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Fantasy Football: Week 15 Quarterback Matchup Report

At the rate we’re going with QB injuries, Mitchell Trubisky will be a top-10 option in Week 17. I know I’m exaggerating a lot, but damn, every week we have someone go down. This past week, Carson Wentz was the unfortunate victim, suffering a torn ACL. It’s a real shame, too. Not only does this take out one of the top fantasy QBs this season, it weakens another strong playoff team as well. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person looking forward to seeing what Wentz and Deshaun Watson could do in crucial playoff games.

On the plus side, that dude from the State Farm commercials is back this week. No, it’s not Jake and his khakis. Doctors have medically cleared Aaron Rodgers to return on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Fantasy owners and cheeseheads across the country rejoice and do a little happy dance that gets them weird looks from non-fantasy football folk.

Another plus is that there’s not a ton of bad matchups this week for quarterbacks. A lot of the top defenses are facing bottom-10 fantasy QBs. No one is going to even think about using Tom Savage in any format, especially against Jacksonville. All right, enough of this intro. Let’s dig into some matchups.

Week 15 Quarterback Matchup Report

Favorable Matchups

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Defensive Matchup: New England Patriots (Home)

This game is going to be an absolute shootout. If I were a betting man, I’d look at that over/under of 53.5 and laugh right in its non-existent face. It isn’t going to be the defenses scoring the points, either. These two offenses are going to be marching up and down the field all afternoon, racking up yards and scoring touchdowns. That all starts on the Pittsburgh side with big ol’ Ben Roethlisberger.

After seeming to be mentally checked out in the first half of the season, Roethlisberger has turned it on in a big way over the five games since Pittsburgh’s Week 9 bye. In those games, he’s thrown for 14 touchdowns, four interceptions, and an average of 336.4 yards per game. Even Baltimore’s strong passing defense allowed Big Ben to throw for 506 yards and two scores last week. This Patriots defense is playing better of late, but they have really faced only one good QB since their Week 9 bye. This is lining up to be a huge game for Roethlisberger. He’s easily a QB1 and likely will finish as a top-five QB in Week 15.

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

Defensive Matchup: San Francisco 49ers (Road)

I can certainly understand fantasy owner’s skepticism surrounding the idea of using Marcus Mariota. After a promising first two seasons, Mariota has regressed in a big way here in year three. He’s thrown more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (10) and has just looked flat-out bad for most of the season. What has helped him not be a total fantasy failure this year has been the 224 yards and five touchdowns he’s racked up on the ground. That’s important because it could very well come into play this weekend against the 49ers.

The 49ers have allowed the third-most fantasy points to the QB position. Included in that are nearly 200 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. There are only three games left on the schedule, so salvaging his season is out of the question, but showing that he can actually be a productive QB again will help do wonders for his 2018 value. I’m going to go bold and say he proves that in a big way with his best fantasy game of the season this week. He’s a borderline QB1 against this porous 49ers pass defense.

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

Defensive Matchup: Houston Texans (Home)

All of the focus gets put on Jacksonville’s running game and stout defense, but Blake Bortles has quietly been putting together a good season for himself. He’s thrown for 2,821 yards, 16 touchdowns, and eight interceptions, plus 282 yards and two scores on the ground. Those numbers have made him the 17th most valuable fantasy QB on a per-game basis. Some names he’s ahead of are Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota. Raise your hand if you thought Bortles would be more valuable than all those guys before the season started. I’m not seeing any hands go up. My hand sure isn’t.

After three straight plus performances, Bortles gets a cupcake matchup against the Houston Texans. With the exception of AFC North QBs Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco and Kevin Hogan, this Texans defense can’t seem to stop any quarterback. They’ve allowed five three-TD passing efforts already and even got torched by the likes of Jacoby Brissett and Blaine Gabbert. With Houston being much stronger against the run, and Leonard Fournette banged up, expect a strong game from Gabbert this week. He’s firmly on the QB2 radar and a decent DFS play as well.

Unfavorable Matchups

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

Defensive Matchup: Seattle Seahawks (Road)

It’s tough for any opposing QB to perform at a high level up in Seattle, especially when you’re a second-year QB still getting his feet wet in the NFL. We’ve seen Jared Goff make great strides over the last several weeks, but Seattle has had his number in their first two meetings. Goff has completed only 35-of-72 passes (48.6%) with no touchdowns and two interceptions against Seattle while getting sacked six times.

The “Legion of Boom” days might be over, but this Seattle defense is still one of the strongest in the NFL. They’ve allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the QB position and have allowed only 16 passing touchdowns so far this season. This tough matchup makes Goff only a borderline QB1 this week and not a recommended DFS play.

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (Home)

Defensive Matchup: Los Angeles Chargers

With each passing week, this Chargers passing defense is slowing turning into one of the best in the NFL. As it stands today, they’re in the top five in passing yards and touchdowns allowed, interceptions and sacks. The Chargers have really thrived over the last four games, allowing only three touchdown passes and 175.8 passing yards per game. Two of those were against good QBs, too, in Dak Prescott and Kirk Cousins. Neither of those two men could eclipse 200 yards passing. If it weren’t for Tom Brady, no QB would have thrown for 300+ yards on this defense yet this season.

Smith, and this whole Chiefs team, really, haven’t looked quite the same since their Week 10 bye. He’s managed only five passing touchdowns since the bye and four of those were in one game. Mixed in have been two touchdown goose eggs and a whole bunch of bad play. This is clearly not the same Smith that was a top-five fantasy QB through the first half of the season. For me, he’s not a QB1 this week.

Sleeper of the Week

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

Defensive Matchup: New York Giants (Road)

In November and December of 2013, Nick Foles was the man.  His 406-yard, seven-touchdown effort against Oakland on November 3rd vaulted him to fantasy stardom. Unfortunately for him, those two months have been the peak of his career thus far. With the season-ending injury to Wentz, Foles is back as the starting QB in Philly. He couldn’t get a much better matchup in his first game back either. The Giants might still be playing games, but their 2017 season ended when they decided to bench Eli Manning.

This defense has been atrocious against the pass. They’ve allowed the third most passing yards, tied for the most passing touchdowns, and only Tampa Bay has recorded fewer sacks. Any competent NFL QB should have no issue moving the ball against this defense, including Foles this weekend. Consider Foles a back-end QB2 for Week 15.

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 week as we break down quarterbacks for Week 15.

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