Football is back, and life is good. Let’s attempt to predict the future.
What follows are my best guesses for every starting quarterback’s defining Week 5 storyline. This will be accomplished through a superlative format, identifying who is most likely to accomplish whatever.
Please don’t confuse this as an all-encompassing preview of the position; the goal is merely to get a solid preview on the game’s most important position and attempt to learn a thing or two along the way.
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Most likely to show off the howitzer at least a few times: Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford
Week 4 didn’t exactly go the way Stafford and company hoped, but it remains difficult to watch the ex-Lions quarterback play football for 60 minutes and not see at least one or two truly absurd throws.
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 4, 2021
Stafford has a league-high 10 completions on passes thrown at least 50 yards downfield since 2010; there are only a handful of quarterbacks capable of stretching the field the way he does with regularity. He's averaged a career-high 8.6 yards per attempt through four weeks under the tutelage of head coach Sean McVay; don’t be surprised if the Seahawks’ 28th-ranked defense in explosive pass plays allowed gives up a few more chunk gains down the field come Thursday night.
Most likely to take a rare trip on the struggle bus: Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
Wilson’s rather brutal second half struggles in 2020 largely came down to facing off against the Seahawks’ NFC West rival not one, not two but three times from Week 10 to the Wild Card Round:
- Week 10, 2020: 248 yards-0 TD-2 INT, fantasy QB17
- Week 16, 2020: 225-1-0, QB15
- Wild Card, 2020: 174-2-1
Largely the only reason Wilson was fine in fantasy land was thanks to 8-60-0 and 3-9-1 rushing lines. It’s tough to keep Wilson out of the QB1 conversation regardless of the matchup; just realize Jalen Ramsey and company were responsible for bringing out the worst in Russ last season.
Most likely to continue to build on a solid Week 4: New York Jets QB Zach Wilson
Last week, I wrote the following about Wilson:
“The 2021 NFL Draft’s No. 2 overall pick has been a bottom-five quarterback by just about any metric through three weeks. Of course, life hasn’t exactly been easy for the rookie, facing off against the Panthers’ pressure-heavy defense before facing Bill Belichick and Vic Fangio’s ever well-coached Patriots and Broncos defenses in Weeks 2-3.”
While there were still some lows in Wilson’s Week 4 performance against the Titans, Jets’ faithful were treated to a number of throws that demonstrated just how high the ceiling is here. I mean, seriously: How many quarterbacks in the NFL would even think about pulling some of this stuff off, let alone make it happen?
Zach Wilson is fun pic.twitter.com/7GritfbNJX
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 4, 2021
Up next is the Falcons’ 32nd-ranked scoring defense; look for Wilson to keep sprucing up his growing rookie year mixtape.
Most likely to remain the subject in “how washed is he” conversations: Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan
Ryan has played better over the past two weeks — throwing for six scores vs. zero interceptions — but this remains largely the worst version of him we've ever seen. Overall, Ryan has posted 10-year lows in PFF passing grade (72.1), big-time throw rate (2.3%) and yards per attempt (6.1) through four weeks of action. His average target depth has been particularly alarming: Just six quarterbacks have failed to throw the ball more than seven yards downfield on average this season:
- Andy Dalton (4.6 yard aDOT)
- Ryan (6.6)
- Kirk Cousins (6.7)
- Jimmy Garoppolo (6.9)
- Jared Goff (7)
- Ben Roethlisberger (7)
The Jets are one of just six defenses to pressure opposing quarterbacks on at least 40% of their dropbacks this season; don’t be surprised if Ryan fails to cash in on this perceived great matchup.
Most likely to game-manage his way to a dominant victory: New England Patriots QB Mac Jones
Nothing against Jones’ progression as a rookie; he’s largely been the best of the first-round group and has exceeded expectations this early in his career. Still, the results haven’t been good when asked to throw at least 20 yards downfield this season:
- PFF passing grade: 62.4 (No. 31 among 34 qualified quarterbacks)
- Yards per attempt: 5.7 (No. 34)
- Adjusted completion rate: 23.5% (No. 33)
- QB rating: 11.3 (No. 34)
Overall, no offense has a lower catchable deep-ball rate than the Patriots (24%). Perhaps a matchup against the Texans’ bottom-10 defense in yards per attempt and QB rating allowed on passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield will help the rookie finally find some consistent success in this area.
