The Week 12 NFL main slate kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 1 p.m. ET. In this piece, I highlight the quarterbacks who stand out in our large suite of analytical DFS Tools, most specifically the industry-leading FantasyLabs Models.
Top Quarterbacks in the FantasyLabs Models
There are four quarterbacks atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Adam Levitan, Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek) and I have constructed.
- Russell Wilson: $6,800 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel
- Matt Ryan: $6,700 DraftKings, $7,900 FanDuel
- Drew Brees: $6,600 DraftKings, $8,500 FanDuel
- Carson Wentz: $5,600 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel
Odds as of Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.
Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) at Philadelphia Eagles, 48 Over/Under
There are a few reasons not to like Wilson.
The Seahawks are on the road, and in the post-Marshawn Lynch era (since 2016), Wilson has experienced a significant dropoff away from CenturyLink Field (per our FantasyLabs Trends Tool).
- Home (31 games): 22.4 FanDuel points | +4.71 Plus/Minus, 61.3% Consistency Rating
- Away (32 games): 18.7 FanDuel points | +1.05 Plus/Minus, 56.3% Consistency Rating
Additionally, the Seahawks are a west coast team traveling east for an early afternoon game. They could be a little sluggish.
On top of that, the Seahawks are No. 28 with a 53.6% pass play rate. It’s hard to be enthusiastic about a quarterback who doesn’t pass the ball all that much.
But even with those factors, Wilson is investable.
I don’t think he’s going to win the MVP award, but that doesn’t mean he’s not having a great season.
Wilson is the No. 2 fantasy quarterback with 24.1 FanDuel points per game. He’s been a strong source of value with his +7.01 Plus/Minus.
As much fun as it is to disparage offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Wilson has been incredibly productive with him since he joined the team last season, especially since the 2018 Week 7 bye (per RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer).
In his past 20 regular-season games, Wilson has been a fantasy QB1 an outstanding 13 times, and only once has he finished outside the QB2 tier.
The key to Wilson’s production has been his unbelievable efficiency. He’s top-three with a 7.0% touchdown rate, 0.6% interception rate, 9.5 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) and 0.20 passing fantasy points over expectation per attempt (paFPOEPA, per RotoViz Screener).
If you’re worried about regression, don’t be. In 2018, Wilson was No. 2 with an 8.2% touchdown rate, tied for No. 6 with a 1.7% interception rate, No. 3 with a 9.0 AY/A and tied for No. 1 with a 0.22 paFPOEPA. Wilson is very much in the neighborhood he lived in last year.
Underlying Wilson’s efficiency is a high volume of high-value opportunities. He’s easily No. 1 with 39 end-zone attempts and tied for No. 5 with a 9.6-yard average depth of target (aDOT). In fact, he’s No. 1 with 26 completions of 20-plus yards. When Wilson throws, he goes deep and looks to score. It’s no wonder he trails only Lamar Jackson with his 0.63 FanDuel points per dropback (per Pro Football Focus).
And although Wilson isn’t quite the runner he used to be, he’s still chipping in on the ground. He’s No. 5 at the position with five carries and 1.1 red-zone carries per game (per Player Profiler).
No. 1 wide receiver Tyler Lockett (leg) suffered an injury in Week 10, but he’s tentatively expected to be healthy coming off the bye, and the recently added Josh Gordon should be more familiar with the offense.
I have to admit that Wilson’s matchup might not be as good as it seems. For the first six weeks of the year, the Eagles were without No. 1 cornerback Jalen Mills, and they also lost No. 2 corner Ronald Darby in Week 3.
Since Mills and Darby were reunited on the field in Week 8, the Eagles have been much tougher.
- Without Mills and/or Darby (Weeks 1-7): 19.8 FanDuel points, +4.41 Plus/Minus, 71.4% Consistency Rating
- With Mills and Darby (Weeks 8-11): 10.8 FanDuel points, -5.09 Plus/Minus, 33.3% Consistency Rating
For the year, the Eagles are actually No. 12 in pass defense DVOA (per Football Outsiders).
But the Mills & Darby team-level splits might be unrepresentative. In Weeks 8-9, the Eagles had good matchups against quarterbacks Josh Allen and Mitchell Trubisky, and then coming off the bye, they faced quarterback Tom Brady, who is currently struggling.
The five quarterbacks similar to Wilson in salary to face the Eagles this year — Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, Allen and Brady — averaged 19.2 FanDuel points per game with a +2.46 Plus/Minus and 80% Consistency Rating.
Lockett is one of the league’s most efficient receivers with his 12.0 yards per target since last year. He should be able to maneuver his way around slot corner Avonte Maddox, who has a 48.7 coverage grade (per Pro Football Focus).
