It’s finally time to compete for a fantasy championship, and we know you’re tired of reading and hearing about COVID, but the reality is, any of the top QBs could suddenly be added to the reserve/COVID list without much notice, so you have to be prepared. In a normal season, these Week 17 fantasy QB rankings probably wouldn’t mean much to the majority of owners still paying attention, but since this is the last week of the season, it’s time to protect yourself against a surprise inactive. Matchup-based sleepers are more important than ever.
Dak Prescott (@ Cardinals), Kyler Murray (vs. Cowboys), Justin Herbert (vs. Broncos), and Patrick Mahomes (@ Bengals) are some of the premier QBs with tough matchups, and although most have disappointed more than expected this season, it would be tough to sit any with a championship on the line. Lamar Jackson (vs. Rams), if back, would be a different story, so we’ll have to stay on top of practice updates out of Baltimore.
Again, we know the list of people who need a streamer at QB is short, but we recommend at least having a capable backup on your roster for reasons we’ve laid out. Our top two options are Tua Tagovailoa (@ Titans) and Jimmy Garoppolo (vs. Texans). These two have produced in favorable matchups often, and the Titans and Texans’ secondaries obviously leave a lot to be desired. Tagovailoa is a borderline QB1 this week because the volume is always there, regardless of game script. Jimmy G is riskier because the Niners could simply run the ball down Houston’s throat, leading to a pedestrian passing day. That said, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle can take any short pass the distance, so the scoring upside is there.
You can also consider Justin Fields (vs. Giants) if he returns from his ankle issue, as well as Carson Wentz (vs. Raiders). Fields has developed a decent rushing floor and was looking better prior to his injury. Wentz could see a similar situation as Jimmy G. Indianapolis can certainly put a game away with Jonathan Taylor, but the Colts should have a ton of scoring opportunities, too, so it just depends on how things go near the red zone. Ryan Tannehill (vs. Dolphins) isn’t available in most leagues, but he can be trusted (more than usual) since he finally has A.J. Brown and Julio Jones back and has scored seven rushing TDs on the season.
On the other side of the start-or-sit bubble, we’re not very confident in Cam Newton (@ Saints), Derek Carr (@ Colts), or even Mac Jones (vs. Jaguars). Newton clearly has upside, but the Panthers are convinced they need to implement a two-QB system, so you never know what his playing time will look like. Running backs in committees make us nervous, so a quarterback in a timeshare is certainly not attractive. The Las Vegas offense has looked awful lately while the Colts’ defense is ascending, so we’ll pass on Carr, too. The Jags might look like a great matchup for Jones, but he’s almost definitely not going to be a high-volume passer in this one. Start the Pats RBs for sure, but Jones’ upside is severely limited here.
Taysom Hill (vs. Panthers) is also in a tough spot, but you know the drill with him — the floor is always high, but his ceiling is fairly limited. You could say the same about Russell Wilson (vs. Lions) at this point, but at least he has a favorable matchup this week.
COVID has made the fantasy playoffs so much more fun and interesting, right? Well, maybe not, but it is what it is, and we’ll have to be able to adjust on the fly. There’s no other time than right now where having depth on your roster is more important. In previous years, you’d be dropping any backup QBs if you had a stud, but we’re in a different time, so be ready.
Note: We’ll be updating these QB rankings throughout the week, so check back for the latest player movement and analysis.
Fantasy QB Rankings Week 17: Who to start at quarterback
Rankings are based on standard, four-point passing TD formats.