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Fantasy Football: Week 5 Quarterback Matchup Report

Just like that, we’re already a quarter of the way through the NFL season. All in all, it’s been a pretty wacky start to the season, too, especially in the quarterback department. Entering week 5, the top four scoring QBs are Tom Brady, Alex Smith, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers. Now it’s time to play a game of which of these doesn’t belong. That’s right, it’s Alex Smith. It’s funny what can happen when you finally give a guy some semi-decent weapons to work with.

Outside of Hurricane Irma forcing two Week 1 byes, this is the first week of bye weeks for teams. This week, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington, and Denver are all on byes, which takes three top-10 QBs out of play. Thanks, NFL scheduling department. Nonetheless, there’s still plenty of good options to choose from at quarterback this week.

On a Bye

Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, and Trevor Siemian.

2017 NFL Team Passing Defense Statistics

Favorable Matchups

Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers at New York Giants

It’s a battle of two 0-4 teams and the top two QBs from the 2004 draft class.  The QB edge here goes to Philip Rivers. Outside of a week 3 stinker against the Chiefs, Rivers has played pretty well this season. If you take out the Chiefs game, his lowest QB rating would be 99.6 in Week 1 against Denver.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t expect more out of Rivers this season. He hasn’t been bad by any means, but with Keenan Allen back (and still healthy four games in), I expected some better numbers from Rivers. With how subpar the Giants defense has been, there’s a strong chance this is his coming out party this week.

The Giants are one of four teams to not record an interception yet along with Oakland, Chicago, and Miami. They’ve also allowed the 6th most touchdowns (7) and the 7th highest QB rating (102.1). Rivers is a surefire starter in all leagues this week and could flirt with top-5 numbers.

Week 5 Projection: 310 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT

Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia

When you look at Carson Palmer’s overall stat line, it doesn’t overly impress. But when you dig deeper, he’s been better than his stats indicate. He’s had three straight 300-yard games and three of his five interceptions came on opening weekend. The Eagles are strong up front, but their secondary has underperformed. They’re are allowing 285 passing yards per game, which is the third-highest total in the NFL.

It’s no coincidence either that Palmer is racking up the yards the last three weeks. Since David Johnson went down, Arizona hasn’t been able to establish anything resembling a consistent running game. Until Johnson returns later in the season, the Arizona offense is going to lean on the right arm of Palmer to put up points. There’s a strong chance Palmer leads all QBs in yards this week and a couple of touchdowns should come with that. He’s a strong QB2 and DFS play this week and can be considered as a starter in single-QB leagues.

Week 5 Projection: 330 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans at Miami

This one is a total unknown at this point. This is a very bad Miami defense that Marcus Mariota should be able to shred, but with two days until kickoff, it’s still uncertain if he’ll be able to suit up. Mariota suffered a hamstring injury last week, which put an abrupt end to a strong start to the game where he ran for two touchdowns.

The Dolphins have allowed opposing QBs to complete 75.7 of their passes, which is easily the worst rate in the NFL. Luckily for Mariota, Miami hasn’t been able to get much pressure on the quarterback, either, recording only four sacks so far this season. If Mariota does suit up, he should be able to sit back in the pocket and not have to run on that sore hamstring much. Keep a close eye on this one and fire up Mariota as a strong QB1 if he plays Sunday.

Week 5 Projection: 275 yards(plus 25 rushing), 2 TD, 0 INT

Unfavorable Matchups

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Jacksonville

You wouldn’t think that playing the Jaguars would be a tough matchup, but it definitely has been for opposing QBs this season. Just take a look below at Jacksonville’s passing defensive rankings.

Completion % –  3rd

Yards Allowed – 1st

Yards per Attempt – 2nd

TD Allowed – 2nd (Tied)

Interceptions – 5th

Sacks – 1st

QB Rating – 3rd

Pretty good, huh? That doesn’t really inspire a lot of confidence to start a sluggish looking Big Ben this week. In addition, the Jaguars are dead last against the run this season. For those that might have forgotten, Pittsburgh has one of the best running backs in the league in Le’Veon Bell. If Bell doesn’t get upwards of 30 carries this week, Mike Tomlin should be fired on the spot.

Ben Roethlisberger is still a very good QB and a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he looks to be running out of gas. Through the first four games, he’s averaging only 239.3 passing yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game. Those are the lowest rates for him in nearly a decade. I’m sure he has another few classic Big Ben games in the tank, but this week will not be one of them. He’s not worth starting outside of two-QB leagues.

Week 5 Projection: 240 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo

We’re a quarter of the way through the season and the Bills have still allowed only one passing touchdown. Andy Dalton is becoming the king of the “blah” quarterbacks. And “blah” QBs don’t get it done against defenses like Buffalo. I will say, though, that Dalton has looked much better over the last two weeks after looking like a flaming pile of garbage in Week 1 and 2.

He’s completed 80.7% of his passes over the last two games with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Don’t get too excited, though, as those were against two atrocious passing defenses in Green Bay and Cleveland. Things certainly won’t be as easy this week. This Buffalo defense is legit.

Week 5 Projection: 220 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT

Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans vs. Kansas City

Listen, this pained me to put Deshaun Watson here. If you’ve read any of my articles over the past few weeks here on Fantrax or follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m one of the biggest Watson supporters around. In fact, I’m the unofficial President of the Deshaun Watson fan club. All he has done since taking over as the starter full-time in Week 2 is torch opposing defenses. He’s already become one of the top rushing QBs in the NFL and is a more than capable passer as well. (Slight pause to clean up my drool.) However, this week will be his toughest test yet against a stout Kansas City defense.

Through four games, the Chiefs have allowed only four touchdowns through the air, and, like I mentioned in last week’s QB report, they’ve faced some pretty good QBs each week thus far. It’s not like they’re facing Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow every week. Watson won’t have a stinker, but this might not be another dominating showing from the future Hall of Famer. And before you roast me for that comment, I’m kidding. Or am I?

The bottom line is that Watson is going to have to be on top of his game against the toughest defense he’s had to face so far as a pro. With three top-10 QBs on a bye this week, Watson is still worth considering as a starter, just temper expectations a tad.

Week 5 Projection: 240 yards (plus 30 rushing), 2 TD, 2 INT

Sleeper of the Week

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens at Oakland

Like I mentioned above, there are only four teams that haven’t picked off a pass this season, and the Oakland Raiders are one of them. I really had to talk myself into this one considering how bad Joe Flacco and this Baltimore offense has been this season. However, when you look at the matchup, this should be a fairly productive week for Flacco.

Opposing quarterbacks have a 108.4 QB rating against Oakland’s defense, and don’t forget that they allowed Josh McCown and the New York Jets to hang a 45 spot on them in Week 2. Flacco might not have many bright spots this season, but this week should be one of his best games of the season. With that being said, he’s still nowhere near the QB1 discussion but makes for a strong option in 2-QB leagues.

Week 5 Projection: 250 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

Thank you for reading this week’s quarterback matchup report on Fantrax. I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members.  Got a question about a player not covered here? Ask in the comments below or follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there. Make sure you check back in next Friday as we break down quarterbacks for Week 6.

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