Most likely to see ghosts: Houston Texans QB Davis Mills
Mills put forward one of the worst games you’ll ever see last week, turning his 21 pass attempts into 87 scoreless yards with four interceptions. Sheesh.
Yes, a rainy road trip to Buffalo is hardly the sort of environment to expect a rookie to thrive in. Also yes, this week’s date with Bill Belichick and company isn’t looking much better.
Since 2015, the Patriots have faced 11 rookie quarterbacks; only Deshaun Watson managed to clear 220 passing yards and rack up multiple scores through the air. The idea that first-year signal-callers are more or less doomed against the Patriots holds up; don’t expect Mills to buck this trend.
Related content for you: Early NFL Week 5 Waiver Wire Targets: Chicago Bears RB Damien Williams, San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance via Kent Weyrauch
Most likely to check that football down: Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff
To say Goff has refrained from consistently forcing defenses to respect the deep ball would be an understatement:
- Average target depth: seven yards (No. 32 among 36 qualified quarterbacks)
- Percentage of passing yards to come before the catch: 40.3% (No. 34)
- Percentage of passing yards to come after the catch: 64% (No. 3)
- Percentage of targets past the sticks: 37.3% (No. 28)
- Percentage of passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield: 11.2% (No. 22)
Note that Goff is PFF’s 32nd-highest-graded passer when targeting receivers at least 20 yards downfield; things haven’t gone all that swimmingly even when the ex-Rams signal-caller has gone outside his comfort zone. The Lions’ general disregard for their wide receiver room throughout the offseason certainly didn’t help matters; either way, this Lions passing game doesn’t seem to be on the verge of becoming anything more than a dump-down show to the likes of D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams and T.J. Hockenson.
Most likely to get right back on the high-end streamer map: Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins
Cousins has largely been a godsend for QB-needy fantasy rosters through four weeks:
- Week 1: 351 yards-2 TD-0 INT, fantasy QB14 (should’ve had a third score)
- Week 2: 244-3-0, QB6
- Week 3: 323-3-0, QB5
- Week 4: 203-1-1, QB26
Credit to the Browns for slowing down this Vikings offense; just realize Cousins still made a handful of great throws last week and is playing some of the best ball of his career at the moment. Up next is a Lions defense that hasn’t really slowed down anyone this season; continue to fire up Cousins as a borderline QB1 at worst.
Most likely to put forward another QB1 performance: Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
All Hurts has done in his eight career starts is put forward one fantasy-friendly performance after another:
- Week 14, 2020: 167 pass yards-1 TD-0 INT, 18 carries-106 rush yards-0 TD, fantasy QB11
- Week 15, 2020: 338-3-0 passing, 11-63-1 rushing, fantasy QB1
- Week 16, 2020: 342-1-2 passing, 9-69-0 rushing, fantasy QB12
- Week 17, 2020: 72-0-1 passing, 8-34-2 rushing, fantasy QB20 (in three quarters)
- Week 1, 2021: 264-3-0 passing, 7-62-0 rushing, fantasy QB5
- Week 2, 2021: 190-0-0 passing, 10-82-1 rushing, fantasy QB10
- Week 3, 2021: 326-2-2 passing, 9-35-0 rushing, fantasy QB10
- Week 4, 2021: 387-2-0 passing, 8-47-0 rushing, fantasy QB4
The latter performance could’ve been even bigger if not for nullified scores to both Dallas Goedert and DeVonta Smith. Either way, the rushing usage on hand remains a borderline cheat code in fantasy land: Hurts has racked up the 11th-most rushing yards in the league since taking over in Week 14 last season.
This sort of fantasy-friendly usage is matchup-proof; Hurts is a weekly must-start option and has earned top-five treatment at the position.
Most likely to lead the league in rushing touchdowns: Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold
Darnold inexplicably leads the NFL with five rushing scores. Madness. He did demonstrate the ability to make big plays with his legs with the Jets, but c’mon man: This start has been nothing other than ridiculous. Overall, Darnold has ripped off QB16, QB14, QB7 and QB1 (pre-MNF) fantasy finishes; he’s earned weekly streamer appeal ahead of a still-cozy schedule against the Eagles, Vikings, Giants and Falcons through Week 8.
