Fantasy Football QB1 Primer: Week 7 (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:
A 70% success rate on predicting the top-10 last week makes for a solid return. However, I missed on calling Sam Darnold’s big week in his return to the field against Dallas (23/32, 338 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) and Carson Wentz delivering against a tough Minnesota defense that had him playing from behind all afternoon (26/40, 306 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 23 rushing yards).
I discounted Wentz’s potential against a difficult defense on the road, but I did not factor in how the possibility of a big lead by the Vikings could lead to more attempts and opportunities for Wentz. I figured that Darnold would have a respectable QB2 showing in his first game back, but I never imagined he would carve up Dallas like he did. Granted, he benefitted from a 92-yard TD to Robby Anderson that greatly enhanced the final stat line, but good quarterbacks make high-impact throws. Darnold’s schedule has him squarely in the conversation for the position’s top-10 moving forward. In the same game, I couldn’t foresee Dak face-planting against the Jets after Amari Cooper went down with an injury, while Patrick Mahomes’ ankle injury continued to limit his playmaking ability and Aaron Rodgers barely missed the cut (24/39, 283 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) on Monday Night Football thanks to a decimated wide receiver group dealing with injuries.
On to Week 7…
* Editor’s Note: Patrick Mahomes suffered a knee injury on Thursday Night Football in Week 7.
10. Carson Wentz (PHI) at Dallas Cowboys
I was tempted to put Dak Prescott here given the juicy matchup against Philadelphia’s sieve of a secondary, but the potential of no Amari Cooper, injuries to their O-line, and the team’s stated desire to run the ball more has me thinking the team pounds the rock with Ezekiel Elliot. Wentz, on the other hand, faces a Dallas defense ranked 25th in Defensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The Cowboys’ speedy linebackers should be able to keep running back Miles Sanders from gashing them through the air as he did against Minnesota last week, but Wentz’ perimeter and deeper threats (Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Dallas Goedert) are likely to challenge Dallas’ coverage schemes.
9. Tom Brady (NE) at New York Jets
Tom Brady takes on a Jets defense that made quick work of what had been a potent Dallas Cowboys offense heading into last week. As a defense, the Jets are a respectable 16th in Defensive DVOA, but Brady carved them up for 306 yards and two touchdowns back in Week 3. Divisional games usually bring out the best in opponents, and the Jets will have Sam Darnold this time, so a 30-14 final score doesn’t seem quite as likely. Expect some regression in favor of the Jets defense in round two of this divisional tilt, but Brady should still deliver a top-10 stat line before the day is through.
8. Kyler Murray (ARI) at New York Giants
Kyler Murray delivered against Atlanta last week (27/37, 340 yards, three touchdowns, 32 rushing yards), and the Giants secondary isn’t much more of a challenge. As a passing defense, the Giants have given up an average of 285.0 yards per game to opposing passers and 9.3 yards per attempt, both the second-highest marks in the league. Given how bad Arizona’s defense is this season (30th in Defensive DVOA), this is a recipe to bet the over in this game. Expect Murray to finish toward the front of the back end of the QB1s for yet another week.
7. Josh Allen (BUF) vs. Miami Dolphins
The Bills are coming off a bye, having had two weeks to prepare against the worst defense in football. Miami is ranked dead last in Defensive DVOA, and they’re giving up a league-high 9.7 yards per attempt to opposing signal-callers. Allen has rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns in five games, putting him on pace for over 500 yards rushing and double-digit touchdowns as a rusher. The floor alone makes Allen a top-10 play this week, with the upside being a chance for him to be the top-overall performer at the position.
6. Patrick Mahomes (KC) at Denver Broncos
Patrick Mahomes has been battling an ankle injury, and the team continues to battle injuries at the wide receiver position with Sammy Watkins already ruled out. Mahomes has struggled to post bug numbers with Tyreek Hill and Watkins out, though Hill did return in a big way last week against Houston’s somewhat pedestrian secondary. The Broncos are a top-10 unit in terms of Defensive DVOA, and their six touchdowns allowed tie for the fifth-lowest mark in football. It’s a rare occurrence when Mahomes isn’t the top-ranked quarterback on this list, but there are enough red flags to bump him down a bit this week.