No. 2 wide receiver D.K. Metcalf has a clear physical edge over Darby, who will likely face him for most of the game.
- D.K. Metcalf: 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, 4.33-second 40-yard dash
- Ronald Darby: 5-foot-11, 193 pounds, 4.38-second 40-yard dash
Similarly, Gordon has an edge over Mills.
- Josh Gordon: 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, 4.52-second 40-yard dash
- Jalen Mills: 6-feet, 191 pounds, 4.61-second 40-yard dash
Metcalf and Gordon are taller, faster and bigger than Darby and Mills. They both could gift Wilson long touchdowns on deep contested targets.
Team-specific production patterns can be analyzed with our FantasyLabs Correlations Tool, and Wilson is highly correlated with his receivers. For instance, Wilson and Lockett have a 0.69 correlation in production over the past year. If Wilson has a big game, at least one of his receivers probably will too. For guaranteed prize pools, use our Lineup Builder to stack Wilson with his wide receivers.
I probably won’t be desirous to pay up at the position in cash games — at least not for Wilson — but he is in play for tournaments.
Wilson is the No. 1 option in the Bales Model for FanDuel. He’s also the No. 1 main-slate quarterback in our Week 12 fantasy football rankings.
Matt Ryan: Atlanta Falcons (-4.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 51.5 O/U
UPDATE (Nov. 23): RB Devonta Freeman (foot) and TE Austin Hooper (knee) are out. Bucs CB M.J. Stewart (knee) is out.
I love Ryan this week. He’s the No. 10 fantasy quarterback with 20.1 FanDuel points per game, and even though he missed Week 8, he’s still well on his way to a ninth consecutive 4,000-yard passing campaign.
The Falcons are No. 1 in the league with a 67.7% pass play rate. Ryan is likely to get his attempts. Since his 2016 MVP campaign, Ryan leads the league with 16,626 yards passing.
Most importantly, the matchup is delicious. The Bucs have allowed quarterbacks to average 23.7 FanDuel points and opposing teams to average 480.5 air yards and yards after catch combined per game — both of which are the second-highest marks in the league (per AirYards.com).
Last year, Ryan had 355 yards and three touchdowns in Week 6 and 378 yards and two touchdowns in Week 17 against the Bucs, and they’re definitely not any better this year in pass defense.
In fact, the Bucs have the league’s most extreme funnel defense. They rank No. 1 against the run but No. 30 against the pass in DVOA. The Falcons should be motivated to pass.
The Bucs are a total mess at cornerback. Last week they waived Vernon Hargreaves III and benched Jamel Dean and Ryan Smith. In his Week 11 return from injury, Carlton Davis started on the perimeter, and rookie dime safety Mike Edwards played at slot corner for the first time this year. The Bucs are in full-blown “let’s try anything” mode.
All three of Ryan’s wide receivers — Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage — have advantageous matchups.
Julio in particular is well positioned. He’s likely to run most of his routes against rookie cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, who has allowed four touchdowns in his four games as a full-time defender. Julio on his own might get Ryan 150 yards and a touchdown.
Given that Falcons-Bucs has a slate-high over/under, Ryan warrants strong consideration in both cash games and tournaments.
Ryan is the No. 1 quarterback in the CSURAM88, Levitan, Koerner, Raybon, SportsGeek and Freedman Models for FanDuel, where he has position-high marks with a 65% Bargain Rating and +3.54 Projected Plus/Minus.
Ryan also leads all quarterbacks on DraftKings with his median and ceiling projections and seven Pro Trends.
Drew Brees: New Orleans Saints (-9.5) vs. Carolina Panthers, 47 O/U
UPDATE (Nov. 23): Panthers CB Ross Cockrell (quad) is questionable after a limited practice on Friday.
Brees has had a mixed campaign. He was great in Week 1 with 370 yards and two touchdowns, but in Week 2 he injured his thumb and missed the next five games.
In Week 8, he was once again fantastic with 373 yards and three touchdowns, but in Week 10 he underwhelmed with a scoreless 287 yards, and then last week he had just 228 yards.
But I’m not losing faith in Brees. In Week 10 the Saints were coming off a bye, and lots of teams have looked flat in their return to action. And last week, the Saints didn’t need Brees to do much in a 34-17 win — and he still passed for three touchdowns.
For the year, he has an NFL-high 75.4% completion rate. He’s pretty much still Drew F—king Brees.
