Who’s ready for Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving means three things: Matt Stafford, the turkey and contentious political takes. Wait, what’s an Oxford comma again? OK, that was one thing. Hopefully you’ll be safe in your mansions this week. For the rest of us, let’s take a look at the thing keeping us hopeful: the upcoming fantasy playoffs and the quarterbacks that lead our teams through darkness. 

 

Joe BurrowFirst, Joe Mixon spent most of the year injured before going on IR in Week 11. Then on Sunday, Joe Burrow tore both his ACL and MCL and caused structural damage to his knee, and he will miss the rest of 2020 season and possibly some time in 2021 season. I told you to go grab Burrow around Week 3 of this season, and those who did were rewarded with a QB performance that hovered around the top-10 for most of the year. Unfortunately, Burrow stood behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league — basically the same OL that let defenders blast through the line of scrimmage and resulted in Mixon becoming the most elusive RB in 2019 and ending three-time Pro Bowler Andy Dalton’s tenure in Cincinnati. Burrow was “criticized” early in the year for taking too many sacks, and he took the complaints in stride. Now the Bengals turn to Ryan Finley Brandon Allen (?!), who I talk about below. Dynasty managers should check on Burrow’s rehabilitation process. If you’re a dynasty manager looking for a future QB and there’s no contracts or Burrow is on a cheap contract, he would be a good “get” right now.

Ryan Finley — My buddy Son (and not my son, Buddy) summed up how excited we all are for Ryan Finley. Earlier in the year, we all wondered which NFL teams would be in the race for 1.01, and the Bengals are likely going to let Ryan Finley try to captain that sinking ship for the next month. Bengals’ head coach Zac Taylor is too inexperienced as a head coach to appear on the career win% leaderboards, but with a 4-21 record and a .153 winning percentage, he would hold the lowest winning percentage among qualified NFL coaches in history. Regardless whether the conversation is about tanking or just not playing well, the Bengals are a mess and Ryan Finley isn’t going to step in to light up your fantasy scoreboard. As Son describes in his write-up above, the Bengals don’t have an enviable fantasy playoff schedule. Certainly Finley is worth one DFS GPP lineup when he faces the Cowboys because anybody who can take a snap can put up yards against them, but otherwise, Finley should remain on the bench in all formats. UPDATE: In a surprise move, the Bengals named Brandon Allen the starter this week, and Finley will backup Allen. 

Brandon Allen — Call me Tinfoil Hat Man, but when one of the losing-est coaches in history says on Wednesday, “I’ll take the practice squad QB over the backup who’s been learning the system for the past two years,” it makes one wonder if tanking really is in the plans. In coach speak they’ll say, “we want to know Allen’s potential and see if he can spark the offense.” Or maybe they just prefer Ryan Finley and they want that porous O-Line to release blitzing linemen upon Allen first. ANYHEY (the name of my emo-country crossover band from 2009), it’s not like Allen is the least qualified QB candidate marching out there in 2020; he actually has more career passing yards as a backup than Taysom Hill, after all. After playing for Arkansas in his collegiate career, Allen worked his way through various third-string and practice squad situations while working through a back injury, eventually landing in Denver in 2019 and getting a couple starts. It’s worth noting that his start against Minnesota in 2019 showed some big air plays, with Courtland Sutton getting over 110 yards on 5 catches, with most of that yardage in the air. The Bengals have some nice receivers that might want to play 500 and catch some deep passes. So, I’m not telling you to roster Allen, but I am telling you to put that dime lineup stack together on DK when the Bengals face the Cowboys

Taysom Hill — Donkey Teeth already wants to give Taysom Hill the reigns to the Saints offense, and I’m way more hesitant. First, yes, Jameis Winston should be starting. I will eat crow on that hill. Winston should be starting on most teams in the NFL. Really, Sam Darnold or Winston? Drew Lock or Winston? Nick Mullens or Winston. ENYWHEY.  My internet friends Chris Towers and Heath Cummings at CBS say you should start Taysom Hill over [checks notes] Lamar Jackson for the rest of season. AND YOU THINK I’M NUTS. Those guys are on TV and they’re saying that! (Hi Chris!). ENYWHEY PART 2, REVENGE OF THE CURDS: Me, your lonesome QB bones reader, is — and I repeat — not thrilled over Taysom Hill’s stats. I was right on Justin Herbert, right on Ryan Tannehill, right on Baker Mayfield being crap, right on Lamar (the guy’s QB10 on the year, don’t get nostalgic), and right on Kyler. If Taysom is a better than Lamar for the rest of the year, I’ll make a song about Donkey Teeth and release it for the public. Sound fair? Fair. I’m keeping Taysom in the streamer tier and I wouldn’t chase him too hard on the waiver wire. 

