Fantasy QB Rankings Week 16: Who to start, sit at quarterback in fantasy football

If you’ve made it to the second round of the fantasy football playoffs, you probably already have a must-start quarterback, but we’ve seen plenty of players end up for the reserve/COVID list the past couple weeks, so having an overall view of the position will help you prepare for the worst. Our Week 16 fantasy QB rankings are here to help you do just that and aid your decision on who to start at fantasy’s highest-scoring position.

Even with the bye weeks over, it’s worth mentioning Josh Allen (vs. Patriots), Tom Brady (@ Panthers), and Lamar Jackson (@ Bengals) take a hit in our rankings this week, but as always, you’re likely going to start them anyway if they’re active. Jackson is obviously the most worrisome between his recent slump and his ankle injury, but we all know his high ceiling. The same goes for Brady, who likely killed most of his owners with his complete dud last week. He is much more borderline if both Chris Godwin (knee) and Mike Evans (hamstring) is out. 

Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Again, you’re likely just fine at QB if you’ve made it this far, but if you find yourself in a pinch, Tua Tagovailoa (@ Saints), Jimmy Garoppolo (@ Titans), Matt Ryan (vs. Lions), Ben Roethlisberger (@ Chiefs), and Justin Fields (@ Seahawks) are all available in more than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and have upside for different reasons.

Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Tua and Big Ben can get it done with volume in favorable matchups Ryan and Garoppolo can take advantage of some of the worst secondaries in the league; and Fields is starting to develop a solid rushing floor and play-making upside. You’ll see how we have them ranked below, but any can be a one-week fill-in. Even if you don’t plan on playing one of these QBs this week, you might want to grab one as insurance sooner rather than later. If you’re desperate, you can even give Jared Goff (@ Falcons) a try.

On the other side of the start-or-sit bubble, Carson Wentz (@ Cardinals), Derek Carr (vs. Broncos), and Ryan Tannehill (vs. 49ers) are once again best suited for the bench. They’ve all had their bright spots — and all three can be considered better “real life” QBs than some of the guys we listed above — but their fantasy floors have proven to be too low, especially in tough matchups. We highlighted the reason we like all of the streamers listed, and these guys don’t have the same outlook.

We’re fully aware there are fewer owners needing to check out QB rankings, so waivers/free agency should have less competition, but always make sure to cover yourself. And seriously, don’t panic about Allen’s or Brady’s matchups. The last thing you want to do is bench one and lose right before the championship round. As a weekly reminder — don’t overthink it…unless you have to.

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 16: Who to start at quarterback

Rankings are based on standard, four-point passing TD formats.

