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Fantasy Football QB1 Primer: Week 12 (2019)

by Paul Ghiglieri | @FantasyEvolves | Featured Writer
Nov 22, 2019

Jeff Driskel has a shot at a top 10 QB performance this week with a great matchup against the Redskins.

All season long in this space, I will rank the top-10 quarterbacks for each 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 10 quarterbacks I ranked as the most likely to finish as the top overall fantasy producers at the position:

HITS: Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Derek Carr, Drew Brees, Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson

MISSES: (Jimmy Garoppolo), (Kirk Cousins), (Jeff Driskel), (Sam Darnold), Tom Brady, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, Jameis Winston

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I include the players who posted top-10 performances that I did not call in my projections and list them in parentheses so we can see which players took the place of quarterbacks I missed on the previous week. I’ll admit that I didn’t see Jimmy Garoppolo, Kirk Cousins, Jeff Driskel, and Sam Darnold coming. Cousins overcame a poor matchup with a second-half surge of throwing the ball downfield after the Broncos stuffed the entire offense in the first half.

Garoppolo had a good matchup, but with Matt Breida, Emmanuel Sanders, and George Kittle unlikely to play or do much, I didn’t see how he could possibly post top-10 numbers. Instead, Jimmy G went on to post arguably the best game of his career, lighting up Arizona yet again, this time for 424 yards on 34 completions, four touchdowns, and a QB rating of 115.3. However, 281 of his yards came after the catch, which was the highest total since 2014 for any quarterback in the NFL. While I don’t want to take anything away from Garoppolo’s career-performance, the lack of air yards makes me feel a bit better for missing on him last week.

Moving on to Jeff Driskel, he only threw for 209 yards on a meager 26 attempts, often missing his first and second reads as anticipated. However, he did manage two touchdowns against Dallas and another score on the ground to go along with 51 yards rushing. His performance was entirely touchdown-dependent, but his upside forces me to re-evaluate him in the right matchups.

Sam Darnold had been playing better since tossing seven combined picks against New England and Jacksonville in Weeks 7 and 8, but after failing to exploit plum matchups against Miami and the New York Giants in the previous two weeks, it was almost impossible to foresee four touchdowns against Washington last week.

Despite no Marshon Lattimore for New Orleans, Jameis Winston imploded at home with four interceptions. That’s the gamble with Winston. Depending on how much your league penalizes for picks, Winston may or may not be a viable QB1 bet every week. Tom Brady’s stats are at the mercy of New England’s quick passing game due to their personnel limitations. If the touchdowns and YAC aren’t there, Brady’s stats won’t be either. Mahomes lost Tyreek Hill early and never recovered.

On to Week 12…

Jeff Driskel (DET) @ Washington Redskins
Admittedly, this bet is a bit of a gamble. Mobile quarterbacks like Driskel, Josh Allen, and even Ryan Tannehill provide a rushing floor that makes them worth consideration every week as a top-10 QB play. However, they’re highly matchup dependent, and this week, Driskel’s matchup is far better than Allen’s or Tannehill’s. True, Washington has only allowed an average of 235.6 Yds/G to opposing quarterbacks on just 294 attempts, the second-lowest total in the league. However, the infrequent attempts are a reflection of Washington’s tendency to run the ball and control the clock more than the prowess of their secondary. They have a bottom-8 passing defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, and Detroit’s run game is almost non-existent.

Driskel ran for 37 yards in his first start, then 51 yards and a score in his second start. He also managed three scores through the air, and that came against much better defenses in Chicago and Dallas than what Washington will trot out on Sunday. Expect over 220 yards passing, a few touchdowns, and at least 30 yards on the ground from Driskel in what should be a solid day that slides him into the top-10.

Baker Mayfield (CLE) vs. Miami Dolphins
Baker Mayfield has shown some signs of life ever since the Browns adjusted their offense to feature Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt on the field in 21 personnel, providing Mayfield with more safety valve and check-down options to sustain drives. The perimeter weapons of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. are among the best wide receiver duo in the league, and Mayfield has begun to target them with more efficiency. Tight end David Njoku gives Mayfield yet another downfield and red-zone weapon. The Dolphins field the third-worst passing defense, according to Football Outsiders DVOA. This is a prime spot for Mayfield to deliver on the promise of what many thought would be a breakout season.

Aaron Rodgers (GB) @ San Francisco 49ers
Former Cal standout, Aaron Rodgers, returns home to the Bay Area to face the team that passed on him with the number one overall pick in 2005. The 49ers’ defense has been among the league’s best, but Rodgers continues to look rejuvenated playing under new HC Matt LaFleur.

