November 26, 2022

Week 12 of the NFL season is here. For those of you celebrating, a belated Happy Thanksgiving to you. This NFL season is starting to get really interesting. We have teams at the top of every conference jostling for positions, and there are others making a late surge to find their way back into the playoff mix.

We had a lot of success in this column last week. In the opening part of the column, we went 2 out of 3 this week, although the only mistake we had was Joe Burrow, who ended week 11 as the top quarterback in the Fantasy overall. Matthew Stafford left his game early with an injury helping matters as he finished as QB17 despite an early exit. Jimmy Garoppolo and Jalen Hurts both smashed for us when they each finished in the top 6 for their positions a week ago. Lamar just missed out on the top 12 with just over three points separating him from a QB1 level week.

There are no bye weeks standing in our way this week, and we have just two weeks left in which to look for replacements for the quarterbacks that are on the shelf. These are the weeks you’ve been working for all year, so we need to hold on now to truly finish this push for a playoff spot.

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Here Comes Trouble – QB vs Pass Rush Matchups

Kansas City Chiefs Pass Rush vs. Bryce Perkins

You probably won’t be starting Los Angeles Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins if you can avoid it, but if he’s an option for you, I’d look elsewhere this week. Perkins plays behind an offensive line that’s gotten healthier lately, but they’re still struggling to keep their quarterback upright. They gave up at least two sacks in each of their four games during that losing streak. Their only games to concede fewer than two sacks this season have been against teams who struggle to rush the passer. Against teams coming after quarterback, their 8.8 percent adjusted sack rate, which ranks 24th in the league, rears its ugly head.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ defense has steadily improved in recent years and this season has been a strong unit targeting passers. In 10 games, the Chiefs have 32 sacks, averaging 3.2 per game. Her adjusted sack rate of 9.9 percent ranks third in the NFLand They’re 10th in the NFL in a rush. They’re also sixth in the league in terms of pressure rate, and they’re poised to improve on all of those numbers this week.

Verdict: sit her

San Francisco 49ers pass rush against Andy Dalton

New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton remains the starter at New Orleans despite disagreements at center. Last week was one of the weeks that helped keep that starting job when he went for 260 yards for 21 of 25 with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, his offensive line has been struggling lately after a strong start to the season. He has been sacked nine times in the team’s last three games. Their adjusted layoff rate for the year is right within the league average.

While the Saints have been up and down all year, the San Francisco 49ers have really picked up momentum of late. Since losing back-to-back games in Weeks 6 and 7, they have had three straight wins in that span by +61 points difference. On defense, they’re ninth in sacks and adjusted sack rate, and they’re getting healthy, which only makes them wilder. You can take the ball out of the hands of the running backs and force Dalton to hit them, and I don’t think he can.

Verdict: sit her

Pittsburgh Steelers Pass Rush vs. Matt Ryan

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan made us all look stupid two weeks ago, but he has a tougher matchup ahead of him in Week 12. His offensive line ranks last in the league with 40 sacks allowed, and they allow the fifth-worst adjusted sack rate in the NFL. When forced to pass, they struggle to keep the quarterback upright behind them.

Since bringing TJ Watt back into the lineup, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had two sacks in their last two games. They recorded seven quarterback hits in last week’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Over the year they’ve struggled to generate a consistent pass rush, but Watt just makes this group completely different. Plus, it makes their life so much easier given how much the Colts have struggled this season.

Verdict: sit her

Easy Sunday Morning – QB vs. Pass Rush Matchups

Arizona Cardinals Pass Rush vs. Justin Herbert

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has the third fewest layoffs in the NFL this season, and the Chargers also have the third best adjusted layoff rate in the NFL. The return of wide receiver Keenan Allen last week made a huge difference in the way this offense works and that makes Herbert’s life easier overall. Now they’re getting a defense that’s struggled to put any pressure on at all this season.

The Arizona Cardinals are 27th in the NFL in sacks this year with just 19, and that equates to a 1.7 average per game, which is just a downright lazy mark. The most confusing part is the good grades they have in pressure stats as they rank 5th in knockdown rate, 6th in haste rate and 8th in pressure rate. Herbert gets the ball out so quickly that he looks set to continue this defensive struggle and should have a tough game ahead of him.

Verdict: Start them

Houston Texans Pass Rush vs. Tua Tagovailoa

In games he’s started and finished, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is a perfect 7-0 for the year. He has thrown for 260 yards or more in six of those seven games. Most importantly, his offensive line did a fantastic job protecting him. He has not been sacked in three of his last four games, and he has been sacked multiple times in just two games all year. They are in the top 10 for both allowed sacks and adjusted sack rate.

In 10 games, the Houston Texans have 22 sacks, and eight of those came in two games against the Tennessee Titans with Malik Willis at center and the Chicago Bears, who were the worst offensive line in the NFL this season. These Texans’ defense just doesn’t have the horses to deal with this Miami offense and Tua should have a clean bag to work through most of the afternoon.

Verdict: Start them

Los Angeles Rams Pass Rush vs. Patrick Mahomes

After a rather quiet start to the season, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been phenomenal lately. He’s scored 26 or more points in each of his last four games, and he’s surpassed that mark in five of his last six games. His offensive line is fourth in sacks and adjusted sack rate this year, and they’re finding ways to run the ball too, which takes more pressure off Mahomes.

The Los Angeles Rams are just outside the top 10 in adjusted sack rate this season, but they haven’t reached their usual standard that we’ve seen from them. Aaron Donald has just five sacks this season, which puts him under 11 sacks for the third time in his career. Throw in the struggles the Rams offense is likely to have, and Mahomes should be on the field a lot Sunday.

Verdict: Start them

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