Leveraging the NFL’s most volatile quarterback play for fantasy football upside

by Matthew M. Stevens ·

Unlocking the potential of weekly player volatility in fantasy football gives gamers a competitive edge. Using matchup, volume and usage data combined with advanced stats, metrics, and analytics to pinpoint the best matchups will yield the best ROI from volatile players. A key metric on PlayerProfiler.com, Weekly Volatility measures a player’s week-to-week fantasy point scoring oscillation. Throughout the season, this article will track fantasy football’s most volatile players and provide insight on how to deploy them. The focus will be on those highly volatile players who make ideal buy-low targets, and those whose low ownership percentages make them speculative waiver wire and free-agent adds.

Mitchel Trubisky: The Truth About Weekly Volatility

No quarterback who played more than 10 games last season showed a higher degree of Weekly Volatility than Mitchell Trubisky. His mark of 11.9 screams fluctuation and his company in that tier includes Ryan Fitzpatrick (12.6, played eight games) and Josh Allen (11.5). Trubisky posted five top-five fantasy finishes in 2018, including an overall QB1 performance in Week 4 against Tampa Bay. Displaying a ceiling of 43.5, he also showed an extremely low floor by posting four games with fewer than 10 fantasy points.

Enter the 2019 season, where Trubisky ranks No. 29 in QB fantasy scoring (14.8) and QBR (22.1) after face-planting in consecutive games. In the big picture, there are obvious reasons for concern over Trubisky’s uneven play. The Bears, frankly, should be frightened. But for fantasy gamers, the key to harnessing his potential lies in identifying those situations where he’s set up for success and not doomed for failure.

Three of his top four fantasy outings in 2018 came at home. The other came against the Dolphins. Three of his worst fantasy outings came on the road, and two came against a stout Minnesota defense. It’s clear Trubisky plays better at home, evidenced by his splits. Trubisky attempted 82 more passes, threw for 721 more yards, 14 more TDs and had a better QBR at home. He averaged 22.98 fantasy points in eight home games and 13.13 fantasy points in six road games.

Check out Mitchell Trubisky on PlayerProfiler’s Weekly Rankings & Projections:

The Bears get a four-game home stretch starting in Week 4 against the Vikings. That stretch includes fantasy-friendly matchups against the Raiders (Week 5) and Saints (Week 6). The time to strike for buying low on Trubisky is now. He’s on waivers in approximately half the leagues on the major platforms. If he’s rostered, open trade negotiations with a low-ball offer when dealing with frustrated owners.

Cam Newton: Overcoming an atrocious start

Cam Newton offers gamers another historically buy-low option at QB. His current price? Rock bottom for a player of his caliber. His average weekly volatility since 2013 (7.95) and consistent fantasy finishes suggest better days ahead after two consecutive nosedives. Newton finished outside the top-12 in fantasy points at the position twice dating back to 2013. He’s never finished worse than QB17. Further, the Panthers rank No. 3 in pass attempts (89) through two games and Newton’s 391 Completed Air Yards rank No. 5.


Given his offseason shoulder surgery and current ankle injury, Newton’s adversity drives away the faint of heart. But Carolina looks primed to throw the ball more, which should set Cam up for a bounce-back performance. He didn’t practice ahead of Week 3 and drew a doubtful tag. If he fails to play against the Cardinals his price drops even further. Monitor the injury but buy while the window is wide open.

James Washington & Will Fuller: Boom Weeks Ahead

James Washington‘s stock rises based on his potential usage increase and advanced stats and metrics. Although his history with Steelers QB Mason Rudolph can’t be ignored. The pair played together at Oklahoma State from 2015-2017. During that span, Rudolph started under center and Washington filled the team’s No. 1 WR role. The latter strung together three straight seasons of 1,000-plus receiving yards and 10-plus TDs to lead the Cowboys. Washington sports a 98th-percentile Breakout Age (18.4) and 94th-percentile college YPR (20.2). The Rudolph-Washington connection also translated into preseason production.

Washington’s average target distance (20.0) ranks No. 4 in 2019 and he’s made the most out of his four receptions (18.5 YPR). But his 55.5-percent snap share and 11.1-percent target share need to increase. He deserves a shot over Donte Moncrief, who recorded two drops and three catches for seven yards (2.3 YPR) on 11 targets in two games. At low ownership across the board in redraft leagues, Washington makes the perfect speculative add ahead of Sunday’s matchup at San Francisco.

James Washington Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Will Fuller is a ticking time bomb ready to explode fantasy points. He played 100-percent of the snaps in Week 1 and 96.6-percent in Week 2 while earning a modest target share (17.2-percent). Further increasing his chances for a blowup game, Fuller ranks No. 1 in average target distance (23.5) and No. 11 in completed air yards (243). Fuller possesses 99th-percentile speed (4.32) and a knack for big plays.

Despite playing seven games last season he had three games with 100-plus receiving yards and scored four TDs, and his 11.4 YPR ranked No. 3. Fuller and Deshaun Watson form a formidable duo: Prior to the start of this season, they connected for 11 TDs in their first 11 games together. Held without a TD so far, Fuller should remedy that against the Chargers. He squares off against Jaguars CB A.J. Bouye, whose -9.0 Coverage Rating ranked No. 71 last season.