FAVORABLE MATCHUPS (CASH/GPP)
Patrick Mahomes (DK – $7,600/FD – $9,500): Mahomes remains the top QB in the land. His completion rate has been over 70.0 percent in five straight games. Patrick has nine games with over 300 yards passing with one of those outing reaching 478 yards. Mahomes has two games with six TDs, four games with four TDs, and two games with three TDs setting an explosive floor in many weeks. Oakland ranks 19th defending QBs with no team scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. The Raiders allow 8.5 yards per pass attempt with 25 passing TDs. Kansas City will move the ball at will, but game score may not be his friend. Top QB on the week with the run game being his biggest risk for downside. I fully expect 300+ yards with four TDs, but will it be enough to cover his high salary?
Cam Newton (DK – $6,600/FD – $8,700): Newton continues to be the sixth best QB after 12 weeks of the NFL season. Cam has two TDs or more in ten straight games while finding some of his lost value in the run game last week (8/63). He has two games with over 300 yards passing with only a steady outing in his earlier matchup against the Bucs (280 combined yards with two TDs). Tampa allows the fourth-most Fantasy points to QBs with three teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. The Bucs held the QB position to fewer than 20.0 Fantasy points in each of their last three games while facing WAS, NYG, and SF. The Panthers offer more firepower on offense, and they desperately need a win after dropping the last two games. Tampa allows 8.7 yards per pass attempt with QBs tossing 26 TDs. Upside matchup and this pony owns me plenty of dough from their matchup in Week 9.
Jameis Winston (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,500): Winston threw the ball well over his last game and a half (511 yards with four TDs) with strength in his completion rate (75.9). In his three other starts, Jamies had one game of value (395/4) while tosing ten Ints over his first 148 passing attempts on the year. Tampa averages well over 350 passing yards per game with their QBs tossing 27 TDs. Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 243 yards and four TDs in the Bucs last game vs. the Panthers in Week 9. Carolina ranks 27th defending QBs with six QBs posting high floor games (CIN - 352/2, NYG - 383/3, PHI - 310/2, TB - 243/4, PIT - 325/5, and SEA - 339/2). All the making of an impact game; both teams will score and Tampa doesn't run the ball well especially in the red zone.
Kirk Cousins (DK – $5,500/FD – $7,600): Cousins threw the ball well last week (342/3) after going six straight games with two passing TDs or fewer. His best success came in Week 2 (425/4) and Week 4 (422/3) while passing for over 300 yards in two other games. The Patriots are 26th defending the QB position with three teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points (JAC - 377/4, IND - 365/3, and KC - 352/4) with two other teams passing for over 300 yards. New England will have their hands full defending the top two Vikings’ WRs, which gives Cousins a chance at an upside game.
MATCHUP RISK / AGAINST THE GRAIN (GPP)
Andrew Luck (DK – $5,800/FD – $8,200): Luck extended his three-TD passing streak to eight games. His completion rate has been over 70.0 percent in his last five games while passing for over 300 yards in five games. Andrew remains on pace for 47 TDs. In Week 10, he passed for 285 yards and three TDs vs. the Jaguars. Jacksonville continues to bleed away their early lead in QB defense. They allow 25.0 Fantasy points or more to QBs in five of their last six games with each opponent finding a different weakness to exploit. Two teams going in different directions. May surprise, but his TD streak will end at some point. Against the grain play.
Tom Brady (DK – $5,800/FD – $7,900): Brady played well last week (283/2) while New England also shined in the run game. Tom has one passing TD or fewer in four of his last six games. Three of his four games with three passing TDs came at home over the first five weeks of the season. The Vikings moved to 7th in QB Fantasy defense after holding QBs to fewer than 20.0 Fantasy points in each of their last six games. The Vikings allow 7.5 yards per passing attempt with 14 passing TDs. Their biggest failure vs. the QB position came in Week 4 (LAR - 465/5). Not ideal, but Brady can dink and dunk with the best of them in the NFL.
