Part of being a fantasy analyst is that you’re always, at least to some degree, a contrarian. And being a critic and being contrarian are two different things: the former involves the deployment of data to make an argument, and the latter is going up when others go down [wait, what site am I writing for again?]. The most effective moments in fantasy analysis are when criticism and contrarianism connect, and the fantasy analyst makes a predictive move that could help readers win their fantasy leagues. 

Now, I’m not claiming oracle status, but I will claim a short victory lap on Ryan Fitzpatrick, who I warned my readers to stay away from. 

The (Fitz) magic disappeared on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, when rookie signal caller Tua Tagovailoa was named the starter for the Miami Dolphins. 

Therein lies the vex of fantasy analysis: some of the stuff we say seems, well, loco. Fitzpatrick had been putting up pretty good fantasy numbers. But (and it’s a Blair’s been sitting here writing this update for too-long sized but), Fitzpatrick’s peripheral numbers were terrible. Last week, I pointed out that Fitzpatrick was struggling with moving the ball down the field, was throwing too many interceptions, and had an on-target percentage sandwiched in-between Trubisky and Haskins, each of whom had lost their starting job this year. And now, the Fitzmagic has disappeared. 

Aye, I definitely am a bit crazy. But, if I saved you some cash by navigating you away from Fitzpatrick this season, then take a moment to consider an add-free subscription to the site, or, for less than $2/week remaining on the season, get a Roto Deluxe membership to get all of Rudy’s fresh projections updated for Tua Tagovailoa as the starter. 

October 19-25, 2020

Matt Ryan — So let’s start this article off with the guy that everybody on Reddit said they were dropping, Matty Ice. How many of you are in 4-team leagues and dropping Ryan? Because you should only be dropping Ryan if you want to give the sharks in your league a better chance to win. Let’s take a look at Matt Ryan’s historical production as a fantasy QB (and bee-tee-dubya, Rudy has all this information in the player page if you use the search bar up top, and it’s super-useful): 

Year % Tm Pass Yards TD STD Rank Per Game Rk
2019 91 4466 26 11 10
2018 99 4924 35 2 2
2017 100 4095 20 15 22
2016 98 4944 38 2 2

Now, I’m a Vikings fan and I dislike the Falcons as much as any cold-blooded northerner could dislike a Southern spoiler, but my job here is to help people find under-rated QBs that you can ride to your fantasy championship. And who was the QB on the Mega Millionaire on DraftKings on Sunday? Why, it was none other than Matt Ryan. Historically, Ryan has been a top-10 fantasy QB 3 out of the last 4 years, and he’s quickly rising up 2020 QB ranks with top-12 finishes in the past 4 weeks. There’s been a complete shakeup in the Falcons’ front-office, and new head coach Raheem Morris was the passing game coordinator for the Falcons for the past three years. Todd Gurley has been hit-or-miss for the Falcons, and the Atlanta DEF has been — with the exception of the Vikings game [tears falling] — pretty lethargic. Ryan is second in the league in attempts and second in yardage, as well as 8th in TDs, and he did that without Julio Jones in the lineup for the most part. With a healthy Julio back in the game, Matt Ryan should definitely be on your fantasy roster. 

Baker Mayfield — I still can’t believe there are people rostering Baker Mayfield right now. I mean, if “Number of Commercials Filmed” is a scoring category in your league, then by all means, go for it! But in the meantime, your second-favorite Progressive Insurance spokesperson was replaced (“DUE TO INJURY!!!!” so many rabid Browns fans screamed at Adam Schefter on Twitter) by Case Keenum this last week. 

