It’s Week 15, the week when your Fantasy season can finally pay you back. All you need is one more win. One more victory to prove that the past four months, packed with sleepless nights doing research on this very site, and stress-filled days flip flopping on who you’re going to start or sit, was all worth it.
As most owners did, I’m sure you sat down at the beginning of the week, set your lineup, and started to mentally prepare for this weekend’s semifinal. But then you take a closer look and realize that your star quarterback — the guy who has carried you all season — has a brutal match up in a week when you literally can’t afford to lose.
Well, that’s the case for three of the best in the business in Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers. I own both Brees and Rodgers so I’m writing this column, sitting in the same shoes as owners across the country. I’m thinking, “Do I have the guts to bench arguably my most important player this season?”
Brees is coming off two sub-par games and faces the Cardinals’ Top 5 secondary on the road in Arizona. Brady is facing a Denver defense that gives up the fewest Fantasy points to the quarterback position. And Rodgers is going up against the Bears, who give up the 10th-fewest points to quarterbacks.
Those tough matchups for these top QBs make streamers a possibility in Week 15. I’ll go back and forth until kickoff Sunday, but if you want to be bold and bench those studs, these are some middle-of-the-road QBs with above average matchups this weekend.
Feel Good with Flacco
Over the past month, only three quarterbacks have put up more points than Joe Flacco. Those QBs are none other than Rodgers, Brady and Kirk Cousins. To go along with Flacco’s recent success, the Ravens face an Eagles defense that has given up two touchdown passes in each of their last three games, and at least 20 Fantasy points to opposing QBs in each of their last four.
Flacco’s attempts and completions are trending in the right direction as well, going up in each of his past four games, with a low point of 234 yards and a single touchdown. In his past two contests, the Delaware product has thrown for more than 300 yards, combining for 705 yards and six TDs.
I like the hot hand and with Flacco’s ownership at just over one-quarter of leagues, he’s out there for the taking for owners willing to go to the waiver wire for Sunday’s semis.
Snag Siemian for Semifinal Start
Another quarterback looking good in recent weeks is Trevor Siemian. He’s thrown for more than 330 yards in each of his past two starts, and with the Broncos running game sputtering, the first-year starter should continue to rack up pass attempts and yards against New England in Week 15.
Siemian has 34 or more attempts and eight total touchdowns over his last four contests, and faces a Patriots defense that gives up an average of nearly 250 passing yards a game. That should equate to a productive Sunday and low-end QB1 numbers for the defending champs’ quarterback.
Timely Matchup for Tyrod
I’m rooting against this one because I’m facing Tyrod Taylor in not one, but two different semifinals this weekend. That being said, Taylor is a great play against the lowly Browns defense that gives up the most Fantasy points to QBs.
With Sammy Watkins looking like he’s a go for Sunday and the Cleveland defense having given up a league-leading 30 passing touchdowns so far this year, expect Taylor to match or exceed the 228 yards and two touchdowns he racked up last weekend. He’s a clear-cut QB1 with upside after ranking as a mid-range QB2 all season.
Smith Makes For Solid Streamer
Alex Smith makes a perfect semifinal streamer, facing a Titans defense that allows the second most yards per game (275) and the 5th most Fantasy points to quarterbacks. Over Tennessee’s past eight contests, they’ve surrendered either 300 yards passing or 20 Fantasy points to some of the worst signal callers in football. They include Cody Kessler, Blake Bortles and Matt Barkley, to name a few.
Smith is in a different spectrum than those QBs, and with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill making big play after big play, the Chiefs quarterback should be in line for a big day.
Boom or Bust for Bradford
I like Sam Bradford. I can’t figure out exactly why, but the matchups keep telling me that he’s just good enough to start as a low-end QB1 or QB2. He won’t throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns, but 260 and two is entirely in the cards.
Positive one: Bradford is coming off a game in which he completed 24-of-34 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown. Positive two: he faces a Colts secondary that allows more than 260 yards on average per game and the 4th most Fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this season. Positive three: he’s playing at home where he averages just over 250 yards and has eight TDs to go along with zero interceptions.
Bradford’s upside is limited regardless of the matchup, but playing the Colts at home coming off one of his best games of the season makes him a viable replacement if you choose to bench one of those big three quarterbacks.
Remember, all you have to do is win this week. It doesn’t matter how you get there, or with who, so take a shot on these usual QB2s as QB1s this Sunday.