QB Tiers & Rankings: Week 10 (Fantasy Football)
I was working all day yesterday. Definitely not staring at my lineup. Certainly not switching back and forth between Ben Roethlisberger and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Didn’t even touch the Who Should I Start tool. No time to glance at the ECR. Just straight up lawyering from 9-6. Yessir.
Anyway, as a guy who’s supposed to be giving you quarterback advice, I’m happy to report I did land on the right guy. Roethlisberger’s monster game has me in the mood to talk quarterbacks, so let’s get to it.
I wonder if this is a letdown spot for Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs are 17-point favorites…how much is he really going to have to do? You’re starting him anyway, obviously.
You can’t be mad at how Aaron Rodgers has played so far, but at 21 points per game (QB10), you can be disappointed. And we all know that’s much worse. The biggest problem has been touchdowns. He’s throwing more often and for more yards than a season ago, but the touchdown rate has dropped to 4.6% versus a career rate of 6.5%. He’s on pace for just 30 touchdowns-good for mere mortals, but that would be Rodgers’ lowest total (based on a 16-game pace) since 2010. A correction is coming, and what better time than against Miami’s bottom-10 pass defense. Blow-up game coming.
It’s Week 10 and Tom Brady is QB16 on the season with 18.3 points per game. He’s topped 22 points once all season. He’s been a top 12 quarterback in just four of nine starts. Are we sure he’s an every-week starter? I’ll give it one more week. The floor has been there and the ceiling should come back as his receiving corps rounds into shape. The biggest reason I like Brady this week-and this is admittedly very Narrative Street-y-is that I think the Patriots are going to go after Malcolm Butler hard. After a whole off-season questioning Butler’s Super Bowl benching, Belichick has been proven right (of course), as Butler has been one of the worst cornerbacks in the league. He’ll be lining up against Josh Gordon…a huge mismatch. Tennessee has actually been a negative match-up for opposing quarterbacks (allowing 15.5 points per game, 5th fewest), but that’s mostly due to volume. The Titans’ soft schedule and slow pace have allowed their defense to face the 5th fewest plays per game. Keep-away won’t work against New England’s offense, which ranks top 10 in plays run.
Philip Rivers (LAC): @ Oakland
Ryan Fitzpatrick (TB): vs. Washington
Jared Goff (LAR): vs. Seattle
Andrew Luck (IND): vs. Jacksonville
Russell Wilson (SEA): @ Los Angeles Rams
Mitch Trubisky (CHI): vs. Detroit
On Sunday, Ryan Fitzpatrick did what he does best…fall way behind and then air it out in catch-up mode. Four touchdowns later, and Fitzpatrick was the QB6 on the week in his return to the starting lineup. I’m not sure Tampa will fall behind again against Washington, but as the home favorite in a game with a surprisingly high over/under (51.5, 2nd highest of the week), Fitzpatrick should continue to shine.
I was surprised to see Jared Goff ranked as QB5 in ECR. Seattle is allowing 13.5 points to opposing quarterbacks, fewest in the league, and already held Goff to 14.3 points in their first meeting. Goff did throw for over 300 yards in that game, despite losing two of his top three receivers mid-game. Back at full strength, coming off consecutive monster games, at home, and with the 2nd highest implied team total of the week (30.75)…I agree that Goff is a start. I just don’t think he’s an especially strong one.
Andrew Luck gets a tough draw off the bye against Jacksonville, his first of two match-ups against the Jaguars in the final four weeks of fantasy’s regular season. The Jaguars are allowing just 15.4 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (4th fewest), and rank 2nd in net adjusted yards per attempt. Daunting, but I think he’ll be ok. Luck has scored 20+ points in five straight games, and Indy’s implied team total (25) is fine. The Colts’ quick-hitting passing attempt and improved line have led to the lowest sack rate in the league, which should neutralize Jacksonville’s pass rush. A.J. Bouye being out doesn’t hurt either. One thing to watch out for: the Jaguars have allowed the fewest receptions to tight ends, a big part of Indy’s offense (and an even bigger part with Jalen Ramsey shadowing T.Y. Hilton, the Colts’ lone wide receiver).
Usually limited to around 25 passing attempts per game, Russell Wilson should be forced to air it out to keep up with the Rams’ explosive offense. He actually had just 21 attempts in their first meeting, but that was largely due to insane efficiency (three touchdowns, 9.4 yards per attempt). The Rams have been a plus match-up for opposing quarterbacks, especially since Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters were injured. The 20.5 implied team total scares me, and his floor is dangerously low, but I think you can roll with Wilson as a low-end QB1 this week.
