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 events occur on Monday Night Football that do not make it into the article, it will be edited after publish. Any post-publication edits will be noted.
Week 5 Results
Let's take a look at how last week's recommendations fared.
Blake Bortles - at Kansas City
Using the waiver wire to find starting fantasy football quarterbacks doesn't have to be pretty. The player being rostered and started doesn't have to be good at playing quarterbacks. Sometimes, he doesn't have to be good at throwing the ball. And he certainly doesn't have to contribute to a winning effort for his team in order to produce positive results in fantasy football In yet another case of this, Bortles threw one touchdown and four interceptions in Week 5. But a garbage time rushing touchdown (plus 430 passing yards) have him as the week's QB3.
The way Bortles got there might leave some questioning the "Rent-a-Quarterback" strategy, but the process was sound. We identified a high-total game, a defense that has been poor at stopping opposing passing games, and we even threw in a player capable of adding points with his legs. Relying on garbage time isn't ideal, but if fantasy GMs stick to the process, they won't have to very often.
Alex Smith - at New Orleans (Monday Night)
Smith ran into a buzzsaw in a wild Superdome Monday night. A rushing touchdown helped, but that was about the only productive thing he did. His 19.45 fantasy points didn't kill people who utilized his services, but a QB19 finish isn't what we're seeking here.
Joe Flacco - at Cleveland
After an emotional road win in Pittsburgh late Sunday night and another divisional road game, perhaps we should've seen a letdown spot here for Baltimore. Flacco passed for 298 yards but had 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, leaving him as the QB26 on the week. While it's a bad result, Flacco "renters" need to have amnesia heading into Week 6. More on that later.
Derek Carr - at L.A. Chargers
Just went the Chargers passing defense was starting to look like an automatic every-week target, Carr and his teammates put up a dud. Carr's 268 yards and 1 touchdown were a disappointing effort that netted a QB21 performance.
Week 6 Candidates
Here are the players available in at least 40% of typical leagues who could provide QB1 production this week.
From last week's column:
If Dalton is not rostered in your league, he's worth an add. He'd rank at or near the top of this list for Week 5, but his next five weeks are as follows: vs. Pittsburgh, at Kansas City, vs. Tampa Bay, bye week, vs. New Orleans. As of the end of Sunday's games, those are the four worst teams in terms or per-game fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.
All of this is still true, except that Kansas City is now allowing the fifth-most fantasy points. So Dalton now four of the worst five teams coming up consecutively. If Dalton is still available, he fits right in with the first two players listed below - both this week and looking ahead to the next four-to-five weeks. If he's not, this week's list has multiple consolation prizes.
Jameis Winston - at Atlanta
Speaking of every-week defenses to attack, Atlanta is at the top of the list. With their many injuries, this team can be beaten in any way. And since Tampa Bay has no running game to speak of, expect them to lean on Winston in his first start of the season to move the ball. This feels like cheating because Winston has every-week QB1 talent and weapons but isn't rostered in many leagues due to his suspension and the team's bye in Week 5.
Grab Winston now and use him for a couple weeks. He gets Cleveland at home in Week 7, travels to Cincinnati in Week 8, and then to Carolina in Week 9. None of those are as drool-inducing as Atlanta, but all are beatable. And again, Winston has elite weapons and an aggressive play-caller at his disposal.
Baker Mayfield - vs. L.A. Chargers
Mayfield was Week 5's QB12 (pending Monday night) against a Baltimore team yielding the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Chargers showed in Week 5 that they might be better than the team that was sliced and diced through four weeks. But they aren't as good as Baltimore. And they're coming east to play an early game.
Dalton's schedule was highlighted last week and above, but Mayfield's is almost as friendly.
|6||vs. L.A. Chargers||284||2.2||23.6||9|
|7||at Tampa Bay||370||3.3||32.7||1|
|9||vs. Kansas City||360||1.8||27.7||5|
Mayfield's next five opponents, on average, allow the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. His weapons are clicking; he has great talent, and he can add to his fantasy totals using his legs. Pick him up before it's too late.
Joe Flacco - at Tennessee
As mentioned above, Rent-a-Quarterback is a strategy that sometimes requires a short memory. Tennessee's fantasy points allowed numbers look good on the surface, but they manhandled Josh Allen last week, contributing to one-fifth of their data points. They have also faced Ryan Tannehill. Their best accomplishment was shutting down Blake Bortles. Flacco is a decent floor/low ceiling play. Flacco's positional finishes in his last nine non-Week 17 games are as follows:
- Week 5, 2018: QB24
- Week 4, 2018: QB13
- Week 3, 2018: QB19
- Week 2, 2018: QB11
- Week 1, 2018: QB10
- Week 16, 2017: QB8
- Week 15, 2017: QB9
- Week 14, 2017: QB15
- Week 13, 2017: QB10
Deep Leagues Only
These selections are best saved for deeper leagues and/or 2QB/Superflex leagues.
- Eli Manning - at Philadelphia: the drama in this locker room and the fact that it's Thursday night on the road keeps it from being in the section above.
- Derek Carr - vs. Seattle
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.
- Baker Mayfield - at Pittsburgh: as discussed above.
- Joe Flacco - vs. New Orleans
- Eli Manning - at Atlanta
Let's take a look at the players recommended here over the first five weeks of the season.
Even with the passing explosion this season, it has been a "rising tide lifts all ships" situation for the most part. There haven't been any weeks where the average of the three-to-four players selected has been in the Top 12, but 20+ fantasy points off the waiver wire is respectable.
The average finish of each selected player by week is one good way to look at things, but the "QB1 Rate" (amount of top-12 finishes as a percentage of players selected) is another good way. Through four weeks, we have 6 QB1s out of 17 total players selected, for a QB1 Rate of 35.3%. This number is unacceptable and will improve as the season progresses.
Questions, comments, suggestions, and other feedback on this piece are always welcome via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org