Week 13 Quarterbacks
Updated 12/5 at 11:20 AM ET. Removed Jalen Hurts.
QB Notes: It’s so hard to know who to trust right now. Lamar Jackson essentially defaults into QB1 status this week on the strength of his rushing prowess and the vulnerability of the Steelers’ crumbling defense, which could be missing T.J. Watt (COVID-19). … If Jackson is the most reliable dual-threat, Tom Brady has been the most dependable pocket passer, though he is coming off just his second sub-two score performance. Surrendering the third most QB fantasy points, you better believe the Falcons are not about to make that three. … Kyler Murray returns from high-ankle exile to a date with a Khalil Mack-less Bears defense that managed to give up some big plays to Jared Goff on Thanksgiving. Murray struggled in his final matchup before his injury, providing a QB21 day vs. Green Bay, but he was the QB7 each of the two weeks prior. His return comes at the right time for a struggling position, and fantasy managers can be reasonably confident in his good health after the Cardinals exercised extreme caution. … Jalen Hurts (QB25) was a Week 12 dud. Now he’s battling an ankle issue. Despite the injury risk, there will be no keeping Hurts out of the top five if he is cleared to face the Jets.
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Dak Prescott has been mostly unbothered by this year’s QB1 turbulence, finishing outside the top 12 only two times. He is facing a Saints defense Josh Allen got for the QB1 overall effort on Thanksgiving. With his supporting cast near full health, Prescott should get home on Thursday Night Football. … Josh Allen was the QB1 overall by sheer force of will against the Saints in Week 12, though he did toss two picks in the process. Allen was the QB14, QB3 and QB18 the three weeks prior. The QB3 day was vs. the Jets. Allen has been far from immune from two-high safety disease, while he is now heading into a matchup with a Patriots defense permitting the second fewest QB fantasy points. We know Bill Belichick will have the kitchen sink ready, but Allen had his best start against the master last Week 16. This will be Allen’s stiffest test of the season so far. … What to do with Patrick Mahomes coming off the Chiefs’ bye? Mahomes has thrown for more than one touchdown in just one of his past five starts. The Broncos allow the fourth fewest QB fantasy points. QB7 feels sacrilegious, though it might actually be generous. Rested, Mahomes is, of course, capable of making any fade look preposterous.
Stymied by sophisticated defensive coordinators and thwarted by his own team’s play-calling, Justin Herbert is nevertheless overcoming his constraints for some monster fantasy days. Even his disappointing Week 12 produced a QB6 result. That is just a hard formula to keep betting on. Despite their own ups and downs as a unit, Cincinnati permits the seventh fewest QB fantasy points. … The Jags are difficult to run and easy to beat with the pass. Matthew Stafford is finally positioned to provide some fantasy points outside of garbage time. … The Vikings are talking about throwing more with Dalvin Cook (shoulder) sidelined. That will be easier said than done against the pathetic Lions — even the heartiest of passing enthusiasts might decide the ground is the path of least resistance — but Kirk Cousins is consistently providing multiple scores heading into this smash spot. … Joe Burrow has only 53 attempts in two games since the Bengals’ bye. He should need more volume vs. a staggered Chargers defense that is taking on a little more water with each passing week. The 50.5 over/under is one of Week 13’s highest.
Taysom Hill’s four 2020 starts produced QB5, QB14, QB8 and QB10 finishes. The QB14 effort came against a Broncos team that literally did not have a quarterback thanks to the coronavirus, rendering “an offense” unnecessary for the Saints in an easy victory. It’s a different scene for New Orleans this year, but it is extremely difficult to keep Hill’s dual-threat out of the top 12, especially vs. a Dallas team once again growing prone to shootouts. … Derek Carr keeps finding a way, most recently seamlessly replacing lost deep threat Henry Ruggs with DeSean Jackson. Even with only one score, Carr finished as the QB7 on Thanksgiving. Allowing the most QB fantasy points, Washington has actually tightened up of late as it has gone run heavy on offense, but Carr has finished below 30 attempts only two times all year. … I’m running out of things to say with Russell Wilson. He has been bad since returning, a fact not even Pete Carroll could ignore after Monday evening. “The film doesn’t lie, you know,” Carroll said. “We’re missing some stuff.” That is putting it mildly. Seattle possessed the ball for fewer than 20 minutes in Washington, something that will remain a threat vs. San Francisco. The only reason Wilson isn’t even lower is because of his “any given Sunday” potential with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Carson Wentz has reached three scores in three of his past five starts. The problem is what happened in the other two contests, where the Colts went fully established. That will be in play vs. the Texans, with Indy operating as 10-point road favorites. … Tua Tagovailoa is practically defining “mid-range QB2,” typically finishing in the 250-270 yard range with 1-2 touchdowns. Not great, but better than nothing. The Giants are a mid-tier defensive matchup. … The full establishment of the Football Team’s offense has left Taylor Heinicke as the QB14 by average points since Washington’s Week 9 bye. Las Vegas is best attacked on the ground. … The QB15 each of the past two weeks, Tyrod Taylor has enough avenues to fantasy points than he is probably worth weekly top-20 consideration. … Teddy Bridgewater’s ceiling has been even lower than usual this year. He will keep up the hunt for it as a 9.5-point road underdog in Kansas City. Denver won't be able to run its way out of that one. … If Justin Fields (ribs) returns, it will be against a Cardinals pass D that has stayed hot even post-J.J. Watt’s injury. Fields is a dual-threat wild card, not a safe QB2 floor bet.