But in the meantime, I’ve been telling you to fade Baker Mayfield in non-bestball formats since the pre-season. Sorry, Donkey Teeth! To reiterate (which is my favorite $5 word because it creates a cycle of payment) my earlier article, Baker Mayfield is a second-half QB, but because Kevin Stefanski brought in his favorite backup signal caller — Case Keenum — Mayfield may not get a chance at the second half of 2020. We’re in Week 6 and we’ve already seen Keenum take the field. Now, Mayfield has made improvements on his 2019 campaign, namely by cutting his interception rate nearly 30%…which puts him on pace for a mere 18 interceptions. If it wasn’t for Kirk Cousins being on pace for Joe Namath-levels of interceptions (seriously, how’d that guy get in the Hall of Fame?), you might be hearing more about Baker’s tough year. With the Stefanski-led Browns ranking 3rd in the league in rush attempts and 30th in pass attempts, you should get rid of Mayfield in any format you can. 

Kyle Allen — A couple of people asked about Kyle Allen, and my advice is to just abandon fantasy football if you’re rostering him. He was one of the worst QBs in the league last year and was found fantasy value due to a stunning number of short-passes that Ron Rivera game planned for him (70% of total 2019 pass attempts were under 10 yards). This year, Double R replaced Dwayne Haskins with Kyle Allen, and the short-pass game is back in session. In PPR formats, this is totally fine for F1 Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson. For your fantasy quarterback needs, go anywhere else than Kyle Allen

Ryan Tannehill I was the boldest of any of the Razzball rankers on Ryan Tannehill this year, and it’s paid off so far. I had Tannehill as my QB10 compared to the Razzball consensus ranking of 16.75. If we were talking WR, that’s not much of a difference. But in QB terms, I was asking you to draft Tannehill as your starting QB in 12-team leagues (even 10-teamers!) while the other Razzball folks were asking you to put him on the bench. So far, I’m winning that argument: Tannehill is the 9th ranking QB in fantasy football, and 5th if you rank per game and take out Dak Prescott. I think week 6 put to rest our collective concerns that Tannehill may be game scripted out of a passing role when Derrick Henry goes HAM. In Week 6, Henry ran for 212 yards and 2TDs and Tannehill still threw for 364 yards and 4TDs. And what’s better is that Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is playing Belichick-style 4D chess to help his team get into winning positions (well, except for the Covid-practice). Tannehill should be owned in every league format. 

Andy Dalton I mean, you go from Dak Prescott leading the NFL’s #1 passing offense to Andy Dalton — the ousted QB of the Bengals who came in nearly last in the NFL in TDs last year — and you expect a bit of a drop-off, right? But Dalton, the three-time Pro Bowler, might have some rust to shake out of the gears. He clearly wasn’t ready in his Week 6 performance, throwing 2 picks and getting a garbage time TD to Amari Cooper after making like 5 pass attempts at the goal line. But, it shouldn’t be forgotten that going into the week, the Cardinals were one of the better pass defenses in the league. Dalton goes up against Washington, Philadelphia, and Minnesota over the next month (and also the Steelers, cough *covid* cough), so expect a bit more positive results in his outcomes than what you saw in Week 6. That said, Dalton is at best an emergency QB or the second QB in your superflex league. 

Drew Lock — Well, he’s back, and your fantasies of riding a Broncos quarterback to the fantasy playoffs are still dashed. Lock went 10/24 for 189 yards and 2 picks against the Patriots, and that’s about what you should expect from the bottom QB on the list. The Broncos got rid of Blake Bortles but still have Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien. Regardless of who is starting in Denver, the battle for the 2021 1.01 pick is on, and you should expect the Broncos QB to be, well, the guy who will give the Broncos the best chance at losing the rest of the way. I mean, how do you compete with Adam Gase? Drew Lock. That’s how you compete. 

Kirk Cousins — A whole bunch of people really wanted Kirk Cousins in their lineups last week, and he came out with a not-as-bad-as-it-looks line of 343 yards, 3TDs, and 3INTs. However, the Vikings were down 20-0 at halftime due to Cousins’ complete ineptitude at throwing the ball. The Falcons did rotate in some backups on DEF in the second half and Cousins took advantage of that by passing to Justin Jefferson a ton. The Falcons have an awful pass defense, and it looked like their decision was to make Cousins play catch up by throwing to Jefferson while keeping Adam Thielen quiet (3/51/1). So, it wasn’t a complete bust for your fantasy team, but it was also largely game script that contributed to that fantasy output, so you can’t rely on that week-to-week. Cousins has 10 INT on the year, which puts him on pace for more than 20 picks on the year, give or take. The only QBs in the past few years to reach that pinnacle are Deshone Kizer, Baker Mayfield, and Jameis Winston. Two of those guys don’t have a job and one of those guys sat on the bench for a bit in Week 6. Cousins has 2 years left on his enormous $30+ million/year contract after this year, so he’ll probably still captain the Vikings ship for the foreseeable future. However, if he’s in your dynasty roster, you might want to trade him quickly. 

Drew Brees — Every week I peer into Rudy’s premium projections and spill a couple beans out into the public about an under-rated QB who seems to have a good matchup. For years, Drew Brees never met that requirement because he was the patron saint of football chuckers. This year, though, he’s been a bit of a mess without his primary pass catcher, Michael Thomas. At the time of writing though, Michael Thomas should be back for the Week 7 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, and the Panthers are pretty porous on their passing defense. A heads up is that Brees isn’t even in the top 10 next week on Rudy’s projections, but if you’re looking to replace Fitzmagic or need a bye week fill-in, Brees would be perfect for that role. 

Rankings

I say it every week and it’s worth saying again: Outside of, like, the top 8, there’s a huge tier of quarterbacks that basically have the same scoring outcomes for the rest of the year. Within each tier, you’re looking at largely interchangeable year-end outcomes. So! Really — really! — don’t worry about who is above whom. A grand total of 8 fantasy points separate QB 8 from QB 14, and QB 15 and QB 20 are separated by 10 points. 

  • PY/G = Passing yards per game
  • RY/G = 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)
  • Green = Player is top 20% in that category
Rank Player Y/G RY/G TTDs CAY/A YAC/C Bad% FP/G
Tier 1
1 Russell Wilson 300.4 30.6 19 5.3 4.9 13 29.4
2 Patrick Mahomes 283.2 27.5 17 3.8 6.1 18 26.3
3 Kyler Murray 247.8 61.7 16 3.8 5.2 11.9 26.3
4 Josh Allen 285.2 23.8 19 5.2 4.1 10.9 25.1
5 Deshaun Watson 297.7 18.2 14 5.6 4.9 17.1 21.6
6 Lamar Jackson 189.2 57.7 12 4.4 4.2 17.9 21
7 Ryan Tannehill 273.6 15.4 14 5 4.1 9.8 23.2
8 Matt Ryan 307.2 5.2 11 4.8 4.2 16.4 19.1
9 Aaron Rodgers 274.8 9 13 3.9 6.1 16.4 21.4
10 Justin Herbert 298.8 13.8 10 4 6.5 17.5 21.75
11 Cam Newton 217.8 56.3 7 3.8 5.5 19.1 22.25
12 Tom Brady 256.8 1 15 4.3 4.1 19.7 19
Tier 2
13 Joe Burrow 269.5 14.5 8 3.8 4.2 15.1 16.1
14 Carson Wentz 233.5 28.5 12 3.6 4 21.3 19.1
15 Gardner Minshew II 280.3 16.8 12 3.7 4.9 16.5 18.5
16 Jared Goff 261.7 6.5 12 4 6.4 15.8 18.8
17 Derek Carr 288.4 6.8 11 4 5.8 12.4 19
18 Teddy Bridgewater 279.3 20.2 7 4 5.8 13.6 16.5
19 Drew Brees 266.2 -0.4 10 3.8 5.4 14.5 17.8
20 Matthew Stafford 248 11.8 9 3.9 5.8 20.6 17.2
21 Ben Roethlisberger 235.6 1.4 11 3.4 5.4 11.7 18.4
Tier 3
22 Philip Rivers 266.3 0 7 4.3 5.3 16.1 13.3
23 Kirk Cousins 245.8 9.2 11 5.3 4.9 14.9 15.5
24 Baker Mayfield 182.5 6.2 10 4.4 3.4 22.2 12.6
25 Nick Foles 219.5 -0.3 7 3.5 3.6 15.6 14.25
26 Jimmy Garoppolo 183.8 4.3 7 2.3 8 20.2 13.75
27 Andy Dalton 125.7 1.3 1 2.9 4.3 N/A 4.3
28 Daniel Jones 203.8 34 3 3.6 4 16 10.8
29 Tua Tagovailoa 9 N/A N/A 4.5 0 N/A N/A
30 Joe Flacco 132.3 6.7 1 2.5 4.9 N/A 6.6
31 Kyle Allen 177 7.5 3 2.8 5 N/A 13
32 Drew Lock 141.7 1.3 1 3.9 5.5 N/A 5

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. Buster Moon says:
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    Need to start a QB next week:

    Ryan @ CAR

    Brees @ CHI

    Who is your preference?

    Thanks

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      Like, Week 8? Matt Ryan.

      If you’re talking about week 7, I’m still in favor of Ryan against Detroit.

      Thanks for checking in!

  2. Lucas Hill says:
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    Which QB should I start this week? 12 man league, full PPR

    Matt Ryan vs. Detroit

    Stafford @ Atlanta

    Thanks

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      Ryan’s going to have the higher ceiling there. I start him. Thanks for checking in, Lucas!

    • Djdelman says:
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      Have Herbert, Matt Ryan, and cam. Starting Herbert over Ryan this week? Also someone dropped Rodgers and if I can get him, who should I drop? If I can’t, I don’t like carryin 3 qb’s so thinkin droppin cam and riding Herbert and Ryan.

  3. scoboticus says:
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    Howdy Dr. My lineup needs a checkup. I’ve got Carr and Dalton as QBs (because I used to have Dak as my starter and Carr as backup)

    Burrow and Wentz are on the WW. Should I just go nuts and swap both QBs out?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      You know I like Carr, and secretly in my heart I like Wentz when his teammates are there.

      I think Burrow has the highest ceiling and Carr has the most stable floor. I think that’s the pairing that has the best outcomes ROS. Wentz will likely be really volatile and not that much use in H2H.

      Surprisingly, Dallas has a really easy schedule to finish out the year, so I don’t hate Dalton, but it may take a few weeks for things to click in the offense.

      Thanks for checking in Scoboticus!

  4. Djdelman says:
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    Have Herbert, Matt Ryan, and cam. Starting Herbert over Ryan this week? Also someone dropped Rodgers and if I can get him, who should I drop? If I can’t, I don’t like carryin 3 qb’s so thinkin droppin cam and riding Herbert and Ryan.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      I think we’re seeing Cam at his ceiling right now; his rushing yardage is way over his career average.

      If you’ve got the great issue that all those QBs are out there, I think you go Rodgers/Ryan/Herbert in that order. Probably start Ryan this week, although it’s basically a toss up between Ryan/Herbert so go with your heart come game day.

      Thanks for checking in, Djdelman!

  5. scoboticus says:
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    With Robby Anderson and DJ Moore a crapshoot each week, should I drop DJ Moore for Tee Higgins? I already have Fuller, Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, and Justin Jefferson.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
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      Boof and the boys are chasing Tee Higgins hard. For me, I think they’re more or less equal. Part of DJ’s success last year was Kyle Allen needing a receiver to dump off to, and Moore filled that role. With a new coaching regime in Carolina, Moore’s 2019 niche didn’t really transfer to 2020 yet.

      Higgins is kind of in that Robbie Anderson role in CIN, so, good upside there.

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