Brett Rypien: Late Round QB has 3 Star Potential

Brett Rypien (6’1, 210), Quarterback, Boise State

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full database of 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer. All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

15.3 Aggregate Score (3 Star Prospect)

Brett Rypien is one of the smaller QBs in this less than savory draft, but the size takes nothing away from how good he can be. He did all the right things in college, ranking in the top 30 in several categories. On tape, he looks really good and reminds me of a shorter Drew Lock (who I love) and rightfully so. I came away with the feeling I rarely get with some of these prospects; he’s got the full package and I’m here to tell you why I believe he’ll be a top 5 QB from this class when it’s all said and done.

Arm Strength: Aggregate Score 4 (Personal Score 4)

Rypien doesn’t have that effortless rocket launcher like Haskins and Tyree Jackson, but he’s no slouch. Wherever the ball needs to be, he can get it there and with great velocity, especially on short routes. What this score of 4 says to me is that Rypien has got an above average arm and will do just fine in an NFL setting. You don’t need immaculate arm strength to succeed in the league.

Accuracy: Aggregate Score 3 (Personal Score 4)

Rypien was voted to have just an average arm and even received a 2 (below average) from one of our evaluators. I am not of the camp that thinks he isn’t above average with his accuracy. His issues lay in the fact that his receivers were not making the catches that they should have. It reminded me again of Drew Lock, who when Hall went down, the “other guys” struggled to make plays at the same level. His ball placement is one of the best in this class and will help separate him in the long run.

Decision Making: Aggregate Score 2.3 (Personal Score 3)

His decision making is not the best, but it’s not the worst either. I don’t think he’s below average as his aggregate score suggests, I just think he’s trying to force his options into plays that they can’t complete. It kind of goes into his accuracy “issues” where he’s trying to make up for what he doesn’t have on the field by making them better but he’s not quite there yet. I’m thinking he needs average to above average weapons early on to succeed until he gets better here. However, I absolutely think that he will be fine going through his progressions on the next level and does not struggle with that side of his game at all.

Athleticism: Aggregate Score 2.3 (Personal Score 3)

This is a metric I’m not too worried about given the style of QB I think he is (a pocket passer), but it is worth noting that he can “get out and boogey” similar to some other QBs in this draft. What I mean by “get out and boogey” is that these guys have the capability to escape when the pocket breaks down as well as run for some short yardage when a play breaks down.

Mechanics: Aggregate Score 3.6 (Personal Score 4)

Rypien is pretty good here but isn’t going to blow evaluators away. The only little red flag I have on him is that he doesn’t keep consistent in some games and ends up throwing wobblers. Those tight spirals you want to see get lost on him sometimes but again, I think that has to do with the same reasonings I had with his decision making. Trying to force the issue pulled him out of comfort zones in a bad way and caused his mechanics to be off. This is my issue with him and I know it’s something that can be corrected on the next level.

Conclusion: 4th-Waivers

There’s prospects that you want to let fall because there’s no way they get drafted. Rypien is not one of those prospects. I say that because in a few years (meaning he still needs to sit and learn) Rypien will easily be a starter in this league. He has patience, has the right ideas when operating out of the pocket and has enough mobility to not be excessively sacked. My best comp I can give for him in terms of career is this: He’ll be the QB12-15 most of his career with a pro bowl or two here or there and you can take that to the bank. I don’t feel like many of the QBs in this draft will even sniff that.

Extreme Quarterback Fantasy Point Variances

Aside from the fantasy playoffs, redraft and dynasty leagues can be viewed from a macro level where you can survive two or three bad weeks or roster decisions and succeed.  That’s quite the contrast from daily fantasy where every option on a slate is put under a microscope and one mistake can make or break your week. 

NFL players have their own tendencies where they perform better in various scenarios whether it be as a favorite or underdog, playing at home or in hostile territory, or when their respective team wins or loses a game.  We’re going to explore which players at each position performed at their best or worst in various situations from last season to try and help us discover ideal roster opportunities in daily lineups.  Note that these figures can vary from year to year when someone who performed better indoors the year before now suddenly performed better outside the following year.  Viewed in another light, these variances can be interpreted as an extension of consistency rankings.  

