Week 6 Fantasy QB Rankings: Should-starts, sleepers, potential busts at quarterback

Rank Player 1 Kyler Murray, ARI @ DAL 2 Lamar Jackson, BAL @ PHI 3 Patrick Mahomes, KC @ BUF 4 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT vs. CLE. Big Ben has managed multiple TDs in every game this year, but he’s mostly been living off short passes and his receivers gaining yards after that catch. There’s reason to think he’ll have a performance closer to Philip Rivers (243 yards, no TDs, two INTs) than the first four QBs Cleveland faced this year (Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins, Dak Prescott, who averaged 329.3 passing yards and three touchdowns per game), but we still think Roethlisberger has a high floor and high ceiling thanks to his talented group of receiving weapons. 5 Aaron Rodgers, GB @ TB 6 Josh Allen, BUF vs. KC 7 Deshaun Watson, HOU @ TEN 8 Kirk Cousins, MIN vs. ATL. Cousins put up 249 yards and two scores in the rain against Seattle’s league-worst pass defense in Week 5. In Week 6, he gets the league’s second-worst pass defense, only this time at home in optimal conditions. Teddy Bridgewater just threw for 313 yards and two scores against the Falcons, and Cousins would have a similar outlook, especially if Minnesota’s running game is slightly weakened without Dalvin Cook (groin).   9 Matt Ryan, ATL @ MIN. Ryan has struggled in three straight games, throwing for one combined touchdown while averaging 249.7 yards per contest. It’s worth noting that those three games were against three of the top-six defenses against QBs (Bears, Packers, Panthers), and this week, Ryan takes on the Vikings, who allow at least 300 passing yards and multiple TDs in three-of-five games. It would certainly help Ryan’s outlook if Julio Jones (hamstring) suits up, but even if he doesn’t, this is a good bounce-back spot, especially if you believe in the “new-coach bounce” that we saw invigorate Deshaun Watson and the Texans last week.  10 Cam Newton, NE vs. DEN. Newton figures to return from the COVID list for this game, and his floor remains fairly high because of his rushing ability. Newton has averaged 49.7 yards per game on the ground this year and rushed for four touchdowns. His passing numbers aren’t as good (238 yards/game, two total TDs), especially when you factor in how inflated they are because of a 397-yard outburst in Seattle in Week 2. Denver allowed an average of 285.7 passing yards and seven total passing TDs in Weeks 1-3, then gave up 84 rushing yards and a rushing TD to an otherwise ineffective Sam Darnold in Week 4. One way or another, Cam will find his way to two touchdowns, and he’ll likely get at least 10 yardage points with his arms/legs. The upside is there for more.  11 Matthew Stafford, DET @ JAX. Stafford is yet to have a monster game, but he’s been consistent over the past three weeks, throwing for an average of 240 yards and 2.3 touchdowns. The Jaguars have allowed three 300-yard passing days and three games with at least three total QB touchdowns, so Stafford seems like a safe bet for 20-plus fantasy points in this favorable matchup.  12 Gardner Minshew, JAX vs. DET. Minshew has posted back-to-back 300-yard games and has multiple touchdowns in four-of-five games this year. It doesn’t always look pretty pretty, but more often than not he puts up worthwhile fantasy numbers. Detroit is coming off a bye, but it’s allowed between 240 and 270 passing yards and at least two passing TDs in each of its four games this year. When you put everything together, Minshew has a high floor and a fairly high ceiling, though he loses a little lustesr if top WR DJ Chark (ankle) is out. 13 Andy Dalton, DAL vs. ARI. Dalton completed nine-of-11 passes for 111 yards in the second half in relief Dak Prescott (ankle) last week, connecting on a big deep ball down the sideline with Michael Gallup. He’s not as accurate as Prescott, but given Dallas’s stable of high-end receiving talent, Dalton has major upside going forward. Arizona has mostly limited QBs this year, allowing no more than 276 yards and two TDs in any game, but it hasn’t exactly faced a murderer’s row: Jimmy Garoppolo, Dwayne Haskins, Matthew Stafford, Teddy Bridgewater, Joe Flacco. Bridgewater, Stafford, and Garoppolo — the three QBs Dalton compares relatively closely to — all had at least 259 yards and