Most likely to be either horrendous or great but definitely not average: New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston
The Jameis experience has been in full swing through three weeks. In Week 1, his five-score masterpiece produced 2021’s 11th-best single-game PFF passing grade. Unfortunately Weeks 2 and 3 produced 2021’s 115th- and 129th-highest graded passing game among 130 instances of a signal-caller having at least 10 dropbacks. But not so fast my friend: Winston’s Week 4 performance was good for the eighth-best single-game performance of the season.
It’d make sense if Winston is again far more good than bad against a Football Team secondary that hasn’t exactly slowed down anybody this season, although at this point it’s anyone’s guess as to which version of the ex-Buccaneers quarterback will show up Sunday.
Most likely to resemble a beardless Ryan Fitzpatrick: Washington Football Team QB Taylor Heinicke
Through four weeks, Heinicke ranks 18th in big-time throw rate (4.2%) and 30th in turnover-worthy play rate (4.4%): He’s flashed the ability to make some truly great plays while simultaneously demonstrating some occasional bone-headed decision making. But, hey, a touchdown is a touchdown regardless of whether or not the pass should have ever been thrown.
And yet, the results have largely been great in fantasy land thanks to Heinicke’s sneaky-solid dual-threat ability. Overall, he’s functioned as the QB13, QB9 and QB5 over the past three weeks in matchups against the Giants, Bills and Falcons.
The Saints present a tougher test at full strength, but Heinicke has earned weekly streamer appeal thanks to his prolonged ability to rack up production on the ground and through the air.
Related content for you:NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Targets: All league sizes & scoring types via Andrew Erickson
Most likely to play well even if his top two receivers remain out: Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill
The public seems to assume Tannehill is back to his Miami form every time he has a somewhat mediocre game. That would apply to Week 4, as Tannehill converted 49 pass attempts into just 298 yards and one score while taking seven sacks along the way. Note that the performance would have looked far better had Josh Reynolds managed to come down with a potential touchdown and deep ball.
Through it all, Tannehill remains PFF’s third-highest-graded passer on the season, ranking 12th in big-time throw rate and fifth in turnover-worthy play rate. Expect the counting numbers to improve if/when A.J. Brown (hamstring) and Julio Jones (hamstring) are able to return to action. It’d sure be nice if both alphas are healthy enough to take advantage of this rather brutal Jaguars secondary:
- Yards per attempt allowed: 9.65 (No. 31)
- Explosive pass-play rate allowed: 18.6% (No. 27)
- Pass yards after the catch per completion allowed: 5.8 (No. 24)
- Pressure rate: 33.1% (No. 17)
- QB rating allowed: 118 (No. 28)
Most likely to be overshadowed because of Twitter jokes regarding his head coach: Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence
This was the same superlative as last week, although I didn’t quite anticipate the exact manner in which Twitter would have a field day at Urban Meyer’s behalf.
Regardless: Sheesh. Credit to Lawrence for showing off his tantalizing potential during the Jaguars’ Thursday night loss to the Bengals; this still looks like a situation that will largely produce more bad than good in 2021. This is doubly true after the Jaguars lost starting WR D.J. Chark (ankle, IR) for the foreseeable future.
The Titans certainly aren’t a defense to fear, but Lawrence has failed to reach 225 passing yards or multiple scores through the air in three straight weeks. A bounce-back of sorts would make sense, but don’t expect the current iteration of this Jaguars offense to take Lawrence to the generational heights that many expect from him eventually.
Most likely to be overwhelmed by pressure: Miami Dolphins QB Jacoby Brissett
Pressure is sometimes irresponsibly blamed on the offensive line when the quarterback is actually the primary issue. A look at the Dolphins’ performance through four weeks reveals this has been a bit of a double-edged sword:
- Pressure rate: 47.7% (No. 31)
- Pressure rate when ball is out in under 2.5 seconds: 24.4% (No. 26)
- Pressure rate when ball is out in more than 2.5 seconds: 73.5% (No. 32)
- Brissett average time to release: 2.88 seconds (No. 26 among 36 qualified quarterbacks)
The Dolphins haven’t done a good job protecting Brissett even when he’s gotten the ball out quickly, but the backup signal-caller hasn’t helped matters, holding the ball longer on average than all but 10 quarterbacks.