This piece isn’t just exclusive to DFS and has a place in non-DFS leagues where an available free agent may be in a better spot to perform than a rostered option that should be on the bench for a specific week.  This will be part one of a three-part series starting with the quarterback position and only evaluates those that played a minimum of 12 games. 

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN A STRAIGHT-UP WIN

Josh Allen: 11.29: A key to success for the rookie quarterback was the Bills going 5-1 in games he rushed for at least one touchdown.  Defenses that were able to keep him in the pocket were able to shut Josh Allen down as he only averaged 13.8 FPPG in seven Buffalo losses last year.  He’ll need to become a much more effective passer in conjunction with his ability to utilize his legs which should level out this extreme variance.

Dak Prescott: 8.52: Dak had a +4.64 differential in games the Cowboys won in 2017 and that differential increased in 2018.  As Dak goes, so does Dallas as combining passing and rushing touchdowns, he averaged 2.2 touchdowns and .2 interceptions in 10 wins vs 1 touchdown and 1 interception in six losses.

Aaron Rodgers: 6.64 (Excluding Week 17): Certainly a positive regression candidate for 2019, it wasn’t the Aaron Rodgers we’re accustomed to seeing last season as he threw just 25 passing touchdowns, the fewest in a season in which he played 15 games.  Once guaranteed wins for the Packers, the Bears and Vikings are much improved defensively as the team went 0-3-1 with Rodgers averaging 1.25 touchdowns in that span.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN A STRAIGHT-UP LOSS

Mitchell Trubisky: 7.4: Matt Nagy’s impact on Trubisky cannot be understated as the Bears offense in 2017 was simply inept under offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.  The 2nd year quarterback averaged 273 passing yards and 1.66 passing touchdowns in Bears losses this season compared to a horrid 187 passing yards and .62 passing touchdowns in losses in his rookie campaign.  

DeShaun Watson: 3.22: Considering he set the world on fire before tearing his ACL in 2017, regression was bound to hit as he threw for more than two touchdown passes just once last year.  He had five 300 passing yard games, three of them in losses.  Also in games that the Texans lost, Watson averaged 6.48 FPPG with his legs vs 4.79 FPPG in Texan wins.

Patrick Mahomes: 2.79: It’s extremely rare to see an offense score 40 points and 50 points on separate occasions and lose both of those games.  Regardless of the splits, Mahomes undoubtedly will be the first quarterback off the board in every draft come August.

SMALLEST WIN/LOSS VARIANCE

Philip Rivers: +.18: Aside from a rough December, the 15-year veteran was as consistent as he could be last season as he threw for at least two touchdowns in all but three games.  His .18 FPPG win/loss differential was a vast improvement upon the +5.58 FPPG differential he saw in Charger victories last season.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN HOME GAMES

Jared Goff: 10.71: Goff averaged 2.75 passing touchdowns at home vs 1.25 of them away from the LA Memorial Coliseum.  Having played both high school and college ball in beautiful California weather, he fared horribly in two games under 30 degrees last season, averaging a minuscule 6.07 FPPG in those contests.  Keep in mind the Rams take trips to Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland in 2019, venues that can get cold in December if they are required to travel east late next season.

Mitchell Trubisky: 10.64: Trubisky eclipsed 300 passing yards four times in 2018 with three of those occurrences at Soldier Field.  Not to mention throwing for 2.37 passing touchdowns in front of the Chicago faithful vs .83 of them in hostile territory.

Sam Darnold: 9.91: If Sam Darnold played the entire season at MetLife Stadium, he would have measured out as the QB6 in 2018.  To level out this variance, Darnold will need to become more efficient in road games as he threw for 200+ passing yards just once to go along with his .71 passing touchdowns and 1.5 turnovers in hostile territory.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN AWAY GAMES

Patrick Mahomes: 8.36: The Chiefs were a solid defensive unit at the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium, allowing just 17.97 points per game.  Removed from there, their atrocious defense that surrendered 34.63 points per game put them in shootouts that assisted the 2018 MVP in generating some of the production that he did in three road losses.