two TDs. That’s likely his floor barring bad touchdown luck. 14 Tom Brady, TB vs. GB. Brady has had three good games and two duds this year, and that’s probably the ratio to expect going forward. Both duds were in what look now to be poor matchups (Panthers, Bears), so another matchup with another solid defense against quarterbacks doesn’t figure to over significantly better. Green Bay did allow at least two passing TDs in each of its first three games (Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees), so Brady does have a decent shot at a 250-yard, two-touchdown day, especially if Chris Godwin (hamstring) is back, but his ceiling is lower than usual in this one. 15 Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA vs. NYJ. Fitzpatrick has been his usual inconsistent self this season, thrice going for over 300 yards and twice being held under 192 yards. He’s thrown for multiple touchdowns three times and zero touchdowns in the other two games. Few QBs have a bigger floor-to-ceiling spread. This week, he gets a shaky Jets defense that has allowed multiple QB touchdowns in four of five games despite generally limiting yards (Kyler Murray’s 380-yard day in Week 5 notwithstanding). It’s possible Fitzpatrick goes off for 350 yards and three TDs, but it’s just as possible he has 175 yards and one score. If you’re going for a pure ceiling play, you could make a case for him in the top eight, but we’ll split the difference and keep him here on the start/sit bubble, just below “safer” plays like Minshew, Dalton, and Brady. 16 Ryan Tannehill, TEN vs. HOU. Considering they’ve already faced Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, the Texans’s middle-of-the-roading ranking against QBs is actually pretty good. Even Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, and Gardner Minshew are all capable opponents, and only one of those five (Minshew) threw for more than 260 yards while only Mahomes had more than two touchdowns. Tannehill had been Mr. Consistent until his long multi-TD streak was snapped by Minnesota in Week 3, but this is a good spot for a classic 250-yard, two-TD from him.  17 Jared Goff, LAR @ SF. After Ryan Fitzpatrick torched the 49ers for 350 yards and three scores in Week 5, it’s tough to really worry about Goff’s matchup this week. However, it’s never really about the matchup for Goff. He can flop in a good one (see Week 4 against the Giants) and excel in a tougher one (see Week 2 against Philadelphia). A great example is how he fared in two games against San Francisco last year. Game 1: 78 passing yards, no TDs, one turnover; Game 2: 323 passing yards, two TDs, one turnover. Given Goff’s inconsistency, the familiarity of the opponent, and the neutral-at-best matchup, we’re downgrading him slightly, but he’s still on the start/sit bubble depending on your other options. 18 Daniel Jones, NYG vs. WAS. We want to trust Jones more — and we’re convinced a breakout performance is coming soon — but after he failed to muster a touchdown against Dallas’s porous defense, we can’t rank him any higher than this against an improved Washington D. If Jones breaks out this game, it will likely be because of his legs. He’s not as good of a runner as Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray, but those two each had at least 53 rushing yards and a rushing TD against Washington. If Jones can get that part of his game going, the rest should follow. 19 Baker Mayfield, CLE @ PIT. Mayfield has been a low-ceiling play this season, but with two TDs in each of the past four games, his floor has been fairly decent. Conversley, Pittsburgh has allowed two passing touchdowns in every game this year, as well as at least 256 passing yards. That includes games against Daniel Jones and Jeff Driskel. Mayfield doesn’t have huge upside, but he can be used if you need him. 20 Teddy Bridgewater, CAR vs. CHI. Bridgewater has been hot lately (589 yards, five total TDs in past two games), but Chicago hasn’t allowed more than one passing TD in a game all year. That streak will end soon, but it’s tough to imagine Bridgewater having a big day here. 21 Joe Burrow, CIN @ IND 22 Carson Wentz, PHI vs. BAL 23 Jimmy Garoppolo, SF vs. LAR 24 Joe Flacco, NYJ @ MIA 25 Kyle Allen, WAS @ NYG 26 Philip Rivers, IND vs. CIN 27 Drew Lock, DEN @ NE 28 Nick Foles, CHI @ CAR

Steven Gregory