Drew Brees — Worth it to point out that Brees has 11 fractures in his ribs and is 41 years old. I’m 38 and I get winded lifting my glass of rum. Brees was “streamable” for most of the fantasy season and really shouldn’t be on the field for a while, but the Saints are gonna Saints and there’s talk of Brees taking snaps in Week 15. If you’re rostering Brees in redraft, I would drop him for another streamer. If you’re rostering Brees in dynasty, I would say that next year doesn’t look promising for the future Hall of Famer, and you should take whatever value you can get. Brees is undoubtedly one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. Full stop. If it wasn’t for Tom Brady playing at the same time as Brees, there are people who would be whispering Brees’ name in the G.O.A.T. discussions. However, there’s a time and place to go out on top, and 2020 might be that year for Brees.

Kyler Murray — Murray’s been heads-and-tails the hottest QB over the past month, and just when he went up against one of the worst defenses in NFL history, Murray hurt his shoulder. Reports after the game keep repeating that Murray should be fine, but those who were watching saw Kyler wincing in pain. Trainers kept shoving hot packs under his pads to try to keep the joint warm during the game. Kyler’s been holding back on throwing during practice, too. Fingers crossed that his shoulder is fine. 

Kirk Cousins — Cousins started the year on pace to throw nearly as many INTs as Jameis Winston did in 2019. When the Vikings began the year 1-5, the team looked in disarray, and analysts in the Minnesota market (my home market) were pointing to Cousins’ inflexibility in his reads as his downfall. Cousins came into 2020 with zero Monday night wins in his career and something like 6 or 7 total career wins against teams with a winning record. Since their bye week in 2020, the Vikings have won 3 of 4 games, and Cousins has put up 9 TDs to 1 INT. Some of this success is regression to career norms — he’s an accurate passer who doesn’t turn the ball over a lot — and some of it is weak strength of schedule (like two games against Dallas and Detroit). Part of the breakout has also been Vikings’ #1 receiver Adam Thielen having some stunning one-handed end zone catches. The Vikings are 15th in the league in expected passing points, meaning that there’s some fair amount of luck in Cousins’ results. However, he’s got an easy upcoming schedule, and the 22nd ranked Vikings’ defense has allowed enough points that three of the past four games had over 50 points total scored. One problem is that Thielen was placed on the Covid-19 list on Monday, meaning he may miss time and probably have a performance hit in the near future. I’d consider Cousins a streamer for the rest of the season, and top 12-fringe if Thielen is healthy.

Phillip Walker — PJ Walker was a last-minute start for the Carolina Panthers this week after coach Matt Rhule opted to sit Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater’s left knee was reconstructed in 2016, and he sprained the MCL in his right knee recently. Rhule played it safe with his new franchise signal-caller and brought in former XFL QB, PJ Walker. A lot of people were excited to see Walker start, but his fantasy numbers were less than thrilling against a Lions’ secondary that ranks in the bottom third in the league in all categories. Bridgewater should be good to go in the next game, but if he’s still ailing, Walker would be worth a superflex play. 

Teddy Bridgewater — Just a quick note to point out that Teddy B_H20 is QB13 in terms of fantasy points. If he ran for 3 more yards he’d be QB12. If he had one less rushing TD, he’d be QB16. If he played in Week 11 and had an average week, he’d be a top 10 QB. If he had one less passing TD and one less rushing TD, he’d be QB 20. What does all this mean? There’s a huge amount of parity among the non-elite QBs. Don’t overthink it in head-to-head matchups. Start your studs if you have them, or grab a QB from the streamer tier if you don’t have them. Bridgewater and Carr were basically free in drafts this year, and they’re currently QB13 and QB16, respectively. Justin Herbert was undrafted in most leagues and he’s QB7 right now (QB5 in fantasy points per game). Really, don’t overthink QB. Look for upside and consistency among the streamers and have fun playing the game. 

Daniel Jones — I gave Jones a writeup last week because he got promoted to the “streaming” category and he put up 300 total yards and a rushing TD against the Eagles. Not bad, but not great. Solid “meh” in my book. 