The Saints have a slate-high 27.75-point implied Vegas total, so Brees and his receivers are stackable in tournaments. I especially like the idea of pairing Brees with Ted Ginn Jr., who has a #RevengeGame against the Panthers and a 0.65 correlation in production with Brees over the past year.
The Panthers are No. 7 in pass defense DVOA, so it’s not as if they’re obviously exploitable, but slot corner Ross Cockrell (quad) missed last week and is uncertain to play. If Cockrell is out, the Panthers will rely on backup Javien Elliott, who has allowed an 87.7% catch rate across his four-year career.
While it’s likely that No. 1 wide receiver Michael Thomas will be shadowed by cornerback James Bradberry on the perimeter, I imagine that if Cockrell is out, the Saints will move Thomas into the slot more than usual so he can exploit a matchup with Elliott.
And even when Thomas isn’t in the slot, I still expect Brees to attack Elliott, who could undermine the entire pass defense.
On top of that, Brees is at home, the Coors Field of fantasy football. With Brees as the starter, the Saints have a 64-46-2 record to the over at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, good for an A-graded 14.2% return on investment (including postseason, per Bet Labs).
Over the past half decade, Brees has been one of the league’s best home quarterbacks.
- Home (45 games): 23.8 DraftKings points, +3.64 Plus/Minus, 62.2% Consistency Rating
- Away (41 games): 18.7 DraftKings points, -1.51 Plus/Minus, 41.5% Consistency Rating
Brees is basically a flow chart quarterback. At home, play. Away, fade. He leads the position with his floor projections in our Models, and he’s the No. 1 option in the Freedman Model for DraftKings.
Carson Wentz: Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks, 48 O/U
UPDATE (Nov. 23): WR Nelson Agholor (knee) did not practice all week and looks to be on the doubtful side of his questionable status.
I’m not a fan of Wentz’s situation. No. 1 wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (ankle) missed Week 11 and is uncertain for this weekend. In his absence, the Eagles last week relied heavily on two-tight end packages, which pushed slot receivers Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews to the perimeter for a majority of their snaps.
This this suboptimal situation, Wentz passed for just 214 yards and a touchdown.
Granted, he was playing against the Patriots, so his numbers can be excused away, but over the past four games he’s averaged just 204 yards and one touchdown passing (along with 19.8 yards rushing). That comes out to 13.1 DraftKings points per game with a -3.31 Plus/Minus and 0.0% Consistency Rating.
In fact, if we discount Wentz’s season-best 313-yard, three-touchdown performance in Week 1 — the only full game Wentz played with field-stretching wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen, IR) — he has averaged 217.9 yards and 1.44 touchdowns passing and 17.3 yards and 0.11 touchdowns rushing per game.
If Jeffery is out, I’m likely to stay away from Wentz. But right now we’re tentatively projecting Jeffery to play, and if he does, Wentz is probably too cheap. Despite having the 12th-highest quarterback salary on DraftKings, Wentz has the fifth-highest median projection. In a slate with 22 starters at the position, that discrepancy between acquisition cost and expected production makes him a viable candidate for lineups needing a mid-priced quarterback.
Wentz has a few factors in his favor.
First, he’s unlikely to be popular. Over the past four games, he’s had a 1.2% ownership rate on the main slate (per our FantasyLabs Ownership Dashboard). Most of the people who roster a quarterback from this game will opt for Wilson. Wentz has some appeal as a contrarian pivot.
Plus, he’s on the positive side of his splits.
- Favorite (31 games): 20.5 DraftKings points, +3.17 Plus/Minus, 64.5% Consistency Rating
- Underdog (19 games): 16.4 DraftKings points, +0.40 Plus/Minus, 52.6% Consistency Rating
And Wentz has an acceptable matchup. The Seahawks are No. 19 in PFF coverage grade, so they’re not bad, but they haven’t been against veteran starters. The six quarterbacks they’ve faced this year who aren’t rookies or backups — Andy Dalton, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Jameis Winston and Jimmy Garoppolo (not counting the injured Ben Roethlisberger) — have averaged 22.3 DraftKings points per game with a +5.08 Plus/Minus and 83.3% Consistency Rating.
Of the six such quarterbacks, five had 20-plus DraftKings points.
With his low salary, depressed ownership rate, positive splits and favorable matchup, Wentz is the No. 1 quarterback in the Bales, CSURAM88, Levitan, Koerner, Raybon and SportsGeek Models for DraftKings, where he has a position-high +4.05 Projected Plus/Minus.
