Rent-a-Quarterback: Week 13 - Footballguys

Finding QB1 production from the waiver wire

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, 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 12 Results

Let's take a look at how last week's recommendations fared.

Jameis Winston - vs. San Francisco

Winston's return to the lineup broke this streak, but it was still a successful one. Had San Francisco's offense shown up at all, further production could have been there for Winston too. But 312 passing yards and 2 touchdowns for a QB10 performance is still solid.

Lamar Jackson - vs. Oakland

Much of Jackson's value lies in his rushing ability, but in the first half, he only had two rushing attempts. A touchdown on the ground and one through the air later in the game made Jackson's day a successful one, despite only 178 passing yards. Once again, Jackson was mediocre through the air, finishing 27th in passing fantasy points. But his 71 rushing yards and the aforementioned touchdown netted him the second-most rushing fantasy points among quarterbacks. That resulted in a QB14 finish for the week.

Baker Mayfield - at Cincinnati

Mayfield is putting it all together in a Hue Jackson-less Cleveland world. His 258 yards and 4 touchdowns could have been an even bigger day, but he staked his team to such a big lead that he didn't have much production in the second half. Still, Mayfield is the QB4 for the week, the best finish of any Rent-a-Quarterback since Winston finished as the QB1 in Week 6.

Week 13 Candidates

Here are the players available in at least 40% of typical leagues who could provide QB1 production this week.

Lamar Jackson - at Atlanta

This is obviously conditional upon Jackson getting the start. With another win and having displayed growth from his first start to his second, the assumption of rational coaching suggests that Jackson should remain the team's starter for at least one more week. And CBS' Jason LaCanfora seems to have inside information that this will be the case.

But John Harbaugh refused to name a starter in his post-game press conference. He also said that he likely wouldn't announce it even when he decides because he doesn't want their opponent to know.

It's a risky move to back on Jackson without a safety net unless we get reliable information during the week that says he'll get the nod. But if we do, his rushing upside and this matchup are alluring. There's also reason beyond this week to hold on to Jackson (more on that later).

Jameis Winston - vs. Carolina

The process here is ideal. Tampa Bay is a pass-happy team against a pass-friendly defense. Also, the over/under in the game is 56.5 points, with Tampa Bay projected to score 26.5 of those. If you don't feel comfortable waiting on the Jackson situation, Winston is a great alternative. In fact, he may even be more appealing than Jackson if we're only considering this week -- especially for a fantasy team that needs a high floor.

Dak Prescott - vs. New Orleans

The New Orleans secondary has improved each week since the Eli Apple addition, which makes this matchup better on paper than it really is. But Prescott has been playing great lately. In his last six games, he is averaging 26.2 fantasy points and hasn't had a week with fewer than 16.9.

Prescott is worth an add this week even if you are hesitant to play him against New Orleans.

Deep Leagues Only

These selections are best saved for deeper leagues and/or 2QB/Superflex leagues.

  • Case Keenum - at Cincinnati: If Cincinnati's offense could keep up -- or if this were a week with fewer good options -- Keenum would be in the section above.
  • Tuesday Edit - Marcus Mariota - vs. N.Y. Jets: The matchup is just decent, and the concern is that Tennessee leans on the run game in what should be an easy win, but Mariota has looked great in three of his last four games.
  • Jeff Driskel - vs. Denver: Driskel is athletic, has a decent arm, and played with confidence in spot duty last week. And Denver has yielded 400+ passing yards in back-to-back games.
  • Tuesday Edit - Josh Allen - at Miami: Allen has been producing fantasy points on the ground at a surprising rate. And last week, he connected on some deep passes against Jacksonville. Even a halfway-trying Jacksonville team has more talent on defense than Miami.

Navigating the Fantasy Playoffs

The fantasy playoffs are near, so instead of looking ahead one week, we'll look at the entirety of Weeks 14-16. If you've played the Rent-a-Quarterback to this point, you likely have plenty of depth at running back and wide receiver. But playoff time is where you need to focus on starters, not handcuffs and WR4s who you are unlikely to need.

So here is a look at potential Rent-a-Quarterback candidates (i.e. those rostered in 60% of leagues or fewer as of this writing) for Weeks 14-16, with particularly attractive matchups bolded and italicized for emphasis.

Team Quarterback Week 14 Week 15 Week 16
Baltimore Lamar Jackson at Kansas City vs. Tampa Bay at L.A. Chargers
Dallas Dak Prescott vs. Philadelphia at Indianapolis vs. Tampa Bay
Cleveland Baker Mayfield vs. Carolina at Denver vs. Cincinnati
Tampa Bay Jameis Winston vs. New Orleans at Baltimore at Dallas
Cincinnati Jeff Driskel at L.A. Chargers vs. Oakland at Cleveland
N.Y. Giants Eli Manning at Washington vs. Tennessee at Indianapolis

Questions, comments, suggestions, and other feedback on this piece are always welcome via e-mail hester@footballguys.com