It might be hard, but you might want to sit Brady this week if you want to win a fantasy football championship
We've finally made it to the fantasy football championship round. Even if you've made it this far, finding a quality quarterback may not always be a simple decision.
Last week both Sam Darnold and Josh Allen finished in the top four in fantasy scoring for quarterbacks while Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Jared Goff were big-time duds and took down many fantasy dreams with them.
So, who is worth a start this week, especially if you’ve made it this far streaming quarterbacks?
Before we serve up one last helping of start/sit advice for QBs (and DSTs), let's take a quick look at how the Week 15 suggestions played out.
Good Calls for Week 15...
Start Matt Ryan (25.04 fantasy points) – The Falcons' offense finally came to life against the Cardinals, too bad it’s way too late.
Sit Aaron Rodgers (13.46 FP) – Maybe Rodgers is mailing it in at this point, but something seems seriously wrong with the Packers' offense.
Sit Cam Newton (4.74 FP) – It's the right decision to shut Newton down to allow his injured shoulder time to heal.
Sit Dak Prescott (6.24 FP) – Prescott had been hot going into Indianapolis, but the Colts' D sure cooled him off. Who saw that coming?
Bad Calls for Week 15...
What can I say? It was a great week.
START THESE QBs...
Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. KC)
Wilson bounced back last week from his dreadful Week 14 showing to throw for 237 yards and a pair of scores in an overtime loss to the 49ers, finishing as the overall QB5. Wilson has thrown multiple touchdowns in all but two games this season and he now gets a Chiefs defense that has given up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Seattle is very much a run-heavy offense, but Wilson is going to have to put up numbers if the Seahawks are going to compete all night with Kansas City. The 53.5-point is tied with Steelers-Saints as the highest of the week. Confidently run Wilson out there for fantasy championship tilts and in daily fantasy as well.
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (at SF)
Trubisky shook off the rust from Week 14’s dud and completed 20 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two scores with 16 rushing yards sprinkled in the Bears' NFC North-clinching win over the Packers. He now goes up against a 49ers team that hasn’t picked off a QB since Josh Rosen in Week 8 and has just two INTs on the season (the worst in the NFL), along with a total of three fumble recoveries (also tied for the worst). While it may be maddening to determine which pass catchers will score for Chicago, Trubisky remains a steady force under center while also offering contributions with his legs.
Baker Mayfield, CLE (vs. CIN)
You can start Mayfield once again this week. He's been a pleasant surprise and now he gets an opportunity at home against a defense that has been leaky at best against the pass. The Bengals allow 7.6 yards per pass attempt, the fifth-worst mark in the NFL. Mayfield's problems have been mostly turnover-related. However, he can clean that up against a Bengals team that can't generate much pressure. Mayfield will have the opportunity at moving the chains consistently against Cincinnati, so expect him to toss a few touchdowns, too.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Josh Allen, BUF (at NE)
Allen and the Bills have slipped from 10.5-point underdogs to 13-point dogs in the early week, but that just means one of the best fantasy quarterbacks of the past four weeks will need to get even more creative. He didn’t turn the ball over in Week 15’s win despite Buffalo's injury woes at running back and just missed a long TD pass Deonte Thompson. The Bills' offense has been more trustworthy lately thanks to scrapping veterans Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes in favor of Robert Foster and Isaiah McKenzie. Additionally, the Patriots are a bottom-10 defense against QBs and surrendered three TD passes to Ryan Tannehill just two weeks ago.
SIT THESE QBs...
Dak Prescott, DAL (vs. TB)
The Buccaneers' defense has gotten a lot better recently. After giving up at least 330 passing yards and an absurd 16 TD passes in the first five games, Tampa Bay has yielded just one 300-yard game and hasn’t allowed any QB to throw more than two TDs in the past nine contests. That one 300-yard game belonged to Cam Newton, who also threw four INTs. The Cowboys' offense flows through Ezekiel Elliott as Prescott has six TD passes in his last five games.
Jameis Winston, TB (at DAL)
Winston was in the "Sit" section last week and it turned out to be the right call as he managed just 157 yards and an interception in the loss to Baltimore. He's back here this week based on a tough matchup with a Dallas defense ranked seventh in the league against the pass. Winston has struggled in his last two games. You can expect that trend to continue this week.
Marcus Mariota, TEN (vs. WAS, Sat.)
Since the Derrick Henry takeover two weeks ago against the Jaguars, Mariota has attempted just 44 passes, second-fewest among quarterbacks in that span. Mariota is the overall QB30 since Week 14 as all he's had to do lately is hand the ball off to Henry for the Titans to win. That’s not going to change this week as Tennessee is a massive 10-point favorite at home against a Redskins team with the lowest implied total of the week at 13.5 points. Both offenses are rank near the bottom in terms of pace, another reason why this game's total of 37 is the lowest in Week 16. The Redskins by no means present a tough matchup, but the concern for Mariota is volume.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Tom Brady, NE (vs. BUF)
Brady’s fantasy output is in decline. His touchdown rate is the lowest it’s been since 2013 and his interception rate is at a six-year high. That creates a perfect storm of sorts when you factor in this week's opponent. The Bills' pass defense has limited opposing quarterbacks to an 86.6 passer rating against this season (league average is 93.1) and has given up the fewest fantasy points to the position.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THESE DSTs...
Dallas Cowboys (vs. TB)
Dallas' defense had a bad game last week, but this unit is a nice streaming option with the Buccaneers coming to town. The Cowboys have played better at home this season, and Tampa Bay has more giveaways (2.3 per game) than any team in the league. The Bucs also have surrendered 2.6 sacks per game as well.
Indianapolis Colts (vs. NYG)
The Colts DST has been fantasy gold in recent weeks, scoring a combined 34 fantasy points in the last three games. Indianapolis is a great streaming option against the Giants, who have allowed more than three sacks per game and also are usually good for at least one turnover. The Colts DST should be available in most leagues.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Seattle Seahawks (vs. KC)
Seattle DST is always tough at home, but do you want to risk starting the Seahawks Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs? Especially when Kansas City needs to win to keep its hopes of securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs alive? Somewhat lost among all the yards and points the Chiefs have piled up, they also do a good job in both pass protection (fifth-fewest sacks allowed) and ball security (just 15 giveaways in 14 games). It should come as no surprise then that DSTs are averaging less than three fantasy points per game against KC.
Baltimore Ravens (at LAC, Sat.)
The Ravens DST has scored just 12 fantasy points over the last two weeks, and won’t score many this week against the Chargers. Los Angeles is on a roll and should be closer to full strength on Saturday. Opposing DSTs are averaging four fantasy points per game against the Chargers.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.