The Packers have pressured opposing quarterbacks on just 32.9% of their dropbacks — the 19th-highest mark in the league. Don’t expect things to improve too significantly with ace pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith (back, IR) out indefinitely, so perhaps Brissett and company will see a clean pocket a bit more often than usual this week.
Most likely to stay balling with his friends: Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
A-aron managed to have his way with the Steelers in Week 4 thanks in large part to apparent BFF Randall Cobb’s 5-69-2 performance. The absence of Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring, IR) led to the increased role, and Cobb is now fifth on the squad in total targets despite not reaching even 50% snaps in a game this season.
Rodgers has made it clear through four weeks that getting the ball to his favorite targets is a priority. Obviously, this strategy has returned largely excellent results; Green Bay is 3-1 and has scored 35, 30 and 27 points since the outlier Week 1 loss to the Saints. Still, the manner in which Davante Adams has seen his pass-game opportunities has truly been overwhelming:
- Target share: 37% (No. 1)
- Air yard share: 40% (No. 11)
The Bengals might boast the league’s eighth-ranked scoring defense, although expectations should be to hopefully just contain Rodgers and his top receivers because it’s clear shutting them down is more of a pipe dream at this point.
Related content for you: NFL Week 5 fantasy football rankings, waiver targets & drop candidates via Sosa Kremenjas
Most likely to dominate out of empty: Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow
Burrow told head coach Zac Taylor to “put me in empty” before the Bengals’ game-winning drive during their Week 4 victory over the Jaguars. It was a good call: Burrow completed 14 of 16 passes for 153 yards and a score out of empty in Week 4. The 2020 NFL Draft’s No. 1 overall pick has generally been great out of this formation all season, ranking 11th in both yards per attempt (8.0) and QB rating (120.5) among 35 qualified quarterbacks when left all alone in the backfield.
It won’t be easy to keep the success going this week: Green Bay ranks first in both yards per attempt and QB rating allowed to opponents operating out of empty. Either way, it was great to see Burrow and the passing game respond rather brilliantly last week in their first contest with an extremely negative game script this season.
Most likely to supply plenty of bad with an occasional good play mixed in: Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock
Lock earned the nod for 2021’s “No. 1” most-entertaining QB in terms of largest ranking difference in big-time throw rate and turnover-worthy play rate. I wouldn’t call this leaderboard a great thing to find yourself near the top of, but man oh man does it help describe why some signal-callers are simply more fun to watch than others. The top-two “leaders” from the past four seasons are as follows with their difference in big-time throw rate rank and turnover-worthy play rate rank noted in parentheses (min. 200 dropbacks):
- 2020: Champion: Lock (-26). Runner-up: Patrick Mahomes (-18)
- 2019: Champion: Jameis Winston (-24). Runner-up: Matthew Stafford (-20)
- 2018: Champion: Ryan Fitzpatrick (-33). Runner-up: Josh Allen (-23)
- 2017: Champion: Deshaun Watson (-29). Runner-up: Carson Palmer (-25)
Yes, I partially came up with this schtick just to find something Lock is No. 1 in. Also yes, I believe this helps describe why certain QBs cause you to perch up a bit more (for better and for worse) when Red Zone switches to their game.
Lock is essentially a lower-middle class man’s Jameis: He's not the best quarterback for his team’s fans to feel good about in their effort to, you know, win games, but entertainingly volatile enough to help make even the bad games plenty watchable.
Most likely to look his age: Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
An offense choosing to go for it on fourth down is often a sign of desperation. Sure, some analytically savvy teams rightfully go for it whenever the situation is right, but often it’s an offense’s last-ditch effort to continue the drive in a game not going their way.
Then there’s Roethlisberger, who has essentially declined to even attempt to extend the play on three separate fourth-down chances over the past two weeks.
Absolutely no one:
Not a single soul on Earth:
Ben Roethlisberger on 4th down: pic.twitter.com/kwkxQKGwr9
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 4, 2021
Big Ben ranks 31st and 33rd in PFF passing grade and yards per attempt among 36 qualified quarterbacks. At this point calling him washed is an insult to washing machines; don’t expect Roethlisberger to right the ship against Vic Fangio and the Broncos’ second-ranked scoring defense.