Eli Manning: 6.1: The addition of Saquon Barkley and having ODB for most of 2018 helped Eli put together a better campaign then the dud from 2017.  However, it was the tale of two quarterbacks as road Eli outshined home Eli last season.  Away from MetLife Stadium, Manning threw twice as many touchdowns and committed half as many turnovers compared to playing at home. 

Kirk Cousins: 3.2: Minnesota invested $84 million in guarantees in Kirk Cousins and didn’t get their money’s worth in the first year of the three-year deal.  Other than the two road games against the Packers and Rams, his two best performances of 2018 and the main contributor of this home/road split, it was a less than stellar campaign that was encapsulated by a week 17 loss that knocked the Vikings out of playoff contention.

SMALLEST HOME/ROAD VARIANCE

Ben Roethlisberger: -.06: Big Ben’s spot in this category is shocking considering his splits over the last few years heavily favored him playing at Heinz Field.  He quietly had a great 2018 as the QB3 with his 22.44 FPPG in an offense with James Conner as the starting running back in place of a disgruntled Le’Veon Bell.  The question now becomes how the offense performs without Antonio Brown lining up as a Steeler.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL AGAINST TEAMS OVER .500

Marcus Mariota: 9.84: Truth be told, Mariota has been mediocre at best since coming into the league in 2015.  However, he fared much better against teams that made the playoffs last season as he only surpassed double-digit fantasy points against those under .500 just once in seven opportunities.

DeShaun Watson: 6.5: While the Texans went just 3-4 against opponents with a winning record, the second-year quarterback rose to the occasion in those matchups as he posted 25 fantasy point performances in four of those seven games.  

Jared Goff: 5.85: Aside from being stymied by a tenacious Chicago defense in Week 14, Goff three for over 300 yards against every other opponent that was over .500.  This was a substantial improvement from 2017 as he only did so in two of seven opportunities and continues to show why he was the #1 overall selection in the 2016 draft.

LARGEST DIFFERENT AGAINST TEAMS AT .500 OR BELOW

Josh Allen: 11.2: No one feasted on inferior opponents better than Allen as they had no answer for him scrambling out of the pocket.  Line him up against better competition and they not only kept him in the pocket but prevented him from scoring more than 15 fantasy points just once against an opponent over .500

Aaron Rodgers: 6.34 (Excluding Week 17): Mentioned above as having one of the higher variances in straight-up victories, Rodgers was more successful against weaker opponents, going 5-3 against those under .500.  We’re not used to seeing him struggle against stiffer competition as the Packers went 1-5-1 against those with winning records.

Matt Ryan 6.22: Like the Packers, the Falcons also struggled against opponents over .500 as they went 0-6 against those teams.  Unless it was against the Saints, Matt Ryan was rendered useless against winning competition.  Against those under .500, Matt Ryan eclipsed 20 fantasy points in 9 of 10 opportunities, a big contributor to his QB2 performance of 2018.

SMALLEST WINNING/LOSING RECORD VARIANCE

Case Keenum: -.28: If Case Keenum was consistent in one particular category, it was being awful as his 14.49 FPPG last season would indicate.  John Elway and the Broncos have not remedied their quarterback situation since Peyton Manning retired and will now start their fifth different quarterback in Joe Flacco come September 8th, 2019.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN GAMES WHEN RESPECTIVE TEAM IS A FAVORITE

Derek Carr: 6.69: Yes, the Raiders we’re favored twice last season and one of those games was the shootout against the Browns in which Derek Carr went off for 33.58 fantasy points.  2019 shows promise with the acquisitions of Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, both substantial improvements from the options that were available to Carr in 2018.

Josh Rosen: 5.87 (From Week 4 On): Things can only improve for an Arizona offense that finished dead last in a multitude of offensive metrics.  In 12 of the 13 games that Josh Rosen entered the matchup as an underdog, he averaged 9.57 FPPG, a main contributor this variance is as high as it is given Rosen only played in one game as a favorite.

