Week 17 Advanced Quarterback Matchups
With most fantasy championships ending in Week 16, I’m going to take a different spin on the Week 17 version of this article. The quarterbacks below are guys that I am considering for DFS games due to motivations, matchups, and ownership.
QB – Blake Bortles
Bortles might still be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, but he showed his ceiling again last week. He threw for 325 yards and scored two touchdowns (one passing TD, one receiving TD) with his highest QB rating of 2016. This game against a struggling Tennessee passing defense, but luckily for Bortles, next up is Indy. The Colts have allowed multiple touchdown passes in 10 of their 15 games this season and rank 27th in Football Outsiders passing defense DVOA.
Bortles is also one of the rare quarterbacks who actually performs better inside his division than outside. He averages nearly 2.5 more fantasy points against the AFC South than any other opponent. This helps dispel some concern over this being the second divisional game against Indy. Plus, Blake is possibly playing for his job right now. With this organization making serious changes, Bortles should know that he could be next.
Finally, there is some serious reverse line movement happening for this game. The Colts opened as 6-point favorites and have had 70 percent of the bets coming in on their side of the spread. However, that line has moved to 1.5 points toward the Jags and now sits with the Colts only as 4.5-point favorites with a 21.5-point team total. If the Jags look anything like they did last weekend, they have a chance to smash in this spot.
QB – Kirk Cousins
The Redskins may be the most motivated team this weekend. If they win this game, they are in as the wild card. If they lose this game, they miss the playoffs. Look for them to come out firing against a Giants team that should be completely unmotivated. The Giants are locked into the fifth seed with the Cowboys winning the division. Therefore, they cannot move up to the fourth seed with a win, nor can they move to the sixth seed with a loss.
While the team is publicly saying that the starters will play a lot, there is little reason to believe that is true. The Giants have seen far too many injuries to their secondary to risk losing their dominant defensive backs in a meaningless game. Vegas agrees and opened with the Redskins as 7.5-point favorites. There are more bets coming in on the Giants, and the line isn’t budging. Fire up Cousins, and fire up his pass catchers.
QB – Russell Wilson
Another quarterback who needs a win on Sunday is Russell Wilson. Seattle can move ahead of the Falcons in the seeding if they win and Atlanta loses, but they won’t know what happens to Atlanta since they play at the same time. San Francisco has nothing to play for and have been brutal defensively all season. They rank 28th in DVOA against the pass and are only 16th-best in adjusted sack rate. Look for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks to get their entire offense back on track this week against San Fran.
QB – Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan has not attempted more than 35 passes since Week 6. In that game, he threw 42 times for 335 yards and three touchdowns. One of the main reasons for his lack of attempts is the lack of shootouts. Atlanta has been getting early leads and then holding things down with the running game. This week they project to score 32 points against the Saints, who are known to cause shootouts. This game has one of the highest recent Vegas totals at 56.5 total points as well. The Falcons need this win, and I wouldn’t expect them to take their foot off the gas at any point.
Ryan has been incredibly efficient recently, even with his lack of volume. He now has three straight games with multiple touchdown passes, and he has only thrown the ball 84 times in that span. Ryan admittedly hasn’t shown his early-season ceiling in recent weeks and therefore should make himself a much lower owned option than Rodgers, Brees, and Brady. But Ryan has just as high of a ceiling as any of those guys. He makes for a great tournament option this weekend.