Each week on Wednesday, Ray Flowers will break down the quarterback position. There are a handful of signal callers who you always can feel confident in starting. We know the names. At the other end of the spectrum, there are a handful of quarterbacks you should never be starting. We know that as well. It’s the twenty quarterbacks in the middle that really matter. Ray will review the entire position each week, letting you know which quarterbacks should be started and/or avoided on a weekly basis…
Each week on Wednesday, Ray Flowers will break down the quarterback position. There are a handful of signal callers who you always can feel confident in starting. We know the names. At the other end of the spectrum, there are a handful of quarterbacks you should never be starting. We know that as well. It’s the twenty quarterbacks in the middle that really matter. Ray will review the entire position each week, letting you know which quarterbacks should be started and/or avoided on a weekly basis.
NOTE: Players are listed in the tables in order of their weekly ranking (#1 is the best play of the week). Not all players will have a write up below, so to find out how they are being profiled for the week, check out the order they are listed in the tables. The numbers listed for the quarterbacks are their per game averages.
*To see the odds for game action this week, be sure to visit our NFL Odds Page.
**DEF Rank: The lower the number, the better the matchup (#1 is the best matchup while #32 is the worst).
***DEF vs. QB: The lower the number, the better the matchup (#1 is the best matchup while #32 is the worst).
****Again, not all players have a write up below. See list above for ranking, from top to bottom.
*****All the “best/worst” stuff below is from Pro Football Focus.
******DYAR, or Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement. This gives the value of the quarterback 's performance compared to replacement level, adjusted for situation and opponent and then translated into yardage
*******DVOA – Football Outsiders Defense adjusted Value Over Average. The lower the number, the better the defense and the worse the outlook for the signal caller.
Jared Goff (PHI) – He was awful last week. True. He wasn’t very good the week before either (387 passing yards and one score in two games). So why is he listed here? (1) There is no way that Todd Gurley is held under 60 scrimmage yards again. (2) The Eagles were annihilated by that vaunted, we kid, Cowboys passing attack last week for 455 yards and three scores last week. They also allow the third most passing yards per game this season (277) while permitting a large 67.5 completion rate. (3) Goff has been amazing at home this season, averaging 367 passing yards and three touchdowns an outing (with just two picks in six outings).
Drew Brees (@CAR) – History is on his side, as he’s thrown for an average of 291 yards and 1.9 touchdown passes per outing. Carolina allows the seventh most points a week to quarterbacks, and they are bottom third in PFF pass coverage and overall defense. The last three games they are allowing 6.4 yards per play, the third-highest mark in football. Brees has been under 205 passing yards in three straight, but it’s time for a statement game by the Saints.
Russell Wilson (@SF) – Coming off his worst game as a pro (72-0-1). Yes, 72 passing yards. He still ran for 61 yards on seven carries, and that aspect of his game is always present. This week he faces the Niners who, just two weeks ago, were punted back to the stone age by Wilson, who threw for four scores and 185 yards on 17 passes. Moreover, the Niners have picked off two passes this season against 28 touchdown passes allowed.
Kirk Cousins (MIA) – The team fired OC John DeFilippo and replaced him with QB Coach Kevin Stefanski. The Vikes have averaged 12.8 points the last four outings. The O-line has struggled, which has led to issues establishing the ground attack on a consistent basis. Still… Cousins has 16 scores and no picks in the red zone. The Dolphins are a bottom quarter NFL defense that has allowed 2.7 passing scores and 299 yards an outing the last three. He’s hit on 72 percent of his passes at 7.25 yards per attempt at home.
Ben Roethlisberger (NE) – He leads the league in passes (546) and is second in completions (366). He’s also a crazy diva (not buying any of the stories coming out this week that he was ready to go but the coaches wouldn’t put him back in). He still threw for 282-2 last week. He has at least two passing scores in 6-of-7, and his last five he’s averaged 2.4 touchdown passes and 333 yards. At home this season, the numbers are 307 and 2.67.
Andrew Luck (DAL) – He has 28 passing scores and one pick in the red zone (second most scores in football). He has 15 scores inside the 10-yard line (tied for second-most in football). His last five overall, he’s averaged 314 yards and 2.2 passing scores. He also has a 4.75 TD/INT ratio at home this season while averaging 311 passing yards an outing. Dallas has only eight picks on the year, though if Sean Lee (hamstring) and David Irving (ankle) return this week for the Cowboys, you could consider avoiding starting Luck.
Cam Newton (NO) – His shoulder isn’t right. Hasn’t been for a while. Still, he has run the ball at least five times each of the last three outings, which leads one to believe he’s healthy enough. Newton has thrown for at least two scores in 11-of-12 games, and the last two outings he’s chucked the pigskin more than 40-times each time out. The Saints have allowed 24 passing scores in 13 games and have been carved up for a 100.5 QB Rating. The Saints also allow the fourth most points a week to signal callers, and Newton can break anyone down with his wheels.
