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NFL Fantasy 2023 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Quarterbacks for Week 16

You have lineup questions, we have lineup answers -- at least we hope so. Start 'Em, Sit 'Em is here to help fantasy managers make difficult roster decisions. And you know what is a good move? Starting Christian McCaffrey. But that's too obvious, so you won't see such simple analysis here. Instead, we're exploring more debatable situations. And if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out the latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

Justin Fields
Chicago Bears CHI

It was a disappointing Week 15 for Fields, as he finished with single-digit fantasy points. He had a Hail Mary attempt at the end of each half that went for an interception -- and the second one was nearly a 45-yard, game-winning touchdown. That performance came against a very tough Browns defense. This week, Fields has a much better matchup against the Cardinals, who have allowed the fourth-most touchdown passes in the NFL, giving up the most since Week 11. They also struggle against the run, which benefits Fields. 

Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams LAR

Stafford and the Rams are playing their best ball of the season. Over the last four games, the veteran quarterback has averaged 22.1 fantasy ppg while throwing 12 total passing touchdowns. His worst fantasy total in that span: 18.5 points. And two of those performances came against tough defenses (Cleveland and Baltimore). The Saints are a tough matchup for the Rams ... but the Rams are a tough matchup for the Saints, as well. I will trust Stafford with a healthy Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua and with Sean McVay at the helm. 

Jake Browning
Cincinnati Bengals CIN

The Bengals' offense has not skipped a beat without Joe Burrow. In fact, in the 10 games with Burrow, they scored 25-plus points three times -- they’ve topped that number in each of the last three games with Browning. The backup QB has averaged 23.1 fantasy ppg in those three games. The Steelers are not a slam-dunk matchup, but neither were the Vikings last week. Pittsburgh has allowed the 10th-most touchdowns since Week 11. Keep riding the hot hand with Browning. 

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Brock Purdy
San Francisco 49ers SF

Full disclosure: This was originally a blurb for Trevor Lawrence, who is still a good start if he plays. But with the Jaguars QB remaining in concussion protocol at publishing, we adjust! I know many of you are wondering if you can still trust Purdy in what is likely his toughest matchup of the year, but I do not see how you can get away. Purdy has topped 21 fantasy points in five of six games since his bye and has three-plus touchdowns in four of those. He went off for 26 fantasy points against the Cowboys, his previous toughest matchup. Sure, the Ravens may be able to slow down the Niners' offense at times, but Purdy and Co. will get theirs. You have to keep riding with MVPurdy.


Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers TB

For much of the year, Mayfield has been a safe-floor streaming option, topping 16 fantasy points in nine of 14 games (64 percent). But lately, he's showing more upside, with 20-plus in two straight and a season-high 29 last week. He has multiple passing touchdowns in six of his last eight games. Now he draws the Jags, who have allowed the fifth-most passing yards, seventh-most touchdowns and third-most fantasy ppg to QBs.

If you miss out on Mayfield, you can go with New Orleans' Derek Carr, who is coming off a big game and gets the Rams (top six in passing yards and touchdowns allowed since Week 11). Cleveland's Joe Flacco is another option, as he's going against the Texans, who are in the top seven in passing yards allowed on the season. 


Giants QB Tommy DeVito is in play in two-QB formats this week. He struggled last week in a tough matchup against the Saints, but he continues to add value with his legs. Plus, he gets the Eagles, who have allowed the second-most fantasy ppg to QBs. Minnesota's Nick Mullens is another option after throwing for more than 300 yards and two scores last week. He faces the Lions, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy ppg to QBs. The Tititans' Will Levis and Jets' Zach Wilson were both banged up last week, but are options if they suit up. Wilson has the better matchup against the Commanders, who have allowed the most fantasy ppg to QBs. (EDITOR'S UPDATE: Jets coach Robert Saleh announced on Friday that Zach Wilson (concussion) has been ruled out of Sunday's game, putting veteran Trevor Siemian in the starting lineup.)

Sit 'Em

Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos DEN

A rushing touchdown helped make Wilson a QB1 last week, but he still failed to reach 18 fantasy points for the fifth straight game. He has shown a safe floor, but that was in a string of good matchups. Now he gets the Patriots, who rank in the top seven in terms of fewest passing yards and touchdowns allowed since Week 11. In fact, since Week 10, Pittsburgh's Mitchell Trubisky is the only QB to top 16 points against New England (and the Steelers were in catchup mode all game). The Pats held Patrick Mahomes to fewer than 16 points, while Justin Herbert and Gardner Minshew put up single digits against them. If you have another option, I would look to get away from Russ. 

Sam Howell
Washington Commanders WAS

It was a fun 2023 ride for Howell, but just like for Henry Hill at the end of Goodfellas, it’s all over. Howell struggled last week, with just 102 yards, a touchdown and his 15th interception of the year. Jacoby Brissett came in late in the fourth quarter and had more yards, touchdowns and fantasy points than Howell. Now the Commanders visit the Jets, who rank in the top three in fewest passing yards, touchdowns and fantasy points allowed to QBs. And Washington faces San Francisco in Week 17. Time to move on.

Gardner Minshew
Indianapolis Colts IND

With Minshew, it really comes down to touchdowns. He does not throw for many yards most weeks, and rarely runs for much, so he needs a couple TD passes to have a chance at topping 15 fantasy points. Since Week 11, the Falcons have allowed just two passing touchdowns ... in total. They’ve also allowed the third-fewest passing yards. I would look for another option this week.

Aidan O'Connell
Las Vegas Raiders LV

O'Connell went off last week in the Raiders' 63-21 throttling of the Chargers. He played great and deserves a ton of credit ... but the Bolts' defense also played a huge factor. The rookie has a much tougher matchup this week in the Chiefs, who have allowed the sixth-fewest passing yards this season. After the huge game on national TV last week, you may be considering AOC as a stream, but there are better options (listed above). 

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