Rank Player
1 Justin Herbert, LAC @ HOU
2 Matthew Stafford, LAR @ MIN
3 Patrick Mahomes, KC vs. PIT
4 Russell Wilson, SEA vs. CHI
5 Dak Prescott, DAL vs. WAS
6 Kyler Murray, ARI vs. IND
7 Jalen Hurts, PHI vs. NYG
8 Aaron Rodgers, GB vs. CLE
9 Joe Burrow, CIN vs. BAL
10 Josh Allen, BUF @ NE. We’re not expecting a disaster here like the first matchup against the Patriots in some of the worst weather conditions possible, but Allen has to be moved down rankings at least a little bit since New England is the No. 2 defense against fantasy QBs. It’s tough to consider benching Allen, and we wouldn’t advise it as his upside remains the overall QB1 in any matchup. Just don’t be surprised if he has another tough day.
11 Tom Brady, TB @ CAR. Brady is heading into a matchup with a top-four defense against fantasy QBs and will be without Chris Godwin (knee), Leonard Fournette (hamstring), and maybe Mike Evans. Could he still smash in this spot? Of course, but we can’t count on it, and he’s riskier than ever this week. We’re not foolish enough to act like you have to bench him but beware of the downside here. If you drafted one of the sleeper QBs like Jalen Hurts or Joe Burrow, those are better options. At least Brady will get Antonio Brown back.
12 Lamar Jackson, BAL @ CIN. Jackson (ankle) could be limited if he plays, but his upside makes it too difficult to make the “sit” decision with him. Like Brady, he’s riskier than ever, but it’s hard to imagine benching him in the fantasy playoffs, even in a tough matchup.
13 Taysom Hill, NO vs. MIA. Hill had two awesome fantasy performances before a letdown in Week 15 against the Buccaneers, but Tampa Bay has a defense equipped to limit scrambling QBs. Miami has played significantly better on defense lately, but although Hill clearly isn’t bust-proof, his upside remains sky high in any matchup.
14 Jimmy Garoppolo, SF @ TEN. Tennessee came into Week 15 as the sixth-worst defense against fantasy QBs before shutting down Ben Roethlisberger. The Titans were the worst defense against the position early in the year, so they’re actually making improvements in that regard. Garoppolo is playing great football as of late and has no shortage of weapons to take advantage of this weak Titans’ secondary on Thursday in Nashville. However, he disappointed last week in an equally favorable matchup against Atlanta. The difference is San Francisco likely won’t be able to run as effectively this week.
15 Tua Tagovailoa, MIA @ NO. Tagovailoa struggled against the Jets, but he finished the day with a respectable 16 fantasy points thanks to two passing touchdowns. He’d been riding a hot streak coming in, and since he just had an “eh” game against the Jets, we don’t think his momentum is completely lost. The Saints are a top-10 matchup for QBs, and although they shut down Tom Brady, it’s obvious they just have his number. We still view them as a QB-friendly matchup, and Tagovailoa will have to attempt a ton of passes as the Miami run game should be shut down easily.
16 Taylor Heinicke, WAS @ DAL. Heinicke was awful in the first matchup with Dallas, but we think that was more of an outlier performance based on his body of work this season, so he’s at least an OK streamer for Week 16. His floor is obviously lower than some other guys in this range, but he’ll be considered in a neutral matchup here.
17 Matt Ryan, ATL vs. DET. Ryan didn’t play well against the 49ers, but even after a shocking performance against Arizona, we know Detroit’s roster is weak. We don’t expect back-to-back showings of stellar defensive football. Kyle Pitts and Russell Gage are coming on as of late, and since the Falcons aren’t necessarily equipped to ground and pound this game away, he should have to attempt plenty of passes. Ultimately, this game should be competitive, and it’s a sneaky game for DFS value and fantasy success.
18 Kirk Cousins, MIN vs. LAR. The Rams are a tough matchup for fantasy QBs, so Cousins’ only path to success here is a high-volume passing day. The Rams’ defensive weakness is against the run, so you’d have to think we’ll see a heavy dose of Dalvin Cook in this one instead. Of course, he could get in a full-fledged shootout, but there are options with safer floors this week.
19 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT @ KC. Think of Big Ben in a similar light as Cousins (see above), but with a lower floor and lower ceiling. He can certainly have a nice fantasy day with a ton of volume, but since Kansas City’s defense has looked awfully impressive lately, he could bust, even with said volume. It all comes down to red-zone trips and if the Steelers opt to pass in those situations, but we saw him produce a 300-yard, three-touchdown day against the Vikings, so it’s not too unreasonable.
20 Justin Fields, CHI @ SEA. Fields is showing signs of the upside we’ve alluded to all season, and although Seattle is somewhat of a tough matchup for QBs, his rushing floor makes him an attractive streaming option this week. Of course, he could have another “rookie QB” day, so consider him a boom-or-bust option if you’re desperate for upside.
21 Jared Goff, DET @ ATL. Goff has played well in three of his last four games, and Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds look like a respectable duo at wideout. Additionally, D’Andre Swift might be coming back, so that should boost the offense as a whole, and give Goff some easy completions and yards. You’re sure to experience some anxiety if you’re rolling with Goff in the semifinals, but consider him a (very) high-risk, high-reward option.
22 Cam Newton, CAR vs. TB
23 Zach Wilson, NYJ vs. JAX
24 Carson Wentz, IND @ ARI
25 Derek Carr, LV vs. DEN
26 Ryan Tannehill, TEN vs. SF
27 Trevor Lawrence, JAX @ NYJ
28 Davis Mills, HOU vs. LAC
29 Baker Mayfield, CLE @ GB
30 Mac Jones, NE vs. BUF
31 Drew Lock, DEN @ LV
32 Mike Glennon, NYG @ PHI

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