TwoQBers every week are stuck with very tough start/sit decisions at the quarterback position. This article intends to help you make those weekly decisions easier. … We want to take the guesswork out of the equation when you’re staring at two, three, or four different quarterbacks, wondering who to start in that QB2 slot. Each week we examine quarterbacks using various statistics and metrics to pinpoint plus matchups that should give them a boost over their normal weekly output. Below are a few such options for Week 14.
QB – Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston is sitting in a perfect spot this weekend, in which his team has a high implied Vegas total (26.75) and even the coaching staff is admitting they can’t run the ball. Winston hasn’t cleared 40 passing attempts since Week 3, mainly because the Bucs have successfully ran the ball.
They have rushed for less than four yards per carry in two straight games. Then on top of that, they face a Saints defense that ranks 16th in Football Outsiders DVOA against the run and 26th against the pass. I fully expect Winston to crack the 40 attempt mark this weekend against the Saints. Do we really expect Brees to crap the bed two weeks in a row? This game has shootout written all over it.
QB – Colin Kaepernick
I am going right back to him this week. Kap was abysmal in Week 13 – but he only attempted five passes. I also read that Chip Kelly only called 10 total passing plays while Kaepernick was in the game. Put simply, the game was not called for Kap to have success. While he does risk an in-game benching, I still believe last week was an outlier.
The 49ers are actually favorites in this matchup. This tells us Vegas has enough respect to expect a bounce-back game from Kaepernick and we should, too. They are facing a Jets defense that is allowing 7.2 yards per attempt and 11.1 yards per completion. The Jets have also allowed 22 passing touchdowns and have only caused six interceptions (fourth-fewest). The Jets are also the classic funnel defense, as they are allowing the second-fewest yards per carry at 3.5. With Hyde projecting to struggle on the ground, this should only lead to more rushing volume for Kaepernick.
QB – Eli Manning
Dallas is widely considered to be a team that slows down the game. While this is true, they use the most clock per snap on offense; their defense has not been slowing down opponents recently. They have allowed 45, 53, 35, and 46 passing attempts against them over their last four games. The Cowboys only have four interceptions this season and have allowed 20 passing touchdowns. Plus, they are allowing a 70.3 percent completion percentage, which would explain the high passing volume.
Eli has been lighting up the touchdown scoreboard over the last few games. He has 10 touchdowns over his last four games and has five straight with 2+ touchdown passes. Unfortunately, he has not gone over 250 passing yards during that span. It is interesting to note the Giants are 3-point underdogs, but 70 percent of tickets are coming in on the Cowboys at -3 with the line not having moved. We should monitor this line as it seems to indicate there is some heavy/sharp money on the Giants this week. The Giants have to win this game for any hopes at the playoffs.
QB – Carson Palmer
Palmer has not been a very good “real life” quarterback this season. He is only completing 61 percent of his passes, with an 18-to-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Last year he threw 35 touchdowns with only 11 interceptions. However, if we exclude his game against Minnesota, Palmer has 15+ fantasy points in his last four games. Two of those games he has exceeded 20 fantasy points. With David Johnson carrying this offense, Palmer has been a stable, if not exciting, quarterback as of late.
This week he is facing off against a Miami defense that had been previously riding on the coat-tails of Jay Ajayi’s huge rushing performances. As their rushing production has come back to earth, so has their defensive performances. They are fresh off of allowing one of the worst quarterbacks this season (sorry Joe) to throw for 381 yards and four touchdowns with a 76 (!!) percent completion percentage. Miami is also moving back down the chart in terms of defensive DVOA, per Football Outsiders. They currently rank 13th against the pass and 22nd against the run.
While DVOA rates Miami as strong against pass-catching running backs, they do however, rank 29th against “other WRs.” David Johnson isn’t playing as a running back in the passing game, as he is running true downfield passing routes. It would make more sense to consider him an extra receiver, which as we see, Miami is struggling with. When Johnson is rolling the passing game, then so too is Carson Palmer. Vegas currently projects them as 2-point road favorites, with a solid implied team total of 22.75. We should expect another solid, if not spectacular, performance from Palmer.
QB – Trevor Siemian
Like Palmer, Siemian is not a sexy pick, but he does have merit as a floor play. The Broncos horrendous run game has led to Siemian’s forced passing game involvement. In his last three starts, he has gone over 250 yards passing each time and has two or more passing touchdowns in each game. The Broncos averaged less than three yards per carry in those contests, forcing their hand. Devontae Booker has not cleared 3.5 YPC since Week 7 and it does not seem likely that Justin Forsett is going to turn this run game around.
Siemian’s increased usage and the Broncos’ inability to run the ball lines up perfectly with their opponent this weekend. The Titans rank 24th against the pass, per DVOA, and rank 14th against the run. The Titans have allowed the seventh-fewest rushing yards this season, while allowing the ninth-most passing yards. Over the last four weeks, no quarterback facing the Titans has thrown for less than two touchdowns. (Editor’s Note: TEN has allowed three straight top-12 (QB1) fantasy finishes and six of the last seven QBs to face the Titans have finished as a weekly fantasy QB1).
Their secondary has performed so badly they released starting cornerback Perrish Cox and replaced him with another horrendous cornerback in Antwon Blake. Over the last four years, Blake has not finished a single season with a PFF coverage grade over 70. He also has two seasons with coverage grades under 60. We should expect Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to both have success against this secondary, while the Broncos continue in their struggles to run the ball.