The Las Vegas Raiders lost starting quarterback Derek Carr in their Thursday Night Football matchup against the Chargers. Carr pulled his groin on the second drive and Jon Gruden & company turned to former Tennessee Titan #2 overall pick Marcus Mariota. Should we turn to Marcus Mariota in our week sixteen matchups, with the fantasy football finals potentially on the line?
First, let’s look at Marcus Mariota’s final line with no warmups, no preseason, no snaps in practice, no nothing. He completed 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. The real fantasy money came from his legs; Mariota had nine rushes for 88 yards and a touchdown. All told, he scored 26.84 fantasy points, which is enough to make him at QB1 on the week. The rushing really made his week, but what a week it made. However, you need to look at the opponent.
The Los Angeles Chargers stymied Matt Ryan, and (somehow) Josh Allen. They mostly stymied the Raiders’ quarterbacks, except for Marcus Mariota’s rushing. Considering the last two rushing QBs against the Chargers scored lots of rushing fantasy points (Cam Newton had two rushing touchdowns and Josh Allen had 32 yards rushing and a touchdown), it’s understandable that Mariota turned 9 rushes into 14.8 fantasy points. But, that likely doesn’t roll forward into week sixteen.
In week sixteen, the Raiders get the Miami Dolphins. These aren’t your daddy’s Dolphins, either. The Dolphins are fresh off of limiting Cam Newton to just 38 yards rushing and 209 yards passing. Miami allows the tenth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks on the year, with only Patrick Mahomes topping 20 fantasy points in the last six weeks. Since their week seven bye, only Kyler Murray and Mahomes hit that mark.
This week, however, I’m not trusting Marcus Mariota. I don’t know if there’s any way you can. He had the second-most rushing yards of his career on just nine rush attempts, thanks to the Chargers straight up losing track of Marcus Mariota in overtime (30 of his 88 rushing yards). It’s a nice, fun story for Mariota, but with the Dolphins on the horizon the fantasy football finals, you can’t trust Marcus Mariota this week.