Aaron Rodgers (@CHI) – We saw what the Bears did to the Rams vaunted offense in Week 14. They have allowed just 216 yards per game at home this season and permitted just 194 yards the last three overall through the air. They allow the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, and they are the best PFF defense. The change at HC didn’t change much of anything last week. In a matchup built for smashing (ATL), Rodgers attempted 32 passes, throwing for 196 yards and two scores. That’s 2-of-3 games and 3-of-5 games that Rodgers has failed to reach 200 passing yards.
Lamar Jackson (TB) – He hurt his ankle last week, and Joe Flacco is looming. In four starts, Lamar’s average passing effort is embarrassing for 2018: 13-for-22, 150 yards, 0.8 touchdowns and 0.8 interceptions. That’s hideous, and he looks every bit the part as well on the eyeball test. He’s averaged 17 rushing attempts a game, but he will not be able to stay healthy doing that. He’s also dealing with that ankle issue, and there are whispers Flacco will be active this week and that he will see some work. It’s a beatable matchup, but the Ravens just aren’t a good passing attack, not remotely close, with Jackson under center.
Mitch Trubisky (GB) – The Bears offense is a mess (some audio of me talking about it). Mitch is not a good quarterback at the moment. He’s been under 200 passing yards in 3-of-4 games, and in all three of those games, he has one touchdown pass. In those four outings, he’s averaged just 28 passes an outing. In Week 1, the Packers held him to 171 yards and no passing scores. As for the running, he’s run for one score in five games, and in 3-of-4, he’s been under 25 rushing yards.
Baker Mayfield (@DEN) – He has thrown for two scores and three picks in two games. He’s also been under 27 pass attempts in 3-of-4 outings. Mayfield has only six passing scores inside the 10-yard line this season, as the Browns choose to run the ball down in close. Denver has picked off 14 passes and posted 40 sacks, fourth most in football. Miller/Chubb are both top-15 in pressure rate this season and could cause Baker some issues.
Dak Prescott (@IND) – He has a mere nine passing scores in the red zone this season. He also has one game of three passing scores this season or 290 passing yards. Both occurred last week in the overtime win against the Eagles. Let me repeat. (1) He has one game with three passing scores. (2) He has one game of 290 passing yards. (3) He has one game of 37 pass attempts, and the number was just 30.3 his first 12 games this season. Don’t chase points. The Colts have allowed just 186 passing yards the last three while permitting one passing score per outing. Dak also has just four passing scores in six games on the road this season.
QUARTERBACKS TO AVOID
Jameis Winston (BAL) – Winston hurt his knee last week, yes Jeff Mans I saw it, and he didn’t look sharp in the second half, as he ended up hitting just 18-of-38 passes (47 percent). He has just one pick in three games, but this is a dangerous spot, especially considering he’s run for 45-yards the last two games, something not likely to continue happening in the matchup and given his knee issue. The Ravens are allowing just 58.8 percent of passes to be completed for a mere 206 yards.
Matthew Stafford (@BUF) – Jones is hurt, and Tate is with another team. Bruce Ellington left game action last week, meaning Stafford simply has precious few weapons to target. The O-line continues to crumble, leaving Stafford in a hurry on seemingly every drop back. Stafford has been under 250-yards in 4-straight and 5-of-6. He’s also seen his yards per attempt plummet to 6.12 the last four games, during which time he’s thrown two scores. The Bills allow the fewest passing yards per game (186) and allow the fewest fantasy points a week to signal callers.
Eli Manning (TEN) – As of this writing, we’re uncertain OBJ will return, but we expect he will. The Giants crushed the Redskins last week, but that was a truly pathetic effort from the ‘Skins. Eli has been under 200-yards in 2-straight, and 3-of-5. He also has just five passing scores, and five picks, in six home outings. The Titans are a top-10 defense, overall and in pass coverage (PFF), and they permit a mere 219 passing yards an outing. Too often, the offense is all Saquon Barkley.
Nick Mullens (SEA) – Has been picked off each of his last four games, six times in total. He’s taken 10 sacks the last three outings. The Seahawks have picked off 12 passes. They allow 247 passing yards an outing. They just crushed the Vikings offense, and the last three they have allowed 1.7 passing scores an outing and rank as a top-10 pass coverage unit (PFF). Pierre Garcon is done, and they have one weapon – George Kittle – and Seattle ranks as the 7th toughest defense against tight ends.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday-Friday, 8-10 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 9 PM EDT on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work on Twitter (@baseballguys).