Mitchell Trubisky: 5.20: Seeing Trubisky’s name for the third time in this article should hint at his inconsistency.  In games as a favorite, he threw for 2.1 touchdowns vs just .75 of them in the four games that the Bears were underdogs.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN GAMES WHEN RESPECTIVE TEAM IS AN UNDERDOG

Drew Brees: 11.04: The Saints were anything but underdogs in 2018 but when put in that role, Drew Brees put on two of his best three fantasy performances in that role against the Falcons in Week 3 and the Rams in Week 9.  His 29.59 FPPG as a dog trailed only one quarterback to be described below.

Patrick Mahomes: 9.77: When put in the underdog role, the Kansas City offense averaged 42.75 points per game.  Of course their defense put them in a position to have to score at will.  In the four games the Chiefs were not favored, Mahomes averaged a remarkable 34.27 FPPG.

Marcus Mariota: 9.37: It’s almost inexplicable how bad Marcus Mariota performed as a favorite.  His 7.49 FPPG is nearly eight fantasy points worse than the next quarterback with the least fantasy production in that role in Josh Rosen.  It’s extremely difficult to bank on Mariota playing as well as he did against stronger competition in 2019 but also a guarantee he will fare much better against inferior competition.

SMALLEST FAVORITE/UNDERDOG VARIANCE

Baker Mayfield: -.36: Mayfield’s final two games should give the Dawg Pound plenty of hope as he slaughtered the Bengals as an 9.5-point favorite as well as held his own against the Ravens as a 7-point underdog in a game that Baltimore needed to win to advance to the postseason.  Cleveland may have finally figured out the quarterback fiasco that has plagued this franchise for the better part of two decades.

WHO WAS THE MOST CONSISTENT QUARTERBACK OF 2018?

Three quarterbacks come to mind based off the evaluated metrics in this article, the first being the overall #1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft.  Baker Mayfield performed admirably in his rookie season and closed out the second half strong once Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were removed from the equation and replaced with eventual head coach Freddie Kitchens.  With an average of 18.29 FPPG, he didn’t have a variance of over two fantasy points in any metric listed above and now has Odell Beckham as a target heading into 2019.

Philip Rivers was just as reliable as Mayfield as he also didn’t exceed a two point variance in any of the above evaluations.  Remove the final four weeks from the equation and Rivers had a solid floor of 15 fantasy points in the first 12 games.  He was far more consistent than 2017 when he was most efficient in games that the Chargers either won straight-up or were a favorite.

The massive home/road splits were always associated with Ben Roethlisberger but his 2017 splits were volatile in numerous categories.  His win/loss, home/road, and favorite/underdog were at a minimum of 5.6 fantasy points.  Fast forward to last season and he displayed more balance in his QB3 campaign as no variance was greater than three.

Daniel Jones: A Very Divisive QB Prospect

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full working database including 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been/will be scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer.

All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

Daniel Jones (6’5”, 221 lbs) Quarterback, Duke University

15.6 Aggregate Score (3 Star Prospect)

Daniel Jones has become the most polarizing quarterback prospect in this class. Does he have what it takes to play quarterback in the NFL? Short answer? Who knows. He has a lot of good and bad on film and his numbers say about the same.  The good, the bad and the ugly is what you get with Jones and we will try to get a cross section of that here.

College Production

His passing numbers are not very exciting, but looking at his numbers across the board gives a little hope. After redshirting his freshman year, Jones put up intriguing numbers through the air in his first year on the field with almost 3000 yards and 16 touchdowns to 9 interceptions. Add 7 touchdowns on the ground and you can make a case for Jones looking like a guy who could play professionally. He most certainly had a sophomore slump with yardage and efficiency dropping.  He didn’t improve much over his original freshman numbers in his final season. Yardage very similar overall with a slight efficiency increase. He did get his TD/Int ratio well above 2 which is promising. His rushing touchdowns went down as his passing touchdowns went up though so this wasn’t as much the result of a more efficient offense, but a more efficient passer certainly.

