QB Matchup Analysis

by Shamin Shah, June 16 2020 – 8 minute read

When it comes to looking at matchups, regardless of the players position, I would recommend to only look at the first few weeks of the upcoming season. Defensively, the NFL changes every year with new players, schemes, and the state of the defenses, so looking at the first few weeks will have a lot more value than looking at the entire NFL season. Additionally, if a player has a tough schedule on paper coming up late in the year, I will have time to adjust accordingly by picking up replacements or making trades. Just to give an example of this, Josh Allen has by all metrics, one of the toughest 2020 seasons in terms of matchups. His fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16) are especially tough as he will run into PIT, DEN and NE. However, his season starts fairly easy if you are using defensive stats from last year as he starts the season off with NYJ, MIA, LAR, and LV. People may shy away from him knowing his tough playoff schedule, and you can definitely find value in your draft if that happens. 

Before we get into matchups, here is a list of the bottom 10 defenses in terms of QB fantasy points allowed in 2019 and their new projected ranking based on current defensive rosters according to PFF

Rank2019 Actual 2020 Projected
32ARIWAS
31MIACIN
30NYGMIA
29HOUARI
28DETNYG
27LVJAX
26CINTEN
25ATLPHI
24WASDET
23TBCHI

For the sake of this exercise, I will take a combination of these two lists to highlight QBs’ good matchups highlighted in green. Also listed are the specifically bad matchups highlighted in red, and neutral matchups that aren’t particularly scary. I will not be including Jackson and Mahomes in this sheet as they are matchup proof and strength of schedule really doesn’t matter.

As you can see, Allen, Prescott, and Garoppolo are the only QBs on this list that have relatively easy schedules with no scary matchups in the beginning of the season. However, as mentioned above, I would caution drafting Garoppolo as your QB1 due to his low projected tier and low volume. 

Based on the above, here are some good pairings of QBs

  • Prescott: no need to draft a backup initially
  • Wilson: Rodgers or Goff
  • Murray: Wentz
  • Watson: Rodgers or Garopollo
  • Allen: no need to draft a backup initially
  • Brees: Stafford or Rothlesberger
  • Ryan: Rothlesberger or Goff
  • Brady: Stafford or Rothlesberger
  • Rodgers: Wentz, Stafford, or Rothlesberger

This table also indicates the following strategies:

  • If you draft Dak or Allen, you will be okay not drafting a backup 
  • If you draft Ryan and Rodgers, you also may not need a backup as they only have one tough matchup each to start the season
  • If you draft Watson or Brady, make sure you get a backup
  • Do not draft Tannehill or Wentz as your QB1, they should be backups
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