Mitch Trubisky gets a mulligan for last week, as garbage time started pretty much right away and the Bears never needed to press the air attack against Buffalo’s stout pass defense. This week should be a little more balanced game against a much, much easier opponent. Detroit ranks 30th in pass DVOA. Trubisky’s remains a shaky passer, but he’s making up for it by adding 5.25 points per game on the ground.
We saw signs of improvement in the post-Hue, post-Haley era. Most notably, nine catches on nine targets (with two touchdowns) for Duke Johnson. When you’ve got bad pass protection and a great pass-catching running back, it turns out the solution wasn’t that hard. Having seen Mayfield put together a solid game, I feel much more comfortable putting him out there this week. The Falcons defense is a plus match-up, allowing the 5th highest net yards per attempt (7.1) and 3rd most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (23.8). It helps that the Browns are almost as banged up on defense as the Falcons, meaning Matt Ryan and Co. will have no trouble putting up points. In a potential shootout against one of the league’s worst defenses, I’d consider Mayfield over Wilson and Trubisky.
That’s two competent games in a row for Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans. Two…that’s a trend! He looked better on Monday Night Football than he has all season, with the nerve injury seemingly behind him. One of the biggest problems for Mariota this season has been pressure. He’s been sacked on 11.4% of his drop-backs, second only to Josh Allen. You know what the New England Patriots don’t do? Pressure the quarterback. Their 3.4% sack rate is 2nd worst in the NFL. New England’s secondary is decent, but the front seven is slow and has been susceptible to mobile quarterbacks (allowing the 3rd most rushing yards to quarterbacks). Mariota is a risky streamer-he’s been unplayable most of the year-but I think he’s turned the corner. I like his upside in this game.
Matthew Stafford (DET): @ Chicago
Andy Dalton (CIN): vs. New Orleans
Alex Smith (WAS): @ Tampa Bay
Blake Bortles (JAC): @ Indianapolis
Josh Rosen (AZ): @ Kansas City
Josh McCown (NYJ): vs. Buffalo
Dak Prescott (DAL): @ Philadelphia
Nick Mullens (SF): vs. New York Giants
Eli Manning (NYG): @ San Francisco
After a decent start, Andy Dalton is averaging just 14.6 points over his last four games. What’s troubling is it came against a pretty soft schedule. What’s even more troubling is Dalton is now without A.J. Green. Dalton fell hard in 2016 when his weapons went down, so he’s not especially appealing with Green and Tyler Eifert out, and John Ross in his first game back from a multi-week absence. The Saints’ defense is beatable-they’ve given up the 4th most passing yards in the league-and the Bengals have a good implied team total in a game with the highest over/under of the week (54). I just have a hard time trusting Dalton given what we’ve seen lately.
Alex Smith is not capable of having a big game, and Tampa’s defense is only capable of allowing big games, so this should be a fun one to watch unfold. With Washington missing approximately it’s entire offensive line due to injury, I’m favoring the Bucs D.
Josh Rosen looked much better under new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. With the benefit of the bye to further tweak the offense, I’m cautiously optimistic. The Chiefs are a tougher match-up in Arrowhead, but garbage time probably starts as early as the 2nd quarter in this one.
Josh McCown was surprisingly decent last year, averaging 15.8 fantasy points per game (QB16) and completing 67% of his passes. I’m not convinced it carries over, as the Jets’ receiving corps is banged up and the line is worse than a season ago. The match-up is also a tough one (Buffalo ranks 3rd in pass DVOA). Better days may be coming, but he’s just a low-floor QB2 option for this week.
Nick Mullens‘ Thursday night explosion was obviously a lot more about the Oakland defense than it was about Nick Mullens. Fortunately, Mullens gets a Giants defense that looks a lot like Oakland’s. Insert Spider Man meme. Like the Raiders, the Giants don’t pressure the quarterback and they don’t force turnovers. And most importantly, like the Raiders, they don’t seem to care anymore in a depressingly lost season.
This is probably recency bias, and Derek Carr may be fine as a low-end QB2. But after watching him get demolished by the San Francisco 49ers-taking eight sacks against a team that had just 16 heading into the game-I just can’t. Especially against a Chargers defense that seems to be rounding into shape (allowing 15 points per game over their last four games) and may get Joey Bosa back.
The Jets have been struggling on defense, so the odds of Nathan Peterman putting up a good game jump up to…I don’t know, something like one in a million. So yes, I’m saying there’s a chance.