Philip Rivers — Got the “deep recommend” from me last week thanks to Rudy’s premium rankings. Went for 288 passing yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT. Rivers has been pretty boom or bust this year, and is better suited as a DFS GPP play or best ball QB. If you’re using him regularly in head-to-head, you’re a brave soldier and I salute you. 

Tua Tagovailoa — You probably heard that Tua got benched last week. If you’re a regular reader of my column (hey all three of you!), you know that I was pretty down on Tua compared to other rankers. Take that for what you like when I say I’m not thrilled by Taysom Hill! But for Tua, it sounds like he’ll be back out there in Week 12 after Ryan Fitzpatrick gave a “spark” to the Dolphins offense. The Fins are in 2nd in the AFC East right now — a position they haven’t been in for a while — and they have a pretty good defense. We know Fitzmagic is a capable QB and has been “sparking” the Miami offense for 2 years. If I had a crystal ball, Fitzmagic would be saying “WOW!” He would also be saying, “I see myself finishing the year as the Dolphins QB.” I would avoid the Dolphins streaming situation right now. 

Carson Wentz — Yeah, he’s looking awful in real life. But, fantasy QB point parity being what it is, if Wentz had done one QB sneak for a TD, he’d be QB 14 over the past month. People are tired of Wentz in real life, but in the fantasy world, he’s going up against the historically bad Seattle DEF this week. Next week, Wentz faces the Green Bay Packers, who allowed Nick Mullens and Philip Rivers to each flirt with 300 yards. If you’re desperate for a streamer, Wentz is an OK option for the next few weeks. Also, I’m choosing Wentz as my “deep streamer” for the week, and Rudy agrees. 

Lamar Jackson — The Ravens are full of Covid, so if you’re rostering Lamar Jackson, you should watch the news closely and prepare a QB backup for this week. 

Mike Glennon — Monday night Blair: “I got most of this article written, just need to compile the data.” Tuesday night Blair: “Data’s done, thanks Rudy, I’m off to bed!” Wednesday morning Blair: “F-this.” Well, the Jake Luton experiment lasted two games. Clearly, the Jags weren’t thrilled. Luton was fine against the weak Texans DEF, mediocre against the Packers despite the Pack missing their top 2 CBs, and then Luton basically handed the ball off to the Steelers’ DEF. So, with Minshew still recovering from a broken hand and broken heart, the Jaguars are turning to Mike Glennon. Fun fact: since signing a $16 million contract with the Bears in 2017, Glennon has earned nearly $25 million over 4 seasons and thrown for 1,000 yards, 6 TDs, 5 INT, and 1 win. That’s about 2.5 games worth of stats from Justin Herbert, minus the interceptions of course. YASLINBEY, Glennon is mos def not worth getting excited about. He hasn’t started an NFL game since 2017. Who would win in a fight? A Jaguar or a Bengal (Tiger)? Let’s find out in Week 17.

Rankings

Let’s change things up! For those of you who followed my pitcher rankings this year, you’ll know that I changed the ranking system as playoffs approached. Because we’re heading into Week 12 and most fantasy leagues end in Week 16, we’re in the final 25% of games that you’ll be playing. I simplified everything for ease of use, and as usual, I provide tiers with no ordered rankings within the tiers. QB point parity is so close in fantasy football that you’re well-served by using any of the QBs within the appointed tiers. 

Fantasy Points per Game (FP/G) are simple enough: how many points has each quarterback scored per game played. 

Ease of Schedule is a little metric that I created by combining two tools: 1) the easiest remaining schedule tool at Fantasy Pros, and 2) Rudy’s premium rest of season rankings. For my Franken-metric, 1 is the best and 32 is the worst.

I’ll say it out front: I’m not a huge fan of strength of schedule as the primary factor in people deciding who to start at the QB position. Strength of schedule is but one tool among many that fantasy managers can use to make decisions. By combining the above metrics, I hope to reveal more about the upside of streaming quarterbacks than to say negative things about starting quarterbacks. To reiterate what I said last week, elite QBs can go through tough patches, and when players buy too much into strength of schedule as a determining factor, they miss great games. Last week, Ryan Tannehill was QB6 going against Baltimore, Aaron Rodgers was QB7 going against Indianapolis, and Derek Carr was QB8 going against Kansas City. Meanwhile, Kyler Murray was QB11 going against Seattle and Ben Roethlisberger was QB15 going against Jacksonville. So, strength of schedule is but one tool that you can use to decide who to start, but a more complete picture is presented when you’re looking at multiple factors. I hope the “Ease of Schedule” metric helps owners see which QBs to grab off the waiver wire for the championship run. Good luck! 

