Estimated Reading Time: 16 minutes
Deciding who to start or sit in fantasy football can be as easy as looking at the PFF rankings and going with the higher-ranked player. This start ’em, sit ’em column digs a step deeper, looking into why someone you might typically start might not have a good week or why someone overlooked might have a good week. In many cases, the usual starters should star, but we want to explore the borderline players, too.
Jump to a position group:
- The Broncos have won five of their last six games, and the offense has played much better during this stretch than it did both earlier this season and last season.
- Wilson has been a viable fantasy starter more often than not over this stretch, producing four top-12 fantasy finishes over his last five games.
- Wilson has thrown at least one touchdown in every game this season. Like most quarterbacks, the difference between a top-12 finish and a top-24 finish is whether a good quarterback can score twice.
- The Broncos are facing a Los Angeles Chargers defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. They have allowed 17 passing touchdowns, tied for eighth-most among defenses. They have also allowed four rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks, tied for the sixth-most.
- Wilson has scored a rushing touchdown in each of the last two games.
- Despite the Broncos’ recent good fortune, they are still underdogs against the Chargers. This should keep Denver focusing on the passing game.
- Love is rounding into form at just the right time, having earned a 90.3 PFF grade over the past five weeks that ranks fifth among players at the position over the span.
- He’s finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback each of the last four weeks and posted two top-seven finishes over the last two weeks.
- Love has played particularly well against man defenses this season, earning an 83.6 PFF grade against man compared to 72.3 against zone. This includes a much higher big-time throw rate (7.0% to 3.8%) and a lower turnover-worthy play rate (1.8% to 2.5%).
- The Giants have lined up in man coverage at one of the highest rates of the year.
- The Packers are clear favorites this week, so Love should be able to make some big plays early in the game. The only concern is if they build too big of a lead and end up running the ball throughout the second half.
- Stafford started the season with nine straight games as the QB15 or worse.
- He’s thrown seven touchdowns over the last two weeks to finish as a top-eight fantasy quarterback twice in that span.
- The offense has improved recently, but the Rams will face a Baltimore Ravens defense that will pose a tough challenge.
- The Ravens have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. No quarterback has thrown three-plus passing touchdowns against the Ravens, and only two have thrown for two scores — both signal-callers needed 45 dropbacks to get there, a mark Stafford has reached only twice early in the season.
- Smith ranked 20th at the position in fantasy points over the first 12 weeks of the season.
- He then completed 23 of his 41 passes for 334 yards and three passing touchdowns in the shootout against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night, adding a rushing touchdown for good measure.
- Smith posted a 13.0% big-time throw rate in that game, the third-best single-game mark of his career.
- According to our strength of schedule tool, the Seahawks have the worst matchup for quarterbacks this week, as the San Francisco 49ers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. They also have the third-highest team coverage grade.
- Smith just faced the 49ers two weeks ago and finished 18-of-27 for 170 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. That was Seattle's home game, so they will be playing in San Francisco this week.
- Expect Smith to return to earth after his big game last week.