Fantasy Football QB1 Primer: Week 6 (2019)
All season long in this space, I will rank the top-10 quarterbacks for each given week based on a variety of factors. The primary consideration will always be the true talent and ability of the signal-caller. Other circumstances such as the scheduled matchup, surrounding talent, offensive line play, and advanced metrics are then weighed in to produce a weekly ranking.
Before we proceed, let’s review how last week went among the ten quarterbacks I ranked as the most likely to finish as the top overall fantasy producers at the position:
It was an unfortunate slip back to a 50% success rate with the top-10 projections last week. Just when we felt Jameis Winston had grown into HC Bruce Arians’ offense enough to warrant nearly every-week start consideration, he came up short against New Orleans. Additionally, Carson Wentz was a surprising bust last week despite the 31-6 victory over the New York Jets. The Eagles went into cruise control with the game well in hand after two defensive scores, and Wentz had no need to push the ball downfield.
Patrick Mahomes tweaked his ankle and shockingly underdelivered against a Colts defense missing multiple starters. Jared Goff attempted 49 passes for 395 yards, but the Rams continued to struggle to find their groove on offense in a loss to Seattle. Finally, Lamar Jackson had his worst game of the season on the road against Pittsburgh, tossing three picks and a middling 161 yards through the air. He salvaged his day with 70 yards on 14 carries, but this was not the top-10 performance that was expected. Forced throws and struggles with throws outside the numbers continue to expose limitations to Jackson’s game despite the enormous upside his legs offer each week.
In place of those four, I also missed on calling big games for Dak Prescott against what had looked like an emerging Green Bay Packers defense, Teddy Bridgewater upping his game to toss four touchdowns against the Buccanneers, Gardner Minshew having a career day against a tough Carolina front-seven, and Andy Dalton overcoming a porous offensive line and battered receiving core to still toss a pair of touchdowns and over 260 yards in a prime matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. As the saying goes… “Any given Sunday…”
On to Week 6!
Aaron Rodgers (GB) vs Detroit Lions
Aaron Rodgers didn’t have to throw much against Dallas last week with Aaron Jones taking it into the end zone four times. However, Detroit comes into Green Bay fresh off a bye with extra time to prepare on offense. The absence of Davante Adams has hampered Rodgers somewhat but against a Lions secondary allowing 280.8 YPG through the air with just two interceptions, there should be ample opportunity for success in the passing attack.
Kirk Cousins (MIN) vs Philadelphia Eagles
Kirk Cousins has not been a viable streaming option this season as the Vikings become a run-first offense under HC Mike Zimmer and OC Kevin Stefanski. However, last week, Cousins did manage to throw for 306 yards and multiple scores against the New York Giants. The Eagles are very stout against the run (3.2 YPC allowed with a paltry 63.0 YPG), so Minnesota is going to have to lean on their star receivers in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to beat a surging Philadelphia team.
Kyler Murray (ARI) vs Atlanta Falcons
Murray threw for 253 yards against the Bengals last week. Though he didn’t manage to throw for any touchdowns, he more than made up for it with his legs (10-93-1). Taking on the Falcons non-existent secondary at home this week should put Murray back into the end zone quite a bit again. Atlanta is allowing a 117.0 passer rating to opposing passers and have already given up 12 touchdowns, both the second-highest marks in the NFL through five weeks. Expect Murray to carve up this defense in what should be a barn burner.
Russell Wilson (SEA) @ Cleveland Browns
When Wilson feels inclined to throw, there’s top-3 upside every week. However, the Seahawks continue to find success running the ball, causing Wilson to alternate big games with rather pedestrian ones. The Seahawks travel to Cleveland this week, and they will almost certainly feature a run-heavy game plan after watching the 49ers pound the Browns for 275 rushing yards last week. In fact, the Browns have allowed 150+ rushing yards in back to back games, so it’s clear what Seattle’s game plan will be this week. Much of this ranking has to do with the fact that Wilson is playing like an MVP, completing over 70% of his passes for a 126.3 passer rating and 12 touchdowns through five weeks. He can put up solid numbers with efficiency alone as Cleveland potentially sells out to stop the run.
Dak Prescott (DAL) @ New York Jets
This week, Prescott draws a Jets defense on the road that actually ranks top-1o in defensive DVOA. However, the Packers are just as good, and that didn’t stop Prescott from uncorking two scores and over 400 yards through the air last week. Unfortunately, the three picks dampened what could have been a team victory as well. Expect a strong performance from Prescott against a Jets team that has only tallied six sacks through four games, tied for the second-lowest total in the league.
Deshaun Watson (HOU) @ Kansas City Chiefs
Watson exploded for 426 yards, five touchdowns, and a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating in what will surely go down as one of the all-time great statistical performances at the position. This week, the Texans hit the road in a tough matchup at Arrowhead to take on a Chiefs defense facing over 35 attempts per game to opposing passers. The volume should be there in what may evolve into a shootout.
Matt Ryan (ATL) @ Arizona Cardinals
As a pass defense, the Cardinals are allowing 269 yards per game and have permitted 12 touchdowns through six games, the second-highest total in the NFL. Matt Ryan has thrown multiple scores in every game so far but one and over 300 yards in every single one of them. You do the math. The Falcons have not been very good on offense (they’ve scored over 30 points just once in six games), but that’s largely due to an ineffective ground game. Ryan has been the beneficiary with over 40 passes attempted nearly every week.
Lamar Jackson (BAL) vs Cincinnati Bengals
Lamar Jackson draws a cake matchup against the second-worst defense in the league, according to defensive DVOA. The Bengals have just six sacks through five games and have allowed a 109.6 passer rating to opposing signal-callers, fifth-highest in football. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Jackson doesn’t pop here for multiple scores while gashing the Bengals on the ground.
Patrick Mahomes vs Houston Texans
Patrick Mahomes appears to be healthy after the ankle tweak and injuries to his receiving core limited his effectiveness in a surprising loss to the Colts last week. Mahomes could see the return of Tyreek Hill in the game, and while Sammy Watkins is trending toward not playing, young receiver Byron Pringle stepped up admirably in his place against Indianapolis. The Texans have featured a top-12 pass defense and rank inside the top 12 in Football Outsiders’ total defensive DVOA, but Kansas City should rebound in a big way this week in what is shaping up to be a high-scoring affair.