Player FP/G Ease of Schedule
Tier 1: The Undroppables
Patrick Mahomes 26.01 10
Kyler Murray 28.37 18
Russell Wilson 25.81 2
Tier 2: DFS Captains and 12-Team Starters
Josh Allen 24.19 23
Tom Brady 19.73 6
Justin Herbert 24.3 7
Lamar Jackson 19.74 3
Aaron Rodgers 23.28 15
Ryan Tannehill 19.84 16
Deshaun Watson 22.42 19
Cam Newton 18.63 11
Ben Roethlisberger 19.08 9
Tier 3: Streamers and DFS GPP Dart Throws
Teddy Bridgewater 17.77 30
Derek Carr 16.96 13
Kirk Cousins 16.42 29
Jared Goff 17.33 4
Taysom Hill 6.19 20
Daniel Jones 13.73 1
Gardner Minshew 18.63 31
Philip Rivers 14.7 17
Matt Ryan 17.79 21
Matthew Stafford 16.54 26
Tua Tagovailoa 9.9 22
Carson Wentz 17.46 5
Jameis Winston 1.25 20
Tier 4: Garbage Time Hail Marys 
Andy Dalton 6.88 12
Sam Darnold 10.27 28
Ryan Finley 0.55 32
Brandon Allen 0 32
Ryan Fitzpatrick 17.46 22
Joe Flacco 10.96 28
Nick Foles 13.05 14
Drew Lock 11.94 25
Jake Luton 9.43 31
Mike Glennon 0 31
Baker Mayfield 12.55 8
Nick Mullens 10.62 24
Alex Smith 9.23 27
Mitchell Trubisky 12.35 14
Phillip Walker 3.57 30
C.J. Beathard 3.77 24

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.

  1. toolshed says:
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    Would you cut Ryan in a 10 team league. He is a backup for me. I don’t trust him if I have to use him. There isn’t much available as most teams are carrying 2 qb in this league. I do see the chargers on the schedule in week 14 which is fantasy friendly.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      He’s fringe right now. He’s QB 12 on the year, and a lot of his points are coming from yardage. The upside is whether his receivers start getting in the end zone, because he’s below expectations in that category. The Falcons are, of course, a crapshoot this year due to the awful DEF and interim head coach. So, if you drop Ryan, you would need to have a viable backup like Bridgewater, Goff, or Cousins to “replace” him. By dropping Ryan, you also give a viable starter to another team should somebody get injured this next week. So, I’m fine with the move, but just be sure your bases are covered. Good luck Toolshed!

  2. Mex says:
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    Hey there,

    Rest of Season(not including week 17), who would you rather have: Watson or Carr? Is it close?

    Thanks in advance. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      100% Watson. He’s been one of the hottest QBs since Bill O’Brien left town. The major issue preventing me from promoting him to Tier 1 is that interim coach Romeo Crennel is known for, well, not being great with QBs. The Texans’ offense is pretty one-dimensional, and there’s every possibility Watson finishes the year in a boring manner. That said, even Watson set to “boring” is about the same as Carr set to “exciting.”

      Happy Thanksgiving, Mex!

      • For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:
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        oh yeah that’s easy watson.

      • Mex says:
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        Thanks,

        I ended up dealing my Carr for his Watson and Ravens D. It’s a super flex league, so the other guy will keep Carr(13 rd) next year. I’m hoping that Watson puts me in the playoffs and then who knows.

        Another deal that is being bantered about is my Cousins(he needs a 2nd QB for his flex) and Jacobs for Kamara. I would have to accept that deal, correct?

        • For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:
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          wait a min, somebody gave you watson + something else (a topish D when healthy) for carr? wow, that’s odd (and great for you). it should’ve been you having to give a good amount of stuff back for there.

          • everywhereblair

            everywhereblair says:
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            Yeah, I want in that league!

            • Mex says:
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              Its actually a pretty competitive league…its a high scoring, points league (with one year keepers) with a super FLEX so QB’s have tons of value.. .the other guys is out of playoffs so he is looking to next year.
              the Raiders appear to be a team heading in the right direction finally and keeping Carr for a round 13 pick seems to be good value.

              • For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:
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                oh you didn’t mention any of carr being probably much cheaper than watson, that actually seems kinda useful to know eh when making evaluations like this.

