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 13.
QB – Colin Kaepernick
I didn’t write up Kaepernick last week because I thought he had cemented himself as a QB1 in the community – turns out that isn’t the case. People are still scared to start Kaepernick, and he continues to ride fantasy benches and draw low DFS ownership.
Kap has 50+ rushing yards in 4-of-6 games he has started this season, and he has averaged almost eight rushing attempts per game. On top of this rushing output, Kaepernick has thrown for at least 200 passing yards in each of his last four games. In that same span he has accounted for at least two offensive touchdowns in each game.
This week he will be facing off against a Chicago defense that will be without both of their starting inside linebackers. Both Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan will miss this game. That is on top of a Bears defense that ranks 20th against the pass and 21st against the run, per Football Outsiders DVOA. Without Freeman and Trevathan, the Bears will struggle to stop Kap in the running game.
QB – Ryan Fitzpatrick
A benching seemingly did Fitzpatrick some good as he played fairly well in Week 12. In a plus matchup against the Patriots, Fitz threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed 68.75 percent of his passes. However, keep in mind that Fitz had not thrown for multiple touchdowns since Week 1. Temper expectations.
Fitz is tough to trust, but this week he draws a very plus matchup against the Colts. The Colts rank 30th against the pass, per DVOA. They are allowing the second-most yards per attempt (7.6) and have only accounted for three total interceptions this season. They are also tied in allowing the fourth-most passing touchdowns this season at 22. You could do much worse than Fitzpatrick in a desperate spot.
QB – Alex Smith
Alex Smith is pretty much impossible to trust on a weekly basis. However, this week he is facing a defense that allows the most passing points per game. Vegas projects this game to shoot out with an over/under of 49 points. They also project an implied total of 22.25 points for the Chiefs. If the Chiefs score 22 points, Smith is going to have to have success.
Luckily for Smith, the Falcons are weak on the interior of the field. They are susceptible to tight ends and pass-catching running backs because of a slower linebacking group. Atlanta ranks 26th, per DVOA, against pass-catching running backs. They have also allowed 634 yards and the fourth-most touchdowns (7) to tight ends this season. Smith should be able to rely heavily on Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill for YAC in this spot.
QB – Matt Barkley
This wouldn’t be a TwoQBs article if I didn’t mention Matt Barkley this week. Barkley played much better than the terrible we expected in Week 12. He threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns. However, we should note that he only completed 51 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions. However, the Bears led the league in drops in Week 12, so not all of that is on Barkley.
The Bears tee off against a San Francisco defense this week that has not been able to stop anyone. They play fast and allow for opposing teams to run a handful of extra plays every week. Plus, they rank 24th against the pass and 30th against the run, per DVOA. This means that Jordan Howard should have success on the ground, helping to open things up for Barkley. The Niners struggle the most with large and physical outside receivers. Both Marquess Wilson and Cameron Meredith fit this profile and match up very well with the San Francisco cornerbacks. If the Bears are going to score the projected 22 points that Vegas implies, Barkley is going to have to be successful. As a fill in for Marcus Mariota, or a DFS super saver option, Barkley is definitely in play.