As most fantasy football leagues begin their playoffs this week, the decision of who to start at quarterback takes even more importance. All teams are in play with bye weeks finished, so while streaming might not be as crucial for some, there are still plenty of fantasy football owners without a weekly “must-start.” Our Week 15 fantasy QB rankings dive into the studs, sleepers, and potential busts ahead of the first “win-or-go-home” matchup of the season.
Again, no teams are on bye, so if you have Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, etc., you probably aren’t checking out the rankings anyway. It is worth noting Allen (vs. Panthers) has a tough matchup and is dealing with an ankle injury, but unless you have another stud, you’re likely sticking with Allen. However, Russell Wilson (@ Rams) could be reasonably sat depending on your other options.
Most people are here to see the players in the 10-18 range, so let’s get to the top streamers. Tua Tagovailoa (vs. Jets), Taysom Hill (@ Buccaneers), Jimmy Garoppolo (vs. Falcons), and Taylor Heinicke (@ Eagles) are the ones you want leading your team in the initial round of the playoffs if you’re without one of the consistent studs.
Tua, Jimmy G, and Heinicke all play teams that are below average at containing fantasy QBs, and all those signal-callers have proven to be productive when the matchups are favorable. Tampa Bay’s numbers against QBs have improved, but we’ve seen Hill have two 20-plus-point performances in two starts thanks to his rushing upside. That said, this will be the trickiest matchup to date since the Bucs’ front-seven is one of the best in football. Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Titans) might be a decent play, too, given the matchup, his recent play, and his expected number of pass attempts.
It’s also worth noting Mac Jones (@ Colts), Baker Mayfield (vs. Raiders), Justin Fields (vs. Vikings), and Trevor Lawrence (@ Texans) have favorable matchups, but their floors have proven to be too low to trust in the first round of the fantasy playoffs. However, as we saw Sunday night, Fields clearly has a high ceiling, so he’s in play in deep leagues.
On the other side of the start-or-sit bubble, Carson Wentz (vs. Patriots), Teddy Bridgewater (vs. Bengals), Matt Ryan (@ 49ers), and Ryan Tannehill (@ Steelers) are more than likely to bust in their respective matchups. Wentz has been a top streamer many times, but we’re not ready to fire him up against the Patriots’ elite defense. Bridgewater is clearly matchup-dependent, and Ryan and Tannehill have been busts more often than not, so we’re not expecting a turnaround against elite pass-rushes. It doesn’t help that both are without their No. 1 WRs either.
It’s easy to overthink the QB position, but generally, it’s best to trust the studs if you have one. Chances are, if you made the playoffs, you do have one, but if you’re playing the streaming game, there is no shortage of options. Trust the matchups and recent trends, and enjoy the production.
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 15: Who to start at quarterback
Rankings are based on standard, four-point passing TD formats.
|1||Tom Brady, TB vs. NO|
|2||Justin Herbert, LAC vs. KC|
|3||Kyler Murray, ARI @ DET|
|4||Jalen Hurts, PHI vs. WAS|
|5||Aaron Rodgers, GB @ BAL|
|6||Matthew Stafford, LAR vs. SEA|
|7||Dak Prescott, DAL @ NYG|
|8||Patrick Mahomes, KC @ LAC|
|9||Russell Wilson, SEA @ LAR|
|10||Joe Burrow, CIN @ DEN|
|11||Josh Allen, BUF vs. CAR|
|12||Taysom Hill, NO @ TB. Hill has put up over 24 fantasy points in his first two starts and is realistically close to a “must-start” moving forward. Sure, the Tampa Bay defense isn’t kind to RBs on the ground, but Josh Allen just rushed for over 100 yards against it, so Hill could, too. We know by now his lack of passing success is irrelevant when it comes to his fantasy prospects if he continues to run for north of 70 yards and a touchdown.|
|13||Taylor Heinicke, WAS @ PHI. Heinicke (knee) is expected to be ready to go for this matchup, and before his disastrous Week 14 performance, he was the QB16 on the year. A favorable matchup with the Eagles’ defense puts him just above that in our rankings. Philly allows the 13th-most fantasy points to QBs and gave up 22-plus fantasy points to both Zach Wilson and Trevor Siemian in Weeks 11 and 13.|