Matt Ryan (DK – $5,600/FD – $8,500): Ryan should set career highs in passing yards (5,357), TDs (38), and completion rate (71.4) if he continues his current path in production. He passed for over 300 yards in seven of his last nine games. Matt has three TDs or more in five games with four of those games coming at home. The Ravens are 4th in the NFL defending QBs with three poor showings (CIN - 265/4, CAR - 282 combined yards with three TDs, and PIT - 292/3). Baltimore allows 6.2 yards per pass attempt with QBs tossing 15 TDs. Torn here as Ryan tends to be a good play at home while the Ravens have the talent to slow down the passing game.
Baker Mayfield (DK – $5,600/FD – $7,500): Mayfield had the best game of his young career last week against the Bengals. He passed for 258 yards with four TDs. Over his last five games, Baker has 13 TDs and two Ints with one respectable game in passing yards (297). Houston ranks sixth in the NFL defending QBs with six of the last seven opponents scoring fewer than 20.0 Fantasy points. Houston picked 11 sacks in the last two games while allowing 19 passing TDs on the year. Cleveland has a young, improving team, but this matchup doesn't project to offer impact value in the daily games.
Josh Rosen (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,500): Rosen looks a long ways away from being a franchise QB. Over his last five games, Josh has eight TDs and nine Ints while passing for fewer than 255 yards in each start. His completion rate (55.5) remains short while gaining only 6.2 yards per pass attempt. The Packers are league average against QBs with two teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Green Bay allows 7.7 yards per pass attempt with QBs tossing 19 TDs. Tough to trust while showing no signs of upside in the passing game.
BAD MATCHUP (AVOID)
Josh Allen (DK – $5,300/FD – $6,800): For the second time in 2018. Allen carried the Bills' offense to a win thanks to his legs (10/39/2 and 13/99/1). Last week he completed only 42.1 percent of his passes, but Josh did gain 160 yards with a TD. Over his six starts, Allen has fewer than 200 yards passing in five games while never passing for more than one TD. Miami is 14th defending QBs with three of the last six teams scoring over 29.0 Fantasy points at QB. The Dolphins allow 8.2 yards per pass attempt with 21 passing TDs. Miami will limit QBs in the run game, so Josh looks like a losing bet on the run.
Ryan Tannehill (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,600): In his first game back behind center, Tannehill passed for 204 yards with two TDs. In his six games played in 2018, Ryan passed for 230 yards or fewer in five games with one game with more than two TDs. The Bills continue to have the best defense in the league against QBs with eight of their last nine opponents scoring 20.0 Fantasy points or fewer. Bad matchup plus his receiving core has multiple injuries. Fade.
Matt Mullens (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,200): In his first NFL road starts, Mullens passed for 221 yards with one TD and two Ints. His completion rate (65.6) and yards per pass attempt (7.9) look favorable after three games while needing to prove a lot in this matchup on the road. Seattle ranks 5th in QB Fantasy defense after struggling a bit in their last three games (24.20, 24.90, and 26.10). Overall, no team scored higher than 27.00 Fantasy point at QB against the Seahawks. I do sense an early hook in this matchup if a couple of balls land in the other team's hands. More risk than reward.
Jared Goff (DK – $6,400/FD – $8,400): With Todd Gurley limited in the Rams last game vs. the high powered Chiefs' offense, Goff was more than up to the task. He passed for 413 yards with five combined TDs. Jared now has two games with over 400 yards passing and five other games with over 300 yards passing. He has two games with five TDs and three games with three TDs. The Lions fell to 21st in QB defense struggled vs. the QB position in two of their last three games (CHI - 355/3 and CAR - 357/3) with their other failed game coming in Week 5 (GB - 442/3). Detroit has plenty of downside defending RBs (4.7 yards per rush) with RBs scoring 13 TDs, which may hurt the ceiling of Goff in this matchup. Worth a swing as he may hit Gurley on a TD pass or two.