Most likely to make everyone wonder why this is only his third start: Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields
Coach Matt Nagy thankfully turned over play-caller duties to Bill Lazor in Week 4. The result was rather beautiful at times.
Justin Fields throwing dimes pic.twitter.com/y7Xl92rToA
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 4, 2021
Naturally, Nagy said afterwards Andy Dalton remains the Bears’ starting quarterback when healthy because of course he did. Fields obviously benefited from facing the Lions’ mediocre defense in Week 4, but denying him additional reps in favor of The Red Rocket of all people is just silliness at this point.
Here’s to hoping common sense prevails, but don’t count on it.
Most likely to throw for 300 yards: Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr
Don't let one mediocre Monday night performance against the Chargers distract from the fact that Carr has largely been nothing short of phenomenal this season. The counting stats have been exactly what fantasy football investors desire: Carr racked up 381, 316, 336, 371, 435, 382 and 386 yards through the air in his last seven fully healthy starts before Monday night.
The Raiders’ longtime franchise quarterback was largely great throughout 2020 as well; the main difference between this season and years past could be the performance of the defense, although Maxx Crosby and company have fallen back to Earth a bit in recent weeks
- 2014: 32nd ranked scoring defense
- 2015: 22nd
- 2016: 20th
- 2017: 20th
- 2018: 32nd
- 2019: 24th
- 2020: 30th
- 2021: 19th
Don’t get it twisted: Carr is the engine of this team; it just helps any quarterback to have a non-atrocious defense and this has largely been the difference in the veteran’s career between his team being bad and competitive.
Most likely to play better because sheesh it can’t get much worse: Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield
I’m inclined to relax for a week. Mayfield was largely excellent through the first three weeks of the season, slinging one dime after another against the Chiefs, Texans and Bears alike. A matchup with Derwin James and company isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered; just realize the best version of Mayfield combined with the present edition of OBJ *should* produce fireworks at some point.
Most likely to throw for 300 yards and/or account for three touchdowns: Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert
Specific dominance calls for a specific stat: Herbert has surpassed 300 yards and/or accounted for a trio of scores in 16 of his 19 career starts.
Through three weeks, Herbert has improved upon his 2020 numbers in yards per attempt (7.4 vs. 7.1) and adjusted completion rate (80.1% vs. 73.8%) alike. He's accomplished this while pushing the ball downfield with a greater sense of urgency than before, as his percentage of passing yards to come from YAC has fallen from 49.7% to 44.2%.
Back-to-back wins over AFC West rivals Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr has the future looking extremely bright for Herbert and this entire Chargers’ passing game.
Most likely to be the position’s most-efficient rusher: New York Giants QB Daniel Jones
Jones has functioned as PFF’s second-highest-graded passer through four weeks. He’s maintained more than solid rates in yards per attempt (8.2) and adjusted completion rate (77.2%) despite posting a rather robust 9.1-yard average target depth.
And yet, Jones’ rushing dominance is arguably more surprising:
- Rushing yards: 188 (No. 3 among all quarterbacks)
- Rushing touchdowns: 2 (tied for No. 4)
- Yards per carry: 7.0 (No. 1)
The Giants have run the league’s eighth-most combined read options and designed quarterback runs over the past two seasons. They’ve functioned as the league’s 10th-best offense in terms of EPA per play on these efforts.
Jones shouldn’t be referred to as sneaky-athletic; it’s very apparent to anyone who has watched him play over the past three years that his rushing ability is a true weapon. There’s an awful lot of speed on the Cowboys defense for Jones and company to deal with, but don’t count out the dual-threat talent’s ability to keep on keeping on as both a passer and rusher.
Most likely to make the most out of 25 passes: Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott
Prescott and the Cowboys have been playing winning football for the past three weeks, but this passing game hasn’t been leaning on the same level of volume in recent matchups. Overall, Prescott racked up 39, 47, 57, 58 and 58 pass attempts in his four healthy games from 2020 as well as his 2021 debut, but over the past three weeks had thrown the ball just 27, 26 and 22 times.
It’s always scary to point out volume “problems” on Twitter because the NFL fan community isn’t as understanding as fantasy folks when the real life results are going swimmingly; just realize the difference between Prescott functioning as a high- vs. low-end QB1 largely lies in this statistic. Here’s to hoping the Giants can keep up on the scoreboard enough to force the issue, although the Cowboys’ status as 7-point favorites indicates this could be another matchup where Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard are leaned on.