Arm Strength: Aggregate Score: 3 (Personal Score: 3)

He can makes NFL level throws and his arm is passable, but nothing more. He does not often make wow throws on tape and won’t often trust his arm when deciding whether to push the ball downfield or fit the ball in tight window.

Accuracy: Aggregate Score: 2.6 (Personal Score: 3)

Again, not great, but he hits his target on the throws you need to see. He is often conservative so you don’t get too see the accuracy on the more difficult throws.

Decision Making: Aggregate Score: 2 (Personal Score: 2)

Normally a guy who makes the safe decision and keeps things relatively calm on a play to play basis would be counted as a good decision maker. We do not believe this is the case. There is more to the game than taking the safe yardage and keeping drives alive.

Athleticism: Aggregate Score: 4 (Personal Score: 4)

A bit of a surprise here, but Jones is a good athlete. He ran a 4.8 flat at the combine and 7.00 three cone.  Both of those numbers are strong for a quarterback of his size. Solid numbers in the vert and the broad jump show enough explosiveness to go with those speed and agility numbers as well.

Mechanics: Aggregate Score: 3.6 (Personal Score: 3)

Meh-canics. I don’t love the throwing motion here. While he can get rid of the ball quickly, which is very important at the next level, he isn’t very tight with his wind up. The ball comes away from his body and well outside of his shoulder as he is winding up exposing it to defenders in a big way.

Conclusion:  Not Drafting in 1 QB, Late 2nd/Early 3rd Round Target in SuperFlex

I see a whole lot of Alex Smith when I watch Daniel Jones play football. Given a good situation and some high level weapons, Jones has a shot to game manage his way to some wins the NFL. He does not look to have a very high ceiling without many of the physical tools to create big time plays and opportunities. However, for fantasy, Alex Smith has been a serviceable asset, especially in Superflex. The rushing upside is there with the athleticism for Jones and I could see that playing into his fantasy value. If I end up with Jones on a fantasy roster, it is because he was drafted high and he will get a chance to start early in his career. If that does happen and he flashes in one of those first few games, I am shipping him for any semblance of a profit. Jones won’t win you any fantasy championships.

Week 9 Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em: QB/WR

Welcome to Week 9 of the NFL season. If you listened to me on the Top 2 Pod then I’m a genius for saying start Nick Mullens! Just kidding not even a psychic could have seen that coming but before we jump in, let’s recap from last week.

In the QB department I went 3 for 4 (thanks Jameis). Remind me to never trust a man who steals crab legs and eats W’s. In the WR department, my sit ‘em section went well but my starts were God-awful. Josh Gordon had 4 catches for 42 yards and Jordy Nelson…. well good ole Jordy Nelson disappeared against Indy and still hasn’t been found. Put him on a milk carton and let’s take a stab at Week 9.

Start ‘Em QB

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott VS Tennessee

Trying to prove a point here, but Dak and Dallas are in a good spot here. Monday night at home against a struggling Titans team. While Tennessee has played teams tough, I expect Dak and the Cowboys offense to make some plays. The Cowboys have been better at home than on the road by a wide margin and with Amari Cooper added to the mix; I expect the offense to become a lot more diverse. Start Dak with confidence this week.

Browns QB Baker Mayfield VS Kansas City

This has the potential to be a shoot out. While potential is great and all, the Browns seem to be having a fistfight with that word as of late. After firing Head Coach Hue Jackson and Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley, the Browns are in a state of flux. Some things just never change. However, the Browns have pieces on offense that make up a nice group. I believe in Baker Mayfield and the Browns will have to throw A LOT in this game. Baker should put up a nice stat line against a bad KC defense.

Sit ‘Em QB

Bears QB Mitch Trubisky @ Buffalo

I don’t like this matchup at all for Trubisky. The Bills, though hapless on offense, have actually been good on defense and especially so at home. Mitch could also be without top target Allen Robinson. Tre White, Kyle Williams, Jerry Hughes and more make up a great Buffalo defense and rookie Tremaine Edmonds is going to be one of the best linebackers in the league sooner rather than later. Stay away from the 10 God.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco VS Pittsburgh

The Steelers have been playing better defense as of late and I expect this game to be one of those ugly affairs. AFC North football can be pretty brutal and that is what you should expect in this game which will likely determine who has the inside track to the AFC North title. Flacco did well in the first matchup but my guess is the second one doesn’t go as smoothly.

