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Fantasy Football QB1 Primer: Week 13 (2019)

by Paul Ghiglieri | @FantasyEvolves | Featured Writer
Nov 29, 2019

Russell Wilson is a high upside play this week against the Vikings.

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 ten quarterbacks I ranked as the most likely to finish as the top overall fantasy producers at the position:

HITS: Jameis Winston, Baker Mayfield, Drew Brees, Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson

MISSES: Jeff Driskel, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, (Ryan Tannehill), (Sam Darnold), (Kyle Allen), (Ryan Fitzpatrick), (Mitchell Trubisky)

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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. It was another 50% finish for me. I’ll start with Jeff Driskel since he was a surprise for some inside my projections last week.

Driskel wasn’t an abject disaster by any means, finishing as a mid-tier QB2 in most formats that don’t carry heavy penalties for interceptions, but those picks killed his production. Driskel did much of what I thought he’d do against a weak Washington defense. He ran for 63 yards on nine carries and threw for over 200 yards. Admittedly, I expected more than just the one touchdown, and I didn’t think he’d throw three INTs given the great matchup.

Many people asked me to choose between Driskel and Darnold last week. For the record, I debated Darnold over Driskel for the 10th spot but ultimately went with Driskel due to his rushing floor and better matchup, and the fact that Darnold failed to deliver in two of previous four matchups against porous secondaries. Plus, Oakland had been playing more inspired football before Sunday, as well. I picked the wrong horse, pure and simple.

I don’t regret not picking Trubisky or Kyle Allen. Both have been absolutely dreadful of late. Kudos to both of them for having a fine performance though. The fact is, I doubt anyone saw it coming for either. Ryan Tannehill was a popular streamer, but I figured Tennessee’s run-heavy approach would keep him out of the top-1o. Admittedly, I own both Tannehill and Driskel in one league where I had Kirk Cousins on a bye. I went with Driskel and it cost me a win.

To add salt to the wound, Tannehill wound up being the overall OB2 for the week behind only Lamar Jackson. It was the type of performance that those in keeper leagues may want to remember, as it may ultimately lead to Tannehill earning the starting gig in Tennessee next year as a bridge talent, and one who may surprisingly hold low-end QB1 value with the weapons at his disposal and continuity with the offensive coordinator.

Oakland came out flat and never recovered on the road in New York, so Derek Carr busted as well. Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur had no answers for a ferocious 49ers defense, while Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan failed to deliver in good spots despite doing so most weeks.

On to Week 12…

Russell Wilson (SEA) vs Minnesota Vikings
Russell Wilson draws a defense that is top-4 in rushing defense DVOA but only 16th in passing DVOA. As strong as Minnesota’s defense has been at limiting big plays, Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes have been liabilities in coverage out wide. If Tyler Lockett is fully recovered from his shin injury, he and D.K. Metcalf should eat. Wilson’s rushing ability and ability to find the open man in the red zone (league-leading 24 touchdowns) make him a high upside play this week.

Aaron Rodgers (GB) @ New York Giants
After an explosive run through Weeks 4-8 in which Rodgers threw 12 touchdowns and threw for over 300 yards three times and 400 twice, the Packers’ offense has stalled in matchups against the Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers, and San Francisco 49ers. The Giants rank 27th in passing defense DVOA. Though they may have the pass rush to exploit the loss of LT Brian Bulaga, other than Janoris Jenkins, the rest of New York’s secondary has been atrocious this year. The 8.6 yards per attempt they give up ranks as the second-highest in the NFL and the 260.0 Yds/G they allow sits as the sixth-highest rate in the league.

Sam Darnold (NYJ) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sam Darnold has been one of fantasy’s hottest quarterbacks the last three weeks after failing to deliver in a prime matchup against Miami in Week 9. Since then, Darnold has thrown seven touchdowns and averaged 279.3 yards per game. He has also rushed for two scores. The matchups against the Bengals, followed by Miami against next week, are the best he will face all season; both teams rank at the very bottom in passing defense DVOA. The Bengals allow 9.0 yards per attempt, the highest mark in football.

Deshaun Watson (HOU) vs New England Patriots
Watson has overall QB1 upside any time DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are on the field together, but this matchup is not ideal. New England has not allowed a quarterback to throw for over 212 yards since Week 1, when Ben Roethlisberger threw for 276 yards, mostly in garbage time of a 33-3 loss. However, these are the quarterbacks New England has faced since then: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Luke Falk, Sam Darnold seeing ghosts, Josh Allen, Colt McCoy, Daniel Jones, Carson Wentz missing all his receivers, and Dak Prescott in miserable weather.

The one other? Lamar Jackson, who throttled them for 61 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground in addition to another one through the air, and may have had an even better day had the Ravens not taken the air out of the football with a 17 point lead. Watson is by far the most talented quarterback the Patriots will have faced aside from Jackson, and while not as dangerous as a runner, he remains a threat with his legs. With Will Fuller back to rejuvenate the Texans’ downfield passing attack and the luxury of playing at home, it’s hard to rank Watson outside the top-10 this week.

Jameis Winston (TB) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
You know the drill, and you take the good with the bad when it comes to Winston. He’s second in passing yards, touchdown passes, completions of 20 yards or more and 40 yards or more. However, he also leads the league by a wide margin in interceptions and sacks, and he has only completed 59.9% of his passes, lowest amongst every starting quarterback you will see this week.

The Jaguars 34 sacks rank as the 6th-most in the league, and they are 13th in passing defense DVOA; however, they have been slipping since trading away Jalen Ramsey to Los Angeles. In fact, they look downright demoralized since reinserting Nick Foles back into the starting lineup and have lost three straight after beginning the season 4-4 under the surprising play of Gardner Minshew.

In his last five games, Winston has thrown multiple interceptions in every game except one. However, he was able to get Chris Godwin involved again last week (7-184-2), and Jacksonville will struggle to contain Mike Evans. If nothing else, Winston brings with him the high-floor 40+ attempts will garner.

Carson Wentz (PHI) @ Miami Dolphins
Playing behind a crumbling offensive line and with a receiving corps decimated by injury, Carson Wentz averaged a pitiful 5.7 Yds/A last week against Seattle. The Eagles are cautiously optimistic they will get back Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jefferey for a plush matchup against the Dolphins talent-deficient defense. The Dolphins are the worst team in football at defending the pass according to the passing defense DVOA. Despite what has been an uneven year, Wentz brings a high ceiling to match what should be a high floor this week.

Patrick Mahomes (KC) vs Oakland Raiders
Mahomes could get back Tyreek Hill for this matchup, and HC Andy Reid is 17-3 in his career coming off a bye. The Raiders were annihilated by Sam Darnold and the Jets on the road last week. Things only figure to get worse in Arrowhead this week for a team with the third-worst passing defense DVOA. If you own Mahomes, you couldn’t ask for a better recipe for success this week.

Lamar Jackson (BAL) vs San Francisco 49ers
Here are Lamar Jackson’s rushing totals the last eight games: 95, 79, 65, 61, 116, 152, 70, 66 with five touchdowns. As mentioned here last week, he’s producing RB2 numbers with his legs alone. As a passer, he has only attempted 30+ passes four times all season; he only attempted 20 passes last week in the beatdown Baltimore placed on the Los Angeles Rams. However, Jackson has toss 24 touchdowns despite just one 300+ yard passing day all year, including five last week against the Rams and nine in the last two games alone. He remains 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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