When Covid isn’t flattening QBs and teams left and right, massive windstorms have completely shut down QBs several times this year. In Week 10, another Vortex Giant (CR25 for you nerds) stomped into many stadiums, leaving giant killers like Nick Chubb and [checks notes] Ben Roethisberger (hmmm) to save the villagers. I’ve asked fantasy managers to be proactive about rostering useful streaming QBs, if not to provide options in case of Covid or weather, but at the very least to deprive your opponents of a starting QB. This last week, your opponents would have gotten useful streaming games from bottom-tier QBs like Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins, and Philip Rivers. Now, I’m not applauding their games. But when other QBs are facing off against sustained 25MPH winds, gusts to 50MPH, and rain/sleet, those fair weather QB streamers look awfully nice.
Daniel Jones — My lawd, we’re at the point where we’re leading with Daniel Jones. Why? Why would I lead off with Danny Nickels? He’s burned me in a couple leagues this year and after his atrocious start to the season, he’s undoubtedly sitting on your league’s waiver wire. Hell, you might have dropped him after his infamous flub of a wide-open touchdown run:
— lindsey ok (@lindseyyok) October 23, 2020
But the truth is: Daniel Jones is 13th in fantasy points over the past month, and he’s facing the Bengals, the Seahawks, and the Cardinals to finish out the fantasy season. Readers, I’m not here to coddle your love affair with Baker Mayfield. I’m here to point out where quarterbacks in crappy positions are suddenly helpful to your fantasy team, and Jones has hit that mark now. He’s got a combined QB rating of 89.1 over his last 4 games against some staunch DEF — Tampa, Washington (which actually leads the league in fewest passing yards allowed!), and twice against the Eagles (6th in the league in fewest passing yards allowed). A large chunk of these points have come from his 254 rushing yards, good for 3rd-best among QBs in the past month; it’s also more yards than Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Mike Davis, and Wayne Gallman. I’m not saying you should sell the farm or even put Daniel Jones into your 12-team lineup. What I am saying is that if you’re the kind of manager that’s been streaming QBs this year, Jones might be your bright light to end the season.
Ben Roethlisberger — Big Ben had a weird off-week where he was “quarantined” for Covid (can you really imagine him social distancing?) and also battling a sore knee from a hit absorbed in Week 9. After being cleared, he walked into a disaster of a windy and rainy game…and put up 333 yards and 4 TDs. It was against the Bengals, sure, but in windy and rainy conditions, you usually discount QB performance by about 25%. Instead, Big Ben went full bore into his effort to break into top 12 QB territory. Although he faces the disastrous Jaguars DEF next week, he follows up — in what may be the fantasy playoffs for some — with games against the Ravens and the Football Team, each of which are stout against the pass. Keep in mind that the Steelers are actually in the bottom half of the league in passing yardage; much of Ben’s fantasy utility has come from his stellar TD%. He’ll be a fine contrarian DFS GPP play because he’ll be low-owned against his upcoming opponents, but you might want to look elsewhere for QB streamers after next week. Ultimately, I put Big Ben into the top 12 QBs, although he’s fighting for that spot with a lot of other QBs.
Tua Tagovailoa — Tua was a popular streaming option this week, and I was a bit hesitant to recommend him. Overall, he put up QB14 numbers, but he was also less valuable than Alex Smith and Philip Rivers. I’m still fine streaming Tua, but unlike many readers of this column, I’m not recommending that you ride-or-die with him. Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled to produce usable fantasy numbers when every Fin was healthy, and now Tua has taken over a battered team that’s missing some key receiving components, particularly breakout running back Myles Gaskin. Readers with a good memory will recall that Fitzpatrick’s second favorite target was Gaskin; now that Gaskin is on IR and breakout receiver Isaiah Ford is with the Patriots, Tua’s truly leading a new offense that will likely take time to gel.
Drew Brees — I recommended Brees last week, and then he got hurt at halftime in Week 10. News reports indicate that Brees has several fractured ribs and a collapsed lung. Statistically speaking, he’s already having one of the least impressive years of his career, and at the age of 41, he could be done for your fantasy teams in 2020. News reports indicate he’ll miss a few weeks, but in terms of your fantasy season, these next games are crucial and you shouldn’t waste time waiting for Brees to recover. Take a look below, for Jameis Winston, who will be the logical replacement for Brees…unless the $20 million man Taysom Hill wildcats his way into the starting lineup.
Jameis Winston — Should really be starting for about half the NFL teams out there. OK, probably 3/4 of the league. Yeah, he had a staggeringly bad 2020 in terms of accuracy with 30 INTs, but his big arm won a lot of leagues for fantasy managers. In the history of NFL passers in the first five years of their career, Winston is second all-time in passing yards (19,737, trailing only Peyton Manning), 8th in passing TDs (117, more than Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers), 30th in QB rating (86.9, ahead of Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford). I know a lot of best ball teams drafted Winston in the thoughts that the aging Brees would miss time, and that bet will likely pay off in the upcoming weeks. The Saints are facing the Falcons twice in the next three games, and in case you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the Falcons are on pace to give up the second most passing yards in NFL history (trailing only this year’s Seahawks). In short: pick up Winston in head-to-head, and he’s worth a DFS GPP lineup.