Start ‘Em WR

Lions WR Kenny Golladay @ Minnesota

This will be the final time you see Kenny Golladay in this article. Simply put, guy is an absolute stud and Golden Tate has been given the boot. Golladay will now officially become the WR1 of the Lions and, honestly, he’s already been that this season. Expect Golladay to get even more targets and turn that into sure fire production against a Vikings defense that has struggled more than expected this season.

Broncos WR Courtland Sutton VS Houston

The start section for the wide receivers this week is has a new era feel. Out goes Demaryius Thomas, in steps Courtland Sutton. The Broncos love this kid and rightfully so. He has all the tools to be a bona fide star. He has had some good games this season but expect him to really make his presence felt this weekend in his first game as the starter opposite Emmanuel Sanders.

Sit ‘Em WR

Any Jets WR VS Miami

The Jets are insanely banged up at the moment and they released Terrelle Pryor. Sam Darnold might have to throw it to himself.

Week 8 Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em: QB/WR

The saying goes that ‘you win some, you lose some’. That was the case with last week’s start/sit article. I won some (QB’s) and I lost some (WR’s). While all 4 suggestions at QB worked out well, only half of the WR calls worked out in some capacity. Take the wins with the losses and the ups with the downs and move along.

Start ‘Em QB

Bengals QB Andy Dalton VS TB

I called for sitting Dalton last week and if you listened, you were rewarded. This week, I expect a bounce back at home VS a bad Bucs defense. This game should have a good amount of scoring and I think Dalton will move the ball at will on the Bucs. Look for a big bounce back week for Dalton and the Bengals offense as a whole.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston @ CIN

This suggestion comes with a good amount of caution. I am worried about Winston going into Cincinnati because the Bengal usually play good defense at home. Couple that with the fact that Jameis is still pretty turnover prone and there is some cause for concern. My argument is that the weapons Winston has to work with will prevail and vault Winston into yet another week of QB1 territory. It’s risky, but it will be worth it.

Sit ‘Em QB

Broncos QB Case Keenum @ KC

Last week was a nice little bounce back for a Broncos team that thinks they can make the playoffs. Well Denver, get ready to get smacked in the face by reality. I want no part of any mediocre QB going into Arrowhead stadium and playing a Chiefs team that can maul people on their home turf. Stay far away from Keenum this weekend.

Giants QB Eli Manning VS WAS

Hey Eli looked pretty great last week, almost throwing for 400 yards! That won’t happen again…maybe ever for poor Eli. Washington has done a very good job shutting down QBs not named Drew Brees this season. While Eli usually performs well against his division rivals, I think this game is going to be a low scoring affair. Look elsewhere if you have Eli rostered.

Start ‘Em WR

Raiders WR Jordy Nelson VS IND

That is new Raiders Wide Receiver number 1 Jordy Nelson thank you very much. Nelson will now take over as the top receiver on the Raiders’ depth chart and he has a pretty good matchup against a porous Colts secondary. I think Nelson already has pretty good chemistry with Carr and he will now get even more targets with Cooper gone.

Patriots WR Josh Gordon @ Buffalo

With his role growing more and more each week, Josh Gordon is starting to turn into the receiver I expected him to be. He’s also starting to turn into the receiver opponents of New England have feared. Gordon has earned Brady’s trust. He will draw Tre White at times during the Monday night game but I simply don’t care. I know the Gordon breakout game is coming and it practically happened last week (4 catches for 100 yards). I think Gordon breaks out on Monday Night with a huge game. Start him from here on out.

Sit ‘Em WR

Panthers WR Devin Funchess VS BAL

I want no part of any WR playing against what could be the best secondary in the league. The Ravens lost a heartbreaker last week and will be determined to impose their will on Carolina. This should be a defensive ball game so both offenses should be avoided.

