Two Quarterback Rankings: Week 14
December 10, 2015 | Chet
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Congrats. If you’ve made it to the playoffs, stop for a moment and give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve survived the year of the never ending injuries. We’ve seen a number of quarterbacks miss time this season due to injury, and in a two quarterback league, that makes our lives way more difficult. In one league I’m in, I started out drafting Tony Romo and Sam Bradford, and now I’m relying on a committee of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel, and Blaine Gabbert. The road to the playoffs ain’t always pretty, but it sure can be fun. So congrats again. Crack a beer, eat some wings, and in the good words of Tom Haverford, “treat yo self”. Don’t lose track of the ultimate prize, though. Whatever bold (or smart) decisions, waiver savviness and luck got you here, keep it up. Don’t be too bold, though. You’re not sitting Cam Newton for Ryan Tannehill just because of the matchups.
Speaking of matchups, I really like Kirk Cousins (It’s like the third time I’m featuring him in this spot, but he always seems to come up clutch). The Bears just got embarrassed by Blaine Gabbert by allowing a 40+ yard touchdown run and a bomb in overtime to lose the game. The Redskins have a very legitimate shot to make it to the playoffs, and with games against the Bears, Bills, Eagles, and Cowboys coming up, now is the time for Cousins to crank it up a level. Another fun fact? Cousins has alternated between above and below 300 passing yards the previous 8 weeks. He just threw for 219 last week.
- Cam Newton (vs ATL) – The Falcons are a pretty tough matchup for quarterbacks these days, but you’re not sitting him in the playoffs as he’s been the hottest quarterback in football.
- Tom Brady (vs HOU) – He’s picked it back up over the last two weeks with back to back three score games, and the Houston defense might be regressing after getting torched by Tyrod Taylor.
- Aaron Rodgers (vs DAL) – Despite his Hail Mary last week, Rodgers and the rest of the Packers offense has struggled as of late.
- Ben Roethlisberger (@ CIN) – He’s averaged five less fantasy points per game against the Bengals since 2011, but he’s got the best wide receiving duo in the league and the team is fighting for a playoff berth. I like his chances of turning it up.
- Carson Palmer (vs MIN) – He just keeps doing his thing (another 350/2 last week). The “stingy” Vikings have also given up six passing touchdowns over their last three games.
- Blake Bortles (vs IND) – The QB6 on the year, Bortles is coming off of his best career performance. He’s been a touchdown machine and now gets a struggling Indianapolis defense that is giving up the eighth most points to quarterbacks.
- Eli Manning (@ MIA) – Miami has been a very good matchup for quarterbacks, but Manning has cooled off somewhat, with seven touchdowns and six interceptions over his last four games.
- Russell Wilson (@BAL) – Three straight monster games and he’s now your QB7. At some point you need to acknowledge he’s stepping it up. The Seahawks seem to be finding their groove, and he looks ready to be a potential playoff winner with matchups against the Ravens, Browns, and Rams.
- Tyrod Taylor (@ PHI) – Against two defenses that have vastly improved, Taylor has thrown six touchdowns his last two games. The Philadelphia Eagles have allowed 13 touchdowns over their last three games.
- Andy Dalton (vs PIT) – He had one of his worst games of the year against them earlier this season, but he’s been playing well (eight total touchdowns over his last three) and the Steelers are allowing the 11th most points to opposing quarterbacks.
Fringe QB1s/High End QB2s:
- Jameis Winston (vs NO) – Much like Tyrod Taylor, he’s been playing extremely well and is set to face a historically bad defense. He should probably be ranked higher.
- Ryan Tannehill (vs NYG) – It’s clear they’re shifting to a more balanced approach, but this is still very much a matchup you want to exploit.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs TEN)- Thanks to consistency and an extremely favorable schedule, Fitzmagic is your QB10 on the season. The Titans have surrendered eight touchdowns over their last two, and Fitzmagic has six in his last two.
- Jay Cutler (vs WAS) – He flopped in a prime matchup and now has one touchdown over his last three games. I think he turns it around somewhat this week, but he doesn’t have a high ceiling.
- Drew Brees (@ TB) – He was held in check by the Bucs back when they played in week 2, but this game has the potential to be the highest scoring matchup of the week.
Mid Level QB2s:
- Matthew Stafford (@ STL) – With Robert Quinn going on IR, this matchup just got a whole lot easier for him. That doesn’t say much, however, as even without Quinn at 100%, the Rams have given up only 14 passing touchdowns and 240 yards through the air.
- Philip Rivers (@ KC) – Rivers has now thrown for one touchdown or less in three of his last four matchups, and had his worst outing to date in their last meeting.
- Alex Smith (vs SD) – It’s tough to see him going for a third straight QB1 performance, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. The good news is the Chargers have trouble creating turnovers (fourth fewest on the year).
- Derek Carr (@ DEN) – Carr was neutralized in their first matchup, and there isn’t much optimism for improvement, as even with injuries the Broncos’ defense has remained elite.
- Bryan Hoyer (@ NE) – He’s quietly been very steady, much like Fitzpatrick (17 ppg), but this matchup can truly go either way for him.
- Kirk Cousins (@ CHI) – I like this as a spot for him to heat back up after tossing only one touchdown in four out of his last five games. If they want to make a push for the playoffs, they’ll need him to come through, and for fantasy purposes, he’s about to get three quarterback friendly matchups.
- Brock Osweiler (vs OAK) – Was a little bit exposed without much of a running game last week, but this is a matchup he is fully capable of taking advantage of, as Oakland has been a godsend for quarterback production.
Low End QB2s:
- Matt Ryan (@ CAR) – Something’s broken Matty Ice. He’s averaging two turnovers a game throughout his last three games, is on a five game losing streak, and can’t hit any level of consistency. Don’t expect any sort of renaissance against the Panthers and Josh Norman, who will most likely help shut down Julio Jones.
- Marcus Mariota (@ NYJ) – We’ve yet to see him put together three straight solid passing performances in his career, and he now gets a Jets defense that is at home and fighting for a playoff spot. He’s truly going into the lion’s den.
- Sam Bradford (vs BUF) – His last QB1 performance came way back in week five, but he has a chance to grab another here, as Buffalo has given up 23 touchdowns on the year and has trouble getting to the quarterback. If Bradford has time to throw, this could be the performance he didn’t get to finish against Miami (236 and a TD before getting injured).
High Risk/High Reward QB2s:
- Johnny Manziel (vs SF) – The upside is most certainly there, and he’s been making strides this season, but it’s really tough to trust him in the playoffs unless you either have to, or have big cajones.
- Blaine Gabbert (@ CLE) – You’ll need even bigger balls to trust him, but like I said last week, he’s been delivering. It may be fluky production, but he’s still getting it done.
- Matt Hasselbeck (@ JAC) – It’s an absolutely beautiful matchup, as the Jaguars are the second friendliest defense to quarterbacks, but his age may be causing him to hit a bit of a wall. Now with multiple injuries, it’s tough to trust him even in a great matchup.
- Teddy Bridgewater (@ ARI) – He’s regressing as a passer, but that’s what young quarterbacks do that don’t have much time to throw. Expect the Vikings to rely on heavily on AP to keep both their depleted defense and Carson Palmer off the field.
- Matt Cassel (@ GB) – Aside from his monster game against the Eagles, he’s put up Nick Foles like numbers.
- Matt Schaub (vs SEA) – Only start him if your league awards you points for a pick six.
- STL QB (vs DET) – Does it even matter who’s starting?