Russell Wilson (DK – $6,300/FD – $7,700): Wilson inched his way to QB13 in the season-long games scoring between 25.00 and 29.00 Fantasy points in three of the last four games. He's still looking for his first rushing TDs while trailing his previous resume in the run game (41/231). Wilson has two TDs or more in ten of his 11 games with his best two games passing the ball coming in Week 1 (298/3) ad Week 12 (339/2). The 49ers sit 22nd in QB Fantasy defense with one team scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Four teams passed for over 300 yards against San Fran with QB earning 23 passing TDs. Seattle would like to run the ball, which limits the passing attempts to 31 or fewer in eight of their last nine games. Coin flip.
Aaron Rodgers (DK – $6,200/FD – $8,300): Rodgers fell to 10th in QB scoring after delivering a poor game in Week 12 (198/1). Aaron has two TDs or fewer in nine of his last ten games while passing for over 300 yards in three games this year. His completion rate (61.7) is below his best seasons while maintaining an exceptional TD to Int ratio (20:1). The Cardinals have the third-best defense in the league vs. QBs with one team scoring over 25.0 Fantasy points. Green Bay like many other teams will try to beat Arizona on the ground, which will hurt the impact value of Rodgers in passing yards. Seems due for a big TD game, which may be just the mind not thinking clearly of his 2018 path. Not the best play in the daily game unless a Fantasy owner believes the Cardinals will put up a fight on the scoreboard.
Deshaun Watson (DK – $6,100/FD – $7,900): Watson attempted 25 passes or fewer in six straight games leading to 240 passing yards or less in each game over this span. Deshaun only has one impact game in passing TDs (5) and four games with over 300 yards passing. He has two TDs or fewer in eight of his 11 games played. The Browns slid to 20th in QB Fantasy defense after struggling in two of their last three games (KC - 375/3 and CIN - 285 combined yards and two TDs). Five teams passed for over 300 yards vs. Cleveland with 18 passing TDs allowed. Upside QB who has the talent at WR receiver to post an impact game if game flow works toward a value passing game.
Ben Roethlisberger (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,900): Over the last two games on the road, Roethlisberger passed for 776 yards with three TDs, but he threw five Ints. Ben sits second in QB scoring while passing for over 300 yards in eight games with six games with three TDs or more. The Chargers worked their way to second in QB Fantasy defense with six of the last seven opponents scoring fewer than 20.0 Fantasy points. Roethlisberger is throwing the ball well with two elite WRs that can beat almost any secondary in the league. A slight underdog in the daily games with James Conner looking poised for a rebound game at home.
Lamar Jackson (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,500): Jackson is expected to earn his third straight start even with Joe Flacco getting closer to the field. Over his first two games leading the Ravens, Jackson has 518 combined yards with two TDs with his best value coming in the run game (37/190/1). Even with two wins, Lamar did throw two Ints while facing two weaker opponents (CIN and OAk). The Falcons allow the second-most Fantasy points to QBs with three teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. Atlanta has risk vs. the run (268/1363/13) with QBs rushing for 210 yards with two rushing TDs. Jackson has a favorable matchup, but this game will be on the road, and an active Flacco could threaten his upside if a couple of errant passes land in the hands of the opposing team.
Mitchell Trubisky (DK – $5,700/FD – $7,900): Trubisky missed last week’s game with a bum right shoulder. This week he looks to have a 50/50 shot at playing. Mitchell has four impact games (354/6, 316/3, 404 combined yards with three TDs, and 355/4) leading to three lucky Fantasy owners winning a million dollars at DraftKings. The Giants are 10th in the NFL defending QBs with two poor showings (HOU - 385/2 and TB - 366/2). Over the last five games, New York only allowed six passing TDs (15 on the year). Risky option even if he plays.
