NFL Fantasy: Week 16 start ‘em, sit ‘em quarterbacks

Heading into Championship Week, we'll look at all 32 quarterbacks and tell you which ones should be start 'ems and which should be sit 'ems.


For most of you reading this, Week 16 is for all the marbles. There might be some who still play into the final week of the regular season, but this week is pretty important for you, too. Certainly, you want to see what I think about your quarterback. So, instead of picking three starts and sits at random, here is every one of the 32 starting quarterbacks with whether I think they should start or sit. 

The quarterbacks are listed in four groups as explained in the titles. The comments are longer for the probable groups in case you don’t have an automatic starter on your roster. 

Start these guys without hesitation

Tom Brady, NE vs BUF: Sure, it was the Bills who held Brady to 8.32 fantasy points in Week 13 and kicked off a three-week stretch where he averaged 11.11 points per game. I am thinking Brady makes up for lost time this week. 

Drew Brees, NO vs ATL: He’s Drew Brees. His biggest problem is whether his running backs will let him have the ball for a while. 

Case Keenum, MIN vs GB: Case Keenum is a charmed man this season and the Packers’ defense won’t make him feel any less. 

Jared Goff, LA @ TEN: Tennessee’s pass defense has improved recently, but they are still a bottom-third unit. Goff thrives against weaker competition. 

Matt Stafford, DET @ CIN: Bengals are thinking about trading for a coach who won one game in two years because they think he’ll be an upgrade. 

Cam Newton, CAR vs TB: Buccaneers want to be spoilers. Maybe Cam only scores 20. 

Philip Rivers, LAC @ NYJ: The Chargers might run more, but with or without Keenan Allen, Rivers will get the taste of last week’s disappointment out of his mouth versus the Jets. 

Blake Bortles, JAX vs SF: Can you believe that Case Keenum, Jared Goff, and Blake Bortles are must-starts in Week 16? My 2016 boss just fired me.

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT @ HOU: Look at Blake Bortles’ stats with three rookie receivers last week and tell me you are concerned about Ben being on the road with Smith-Schuster, Bryant, and Rogers. 

Start these guys, too… probably

Aaron Rodgers, GB @ MIN: Normally, this would be an automatic start, but Minnesota is the team Rodgers struggles the most with over his career. Going against the fourth-best fantasy defense against quarterbacks with a makeshift group of receivers makes me hesitate just a short second or two. 

Dak Prescott, DAL vs SEA: The Seahawks have some defensive issues, but memories of life without left tackle Tyron Smith haunt me enough to keep Dak Prescott from the automatic starter club. Of course, you’re going to start him, but between the open door at left tackle and Ezekiel Elliott’s desire to carry the ball all day, don’t be surprised by a moderate NFL fantasy point total for Prescott.

Nick Foles, PHI vs OAK: Was last week beginners’ luck? No. It was a Philadelphia coaching staff letting a veteran quarterback throw. Oakland will fare no better than the Giants did last week. 

Joe Flacco, BAL vs IND: Flacco is still difficult to trust, but he is averaging 18 fantasy points per week over the past three games (Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland). It’s hard to imagine he’ll regress much against the Colts’ 24th-ranked defense against quarterbacks. 

Tyrod Taylor, BUF @ NE: Taylor is coming off a 23-point game against the Dolphins. He looked sharp and made good decisions on when to run the ball. Buffalo is fighting for a playoff spot. Taylor should bring his best to New England. 

Mitchell Trubisky, CHI vs CLE: Trubisky threw for over 300 yards, but three interceptions held his fantasy point total under 11. The Browns are much more generous to quarterbacks than the Lions are. Look for Trubisky to keep throwing against Cleveland and put at least two in the end zone. 

Jameis Winston, TB @ CAR: Winston looks healthier and is throwing the ball well. The Panthers’ top-ten defense will be tough, but he has the receivers to put up another good NFL fantasy score. 

Sitting these guys is a good idea… probably

Marcus Mariota, TEN vs LA: Mariota had a decent game against the 49ers with 18 fantasy points. The Rams are not the 49ers. 

Matt Ryan, ATL @ NO: You’ve seen me write that Ryan is a matchup-dependent passer this year before today. Here it is again.

Alex Smith, KC vs MIA: This was a coin-flip. Smith put up 35 points against the Jets three games ago in Kansas City. In the four games surrounding that effort, he has not topped 13 points. That is partially due to the heavy run attack. Miami has not stopped the run all year. Play the running backs. Leave the passer. 

Kirk Cousins, WAS vs DEN: Cousins is putting up mediocre numbers over the past month, while the Broncos’ defense has decided to play like the Broncos defense is expected. Cousins has little protection and few receivers to work with. Wait until next year. 

Brock Osweiler, DEN @ WAS: Yes, I saw the game last week and the touchdowns and the QB-4 fantasy score. I also saw the Colts defense and not the Redskins, who will make him look like Brock Osweiler again. 

Jimmy Garoppolo, SF vs JAX: The only reason this isn’t in the last category is the potential legend of Jimmy Garoppolo catching fire this week. But I doubt it. 

ELI MANNING at the Cardinals: Last week wasn’t Eli rallying to show he shouldn’t get cut after the season. It was Manning playing the Eagles. His last three games of 300 yards and 3 touchdowns have all come at Philadelphia’s expense. It’s back to short-arm passes and game management in Week 16. 

DEREK CARR at the Eagles: The Eagles can taste the playoffs, even without Carson Wentz. Derek Carr tastes the sourness of a receiving corps that is letting him down.

Don’t even think about starting these guys

Jacoby Brissett, IND @ BAL: QB-19 versus the D/ST-2 just doesn’t add up. 

DeShone Kizer, CLE @ CHI: The Bears probably have the most under-appreciated defense in the NFL. 

Andy Dalton, CIN vs DET: I don’t see the Bengals rallying for their coach’s last two games. 

Jay Cutler, MIA @ KC: The interception machine will have another rough day in the Midwest. 

Bryce Petty, NYJ vs LAC: Seriously? 

Drew Stanton, ARI vs NYG: Nope. Not even against the Giants. 

TJ Yates, HOU vs PIT: …or anyone else, either. 

Brett Hundley, GB vs MIN: If the Packers shut down Aaron Rodgers, Hundley does not take his place in the probable start section. 

There you go. Situations change constantly so stay in the loop by checking back at RealSport for all your NFL fantasy football updates and advice. 

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