Upside Quarterbacks for Guaranteed Prize Pools
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($6,200 DK, $7,600 FD): Winston has a league-worst 18 interceptions and a lowly 59.6% completion rate, but he leads the slate with 10.4 intended air yards and 1.2 yards beyond the first-down marker per attempt (per Next Gen Stats). The Falcons have toughened up since Raheem Morris was made secondary coach two weeks ago, but they are still No. 27 in pass defense DVOA. UPDATE (Nov. 23): Falcons CB Kendall Sheffield (illness) is questionable after missing practice on Friday but is tentatively expected to play.
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders ($6,100 DK, $7,400 FD): Carr has career-high marks with a 72.3% completion rate and 8.3 AY/A this year. The Jets have an extreme funnel defense that ranks No. 2 against the run but No. 21 against the pass in DVOA. They are currently starting third-string cornerbacks Arthur Maulet and Blessuan Austin on the perimeter because Trumaine Johnson (ankle, IR) is out for the year, Darryl Roberts (calf) has missed the past two weeks and Nate Hairston has been benched. UPDATE (Nov. 23): Roberts is officially doubtful and expected to be out.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys ($6,000 DK, $8,100 FD): Prescott is the No. 2 fantasy quarterback with 25.3 DraftKings points per game, and he currently has the league’s best wide receiver trio in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Randall Cobb. The Patriots are No. 1 in coverage grade and pass defense DVOA, but the Cowboys are No. 1 with 8.3 net yards per pass play and a 56% pass play success rate (per Sharp Football Stats). He is likely to have a very low ownership rate. UPDATE (Nov. 23): Patriots CB Jason McCourty (groin) is questionable after a limited practice on Friday but is tentatively expected to play.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns ($5,900 DK, $7,500 FD): Mayfield has five total touchdowns over the past two weeks, and the Dolphins just allowed a Millionaire Maker-winning performance to Josh Allen in Week 11. The Dolphins are No. 32 in pass defense DVOA, and they are currently starting undrafted backups Nik Needham, Ken Crawley and Jomal Wiltz at corner. Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry could gift Mayfield 200 yards and three touchdowns on their own. UPDATE (Nov. 23): Dolphins CB Ken Webster (ankle) is doubtful. SS Reshad Jones (chest, ankle) and FS Bobby McCain (shoulder) have been placed on IR.
Sam Darnold, New York Jets ($5,800 DK, $7,400 FD): Darnold is coming off a season-best 293-yard, four-touchdown performance, and the Raiders have allowed 25.3 DraftKings points, 272.3 yards passing and three touchdowns per game to the mediocre quartet of Garner Minshew, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins over the past month. Cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring) missed Week 11, and backup Nevin Lawson presents a soft matchup in the slot to No. 1 wide receiver Jamison Crowder. UPDATE (Nov. 23): Joyner is questionable after a limited practice on Friday.
Jeff Driskel, Detroit Lions ($5,500 DK, $7,300 FD): Thanks to his under-appreciated Konami Code rushing ability, Driskel is the No. 4 fantasy quarterback with an average of 23.0 FanDuel points across his two starts. The Redskins just allowed 26.4 FanDuel points to Sam Darnold, and they are No. 26 in pass defense DVOA. He has three above-average wide receivers in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and Danny Amendola, the last of whom has a strong matchup against slot cornerback Fabian Moreau, who has allowed an 88% completion rate this year. UPDATE (Nov. 23): QB Matthew Stafford (back) and C Frank Ragnow (concussion) are out. Redskins CB Josh Norman (hamstring) is questionable after a limited practice on Friday.
Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers ($5,500 DK, $6,900 FD): He could be without wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) and Diontae Johnson (concussion), so his ownership rate will be low, but he still has a great matchup. The Bengals are No. 31 in pass defense DVOA and have allowed the third-most FanDuel points to quarterbacks with 23.1 per game. No. 1 corner Dre Kirkpatrick (knee, IR) is out for the year, and perimeter fill-in B.W. Webb has allowed a nice 69.0% completion rate. UPDATE (Nov. 23): RB James Conner (shoulder) and JuJu are out, but Johnson will be active.
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears ($5,100 DK, $7,000 FD): Late on Sunday Night Football, Trubisky (hip) was replaced by backup Chase Daniel because of a reported injury — but it looked like a benching. If Trubisky starts, he’ll have a great matchup against a Giants defense that ranks No. 31 in coverage grade. No. 1 cornerback Janoris Jenkins (concussion) is uncertain for Week 12, and last week, league-worst slot corner Grant Haley was benched for sixth-round rookie third-string defensive back Corey Ballentine. He just might be the league’s new worst slot corner with his 72.7% completion rate allowed. UPDATE (Nov. 23): Trubisky is expected to start.
FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns
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Pictured above: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2)
Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports