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Fantasy Football: Week 12 Quarterback Matchup Report

We’ve reached Week 12, which means no more bye weeks. Everyone rejoice! You no longer have to start a mediocre QB since your starter has the week off. We’ve got full 16-game slates from now until January. Last week, we had two surprise top-10 scoring QBs in Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Each of them threw for over 250 with three and two passing touchdowns, respectively. Fitz-Magic is still starting in place of Jameis Winston, who hasn’t played since Week 9 with a shoulder injury. Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter has already confirmed that Winston will miss this weekend as well. It’s a shame, too. Fitzpatrick vs. Ryan doesn’t quite have the same allure to it.

2017 NFL Passing Defense Statistics

Favorable Matchups

Expect Multiple Touchdowns out of Russell Wilson this Week

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Defensive Matchup: San Francisco 49ers (Road)

Saying that Russell Wilson is playing well of late is a vast understatement. He has thrown for 2+ touchdowns in five straight games and seven of his last eight. In those last five games, he’s averaging 315.2 passing yards per game with 14 total touchdowns (1 rushing) against four interceptions. I bet not many people know that he’s been the top scoring fantasy QB this season by about 20-25 points total over Carson Wentz and Tom Brady.

This week is a plus matchup against a 49ers defense that has allowed the 4th most fantasy points to the QB position. The 49ers have allowed 18 touchdowns and picked off only six passes so far this season. On top of that, they’re in the bottom third of the league in passing yards allowed, sacks, and QB rating.

With not much of a run game to speak of, Wilson has to basically play like superman each and every week, regardless of the opponent. This week shouldn’t be any different. If you have Wilson on your fantasy team and need a huge game out of him this week, you won’t be disappointed.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Defensive Matchup: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Home)

After throwing for multiple touchdowns only once in his first six games, Matt Ryan has tossed two scores in each of the last four games. It’s about damn time, Matt. We’ve been waiting for you to act like a QB1 all season. He still hasn’t had that signature Matty Ice game, but I got a hunch it happens this week against a swiss cheese Buccaneers defense.

Outside of Week 8, this defense has allowed at least 262 passing yards every game. That includes 365 yards last week to the Matt Moore/Jay Cutler duo and a combined 670 yards to Mike Glennon and Case Keenum in Weeks 2 and 3. This week should be a field day for Ryan and this Atlanta offense. Especially since they finally look to have found their stride late in the season. This shouldn’t be a week to hesitate about using Ryan as a QB1. With this tasty matchup upcoming, Ryan should be penciled in for 300+ yards, 3+ TDs, and a probable top-five QB option this week.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

Defensive Matchup: Cleveland Browns (Home)

This Browns passing defense is a little odd. They still haven’t allowed a 300-yard passing game this season, but they allow a ton of passing touchdowns, including four to Andy Dalton in their first matchup back in Week 4.  Not much has changed since that Week 4 matchup, either. The Browns are still winless and still can’t stop anyone.

If you take out that atrocious four-interception debacle in Week 1, Dalton’s stats start looking a lot better. Since that game, he has thrown for 16 touchdowns, four interceptions, and an average of 221 passing yards per game. That’s not a huge yardage total, but the TD/INT ratio is very promising. This week could yield a very similar stat-line to what Dalton did back in Week 4 against Cleveland when he threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns. He’s firmly on the QB2 map this week and makes for a sneaky good DFS play.

Unfavorable Matchups

Game Plan Shouldn’t Favor a Big Game for Alex Smith

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

Defensive Matchup: Buffalo Bills (Home)

The Bills might have some issues to address against the run, but their passing defense is still as strong as ever. They gave up 47 points to the Saints in Week 10 but still held Brees to 184 yards and no passing touchdowns. Their opponent this week, Alex Smith, is a much different type of QB than Brees is. Smith is more of a conservative passer that doesn’t turn the ball over often. On the year, Smith has thrown only three interceptions. The problem is that those have all come in the last two games, including two last week against the lowly Giants. On the season, Buffalo has five games of two interceptions, including three games in a row back in Weeks 3-5.

The game plan for Kansas City should be to run the ball and run it often. The Bills have allowed the 8th most rushing yards and a whopping 16 rushing touchdowns. The 16 touchdowns allowed is the most in the NFL by a country mile. It’s been a while since Kareem Hunt had a good game, but the game plan should certainly favor him this weekend and not Smith throwing the ball much. I’d expect an old school stat-line from Smith of under 200 yards and no more than one passing touchdown. He’s not a recommended QB1 this week.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Defensive Matchup: Los Angeles Rams (Road)

I’d never thought I’d see the day where a Drew Brees-led team would be considered more of a running team. It’s a great thing for the Saints, but not so much for Brees’ fantasy owners in 2017. The emergence of Alvin Kamara, plus Mark Ingram, has limited Brees to being only the 9th highest scoring fantasy QB this season. I know, 9th is nothing to scoff at, but for a QB that has been in the top-five each of the last two seasons, it’s a bit of a letdown.

The last four weeks haven’t been anything to write home about, either. Brees has only four touchdown passes in the last four games, including two games with none at all. Furthermore, one of those goose egg games was in a 47-10 trouncing of Buffalo. Seeing no air scores from Brees in a 47-point game is certainly a head-scratcher. He did run one in, though.

This week won’t be any easier against a Rams defense that is slowing turning into one of the best defenses in the NFL, especially against the pass. The Rams are in the top-10 in passing yards allowed, completion percentage, touchdowns allowed, interceptions, QB rating, and sacks. On the flip side, they’re a bottom-10 rush defense, so expect a lot of Ingram and Kamara in this game and another modest performance from Brees.

Josh McCown, New York Jets

Defensive Matchup: Carolina Panthers (Home)

You’ve got to give McCown a lot of credit for how he and the Jets have played this season. We’re in Week 12, and he’s still outscoring names like Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger, and Derek Carr on a per-week average basis. Overall, he’s been the 13th highest scoring QB on the season. It’s safe to say no one expected this coming into the season.

If you’ve been starting McCown in 2-QB leagues, this isn’t going to be a week that you’re going to want to use him. The Carolina Panthers allow the 4th fewest fantasy points to the QB position and have picked off four passes in the last four games after only one in the first six games. This isn’t going to be an easy game for McCown. I’d avoid him in all formats, especially with byes behind us.

Sleeper of the Week

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Defensive Matchup: Houston Texans (Home)

Recommending Joe Flacco doesn’t make me feel comfortable, by any means. However, he’s facing a Texans defense that just got torched by journeyman backup, Blaine Gabbert. In fact, over the last four weeks, Houston has allowed 12 passing touchdowns and 343 passing yards per game. Yikes. Flacco has had only a couple of good games this season, and his overall stat-line looks like garbage, but this week is a juicy matchup for the veteran. A 250+ yard, 2+ TD performance shouldn’t shock anyone. Like I said to start, Gabbert torched this defense. If he can, so can Flacco. If you’re looking for a cheap DFS play or a back-end QB2 option, give Flacco a look.

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 13.

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