While none of the other receivers have truly stepped up as reliable complements to Davante Adams, Rodgers has found dependable targets in Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones out of the backfield. Adams continues to practice on a limited basis with a toe injury, but that hasn’t stopped him from playing the last two weeks, nor Rodgers from feeding him double-digit targets in each of those contests.

After allowing 20 points or more just once in the season’s first eight games, the 49ers have allowed opponents to score 25, 27, and 26 points over the last three weeks. Two nail-biting victories over Arizona and a crushing OT defeat to Seattle has left them battered and bruised; plus, they will become the first team in the Super Bowl era to play three consecutive teams with a .800 winning percentage or better this late in the season. That unprecedented gauntlet starts this week with Aaron Rodgers under center.

Derek Carr (OAK) @ New York Jets
Derek Carr continues to play some of the best football of his career as the Raiders surprisingly vie for a playoff spot, throwing for over 280 yards and a score in four of his last five games. The Jets give up a league-low 79.1 Yds/G (3.0 YPC) to opposing rushing attacks and they have begun to play more inspired football on offense with Sam Darnold hitting his stride, suggesting that the Raiders may craft a game plan that leans more on Carr attacking the Jets’ bottom-ten ranked passing defense DVOA.

Drew Brees (NO) vs. Carolina Panthers
Drew Brees completed 28 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns on the road against the Bucs last week, but New Orleans may be able to lean more on the run this week. The Panthers are allowing 128.4 Yds/G and 4.9 Yds/A, and with Kyle Allen turning into an interception machine the last few weeks, New Orleans is unlikely to be playing from behind much, if at all, on Sunday.

However, the Saints’ passing attack has gone from prolific to hyper-efficient as Brees ages, and Carolina allowed over 300 yards through the air to Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston, and Ryan Tannehill in the last few weeks. Tight end Jared Cook has begun to emerge as a viable weapon inside the hashes while Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara remain almost uncoverable in the short and intermediate areas of the field. There likely won’t be many downfield throws, but Brees makes his bread and butter in the red zone, where he has thrown three touchdowns in two of his last three games since returning from injury.

Jameis Winston (TB) @ Atlanta Falcons
There’s no way around it. Winston was abysmal against New Orleans last week, even with Marshon Lattimore sitting out the contest. Any time you throw four interceptions, it’s going to be a long day. Atlanta’s defense had been a customized recipe for fantasy success most of the season, but in their last two games since their bye, they held both the Saints and Panthers without a touchdown and totaled four interceptions and nine sacks after racking up just seven sacks in their first eight games.

The change seemed to coincide with HC Dan Quinn giving assistant head coach Raheem Morris play-calling duties on third down and two-minute defenses, while linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich called the defense on first and second down. Regardless, Winston still gets to throw to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and he’s thrown for 300 yards or more on 40+ attempts in seven of his last eight games with some extra rushing stats in his last few games to boot.

Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After opening the season with six straight 300 yard passing days, Ryan has only cleared 200 yards in one of his last three games with just two touchdowns during that span. The matchup against Tampa Bay is one of the best he’ll draw all year. The Bucs hold the sixth-worst passing defense DVOA and allow 290.9 Yds/G through the air to opposing quarterbacks. Since they also snuff out their opponent’s rushing attack, Tampa checks in as the ultimate pass-funnel defense. They have limited teams to 80.9 Yds/G and 3.5 YPC on the ground, so expect the Falcons to take to the air this week at home.

Russell Wilson (SEA) @ Philadelphia Eagles
Russell Wilson gets an Eagles secondary that began the season allowing seven separate receivers to post 100-yard receiving games over the course of the first eight games. Philadelphia has buckled down some in recent weeks, but the way to beat them is most certainly through the air. With Josh Gordon having two weeks to acclimate to the offense during the bye week, rookie DK Metcalf surging, and Tyler Lockett potentially due back in a must-win game on the road, Wilson will have to carry the team on his back this week.

Lamar Jackson (BAL) @ Los Angeles Rams
Here are Lamar Jackson’s rushing totals the last seven games: 79, 65, 61, 116, 152, 70, 66 with five touchdowns. He’s producing RB2 numbers with his legs alone. As a passer, he has only attempted 30+ passes four times all season, but the ultra-efficiency of OC Greg Roman’s scheme has allowed Jackson to toss 19 touchdowns despite just one 300+ yard passing day all year. The upcoming schedule (Rams, 49ers, Bills) represents the toughest passing slate to date for Jackson, but his dual-threat capability makes him the safest bet in the NFL for a top-10 finish every week, regardless of opponent.

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 Paul Ghiglieri is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Paul, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyGhigs.

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