  3. David says:
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    Love checking out your page every week. I’ve been very on the fence about this question that I hope you can give me some insight on. Rodgers or Watson for ROS?

    Thanks man.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      Hey David! Thanks for the support!

      Personally, I see Watson with the upside for the rest of season. Rudy’s projections agree with this, and looking through some of the rankings from experts who have credentials a mile long, I see they prefer Watson as well. There are many who would put Watson in Tier 1 based on strength of schedule, but myself, I don’t weight strength of schedule as much as other do.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. For An Armenianless Vacation Come to Akron says:
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    CIN needs some serious luck to catch the NYJ and could learn a major lesson in how to lose on purpose from them, they’re bush league compared that level of tanking. albeit CIN DID bench then move out dunlap, easily their best D lineman. NYJ though, they keep giving a near 40 year old carries over younger talented people (before perine got injured) cut their best CB’s, moved out one of their better LB, moved out their best S preseason (j.adams), continue to have gase coach, the list goes on.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      Yeah, the Jets are a case study in crashing. Looks like the St. Louis Rams before moving to LA; basically bringing in Jeff Fisher to tank the STL franchise and give the LA Rams enough ammo to be not only contenders every year but to make a Super Bowl appearance.

      Would like to say they’re playing 4D chess, but really, it just looks like they’re lost.

  5. Trader says:
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    Context: Standard scoring league. I am a solid favorite this week but it is fantasy and dealing with Julio and Golladay likely to miss the week. So I need a reasonably safe QB score. Who would you select among:

    Carr at Falcons
    Tannehill at Colts
    Bridgewater at Vikes
    Jones v Bengals

    Based off KC game, everyone is on Carr now but sometimes Raiders just flat out run the ball (see Broncos). Taney is my guy after this week with a glorious playoff schedule. But Colts are tough. Bridge coming off injury and Jones, while better lately, is a tough trust. Ugh
    My bye is at stake so there is a lot of pressure on you lol

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      Pressure on me? Happy thanksgiving to me! I thought the only thing I was pressuring was my potatoes in the pressure cooker. ANYWAY.

      It pains me to say this, but a healthy Bridgewater at MN is your biggest upside. Vikings D is atrocious, and TD Teddy has been putting up nearly 18 fantasy points per game. Of course, “revenge game” narrative there too. I love Tanny of course but the Colts stopped him cold earlier. Giants/Bengals don’t have much to play for so upside on Danny Nickels is limited. I love Carr and I love anybody playing against the Falcons, so he’s your volatile play. There’s every chance Carr is the highest scorer this week.

      But if you want safety in your high score, I vote you go with TD Teddy Two Gloves.

      Good luck!

      • Trader says:
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        Thank you!

  6. Dominic Brady says:
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    Happy thanksgiving! So I already clinched a playoff spot but my RBs are really banged up. My league has this rule where you can only roster 5 RBs regardless if you are using them on IR. So here is my current RBs:

    Zeke
    Gibson
    Salvon Ahmed
    David Johnson (IR)
    Joe Mixon (IR)

    So I was thinking about dropping Ahmed for Myles Gaskin (who just got activated). Would you do that or drop maybe like David Johnson or just be patient to see if Ahmed is the guy.

    • The Harrow says:
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      gaskin hasn’t been activated yet in real life, was just seen at practice with non contact jersey yesterday, do NOT assume he’s playing yet and even then i’d NOT assume anything about the playing time on both till you see it, and you don’t have to just start zeke/gibson and see what’s going on.

      • everywhereblair

        everywhereblair says:
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        Harrow’s on point.

        DB, is this a redraft league? If so, I wouldn’t be opposed to dropping Mixon (gasp!). Bengals aren’t trying to win and he’s been banged up this year. No sense in marching out their best RB — who signed an extension with the team — in a meaningless year behind an awful line with a practice squad QB.

        But if dynasty, yeah, just play it safe this week and see what emerges.

  7. Oriole33 says:
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    It looks like FITZ is now the QB for MIA. He def gives them more upside to win. So are you re-evaluating him for ROS?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      Hey Oriole!

      FitzMAGIC has appeared in 7 games this year and of those games, he finished as a top 12 QB 3 times. That’s mega-blah for me in most formats. He tended to throw short and targeted Myles Gaskin a ton. There’s just not a lot of upside there for fantasy managers, and a ton of floor. He’s streamworthy rest of season and worth a DFS GPP play because when he hits, he hits big. Good luck!

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