Last week felt like the weirdest fantasy weeks for quarterbacks yet. Only six QBs eclipsed 300 passing yards, but two of them were Jay Cutler and Jacoby Brissett. Yes, I said Cutler and Brissett. Furthermore, Tyrod Taylor was the second highest scoring QB of the week behind only Jared Goff. Tom Brady was on a bye, Deshaun Watson was lost for the season, and Jimmy Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers. Just a weird week.
This week, we have only four QBs on byes, but three of them are QB1 options, including the probable MVP front-runner, Carson Wentz. Don’t fret, though, as there are plenty of good matchups to choose from if you need a QB this week.
On a Bye: Carson Wentz, Derek Carr, Alex Smith, and Joe Flacco.
Get ready for a big passing day from Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Defensive Matchup: Indianapolis Colts (Road)
Even in Ben Roethlisberger’s bad games, like the five-interception debacle against Jacksonville, he always seems to throw for a lot of yards. And fortunately for him, Indianapolis has allowed the 2nd most passing yards per game this season behind only New England. Let me hit you with another interesting little factoid. The Colts allowed a combined 683 passing yards to Brian Hoyer and Blake Bortles. This defense should be embarrassed for that. And I think it’s pretty safe to say that Big Ben is miles better than either of those two guys.
That five-pick meltdown I mentioned earlier might have been the wakeup call Roethlisberger needed. Since then, he’s thrown for 793 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions in three games. Now, those aren’t great numbers, but it did come against two top-12 defenses when it comes to allowing fantasy points to quarterbacks. In standard-scoring leagues, Roethlisberger has yet to eclipse 20 fantasy points in a game this season. I got a hunch that ends this week. He’s a back-end QB1/strong QB2 this week.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
Defensive Matchup: Houston Texans (Home)
Don’t look now, but Jared Goff is the 12th best fantasy QB this season. He’s even outperformed Tom Brady over the last month. GASP! Goff was a popular pickup for those unfortunate owners that had to replace Deshaun Watson, and he did his best to ease the pain last week. He threw for 311 yards and four touchdowns on only 22 pass attempts. Pretty efficient, huh?
On paper, this week is another plus matchup for Goff. This Houston defense has been trending in the wrong direction since the loss of J.J. Watt. The Texans have allowed 16 passing touchdowns, which is tied for the 3rd most in the NFL. Their overall numbers would look a lot worse, too, if it weren’t for a few soft matchups earlier in the season. Plain and simple, when they face legit quarterbacks, they crumble.
This is probably the first time I’ve said this next sentence all season, but I’m highly confident it will be accurate: Jared Goff will be a top-10 QB this week and is worthy of being started as a QB1.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Defensive Matchup: Cleveland Browns (Home)
The Cleveland Browns can’t do anything right. They had a deal in place to acquire A.J. McCarren from Cincinnati, but they didn’t send the trade in to the NFL before the deadline due to a reported “disconnect” between the front office and coaching staff. That’s not really pertinent to this article, but it leads me to my next point: They can’t do anything right on defense, either. The Browns have allowed the 3rd most passing touchdowns, 4th highest completion percentage,2nd highest QB rating, have picked off the 8th fewest passes, and are 23rd in sacks. Should I keep going?
Facing off against this porous Browns defense this week is Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions. Finally healthy, this passing offense was firing on all cylinders last week against Green Bay. Stafford completed 26-of-33 passes for 361 yards and two touchdowns. That was good for the 7th highest scoring output from a QB, and this week should be more of the same. Fire up Stafford as a QB1 with top-five potential this week.
Jags D poised to shut down Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers
Defensive Matchup: Jacksonville Jaguars (Road)
Philip Rivers, come on down. It’s your turn to get shut down by the Jaguars stout passing defense. As a quarterback, facing the Jaguars this season has been about as much fun as getting a root canal. Actually, maybe a root canal is less painful. We’re now in Week 10, and the Jaguars have still allowed only four passing touchdowns. What’s even more impressive is that three of those were in the first three weeks of the season. That means that, in the last five games, they’ve allowed one lone passing score. That’s just ridiculous.
Holding teams out of the end zone isn’t the only area where Jacksonville excels. Outside of Ben Roethlisberger, opposing QBs have had difficulties just moving the ball down the field in general against Jacksonville, averaging only 168.6 passing yards per game. Rivers himself hasn’t been performing overly well over his last three games, either, averaging just 221 passing yards per game with four touchdowns. With this tough matchup, Rivers shouldn’t be used as anything more than a QB2 this week.
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Defensive Matchup: Minnesota Vikings (Home)
After a subpar start to the season, this Minnesota defense has really turned it on as of late. They haven’t allowed 210+ yard passing or multiple passing touchdowns in a game since Week 3 against Jameis Winston. Since that game, opposing QBs have thrown for three touchdowns, four interceptions, and averaged only 171.8 passing yards per game. Kirk Cousins is better than any QB Minnesota has faced over the last month, but his receiving corps is currently in shambles. Terrelle Pryor has been a complete non-factor, and Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder have yet to really get going.
Over the last two weeks, Cousins has thrown for only one score and an average of 255 yards. Furthermore, the Vikings have allowed only nine passing touchdowns all season, which is the 5th lowest mark in the NFL. In fact, with the exception of interceptions, Minnesota is in the top-10 of most defensive passing statistics. With his recent struggles and a tough matchup, I wouldn’t feel great about starting Cousins as a QB1 this week.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Defensive Matchup: Buffalo Bills (Road)
I hate putting top-five guys like Drew Brees in here. Obviously, you’re going to start him, and nothing I say will make you change your mind. If I had him, I’d be starting him, too. However, with a tough road matchup in Buffalo, this might not be one of the weeks he carries fantasy teams to victory.
The Bills aren’t overly great in limiting passing yards, but they do other things that limit the number of fantasy points opposing QBs put up. First, they’re 2nd best in the NFL in picking off passes. Their 11 interceptions this season trail only Baltimore’s 13. Drew Brees is one of the best QBs to ever grace the gridiron, but he is prone to interceptions. Yes, he has only four this season, but those have all come in the last four games. The Bills have also allowed only seven passing touchdowns through their first eight games. This game smells like a 300-yard, one-TD, two-INT kind of day for Brees. He should still put up QB1 numbers, but if you’re expecting a monster game, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
Sleeper of the Week
Josh McCown, New York Jets
Defensive Matchup: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Road)
Performing well for a couple of games can be considered a fluke. However, performing well for half a season means the performances are at least somewhat legit. No one gave Josh McCown and the Jets any chance to do anything productive this season, but here we are in November and McCown is still outscoring Matt Ryan, who was drafted as a top-five QB in many drafts. McCown could do this for the entire season and I still wouldn’t recommend him as a QB1, but he’s firmly entrenched as a QB2 now. I’m not sure if that says more about McCown or the mediocrity of NFL quarterbacks, but it is what it is.
This week, he gets to square off with a Tampa Bay defense that is bottom 10 in virtually every passing category. They really struggle to pressure the quarterback. They’ve registered only eight sacks, which is dead last by a mile. McCown should have all the time in the world to sit back in the pocket and make something happen. He’s a solid QB2 and one of the best DFS plays for Week 10.
Thank you for reading this week’s quarterback matchup report on Fantrax. I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question about a player not covered here? Ask in the comments below or follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there. Make sure you check back in next Friday as we break down quarterbacks for Week 11.