QB1 Primer: Week 9
I just want to take this brief moment to exert my inner frustration towards Blake Bortles. You know as someone who weekly dives into QB1 variables, statistics, and walking through a concentrated process of selecting a top 12 group, I honestly could not be more mad at the pile of human excrement Bortles left on the field in last week’s game against the Titans. Bortles was a recommended sit in last week’s QB1 Primer as I noted that this is a “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.”
Ughhh… A terrifyingly, ugly first half led to complete “trash-bag-city” garbage time dump in the second half of a meaningless game. 29 fantasy points later and we must begrudgingly award Bortles a spot at QB4 for the week.
Glad we can get that out of the way as we turn the calendar to another week with 6 teams on bye. We must exclude from our rankings Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler, Kirk Cousins and Brock Osweiler… Sorry scratch that last guy, he’s basically played like he’s been on bye the entire season.
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.
Aaron Rodgers vs IND
After sputtering through the first quarter of the season, Rodgers has turned it on recently as the departure of Eddie Lacy has forced the all-world QB to throw the ball all over the field with much success. Rodgers has thrown for 7 TDs the last 2 weeks and now faces a laughable Colts secondary which ranks 31st against the pass and given up the 6th most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. This is a slam dunk.
Cam Newton @ LA
Newton was stifled last week as the Panthers built an early lead on the ground with Jonathan Stewart and a defensive TD and shifted into cruise control for an easy win over the Cardinals. The Rams have been somewhat stingy as a passing defense and yet have put little pressure on the QB registering only 10 sacks, 28th in the NFL. I expect Newton to be back to his old ways and contribute 280 yards of total offense and 2 TDs even on the road.
Drew Brees @ SF
Brees was money last week even playing against Seattle’s vaunted secondary as he added a surprising rushing TD. Usually we tend to sit Brees if he’s not playing at home but the 49ers might be the least talented defense in the league. San Francisco has allowed at least 2 TDs to the QB position every week since Week 2. They rank dead last in DVOA vs. WR1s so depending on if you believe Brandin Cooks or Michael Thomas is that guy, expect great results to land somewhere.
Matt Ryan @ TB
Fantasy’s #1 QB gets a juicy Thursday night matchup against a Bucs secondary which was just torched by Derek Carr and company last week. Ryan has been incredibly consistent with 6 QB1 starts tallying more than his entire 2015 campaign when he had a total of 5. Atlanta’s team implied total of 27.3 is 4th highest for this week so expect points to be put up on the board.
Philip Rivers vs TEN
Rivers will look to rebound after throwing 3 picks in Denver last week. The Titans have allowed three 300-yard passers in a row and now take on an offense that averages the 3rd most points per game in the league. The Chargers have a healthy team implied total of 25.8 and I love Tyrell Williams in this matchup.
Andrew Luck @ GB
Luck has been as good as any fantasy QB at the half way point. But what sets up Luck as a weekly play is the volume as the Colts rank fourth in passing attempts. This game has Vegas’ highest over/under of Week 9 at 54 total points. Although T.Y. Hilton could be out with a hamstring pull, the preseason game that never happened should result in an absolute fantasy fest.
Jameis Winston vs ATL
Despite an extra quarter to work with, Winston could not overcome his inefficient ways against a beatable Raiders secondary. On Thursday Night, he’ll have his chance against one of the league’s worst defenses as the Falcons rank 26th in total DVOA and the 27th against the pass for the year. In fact, Atlanta has given up the most fantasy points to opposing QBs including 4 TDs to Aaron Rodgers last week. I want to see more huge games from Winston before trusting him more but the matchup is way too good to pass up.
Dak Prescott @ CLE
Prescott has earned this starting role as he’s been an increasingly trustworthy fantasy commodity. Since Week 3, he’s averaged 21 fantasy points per contest, 5th best in the entire NFL during that span. Although he’s failed to throw over 300 yards this season, he seems to have developed a fairly safe floor. Cleveland has given up the 4th most fantasy points to QBs as well as 19 passing TDs, tied with the Lions and Falcons for most in the league. The only thing that could hinder a giant day is if Ezekiel Elliott gets the Cowboys out to an early lead and they decide to milk the clock the rest of way.
Last Four In
Marcus Mariota @ SD
After starting the year with an average of QB23 in the first 4 weeks, Mariota has turned it on to the tune of 4 QB1 spots in a row with 10 passing TDs. Although he goes on the road across the country, I like Mariota to keep it rolling against a Chargers pass defense which ranks 24th in the league. If you can find 25+ yards on the ground, Mariota could vault into top 5 consideration if he keeps his TD pace up.
Colin Kaepernick vs NO
Although he’s failed to perform as a QB1 this year, Kaepernick has picked up 150 yards on the ground in his two starts finishing close as QB14 and QB16. This is the week to start him as New Orleans ranks 28th in DVOA vs. the pass and has given up the 4th most yards in the league through the air. While Kaepernick is not likely to throw for 300, his rushing total should move him safely into QB1 territory. He’s the top streamer of the week for me.
Ryan Tannehill vs NYJ
This is about the process people. The process of streaming QBs based on optimal matchups should bear results here as Tanny takes on the Jets who now give up the most passing yards (289.1) per game in the NFL. They rank 31st in DVOA vs. the pass as well as given up the 9th most fantasy points to opposing QBs. For DFSers, correctly pairing Tannehill with the right Dolphins WR (Jarvis Landry, Devante Parker or Kenny Stills?) could pay huge dividends.
Case Keenum vs CAR
Let’s get crazy. The Carolina defense definitely showed up last week against the Cardinals at home but I think the game script could be in place for Keenum to have to throw 40+ times to keep the Rams in this game. The Panthers rank 27th in DVOA vs. the pass as they give up 286.9 yards per game, 30th in the NFL. Keenum has now shown twice this season that he can force his way into QB1 land by sheer quantity of pass attempts. Do I want to close my eyes after making this pick? Of course. But will I be playing him as an uber-cheap, lightly-owned DFS play along with Kenny Britt… You bet.
Derek Carr vs DEN
Thus far, the rule of thumb has been sitting down any opposing QB who plays against the Denver defense. Despite the fact that Carr is coming off a franchise record 515 yards, we need to stay with the process as Denver has given up the fewest fantasy points to Quarterbacks this season and league-low 184 yards through the air per game. Don’t chase last week’s points.
Blake Bortles @ KC
How can you trust this guy? His final numbers from last week make we want to vomit. Although he finished as QB4 for the week, anyone watching the first half knows how awful Bortles was against the Titans. Barfing aside, I don’t recommend Bortles on the road against a Kansas City defense ranked 7th best in DVOA vs. the pass. I have zero confidence figuring out what could happen this guy. Is that how coach Gus Bradley feels every time he calls in a play for his QB?
Tyrod Taylor @ SEA
Taylor has quietly been consistent all year but this is another obvious sit in Seattle against a Seahawks defense that’s allowed only 5 passing TDs all year, tied with the Cardinals for fewest allowed in the NFL. There won’t be much fuss here. Sit down this man.
Matthew Stafford @ MIN
I recommended that Stafford be dropped two weeks ago as he entered the tough part of his schedule. He put up subpar numbers last week against Houston and now draws a Vikings defense surrendering the fewest points per game (14.3) as well as 4th best in DVOA vs. the pass. With the lowest team implied total (17.5) of the weekend, don’t get cute here just because you saw Jay Cutler have limited success against this Vikings defense.
Last Week’s Record: 5/12 = 42%
2016 Overall Record: 56%