|14||Kirk Cousins, MIN @ CHI. Chicago is a bottom-eight unit against fantasy QBs, and we know Cousins has been able to produce QB1 weeks several times his season, so we understand if you opt for him over Heinicke. Heinicke’s mobility gives him just a slight edge, but Cousins is probably the “safer” play in this matchup.|
|15||Jimmy Garoppolo, SF vs. ATL. Garoppolo is quietly having a solid fantasy campaign, as he’s thrown more than one touchdown in five of his past six starts. Atlanta is the No. 2 defense in most fantasy points allowed, so view Garoppolo as a top-tier streamer in this one. The only thing keeping him outside a top-12 play this week is the possibility the Niners simply ground and pound the Falcons into submission. This game could get ugly, and we know Kyle Shanahan isn’t against passing a mere handful of times if that’s the way to win. If this is a close, back-and-forth affair, a QB1 finish is certainly on the table.|
|16||Tua Tagovailoa, MIA vs. NYJ. If you start Tagovailoa, you won’t see his fantasy point total increase dramatically or rapidly, but with volume and accuracy, he slowly accumulates completions and yards and puts up a decent fantasy finish. In the past six games in which Tagovailoa started and finished, he attempted an average of 38.5 passes and threw two touchdowns per contest. In a matchup with the Jets (10th-worst defense against fantasy QBs) at home, he should have similar success, so we’re confident in him as a streamer, too.|
|17||Justin Fields, CHI vs. MIN. Fields is finally showing signs of life in fantasy, and against Green Bay, he passed for 224 yards and two touchdowns and added 74 yards on the ground. If he can continue to post around 50 rushing yards, he’ll have sneaky fantasy playoff value, and since Minnesota gives up the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs, we see Fields as a strong sleeper. In all honestly, his ceiling is higher than the four QBs ranked ahead of him, but we know his floor is much lower. View him as a boom-or-bust QB, and consider starting him if you’re a heavy underdog.|
|18||Baker Mayfield, CLE vs. LV. While Mayfield showed life in Week 14, the Raiders defense was shredded by Kansas City to the tune for 48 points allowed. This Raiders’ team is unraveling, so you can do worse than Mayfield, who looks to be a little bit healthier after the bye week. As always, he has virtually no floor, but Cleveland should be in scoring position early and often on Saturday afternoon.|
|19||Mac Jones, NE @ IND. The Colts present a decently favorable matchup for QBs. Since the Colts’ have a strong run defense, we don’t expect Jones to repeat his three-attempt performance, but we still won’t see a ton of explosive passes, so touchdowns are probably the only way Jones exceeds his QB19 rankings. Like Mayfield, his floor is non-existent, but in deep leagues, he’s one of the last viable streaming options.|
|20||Ben Roethlisberger, PIT vs. TEN. Roethlisberger is capable of a 300-yard, three-touchdown performance as we saw against Minnesota, but that shouldn’t be the expectation. Although Tennessee’s season-long numbers against QBs are downright awful, its pass rush presents real issues for Pittsburgh. All that said, QB20 is about as high as we’ve ranked Big Ben this year, and we’ll draw the line here as far as streaming considerations go|
|21||Zach Wilson, NYJ @ MIA. Miami’s defense has ascended to a top-12 unit against fantasy QBs, so this isn’t a favorable matchup and Wilson hasn’t been productive often this season. That said, he’s more or less guaranteed 30-plus passing attempts, so he can reach the mid-tier QB2 status with volume.|
|22||Carson Wentz, IND vs. NE|
|23||Derek Carr, LV @ CLE|
|24||Ryan Tannehill, TEN @ PIT|
|25||Trevor Lawrence, JAX vs. HOU|
|26||Matt Ryan, ATL @ SF|
|27||Tyler Huntley, BAL vs. GB|
|28||Teddy Bridgewater, DEN vs. CIN|
|29||Mike Glennon, NYG vs. DAL|
|30||Davis Mills, HOU @ JAX|
|31||Cam Newton, CAR @ BUF|
|32||Jared Goff, DET vs. ARI|
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