stay away from this sloppy Thursday night matchup. Listen the Jags offense is a mess and you probably need Bortles to reassert himself before you can confidently start him in a weekly format. Vegas gives this game a low 44 point total and surprisingly these pass defenses rank 10th (Titans) and 8th (Jags) best in DVOA against the pass. It could get rough out there so I’ll save you the trouble and recommend you sitting these two apart from a couple DFS dart throws.

Last Week’s Record: 8/12 = 67%

2016 Overall Record: 58%

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