Sure, I’ll volunteer as tribute to drop some fantasy football rankings the day Christmas, and when the former week of fantasy football was an abomination. Yep, these will surely break the SEO bank and catch all of the eyeballs. Still, it’s a labor of love, innit? Only this week and next, and then it’s a full shift to fantasy baseball here at the dot com. I couldn’t be more excited to not be ranking third-string gunslingers...but here we are.
1 Justin Herbert @ Houston Texans
2 Patrick Mahomes vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
3 Jalen Hurts vs. New York Giants
4 Josh Allen @ New England Patriots
Allen is in a tough one but he should make hay with his legs. Hurts has his deficiencies as a passer, but the rushing upside can’t be ignored. Stay tuned on Mahomes...he’s already gotten Tyreek Hill back, and it sounds like there’s a chance he can still get Travis Kelce, too. Either way, you aren’t benching the man at this juncture, are you?
5 Matthew Stafford @ Minnesota Vikings
6 Tom Brady @ Carolina Panthers
7 Dak Prescott vs. Washington Football Team
8 Joe Burrow vs. Baltimore Ravens
I think Stafford is head and shoulders above the rest here given his consistency and the fact that he’s still got Cooper Kupp in the fold. Brady gets Antonio Brown back to go along with Rob Gronkowski, but he’ll still be missing Chris Godwin and Mike Evans against an underrated Panthers pass defense. I’m not benching him, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “normal” game from him.
I’m really into the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” narrative with Amari Cooper and the Dallas Cowboys today. The ‘Boys may not have a tough time being explosive against the Footies, who have allowed a league-high 28 passing scores so far this year.
9 Russell Wilson vs. Chicago Bears
10 Kirk Cousins vs. Los Angeles Rams
Cousins won’t have Dalvin Cook, but he will get Adam Thielen back in the passing game. With stud cornerback Jalen Ramsey likely chasing down Justin Jefferson all day, this is a little boost to a low floor sort of outlook for Cousins in a tough matchup.
11 Matt Ryan vs. Detroit Lions
12 Tua Tagovailoa @ New Orleans Saints
13 Derek Carr vs. Denver Broncos
14 Ben Roethlisberger @ Kansas City Chiefs
I know, I’m crazy. But the Saints are stout, Carr hasn’t been the same without Darren Waller, and Big Ben is—well, he’s Big Ben. Matt Ryan could have the best game of his season today. Maybe that’s not saying much, but it had to be said. Anything could happen. The Lions’ 7.2 N/A is the stone worst mark in the league, for reference.
15 Taylor Heinicke @ Dallas Cowboys
16 Mac Jones vs. Buffalo Bills
Washington should be chasing the ‘Boys in this one, and I’m in the minority (I think) when I say that I low-key like Heinicke and his moxie. I know, #analysis. Still, he’s generally finding a way to offer mid-range QB2 value, and I don’t think that changes today.
Jones is what he is—a decent floor, low ceiling option—especially against this pass defense. He should attempt more than three passes in this one, though.
17 Drew Lock @ Las Vegas Raiders
18 Zach Wilson vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
19 Davis Mills vs. Los Angeles Chargers
20 Cam Newton vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
21 Trevor Lawrence @ New York Jets
I don’t know if you’ve seen Trevor Lawrence play this year, but it’s been atrocious. You’re taking any glimmer of hope instead of him, and Lock/Wilson/Mills still represent more excitement. Lawrence has accounted for just two scores in total since Week 8. Even the loss of Urban Meyer’s ineptitude and drama hasn’t given him a spark. He may be a dynasty hold, but you can’t start him in redraft.
Cam Newton is the beginning of the end of viability...the Panthers are on the record stating they’ll use Sam Darnold in some capacity today. But I still trust him to run for a score, more than I trust Lawrence to throw for one.
Lastly, it should be said that the Jets are a phenomenal matchup. They allow offensive points on 49.4% of drives, by far the worst mark in the NFL (the Lions are second at 45.3%). The Jets are also tied with the Lions at 7.2 NY/A, again the worst mark in the league. But as stated already, I don’t trust Lawrence to take advantage of the matchup. Maybe you lean into some James Robinson or some Jaguars kicking today. Nope, I don’t know who the Jags’ kicker is. Your league still uses those? Yuck.
22 Josh Johnson @ Cincinnati Bengals (17.50)
23 Ian Book vs. Miami Dolphins (17.50)
24 Nick Foles @ Seattle Seahawks (17.50)
25 Tim Boyle @ Atlanta Falcons (18.00)
26 Jake Fromm @ Philadelphia Eagles (15.25)
Holy backups, Batman. If you’re getting excited about any of these guys, you’re in denial. For your viewing “pleasure,” I’ve including each gunslinger’s team’s implied total for the day. You should be streaming defenses here, not quarterbacks. Maybe Ian Book makes something happen with his legs, but you’re really throwing darts here in this realm. Josh Johnson did account for three scores in a Week 9 spot-start against the Vikings, but the Bengals are a different animal on defense and he’s with a brand new team. Hard pass.