Week 15 Advanced Quarterback Matchups
QB – Alex Smith
Alex Smith has four straight weeks with 220+ passing yards and a touchdown. He has over 250 passing yards in three of those four. He also has at least two rushing attempts in each of those games. The big negative for Smith is that he has only cleared 20 fantasy points once in that span.Luckily for Smith, he is facing one of the few true funnel defenses this week. The Titans rank 13th against the run and 25th against the pass, per Football Outsiders DVOA. This discrepancy, paired with Mariota’s strength on offense, has led to teams throwing for serious yardage against them. They have allowed the second most passing yards this season and are allowing the 10th highest yards per attempt.
TEN has allowed four straight top-12 (QB1) fantasy finishes and seven of the last eight QBs to face the Titans have finished as a weekly fantasy QB1. The Titans are fresh off of allowing the QB7 finish to Trevor Siemian last week, as he threw for 334 yards and a touchdown. Alex Smith is in a great spot.
QB – Colin Kaepernick
I can’t quit Colin Kaepernick this season. He got off to a tremendous start last week, throwing for 90 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. The 49ers also jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Unfortunately, Chip Kelly completely took his foot off the gas with their lead and Kaepernick only threw for 40 more yards in that game. He also had his lowest rushing output of the season. The 49ers can’t afford to take their foot off the gas this week as 14-point underdogs against Atlanta. Vegas still projects them to score 19 points, which is going to have to come through Kaepernick.
Atlanta is not a very strong defense this season, ranking 23rd against the pass, per DVOA. They have allowed the most passing yards this season and the second most passing touchdowns. Kaepernick should be a solid bet for over 200 yards passing and a touchdown; any production on the ground will be a bonus. Just remember, Alex Smith had a 125 QB Rating against this Falcons defense.
QB – Joe Flacco
As the Ravens sit with the second-best record in the AFC North, their offensive line is finally coming together. They now rank sixth in pass protection, per FO Adjusted Sack Rate. As his line has come together, Flacco has put together two straight 300-yard performances. He also has six touchdowns over those two games.
Now Flacco gets to face off against an Eagles defense that has simply been horrendous on the road. They have allowed multiple touchdown passes in all but one of their games on the road this season. While the Eagles have been at home, they have only allowed five passing touchdowns. The Eagles are also allowing 7.7 yards per attempt while on the road, but only 6.7 Y/A at home. While DVOA ranks the Eagles passing defense strong as a whole, they rank them 27th against deep passing. Flacco is in another great spot and we should expect Wallace and Smith to abuse Nolan Carroll and Leodis McKelvin on the outside. Look for Flacco to chuck some bombs on their scrub cornerbacks.
QB – Tyrod Taylor
Tyrod is a very popular option this week, but he is much more of a floor play than the above options. Tyrod is averaging 36 rushing yards per game this season and has averaged 1.25 touchdowns over his last four games. Unfortunately, Tyrod has only thrown for over 200 yards once in that period.
All that being said, Tyrod is facing the Browns this week. They have allowed the most fantasy points to the quarterback position this season. DVOA ranks them as 31st against the pass and also 32nd against the run. Therefore, the Bills should be in scoring position often. The Bills are also 10.5-point favorites, as the Browns project to have very little offense with RG3 at QB. The Bills also have the sixth-highest implied team total on the slate at 26. If they score 26 points, then Tyrod should have a touchdown or two. Still, I believe the three options above may have higher ceilings. Tyrod is definitely the safest option of the bunch though.