Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: QB matchups, streamer of the week, Week 13 rankings and more

2T49805 Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) gestures as he celebrates running for a first down during an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Doug Murray)

• QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins vs. Washington Commanders: Tagovailoa is an elite QB1 against Washington’s injury-depleted defense.

• QB Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys: Smith is highly unlikely to return QB1 value against Dallas’ elite defense.

• Dominate your fantasy league in 2023: For up-to-date fantasy draft rankings and projections, check out PFF’s fantasy rankings tool!

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

NFL Week 13 action is here. For fantasy football managers who passed on the elite quarterback tier, start-and-sit decisions must now be made. Below are two quarterbacks with advantageous matchups to target, two quarterbacks with difficult matchups to avoid and one streaming option possessing a top-12 finish in his range of outcomes. 

WR:CB Matchup Chart

QB matchups to target

QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins @ Washington Commanders

Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (90.5 PFF passing grade) is a top-five Week 13 quarterback against Washington’s injury-depleted defense. Miami’s explosive, high-scoring offense pairs perfectly with a Washington that routinely surrenders both explosive plays and points. Washington’s fast-paced offense reinforces Miami’s own offensive pace. 

The game’s 49.5-point FanDuel over/under is Week 13’s highest. FanDuel implies Miami to score 29.5 points.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Miami a 24.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating, Week 13’s best.

Miami’s offense ranks top five in success rate (48.0%), expected points added (EPA) per game (0.086, a means of measuring explosiveness) and scoring drive rate (41.6%). Washington’s defense ranks No. 30 in EPA allowed per play rate (0.048), No. 31 in yards allowed per coverage snap (6.94) and dead last in both scoring drive rate (44.0%) and explosive pass plays allowed rate (17.1%). Washington’s 66.5 offensive plays per game rank No. 5 and quarterback Sam Howell (61.7 PFF passing grade) leads the league in both dropbacks (569) and passing attempts (486). 

Washington recently lost its best remaining edge rusher Efe Obada (71.8 PFF pass-rush grade) to injured reserve and fellow edge rusher James Smith-Williams (50.7 PFF pass-rush grade) failed to practice last week due to a hamstring strain, as did first-round rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes (59.9 PFF coverage grade, elbow injury). Stud safety Darrick Forrest (58.4 PFF coverage grade) remains on injured reserve. 

Miami lost edge rusher Jaelan Phillips (70.3 PFF pass-rush grade) to a season-ending Week 12 Achilles tendon rupture, increasing Howell’s odds of pushing the pace.

Among 40 NFL quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks, Tagovailoa ranks No. 5 in adjusted completion rate (79.5%), No. 3 in big-time-throw rate (6.4%), No. 2 in both past-the-sticks throwing rate (47.1%) and yards per passing attempt (8.6), No. 1 in average time to throw (2.30 seconds). 

PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart gives Miami wide receivers Tyreek Hill (93.5 PFF receiving grade) and Jaylen Waddle (88.6 PFF receiving grade) respectively good 83.7 and 77.0 receiving matchup advantage ratings against Washington.

Tagovailoa is a top-five Week 13 quarterback.

QB Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy (81.8 PFF offense grade) is in for a high-scoring, explosive outing aided by Philadelphia’s explosive-pass-play friendly defense and pace-pushing offense. 

The game’s 46.5-point FanDuel over/under ties for Week 13’s second-highest game total. FanDuel implies San Francisco to score 24.5 points. 

Both San Francisco and Philadelphia field consistent, explosive offenses. Philadelphia’s fast offensive pace and high-scoring rate force opponents to adopt a high offensive pace of their own, helpfully pushing San Francisco toward a more fantasy-friendly play volume. 

Both defenses consistently surrender yardage to efficient offenses and Philadelphia’s defense allows explosive passing plays at the league’s ninth-highest rate, 14.3%. 

San Francisco and Philadelphia’s per-play offensive and defensive data among NFL teams:
SF & PHI Per-Play Data San Francisco 49ers  Philadelphia Eagles
PFF Offense Grade 85.6 (No. 1) 79.9 (No. 8)
PFF Defense Grade 90.9 (No. 1) 75.8 (No. 10)
Success % 48.5% (No. 2) 45.2% (No. 6
EPA Per Play 0.136 (No. 1) 0.051 (No. 6)
Success % Allowed 42.7% (No. 16) 43.5% (No. 20)
EPA Allowed Per Play -0.143 (No. 4) -0.025 (No. 19)
Avg. Off. Plays Per Drive  5.5 (No. 22) 6.2 (No. 4)
Off. Scoring Drive % 45.0% (No. 3) 45.4% (No. 2)
Opponent Avg. Off. Plays Per Drive  6.0 (No. 24) 6.1 (No. 29)

Purdy has ascended to the NFL’s elite passer tier in his second season, combining downfield aggression, accuracy and efficiency with a quick release.

Purdy’s passing data among 40 NFL quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks:
NFL QB Passing Brock Purdy
NFL Passing Grade 76.9 (No. 13)
Big-Time-Throw % 6.1% (T-No. 4)
Turnover-Worthy Play % 4.1% (No. 32)
Adjusted Completion % 79.6% (No. 4)
Past-The-Sticks Throwing % 41.3% (No. 12)
aDot 8.6 (No. 14)
Yards Per Pass Att. 9.4 (No. 1)
Average Time To Throw 2.68 (T-No. 12)

Purdy also possesses dynamic, intelligent rushing ability. Among 27 NFL quarterbacks with at least 25 rushing attempts, Purdy’s 90.6 PFF rushing grade ranks No. 1.

PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart gives San Francisco wide receivers Deebo Samuel (82.0 PFF receiving grade) a good 80.7 receiving matchup advantage rating against Philadelphia and Brandon Aiyuk (91.8 PFF receiving grade) an excellent 92.5 receiving matchup advantage rating.

PFF’s TE matchup chart gives San Francisco tight end George Kittle (86.1 PFF receiving grade) a 21.0% receiving matchup advantage rating against Philadelphia linebacker Nicholas Morrow (69.0 PFF coverage grade), Week 13’s fifth-best.

Purdy is a top-five Week 13 quarterback.

QB matchups to avoid

QB Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys

Seattle quarterback Geno Smith (75.9 PFF passing grade) has produced just three QB1 finishes in 2023 despite being surrounded by an elite pass-catching corps. He is unlikely to buck the trend against Dallas’ lockdown defense and can only be started as a volatile QB2.

FanDuel implies Seattle to score just 18.75 points.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Seattle a -53.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating, Week 13’s third-worst. 

Dallas’ defense plays at an elite level even with No. 1 cornerback Trevon Diggs (82.8 PFF coverage grade) and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (65.5 PFF defense grade) on injured reserve. 

Dallas’ defense data among NFL teams:
NFL-Team Defense  Dallas Cowboys
PFF Defense  88.7 (No. 3)
Success % Allowed 41.0% (No. 8)
EPA Allowed Per Play -0.168 (No. 3)
PFF Pass-Rush Grade 90.6 (No. 2)
Pass-Rush Productivity 36.1 (No. 1)
PFF Coverage Grade 90.7 (No. 4)
Forced Incompletion % 11.0% (No. 6)
Interception Per Coverage Target 4.0% (No. 2)
Yards Allowed Per Coverage Snap 5.19 (No. 2)

Smith suffered a Week 11 elbow injury resulting in just 27 Week 12 dropbacks and 180 passing yards, both his were fourth-lowest 2023 sums. Although he is absent from the Week 13 injury report, the reduced preparation time for Thursday Night Football does him no favors. 

Among 41 NFL quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks, Smith’s 3.9% turnover-worthy play rate ranks No. 30. The rate increases to 5.7% when pressured, ranking No. 25 among 30 NFL quarterbacks with at least 75 pressured dropbacks

Smith is not a 12-team-league starter in Week 13. 

QB Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions 

New Orleans quarterback Derek Carr (67.8 PFF passing grade) must contend with Detroit’s fearsome pass rush, likely playing without his Nos. 1-3 wide receivers and potentially his No. 1 tight end. He is a low-end QB2 for Week 13. 

FanDuel implies New Orleans to score just 20.5 points. 

New Orleans No. 1 wide receiver Chris Olave (81.2 PFF receiving grade) is unlikely to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol. No. 2 wide receiver Michael Thomas (67.8 PFF receiving grade, knee injury) is on injured reserve, No. 3 wide receiver Rashid Shaheed (68.6 PFF receiving grade) is expected to miss at least one week with a quadriceps strain. No. 1 tight end Juwan Johnson (56.9 PFF receiving grade) may have entered the league’s concussion protocol, though his precise status remains uncertain as he was allowed to return to play last week.

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives New Orleans a -13.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating against a Detroit pass rush that ranks No. 5 in quarterback pressure rate (39.6%) and No. 9 in pass-rush productivity (28.7) among NFL teams. Detroit edge rusher Aidan Hutchison’s 90.1 PFF pass-rush grade ranks No. 5 among 65 NFL edge rushers with at least 195 pass-rushing snaps

Among 30 NFL quarterbacks with at least 75 pressured dropbacks, Carr ranks No. 16 and 23, respectively, in yards per pressured passing attempt (6.0) and adjusted completion rate (63.1%). Carr is highly unlikely to succeed, especially while playing dreadfully short-staffed, 

He is a low-end QB2 in Week 13.

Streamer of the Week

QB Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans

Indianapolis quarterback Gardner Minshew (53.4 PFF passing grade) is a streaming QB1 candidate against Tennessee’s wide receiver-friendly defense. 

FanDuel implies Indianapolis to score 22.0 points. 

PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart gives Indianapolis an 18.0% pass-blocking matchup advantage rating, tying for Week 13’s third-best. 

Indianapolis head coach Shane Steichen smartly attacked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ similarly weak defense last week, scheming up 13 first-read targets for No. 1 wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (75.8 PFF receiving grade) and 11 for No. 2 wide receiver Josh Downs (75.1 PFF receiving grade). Pittman Jr.’s sum led among Week 12 NFL wide receivers and Downs is tied for No. 3.

PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart gives Pittman Jr. and Downs respectively good 70.7 and 65.8 receiving matchup advantage ratings. 

Tennessee’s 72.8% catch rate allowed to opposing wide receivers ties for dead last among NFL teams and both their 8.92 yards allowed per wide receiver-coverage snap and 20.7% explosive pass plays allowed rate rank bottom 12.

Tennessee’s ineffectual coverage unit coupled with its 25th-ranked pass-rush in pass-rush productivity (24.3) results in a big-play-friendly overall unit. Their 0.010 EPA allowed per play ranks No. 25 among NFL teams and their 24th-ranked 44.2% success rate allowed confirms continued inefficiencies are on the way in Week 13.

Minshew is a streaming QB1 candidate.


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