Matt Stafford (DK – $5,400/FD – $6,700): Stafford no longer has the firepower at WR to be a considered a value in the daily games even with a low salary and a matchup that should force him to throw. Matt has ten games with two TDs or fewer while failing to pass for over 300 yards in his last four games. The Rams slipped to 25th QB defense after struggling vs. the pass in the last three games (NO - 346/4, SEA - 268 combined yards and three TDs, and KC - 478/6). LA allows 8.1 yards per pass attempt with QBs tossing 25 TDs. The stats suggest Stafford could be an option, but he'll need to earn a lot of his passing yards by using the RB position in the passing game.
Case Keenum (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,900): Keenum hasn't thrown an Int over his last three games after starting the year with ten Ints over the first seven games. Case has two TDs or fewer in ten straight games while only delivering ten passing TDs over this span. He passed for over 300 yards in three games, which all came over the first six games of the year. Cinci ranks last in the NFL against QBs with six of the last nine opponents scoring over 28.0 Fantasy points. The Bengals allow 8.0 yards per pass attempt with QBs delivering 28 combined TDs. A tempting matchup, but his resume doesn’t paint an exciting picture in the daily games.
Marcus Mariota (DK – $5,200/FD – $7,000): Mariota flashed a couple of times in 2018 (Week 4 - 390 combined yards with three TDs and Week 12 - 331 combined yards with two TDs). In between, Marcus only had six TDs in six games while failing to pass for 240 yards in any other game. The Jets are 12th vs. the QB position no team scoring over 30.0 Fantasy points. New York struggled against the run in three of their last four games (34/179/1, 46/212/2, and 36/215/1), which point to the path that the Titans will try to beat the Jets. Possible piece of a low-value hookup while flying under the radar.
Eli Manning (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,500): After 12 weeks, Manning is the 17th rank QB with only 14 TDs on the year. He passed for over 300 yards in three games while only delivering more than two TDs in one game. His completion rate (69.1) is a career-high while gaining a respectable 7.7 yards per pass attempt. Eli's downside is tied to 38 sacks. The Bears ranks 8th defending QBs with eight teams scoring 22.0 Fantasy points or fewer. Chicago allows 6.7 yards per pass attempt with two teams having success (GB - 341/3 and MIA - 380/3). Playing at home with talent at RB and WR, but the Bears will give the Giants plenty to handle in the pass rush.
Derek Carr (DK – $5,000/FD – $6,600): Carr passed for fewer than 200 yards in four of his last six games while failing to throw more than one TD in eight of his 11 games. Derek' best two games came at home (437/4 and 244/3) when he had more talent at WR. Kansas City still ranks 28th vs. QBs after their third disaster game in Week 11 (LAR - 413/5). Four teams have over 400 yards passing against the Chiefs with QB tossing 20 TDs. KC tends to play worse on defense on the road, which may give a Carr a pulse in Week 13 if the Raiders can get Kansas City's offense off the field. Only a gamble.
Jeff Driskel (DK – $4,500/FD – $6,400): Driskel will be making his first NFL start in Week 13 after Andy Dalton suffered a thumb injury last week. The key to any upside would be a return of A.J. Green to the starting lineup. In his limited playing time this year, Jeff gained 288 combined yards with three TDs in what amounts to about a game's worth of action. His best season in college came in 2015 at Louisiana Tech when he passed for 4,033 yards with 27 TDs and eight Ints while adding value in the run game (92/323/5). The Broncos are league average against QBs with boring results in the last four games (30.15, 22.45, 26.05, and 26.90). Worth a flier if Green plays while still having a chance at paying off at this level while playing at home.
Cody Kessler (DK – $4,500/FD – $6,000): Kessler takes over at QB for the Jaguars after Blake Borltes failed to win a game since Week 3. Over 13 games in his career, Cody passed for 1,662 yards with seven TDs and four Ints. The Jaguars only have 14 passing TDs in 11 games in 2018 while gaining 6.8 yards per pass attempt. The Colts held QBs to fewer than 20.0 Fantasy points in six of their 11 games with three teams scoring over 30.0 Fantasy point. Not dead in the water while playing at home, but Kessler tends to be a game manager rather than a playmaker.