Most likely to supply QB1 production thanks to sweet, sweet rushing volume: San Francisco 49ers QB Trey Lance
It took Lance just 30 minutes to function as the fantasy QB17 of Week 4. He racked up 18.4 fantasy points in the performance, a mark Jimmy Garoppolo (calf) only managed to surpass in eight of his 27 career starts with the 49ers.
Lance will be an every-week QB1 in fantasy land for however long Jimmy G remains sidelined; there simply isn’t a rich history of high-usage dual-threat quarterbacks busting. The third overall pick’s 7-41-0 rushing line last week reflects the sort of floor at hand: Only Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts push for this sort of usage on a per-week basis.
Most likely to strengthen his growing MVP case: Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray
The Cardinals are 4-0 thanks in large part to Murray’s dominance as both a rusher and passer. PFF’s sixth-highest-graded passer is also regularly the fastest player on the field, helping Murray produce more fantasy points than anyone other than Patrick Mahomes after four weeks of action.
It’s never an easy day at the office when Nick Bosa is staring at you from across the line of scrimmage, but that hasn’t stopped opponents from testing this 49ers secondary with deep balls (20-plus yards downfield) at the league’s third-highest rate. More of the same could be problematic when it’s Murray throwing the deep ball, as the Cardinals boast the league’s second-best rate of catchable passes thrown at least 20 yards downfield (72%) this season.
Most likely to experience some déjà vu: Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen
The Bills’ rather awesome 2020 season ended at Arrowhead in the AFC Championship. Sunday night’s rematch pits Allen and company as 2.5-point underdogs, and it’s tough to see them reversing the scoreboard this time around if their franchise quarterback continues to be more meh than great.
- Week 1: 72.6 PFF passing grade (No. 16 among qualified quarterbacks)
- Week 2: 45.4 (No. 30)
- Week 3: 85.5 (No. 3)
- Week 4: 62.5 (No. 22)
The Bills have outscored the Dolphins, Football Team and Texans 118 to 21 over the past three weeks; don’t expect our next quarterback to go down without more of a fight. Here’s to hoping the best version of Allen shows up and gives fans another Sunday night classic.
Most likely to throw every touchdown from a different angle: Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
At this point, it just feels routine for Mahomes to throw five touchdowns. The fact that he’s capable of doing so in so many different manners is even more absurd.
Mahomes' five touchdown passes today pic.twitter.com/DW9CYA2imS
— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) October 4, 2021
The fantasy QB1 through four weeks, Mahomes is on pace to throw 59.5 touchdowns this season. Credit to the Bills’ top-ranked scoring defense for making life awfully tough on its opponents this season, but there isn’t a defense in the world capable of shutting down Mahomes and company when everything is clicking.
Most likely to finally make a true bone-headed play: Indianapolis Colts QB Carson Wentz
This isn’t an insult on Wentz: He’s managed to go the first four weeks of the season without registering a single turnover-worthy play as a passer. Note that his lone interception this season was off a fluky shovel pass.
The ex-Eagles quarterback is still holding the ball too long and not exactly making a habit of creating big plays downfield, but his ability to limit horrendous decisions through four weeks is nothing other than a positive.
Attempting to keep this streak alive while navigating the Ravens’ blitz-happy defense for 60 minutes is probably wishful thinking; either way, credit to Wentz for at least looking more like the guy we saw in 2018-2019 as opposed to 2020 so far.
Most likely to put the team on his back: Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
Jackson leads the league in yards per completion and ranks fourth in yards per rush. Madness. Defenses are forced to account for every square inch of the field with the 2019 NFL MVP under center, and this has grown increasingly difficult with Jackson displaying some borderline erotic ability as a passer when given the benefit of a clean pocket.
- PFF passing grade when not pressured: 84.2 (No. 12 among 34 qualified quarterbacks)
- Big-time throw rate: 4.8% (No. 12)
- Turnover-worthy play rate: 2.2% (No. 22)
- Yards per attempt: 9.4 (No. 4)
Jackson is too often slandered for his passing ability: The man has been nothing short of fantastic despite his receivers missing on more than a few opportunities. Don’t be surprised if he puts on a show as a rusher and passer on Monday Night Football.