Late-round quarterback drafter? Had an injury to your starter? In need of a bye-week replacement? This is the place to find your weekly quarterback choices. In this article, which is new to Footballguys this season, I'll highlight a couple of quarterback options likely available in most leagues (we'll use players rostered in fewer than 60% of Yahoo leagues) who could provide some punch at the quarterback position.
Unless most teams in your league carry a backup quarterback, there should be plenty of starting NFL quarterbacks on your waiver wire each week. Instead of starting a low-end QB1 facing an elite secondary, look to the waiver wire and play the matchups. Ideally, a player who appears in this space gets hot for multiple weeks and becomes an every-week starter. But if not, throw him back to the wire and come back here next week. Quarterback is one of the most predictable positions in fantasy football. Simply by using matchups, fantasy GMs can start a mid-to-high QB1 every week by using the waiver wire.
Disclaimer: this column will typically be written on Monday evenings. Should any relevant Monday Night Football events occur that do not make it into the article, it will be edited after publish. Any post-publication edits will be noted.
Week 1 Results
Let's take a look at how last week's recommendations fared.
Andy Dalton - at Indianapolis
Dalton started slowly, but he finished with 19.9 fantasy points, which was good enough for a QB14 finish, pending Monday's results. Dalton's 243 yards and 2 touchdowns could have been a bigger day if not for a short rushing touchdown by Joe Mixon and a defensive touchdown that sealed the game.
Blake Bortles - at N.Y. Giants
Sometimes, when you play Blake Bortles, this will happen. Despite only 176 passing yards, Bortles managed 16.0 fantasy points due to his rushing ability (42 yards on 4 carries). While his QB19 ranking falls short of the top-12 goal, it certainly wouldn't have submarined anyone who played him.
Case Keenum - vs. Seattle
Had this article been written Sunday morning, Keenum would have been ranked ahead of Bortles. We found out that Seattle was starting a fifth-round rookie safety at cornerback (more on this later). Keenum didn't disappoint, finishing with 25.4 fantasy points, good enough for QB7, pending Monday night results.
Joe Flacco - vs. Buffalo
The stroll down #NarrativeStreet was a scenic one as Flacco and Baltimore dominated the NFL's worst team while seeing each new Baltimore receiver catch a touchdown. Flacco's 24.1 fantasy points and QB10 finish could have been bigger had Buffalo provided any offensive counter-punch.
Week 2 Candidates
Here are the players available in at least 40% of typical leagues who could provide QB1 production this week. Check your league's waiver wire for anyone who is dropped, as they may be better options than the ones shown below. Good luck out there; Week 2 isn't shaping up as well as Week 1 did.
If Alex Smith is available in your league, he should be prioritized over all of the players listed below.
Case Keenum - vs. Oakland
In one start, Keenum did everything Denver's mediocre hodgepodge of quarterbacks couldn't do last season. He showed great rapport with his receivers, he exploited mismatches, and he threw three touchdowns. Once it became known that Seattle was starting rookie Tre Flowers (a college safety) at cornerback, it became apparent that Keenum and Emmanuel Sanders would pick on the mismatch early and often.
We often discuss "the assumption of rational coaching" here at Footballguys (shout-out to Sigmund Bloom for the phrase), and Denver's coaching staff showed that they will pick on mismatches. That bodes well for Keenum. Tuesday edit: Oakland yielded the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2017, and the 233 yards they allowed to Jared Goff could have been more. Oakland had two pass interference penalties that combined for 87 yards. Early odds show Denver as a 6-point home favorite with an over/under of 45 points. That's a friendly situation for Keenum and Denver.
Tyrod Taylor - at New Orleans
Taylor looked dreadful throwing the ball, but his legs made his fantasy day last week, with 77 rushing yards and a touchdown. New Orleans allowed 36 rushing yards and a touchdown to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Another note of caution: remember that New Orleans was torched for 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns by Sam Bradford in Week 1 last season before righting the ship and having a great defensive unit.
Taylor is below Keenum because game script also isn't in Taylor's favor, with New Orleans favored by 8.5. The best scenario for Taylor hitting any kind of ceiling is some garbage time, which allows for dropbacks that lead to production but through the air and on the ground.
Joe Flacco - at Cincinnati (Thursday Night)
On the road, in the division, on a short week, this isn't a high-ceiling play. But Flacco showed in Week 1 that he was healthy and comfortable with his new weapons. Baltimore's running game wasn't incredibly effective either (relative to expectations).
As for the matchup, Cincinnati allowed 319 passing yards to Andrew Luck and his limited weaponry. They did so on a whopping 53 attempts, though, suggesting it wasn't as easy as the raw numbers indicate.
Deep Leagues Only
These selections are best saved for deeper leagues and/or 2QB/Superflex leagues.
- Nick Foles - at Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers allowed a league-high 9.8 yards per attempt in Week 1. Part of that is playing a high-powered New Orleans offense, but this is a secondary that was poor in 2017 as well and didn't add much.
- Mitchell Trubisky - vs. Seattle (Monday Night): As mentioned above, Seattle had to start a rookie safety at cornerback. They also started Shaquem Griffin in Week 1. Both players are rookies drafted in the fifth round or later, and both should be starting again in Week 2.
If others in your league are also playing the "Rent-a-Quarterback" game, it might be wise to get a jump on next week's potential choices.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick - vs. Pittsburgh (Monday Night): Taylor's poor passing let Pittsburgh's weak back seven off the hook in Week 1. Fitzpatrick and his weapons could take advantage.
- Andy Dalton - at Carolina: As long as his weapons are healthy, Dalton will keep appearing here when he has an average-or-better matchup.
- Mitchell Trubisky - at Arizona: Patrick Peterson is tough, but no other Arizona defender is. Matt Nagy can be trusted to scheme around that.
- Blake Bortles - vs. Tennessee: The matchup is better than the player. Ryan Tannehill just had his way with the Tennessee defense.
Questions, comments, suggestions, and other feedback on this piece are always welcome via e-mail email@example.com