Kyler Murray — The Razzball crew was basically all-in on Kyler this year, and it’s paid off. Kyler is, by a factor of 30%, the best QB over the past month, and his ability to gain yards in the air and on the ground have proven him to be an elite fantasy starter. If I were ranking numerically, Kyler would be number 1 right now.
Russell Wilson — Here’s a takeaway from fantasy baseball: even the best pitchers succeed only 70% of the time. Some of last year’s most valuable pitchers — Gerrit Cole, Lance Lynn, Aaron Nola — had stretches of the season that were dismal. In the above examples, you’re talking pitchers who would have been the equivalent of Tier 1 on this QB list, and each of them spent nearly 30% of the year putting up numbers that were, at times, downright miserable. Russ has not been cooking the past couple of weeks, and his Week 10 performance against the capable Rams’ DEF was downright scary. Perhaps the best example was when Russ abandoned a possible TD-run to throw against his body into coverage, resulting in an end zone interception.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 15, 2020
It’s OK, fantasy managers. We’ll all working with statistical odds. Even elite QBs miss and have bad games. Russ is the only QB to make 30+ TDs in each of the past 4 years (I’m assuming he adds 2 more TDs before the end of 2020), and he’s been rolling as a playmaker due to the record-breaking awfulness of the Seahawks’ DEF. Start your studs and don’t second-guess a bad performance from an elite QB.
Nick Foles — Foles had a hip injury at the end of the Monday night game that resulted in him being carted from the field, although later tests indicated the injury was not as serious as first thought. Far be it from me, sitting on my couch with Daniel Tiger on in the background and a 2-year old climbing on my back, to say that Foles is attracted to poor results, but since 2015, Foles has started only 31 games, has never started more than 11 games in a season, and has a total of 13 wins in that span. Also, he made $30 million last year and is pulling in $8 million this year. Any NFL managers out there reading this? [Crickets] I mean, I could save you millions of doll hairs if you just followed my advice: don’t sign Nick Foles. ENYWHEY. The Bears’ offense is a disaster, and if Foles goes next week, you still shouldn’t be starting him. If Foles is out, the Bears should just long snap to Cordarelle Patterson every play and let his punt returns be the entire offense. Backup/franchise QB Mitchell Trubisky has been out with a shoulder injury and may not be available any time soon. This would leave career practice squad QB Tyler Bray as the Bears’ starter. If you watched the last minute of Monday night’s game, you’ll realize Bray as about as effective as bringing in “QB Lions” in the old Tecmo Bowl games. How’s that for a dated reference? It’s about as dated as Tyler Bray’s NFL career.
The reason the wildcat doesn't work with him is he's too close to the line of scrimmage. Bring in the long snapper and let him kick return.
— Rudy Gamble (@rudygamble) November 17, 2020
Philip Rivers — Every week I peek into Rudy’s premium rankings and spill the beans about a value play that you might consider. This week, I’m seeing Philip Rivers — who has been fantasy trash this year — looking like he might be a smash against Green Bay next week. The Packers secondary is banged up, and the Colts’ defense has been so good that the Colts offense has been able to spread the ball around. After finishing near the absolute bottom in terms of fantasy QB points in the first five games of the season, in the past four games, Rivers has put up 2 performances in the top 6 and one top 12 performance. Also there was a top 28 performance, but that was against the Ravens so we’ll forgive him. If you’re looking for a streamer this week, you could do worse than Rivers. Good luck!
Rankings are provided in a tiered format and, to bold it like I do every week, I don’t rank within the tiers. Outside of the first tier, you’re generally looking at less than a 10% performance difference in expected points among the QBs that would/should be rostered in fantasy football leagues.
All data is compiled using current year’s data, and if you’re looking for expected data in future matchups, Rudy has a premium option that’s really good and will help you. Even with most of the fantasy season done, it’s still a stunning value at about $3 per fantasy game on rest of season.
- PY/G = 2020 passing yards per game
- RY/G = 2020 rushing yards per game
- TTDs = Passing + Rushing TDs
- CAY/AT = Completed Air Yards per Attempt (Shows accuracy + Thrown Distance)
- YAC/C = Yards After Catch per Catch (Shows role of receivers in yardage)
- Bad% = Percentage of badly thrown passes (not including spikes/throwaways)
- FP/G = Standard League fantasy points per game (2020 season)
|Tier 1: The Undroppables|
|Tier 2: DFS Captains, 8-10 team starters|
|Tier 3: DFS GPP QBs, 12-team starters|
|Tier 4: Superflex QBs, Contrarian DFS GPP, Streamers|
|Gardner Minshew II||265||17.4||14||3.7||4.9||18.8||18.6|
|Tier 5: Garbage Time Hail Marys and Backups|
Aye, you made it this far, didn’t ya. EverywhereBlair is, well, located at home right now. He’s a historian and lover of prog-metal. He enjoys a good sipping rum. When he’s not churning data and making fan fiction about Grey and Donkey Teeth, you can find him dreaming of shirtless pictures of Lance Lynn on Twitter @Everywhereblair.