The fantasy playoffs are upon us in most leagues, and the most important question managers will need to ask who to start at quarterback. The position is by far the most scoring, and can single-handedly make you win games. If you don’t have a top 5 quarterback, however, knowing who to start can become tricky. Here you will find exactly what you need to win your fantasy matchup and contend for the championship.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals
Jalen Hurts in his career debut as a starter went for over 100 yards passing, and rushing, alongside a touchdown. It was a fantasy game of 19.28 points, far exceeding expectations. His second career start comes on the road this Sunday at Arizona. They have a good passing defense by allowing 224.9 yards in the air per game (11th), but Hurts dual-threat ability is likely more than enough to have a repeat great performance. It’s a risky play, but a start of Jalen Hurts may give fantasy managers the win in the fantasy playoffs.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, vs Kansas City Chiefs
Drew Brees is expected to return this week against the Chiefs. The 41 year old veteran had missed 4 weeks due to a ribs injury. Before being sidelined, the pro bowler was averaging an impressive 18 fantasy points per game. Kansas City’s secondary is not elite, and Brees looks entirely healthy. There is no reason he shouldn’t immediately return to his strong fantasy ways. Brees is a safe and strong start in week 15.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams, vs New York Jets
Jared Goff has been a risky start in fantasy throughout the season. There’s no doubt he has potential for a huge game every week, but a turnover problem has caused him to lose valuable opportunities to score fantasy points. Goff’s 11 interceptions ranks him 5th in the league. He added to his turnover total last week in the win over the Patriots by throwing an INT to cornerback Myles Bryant. He had two total touchdowns on the day (one passing, one rushing) in what was an otherwise forgettable performance. Throwing just 137 yards, he only tallied a fantasy score of 14.58 points. But Goff has a golden opportunity to bounce-back this week against a 31st ranked Jets defense against quarterbacks in fantasy. Goff can add to his season total of 5 games with at least 20 fantasy points. I predict he will. If you have no obvious must-start at quarterback, look for Goff to lead your team in the fantasy playoffs this week.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans, vs Detroit Lions
Ryan Tannehill is having a breakout year on the Titans. His 10 game stretch of throwing at least one touchdown pass is the 5th longest streak in the league. His 108 QB rating is the 6th best in the league. Among fantasy quarterbacks he has scored the 7th most points. This week he stays at home to play a poor Lions’ defense. I think he is a vey strong start in week 15.
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, at Atlanta Falcons
It is fair to say Tom Brady has not been elite in fantasy this year. Any quarterbacks with 6 games of less than 16 fantasy points, including 2 that failed to reach double-digits, should not be considered an automatic starter. But Brady has shown he can have big games depending on the matchup. He scored 30+ points against the Panthers, and Raiders. Both teams rank in the bottom half of passing defenses. This week he faces the 30th ranked passing defense in the Atlanta Falcons. Brady is a must-start this week.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matt Ryan is having a disappointing year. The 2016 MVP is currently the QB16 in fantasy, placing him exactly average among all starting quarterbacks. He is on pace to score just 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, which would be his worst touchdown-interception ratio since 2015. He is also prepared to have his lowest quarterback rating since 2015 as well. In short, he’s having a bad year.
Last week was more of the same he threw a whopping 3 interceptions in the road loss against the Chargers with just one touchdown. It resulted in a fantasy game of just 7.26 points. He will struggle to bounce-back with a matchup against a strong Buccaneers defense that kept Kirk Cousins under 250 yards and just one touchdown. Look for another quarterback to start in week 15.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, at Cincinnati Bengals
Ben Roethlisberger returned from injury this year and led the Steelers to an 11-2 record. Despite the team’s success, however, Roethlisberger is not a top 10 fantasy QB. A 4 game streak of throwing interception has contributed to an underwhelming 15.22 fantasy game average in the last 4 weeks.
This week the Steelers play the Bengals on the road. Roethlisberger played well against Cincinnati in their first matchup, but I find a repeat performance unlikely. He’s entering a dry slump, James Connor looks unhealthy, and the Steelers’ offense hasn’t been doing as well. Find another quarterback to start this week.
Cam Newton, New England Patriots, at Miami Dolphins
Cam Newton has been one of the most inconsistent fantasy quarterbacks this year. His season is filled with mostly average games, sprinkled with very strong and very weak performances. Last week was one of his bad outings. The veteran threw for just 119 yards and rushed for 16 more. The 4.36 point fantasy game was his third worst of the year. This week he plays a Dolphin’s team that includes the leading interception leader. It should be no surprise Miami ranks 7th best against fantasy quarterbacks. Bench Newton in week 15.
Baker Mayfield<, Cleveland Browns, at New York Giantss
Baker Mayfield is red-hot right now with back-to-back 28+ fantasy point outings. His recent performances, however, are far better than how he has been playing all year. Mayfield averages just 15.6 fantasy points, which includes 5 games he has scored under 10 points.
He travels to New York this weekend to play a tough Giants defense. Even Kyler Murray underperformed against them last week with just 18 points, far below his 25 points per game season average. I don’t like Mayfield’s odds of having a strong game in this tough matchup. Avoid starting him this week.
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