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Fantasy Football QB1 Targets: Week 5 (2020)

by Paul Ghiglieri | @FantasyEvolves | Featured Writer
Oct 9, 2020

All season long in this space, I will rank the tiers of quarterbacks for each week based on various 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.

Nobody is ever going to bench Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes (unless you have both and can only start one, which would be the most asinine roster construction of all time). Publishing a ranking on this site that lists them as the top options in a given week is neither actionable advice nor worthwhile content. If you’re reading this column, it’s most likely because you fall into one of three categories. You either waited on your quarterback during the draft and are trying to choose between two mid-range options on your roster, you are streaming at the position, or you play in a SuperFlex or 2QB league and are trying to decide who to plug into your SuperFlex slot.

In an effort to strategically evaluate quarterbacks each week and provide meaningful advice, we should break the position into those three fantasy-relevant tiers:

  1. Top 3 mid-range quarterbacks who have the best shot at a top-5 week.
  2. Top 3 widely available quarterbacks you can stream who have the best shot at producing a top-10 week.
  3. Top 3 QB2 options who have the best shot at producing a top-10 week.

In many cases, there will be some overlap, especially when looking at QB2 options in a SuperFlex league who are likely to be available on the wire to stream in a 1QB league. However, the goal here is to offer you a fresh perspective tailored to a fantasy owner’s actual needs that might help you solve a lineup crunch. After all, you don’t need me to tell you to start Mahomes.

Before we jump into picks for this week, I want to address last week. Doing this column as long as I have, I feel fortunate that I’ve posted a 50-75% success rate with these picks most weeks over the past two years. Sure, I put in the work and research, but there’s still luck involved. However, there’s no getting around the fact that last week was an unmitigated disaster, and as an analyst, I need to own that and try to get to the bottom of what went wrong so I can be better moving forward.

If you missed last week’s target list, click here. I was right about Joe Burrow being great and winning his first game, and I called Aaron Rodgers carving up the Atlanta Falcons’ secondary; however, Jared Goff, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Nick Mullens (ouch), and Baker Mayfield came nowhere close to where I thought they would in terms of production. That said, I’m still a believer in process over temporary results.

On to Week 5…

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Mid-Range QB1s with Week-Winning Upside

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Steelers have been biding their time for what seems like a month now ever since their game against Tennessee was postponed due to COVID. Big Ben should have stud second-year wideout Diontae Johnson cleared from the concussion protocol, and last we saw, tight end Eric Ebron was establishing himself within the offense as well. The Eagles have been a fairly middle-of-the-road pass defense thus far, but Philadelphia still allowed a 71% completion rate and 368 yards passing to the combination of Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard last week. The Eagles are one of only nine teams that have allowed over 100 completions this season, and Big Ben is completing 67% of his passes thus far. The stage is set.

Drew Brees (NO) vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Sticking with aging passers, Drew Brees should not only get star receiver Michael Thomas back this week, but he also draws a Chargers defense that’s been facing nearly 40 pass attempts per game recently, as they’ve been gouged by opposing quarterbacks. Injuries to the secondary have left Los Angeles in disarray, and their pass rush has not compensated.

Streaming Options (under 60% rostered in most leagues) with QB1 Upside

Daniel Jones (NYG) at Dallas Cowboys
To be clear, I don’t think that Daniel Jones is a particularly good NFL quarterback. However, the divisional matchup could not be better. Dallas is a bottom-1o pass defense according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA. The 12 touchdowns they have permitted are tied for the second-most in the league through four games, and they have just one interception on the year. The Cowboys defense is a liability in a game that Dallas has to win, and Daniel Jones has a chance to post QB1 numbers when you consider the garbage time production that should occur when Dallas jumps out to a big lead.

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) vs. Miami Dolphins
Garoppolo should play, but even if he doesn’t, C.J. Beathard (should he be named the starter) offers sneaky upside off the wire. Miami has allowed 8.2 net yards gained per pass attempt, the most in the league. Put simply, they’re giving up a lot of yards through the air while simultaneously generating very little pressure. Miami fields the second-worst run defense according to Football Outsiders DVOA; however, injuries continue to mount for the 49ers’ defense, so San Francisco may need to pass more than it would like in this game. Playing the first full game with George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk together should give whoever is under center for San Francisco a legitimate shot at QB1 production.

SuperFlex Options with QB1 Upside

Teddy Bridgewater (CAR) at Atlanta Falcons
Bridgewater seems to be finding his sea legs in OC Joe Brady’s scheme. This week, Carolina faces off against an Atlanta defense that has allowed a league-leading 13 touchdowns through the air this year. The Falcons have also posted the second-worst pass defense DVOA so far this season. Atlanta is permitting a nearly 73% completion rate and over 8.40 yards per attempt to opposing signal-callers. Bridgewater should produce QB1 numbers this week.

Kirk Cousins (MIN) at Seattle Seahawks
Rookie Justin Jefferson has begun to admirably fill the shoes left behind by Stefon Diggs, and the offense has started to open up as a result. Kirk Cousins faces off against a Seattle defense that’s allowing a league-worst 1,604 yards through the air on a league-high 200 attempts. We should fully expect Minnesota to try and establish the run early in this contest — if only to keep Russell Wilson off the field. More likely, Minnesota will have to throw to win, exploiting a defense ranked 29th in pass defense DVOA.

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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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