Drew Brees is facing his toughest matchup of the season in Week 16, as the New Orleans Saints and fantasy football’s no. 2-scoring quarterback will go on the road to take on the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers might not be the top fantasy defense against quarterbacks this year, as that distinction belongs to the Seattle Seahawks. However, playing in Carolina has been next to impossible for quarterbacks.
Carolina is allowing a minuscule 8.4 points per game to opposing fantasy quarterbacks. That lower than Chad Henne‘s fantasy average this year. Chad Henne! No quarterback has been able to find success in Carolina as the top fantasy performance was just 14 points by Russell Wilson back in Week 1. Since then, the Panthers have locked down their defense and have held quarterbacks like Tom Brady to subpar performances.
Now, proponents of Brees will point to the fact that he torched the Panthers in Week 14 to the tune of 313 yards and four touchdowns for 28 points. However, it’s unlikely that he will come anywhere close to those numbers again in Carolina. The only quarterback to face the Panthers twice this season has been Mike Glennon. In the first game, Glennon played at home and put up 15 fantasy points. However, when he played in Carolina, he scored just three points.
While Glennon is nowhere near the same caliber of a QB as Brees is, he still made it clear that playing in Carolina is much tougher than playing at home against the Panthers. Playing a quarterback in Carolina borders on fantasy suicide, and doing it during your championship matchup could cost you a title. While it may be tough to bench the second-best quarterback in the game, the championship game is the time to do it.
Frankly, there are better options to start this week than Brees. Of the top 11 quarterbacks according to ESPN’s fantasy projections, four of them are owned in less than 60 percent of leagues. Andy Dalton (58.4 percent), Jay Cutler (59.1 percent), Kirk Cousins (6.9 percent) and Jason Campbell (4.1 percent) are available in many leagues and are all facing favorable matchups. These guys are all projected for at least 17 points, with Dalton’s projection of 23 points being the second-highest among quarterbacks this week.
If you look a little deeper in leagues, you can find some hidden gems, including Matt Schaub (13.2 percent), Ryan Fitzpatrick (4.7 percent) and Kellen Clemens (0.5 percent), who all have cupcake matchups and are high-risk, high-reward plays.
With injuries galore among fantasy quarterbacks this year, there are plenty of great options available on the waiver wire. Fantasy owners can’t get caught up in the success Brees has had so far this season, as playing him could lead to a championship loss.