Fantasy Football Week 16 Quarterback rankings: Big questions surrounding Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew, more

Before we get to the rankings for Week 15, let’s tackle some of the biggest questions Fantasy players are facing at quarterback heading into the Fantasy semifinals, beginning with one of the biggest injuries of the season, potentially:

Are there any streamers worth trusting to replace Jalen Hurts?

Gardner Minshew. He’s probably the only widely available quarterback I would feel comfortable starting this week. In six-point-per-pass-TD scoring formats, he had 22.8 and 18.4 points in his two starts last season, and in 2020, he topped 20 points six times in nine starts – and he didn’t have AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert to throw to. I don’t think Minshew is as good as Hurts, even as a passer, but Minshew is plenty competent, and this offense is in a really good spot for him to hit the ground running. The only hesitation is a very tough matchup, but given that seemingly half the league is going to be played through sub-zero temperatures and high winds this weekend, that’s not enough to scare me off. Minshew might end up a top-12 QB for me before all is said and done.

What’s up with Justin Herbert?

Herbert has been a pretty big disappointment this season, and he hasn’t had nearly as many excuses of late. He’s played without his best weapons and a bunch of key offensive linemen for much of the season, and while the line is still a mess, he’s had Keenan Allen and Mike Williams the past two weeks and has one touchdown and two interceptions on 93 attempts. That’s pretty awful. The Chargers offensive game planning is a mess, rarely taking advantage of Herbert’s massive arm strength with any regularity, and it too often leaves the Chargers trying to string together drives in 5-yard chunks. He still throws the ball 40-plus times most weeks and has prodigious talent, so I’m probably still starting Herbert – his upside is too immense to leave on my bench absent a truly compelling option. But he’s more like a low-end QB1 than the elite guy we expected him to be.

Can you still trust Geno Smith without Tyler Lockett?

Lockett is expected to miss at least a few weeks with a broken finger, and that’s bad news for a Seahawks offense built heavily around its top two pass-catchers — 48% of Smith’s targets have gone to either Lockett or DK Metcalf, with Noah Fant’s 53 targets ranked third on the team, less than half of Lockett’s total. And Smith has been especially efficient when targeting Lockett, continuing a trend that has held through basically Lockett’s entire career – his 8.9 yards per target stands out relative even to Smith’s very solid overall 7.8 Y/A. Marquise Goodwin is a solid deep threat and Fant and WIll Dissly are a decent tight end duo, but I think Smith is going to miss Lockett, a reliable option in the intermediate and deep games. It’s not enough to sit Smith in what we hope will be a shootout against the Chiefs, but it makes his margin for error a bit slimmer.

Is Trevor Lawrence now a must-start Fantasy QB?

I was a bit skeptical of Lawrence’s recent hot streak, because one of the hardest things to do when analyzing spots is differentiating between a hot streak and a player achieving a new level of performance. However, after another brilliant performance against a very good Cowboys defense in Week 15, I’m on board. Sure, it may end up being a hot streak, but Lawrence was an elite prospect who showed signs of taking a big step forward early this season with his rebuilt receiving corps, and now it seems he’s solidified his place as one of the better quarterbacks in the league. The Jets defense is a pretty good one, but Lawrence has earned the benefit of the doubt as a top-10 QB.

Here are my initial rankings for the QB position for Week 16:

  1. Patrick Mahomes vs. SEA
  2. Josh Allen @CHI
  3. Justin Fields vs. BUF
  4. Justin Herbert @IND
  5. Trevor Lawrence @NYJ
  6. Joe Burrow @NE
  7. Tua Tagovailoa vs. GB
  8. Kirk Cousins ​​vs. NYG
  9. Geno Smith @KC
  10. Dak Prescott vs. PHI
  11. Derek Carr @PIT
  12. Gardner Minshew @DAL
  13. Tom Brady @ARI
  14. Daniel Jones @MIN
  15. Deshaun Watson vs. No
  16. Aaron Rodgers @MIA
  17. Jared Goff @CAR
  18. Andy Dalton @CLE
  19. Mitchell Trubisky vs. LV
  20. Brett Rypien @LAR
  21. Taylor Heinicke @SF
  22. Brock Purdy vs. WAS
  23. Ryan Tannehill vs. HOU
  24. Baker Mayfield vs. DEN
  25. Mac Jones vs. CIN
  26. Trace McSorley vs. TB
  27. Zach Wilson vs. JAX
  28. Davis Mills @TEN
  29. Matt Ryan vs. LAC
  30. Sam Darnold vs. DET
  31. Tyler Huntley vs. ATL
  32. Desmond Ridder @BAL

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