Ravens WR John Brown @ CAR

Like I said before, this game will be all defense. The offenses are actually pretty good but defense springs eternal in this case. I’d avoid John Brown this week even in the midst of a great first season with Baltimore.

Week 7 Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em: QB/WR

Last week, this column was an apology piece. This week it happens to be a victory lap because I did pretty good predicting who would boom and who would bust. I was 3 for 4 in the QB department, with Russell Wislon performing well along with Joe Flacco and Marcus Mariota posting mediocre stat lines. I was off on Baker Mayfield but you’ll see in a minute that I’m not shying away from Mayfield and the fabulous Baker Browns. I was also 3 for 4 in the WR department with Tyler Boyd exploding against the Steelers for 2 TDs while Kenny Stills and Robbie Anderson both provided duds. I said to start Keke Coutee and he didn’t perform as well as expected. With all of that out of the way, let’s move on to Week 7.

Start ‘Em QB

Browns QB Baker Mayfield @ TB

Last week, the Chargers’ resurgent defense abused Mayfield and it was NOT pretty. This week provides a much more comfortable matchup against an awful Bucs defense that may be missing All-Pro DT Gerald McCoy. Mayfield was in the process of getting into a groove before last week and I think this week he could have a coming out party.

Bears QB Mitch Trubisky VS NE

As a Patriots fan, I hope I’m wrong about this. I will gladly apologize if I am but the Bears under Matt Nagy are Chiefs-lite. They have a lot of similarities and I think Trubisky has the weapons to exploit a Patriots defense that isn’t playing their best ball just yet. I expect points to be plentiful in this game so Trubisky should have plenty of opportunity to sling it.

Sit ‘Em QB

Texans QB Deshaun Watson @ JAX

Banged up and awful O-line play is a bad recipe for disaster against one of the NFL’s best defenses. I am legitimately worried for Watson’s health this weekend when he travels to Duval to play a very pissed off Jags defense. No run game, good weapons but the aforementioned putrid offensive line means a ton of sacks. Watson is a negative play this week.

Bengals QB Andy Dalton @ KC

I know some of you are probably looking at me sideways with this pick but hear me out here. The Bengals are traveling to Arrowhead, the loudest stadium in the league. It will be a Sunday night game, the first for Pat Mahomes in his home stadium. It will be VERY loud and even though Dalton has plenty of weapons, this has the makings of a massacre. I could be totally wrong and the Bengals could show up and play a bad Chiefs defense tough, but I think that place will be roaring and Dalton might be overwhelmed.

Start ‘Em WR

Browns WR Antonio Callaway @ TB

I’m going with the Browns stack this week simply because Tampa Bay is that bad in the secondary. Callaway had 10+ targets last week and they amounted to nothing (less than 10 yards) I expect the targets to continue but this week I think he’ll do more with them. I like Callaway and Mayfield against the Bucs.

Bears WR Taylor Gabriel VS NE

I will also be going with the Bears stack against my Patriots. One week after being burned by Tyreek Hill and his speed, the Patriots will face another speedster in Taylor Gabriel. I know Hill is on another level and Gabriel can’t compare but he is really fast and the Patriots tend to struggle with that type of speed. Couple that with the fact that I expect a lot of attention to go to Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen and I think Gabriel will have a nice game worthy of a start.

Sit ‘Em WR

Titans WR Corey Davis @ LAC in Wembley Stadium

Traveling across the pond to Wembley, Davis will face a Chargers defense that seems to be getting its act together. Davis has had some solid games this season but this is a weird spot for him and the Titans. Nobody really knows much about Tennessee but one thing that is known is that Mariota just isn’t a quality NFL starter. He’s the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of quarterbacks. I think we get Mr. Hyde this week because it is spooky season after all.

Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins @ JAX

I know this is a very bold prediction because Hopkins is a top 3 WR in this league, but I really am worried about this matchup. I think Watson (as stated above) will have next to no time to throw the ball in this game. That means Keke Coutee might be the better bet for targets. I wouldn’t put it past Hopkins to make me eat my words here but I would at least think about looking elsewhere if you have the options.