Fantasy QB Rankings Week 17: Who to start, sit at quarterback in fantasy football



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.

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

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.

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

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.

Rank Player
1 Jalen Hurts, PHI @ WAS
2 Josh Allen, BUF vs. ATL
3 Aaron Rodgers, GB vs. MIN
4 Tom Brady, TB @ NYJ
5 Matthew Stafford, LAR @ BAL
6 Joe Burrow, CIN vs. KC
7 Kyler Murray, ARI @ DAL
8 Justin Herbert, LAC vs. DEN
9 Dak Prescott, DAL vs. ARI
10 Patrick Mahomes, KC @ CIN
11 Russell Wilson, SEA vs. DET
12 Lamar Jackson, BAL vs. LAR. Jackson (ankle) could be a risky play, but hopefully, his two weeks off have been enough to help him heal up. If he’s even 70-percent healthy, he’s tough to bench, and since Tyler Huntley and Josh Johnson had nice fantasy days, it seems the rest of the Ravens’ offense is playing well. Jackson isn’t the “sure” thing we’ve been used to throughout his career, but his upside is still presumably there. 
13 Tua Tagovailoa, MIA @ TEN. Tennesee’s defense can’t stop the pass but is an elite unit against the run and its fantasy statistics back that up as they are the No. 1 defense against fantasy RBs, but a top-10 QB-friendly matchup. Miami’s offensive line is one of the worst in the league, so Tagovailoa’s short passing game acts as its rushing attack. Expect 35-plus passing attempts here, and Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker should have no problem producing in this spot. Tua could have a bad “real-life” performance, but produce a ton of fantasy points with volume.
14 Jimmy Garoppolo, SF vs. HOU. Hopefully, Garoppolo’s fantasy outlook isn’t hindered by a “run-only” game script, but the Niners should be in scoring position often, and George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk can take any short catch the distance for six. Overall, Jimmy G looks to be a complete boom-or-bust play with a very low floor but sky-high ceiling depending on the game flow.
15 Ryan Tannehill, TEN vs. MIA. The Dolphins’ defense has looked dramatically better recently, but that is mostly due to matchups with Cam Newton, Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, Mike Glennon, and Tyrod Taylor during their six-game winning streak, so we’re not sure they’re a legitimately good defense. A.J. Brown is back, and he looked as good as ever against the 49ers, so the ceiling of the entire Titans’ offense has been raised. Additionally, no quarterback has more rushing touchdowns (14) than Tannehill since the start of the 2020 season, so he has real rushing upside. Especially since Derrick Henry is out, he’s been featured on the goal line often. All in all, he has a QB1 ceiling, and his floor should be safer than earlier in the year now that Tennessee is getting at least somewhat healthier.
16 Taysom Hill, NO vs. CAR. Hill should be able to clear COVID protocols in time for this matchup and return as a high-floor, high-ceiling option. We don’t expect a ton of success through the air against a Panthers’ defense that has played well in easy matchups, but as always, it simply takes a rushing touchdown and a respectable rushing yard total to put him on the edge of a QB1 week. He could obviously bust, but when you compare him to the guys ranked below him, his upside looks very attractive.
17 Kirk Cousins, MIN @ GB. Cousins is always a low-floor, high-ceiling type of player, and it’s tough to know which version of him you’re going to get. In the first meeting with Green Bay this season, Cousins put up 341 yards and three touchdowns, but the Packers’ defense looks a lot better than it did at that point in the year. That said, he could put up similar numbers, or he could fall completely flat. There’s another scenario where Minnesota could be too run-heavy for a ton of fantasy success from their QB, too. Ultimately, the Packers are a favorable matchup for QBs, so if you’re a ceiling chaser, Cousins is definitely an attractive play this week. If you’re someone who likes to play it “safe”, someone with a real rushing floor looks more favorable.
18 Justin Fields, CHI vs. NYG. The Giants are just a neutral matchup for QBs, but assuming Fields (ankle) is good to go for Week 17, his rushing floor makes him an attractive streamer. Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney have ascended recently, too, so he is capable of at least a decent passing day. That decent passing day is all he needs if he puts up 50-plus rushing yards and a touchdown to finish in the QB1 range.
19 Carson Wentz, IND vs. LV. Wentz finally delivered a solid fantasy performance against Arizona after a quiet day in four of his last five games, and this Colts’ offense is humming. As always Jonathan Taylor can hog all the fantasy production to himself, but Wentz’s ceiling remains high. He’s not afraid to throw it deep, and Frank Reich isn’t against calling pass plays near the goal line, so there will be plenty of scoring opportunities. Ultimately, he’s a low-floor, high-ceiling guy, too. 
20 Taylor Heinicke, WAS vs. PHI. Heinicke is playing his worst football of the season at the worst time, and Philly is a middle-of-the-pack defense against fantasy QBs, so we’re not expecting a QB1 week. Hopefully, his rushing upside will show up for the first time in a while, but for now, we’re not very sold on his fantasy outlook this week.
21 Mac Jones, NE vs. JAX. Jones has touchdown upside this week, but the volume is unlikely to be there. We know with non-mobile QBs, they have to put up a ton of yards and touchdowns to have monster fantasy days, and it’s just highly unlikely that will happen in this beat down. Jones has passed for 300-plus yards in just two games this year and has only 18 total touchdowns  He’s basically a big gamble, but it’s not impossible for the gamble to pay off. There are players on waivers with safer floor and high upside, though.
22 Zach Wilson, NYJ vs. TB. Wilson has had a handful of solid fantasy performances this year, but against a strong Tampa Bay front-seven, he might be running for his life in this matchup. He could have a nice day with volume and rushing upside, but his downside is probably a finish with negative points.
23 Davis Mills, HOU @ SF. It might be surprising, but Mills has looked good lately, and Houston has put up 30-plus points in back-to-back weeks. He outdueled Justin Herbert last week, en route to a QB1 finish. Since the 49ers give up the 12-most points to fantasy QBs, he can’t be totally ignored. His floor is ultra-low too, though.
24 Derek Carr, LV @ IND. The Colts are a bottom-10 team against fantasy QBs, but this Raiders’ offense has looked lifeless for several weeks now, especially without Darren Waller in the lineup. Indianapolis is also red hot and has forced the second-most turnovers (31) this season, so we’re not comfortable rolling with Carr as a fantasy title hangs in the balance.
25 Ben Roethlisberger, PIT vs. CLE
26 Jared Goff, DET @ SEA
27 Cam Newton, CAR @ NO
28 Baker Mayfield, CLE @ PIT
29 Matt Ryan, ATL @ BUF
30 Teddy Bridgewater, DEN @ LAC
31 Trevor Lawrence, JAX @ NE
32 Jake Fromm, NYG @ CHI
33 Sam Darnold, CAR @ NO


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