5. Jared Goff (LAR) at Atlanta Falcons
This is entirely matchup-based, as the Rams seem lost on offense right now. However, the Falcons have given up 1,627 yards passing, the second-highest total in the NFL through six weeks. They’ve also given up 15 touchdowns through the air, which is one shy of the highest amount allowed (16) by the Miami Dolphins. Put simply, you can throw almost at will against Atlanta’s defense. With persistent struggles in the run game due to schematic issues and Todd Gurley’s questionable knee condition, Jared Goff finds himself in a prime position to post elite stats in a cupcake matchup, and it’s one where the Rams may have to throw to compete given how Atlanta has put up over 30 points in each of the last two weeks.
4. Russell Wilson (SEA) vs. Baltimore Ravens
Wilson continues to play at an MVP-caliber level, but the season-ending injury to tight end Will Dissly will surely impact Wilson’s ability to push the ball downfield. Dissly had emerged as a perfect scheme fit in Seattle, and Wilson will have to rely more heavily on his receivers and Luke Willson at tight end. Having tossed 17 touchdowns and just one pick through six games, Wilson’s efficiency guarantees him a high floor even if his low attempts (less than 30 in half his games so far) are less than ideal. Fortunately, this week’s matchup against Baltimore should provide Wilson with the perfect recipe for a big week. The Ravens have allowed 1,617 yards through the air, the sixth-highest total in the league. They’re also allowing opposing passers to complete 61.4% of passes. In a game where Lamar Jackson figures to force Seattle to keep pushing the ball downfield, Wilson still has a massive upside this week despite the loss of Dissly for the year.
3. Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. Los Angeles Rams
Matt Ryan continues to be the perfect fantasy quarterback. He has dangerous weapons in the receiving game and a horrendous defense that forces him to attempt close to 40 passes per week. Ryan has yet to have a game this season where he did not throw for at least 300 yards. He has tossed three touchdowns or more in four of his six games. Against the Rams at home in Atlanta this week, it should be another week of 300+ yards and multiple scores if the Falcons want to stay in the game. The Rams are allowing opposing passers to post a 90.9 passer rating, and they’ve lost Aqib Talib to IR and traded away Marcus Peters. Granted, they did just give up two first-round picks to acquire Jalen Ramsey, but he will be new to the team this week and can’t cover everybody on his own. Plus, he still allows the occasional big play. Ryan is as a good a bet as any to finish as this week’s top quarterback.
2. Lamar Jackson (BAL) at Seattle Seahawks
After rushing for 152 yards and a score last week, Lamar Jackson has earned his place as the top quarterback play of the week. He’s averaging 77 yards on the ground this year, and the Seahawks should force Jackson to stay aggressive on the road for Baltimore to have a chance at winning this week. Whenever you have a quarterback capable of leading the league in rushing and outproducing even the best running backs on a given week, the passing output becomes just gravy on top. The only reason he isn’t number one is the likely absence of Marquise Brown and the possibility that the Seahawks sell out to contain Jackson on the ground. Seattle has held opposing quarterbacks to an 86.3 passer rating, which falls in the bottom-ten of the league.
1. Deshaun Watson (HOU) at Indianapolis Colts
Watson and the Texans offense flashed potential last week against Kansas City, and the irony is that the big day could have been even bigger had Will Fuller not dropped three touchdowns. The Texans are stacking DeAndre Hopkins and Fuller and are tweaking their RPO game to create more throwing lanes for Watson to compensate for their struggles running the ball. A week after tossing five touchdowns and throwing for over 400 yards, Watson threw for 280 with a touchdown while adding another 40+ yards on the ground and an additional two scores. If Watson continues to rush like this, he may assert himself as the top quarterback in fantasy with the weapons he has. The Colts appear to play fairly sound defense in terms of yardage and points allowed, but they are allowing a 108.0 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks, the fourth-highest mark in football. They’re also just 28th in football in defensive DVOA. Watson is an elite play this week.