Credit: USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes (15), Jalen Ramsey (20).
- Patrick Mahomes is the top fantasy quarterback through four weeks but will face the Jacksonville Jaguars' elite defense in Week 5.
- That leads to these questions: 1) How have top quarterbacks done against elite defenses? 2) How have top quarterbacks done vs. the Jaguars in particular?
- We look at the data to find out, and you may be surprised at the results.
I’ve had what some might say is irrational confidence in Patrick Mahomes. In our 2018 NFL team previews, I proclaimed him a laser show that would send the Chiefs right past their season win total.
After Week 1, I wondered aloud if he’d be this year’s Deshaun Watson (from a fantasy perspective). Despite a poor defense, Mahomes has more wins in five career starts than Watson has in 10.
Yet even I had some pause when I saw the Jaguars pop up on the schedule for Week 5, so I went to the numbers to answer two key questions:
- What happens when a top quarterback faces a top defense?
- What happens when the Jags face a top quarterback?
What happens when a top quarterback faces a top defense?
We can use the FantasyLabs NFL Trends tool to look at what happens when a top quarterback faces a top defense. I’ll use FanDuel points so this can be applied more broadly because conventional leagues don’t use yardage bonuses like DraftKings, and I’ll define a top quarterback as one with a salary of at least $8,000.
Since 2014, quarterbacks at that price have averaged 19.2 fantasy points, or the equivalent of mid-range QB1 numbers.
I’ll define a tough matchup using Labs’ proprietary Opponent Rating metric, which is a percentile rank for how well a defense has defended a particular position in the past.
It takes into account Plus/Minus allowed versus position, and a higher number represents a more favorable matchup. (The Jags currently rate as a 5.)
- Salary is $8,000 or more
- Opponent Rating is in seventh percentile or lower