Two Quarterback Big Board: Playoff Edition

Big Board

Hopefully, you’re reading this right now because you’re in the playoffs. Whether you drafted well, have played the right matchups, made savvy trades, or made the right moves in free agency, congratulations. The playoffs for me are pretty straight forward. I like to follow these two rules:

1. Never sit your studs

Tom Brady led you the playoffs as he crushed opponents weekly. I’m not sitting him against a team like Denver unless my other options are Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and maaaaaybe Andrew Luck. Getting cute and playing Kirk Cousins is more likely to backfire against you than going for an extra few points.

2. Trust the QB in the better offense

If torn between the choice of Carson Palmer and Colin Kaepernick, I’m taking Palmer 10/10 times. A difficult matchup is much easier to overcome if an offense has more than one way of moving the ball. I like to go with a quarterback who I feel can overcome poor gameflow due to a variety of ways.

Good luck everybody! Below is my final big board of 2016.

TierPlayerTeamComments
Elite QB1Aaron RodgersGBRodgers has thrown multiple scores in seven straight, and gets a Seattle defense that just lost Earl Thomas, CHI, and MIN. His blend of consistency and opponents is why he's my top QB entering the playoffs.
Elite QB1Drew BreesNOPrior to last week, Brees hadn't not thrown a TD at home in eight years. Don't be scared off by that, as he's been the QB2 this season and has had multiple touchdowns in all but three games this season.
Elite QB1Andrew LuckINDLuck has been elite all season when healthy. His matchups aren't anything to write home about, but he should be fine.
Elite QB1Tom BradyNETerrific Tom is only this low because of the loss of Gronk and two brutal matchups with DEN and BAL on the horizon.
Elite QB1Matt RyanATLMatty Ice has a juicy playoff run against LA (who recently got lit up by Drew Brees), SF, and CAR. Spreading the wealth despite injuries to Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, Ryan should keep up his career season (he's thrown a TD in every game) into the playoffs.
Elite QB1Derek CarrOAKKC clunker aside, Carr still remains a must start. SD is an imposing matchup, but he threw for 300 yards and two scores against them earlier in the year. In the championship he gets the Colts, who are giving up the third most points to QBs.
Reliable QB1Russell WilsonSEAHe hasn't thrown for multiple scores in nearly a month, but gets GB and LA before a brutal matchup against ARI. The good news is he's starting to run more (eight carries in two of his last three).
Reliable QB1Philip RiversSDRivers has been both a scoring and turnover machine of late (12 TDs vs 10 INTs in his last five games), but he arguably has the best playoff slate among QBs with matchups against CAR, OAK, and CLE, who have given up a combined 61 passing TDs in the air.
Reliable QB1Marcus MariotaTENCurrently the QB4, Mariota's running (310 rushing yards) and red zone efficiency has him in must start territory. After what will be a brutal matchup vs DEN, he faces KC and JAX. Aside from this week, he belongs in your lineup throughout the playoffs.
Reliable QB1Kirk CousinsWASCousins has been surprisingly one of the most consistent QB1s this season, notching at least 17 points in all but two games this season. He's also produced the same regardless of if Jordan Reed or DeSean Jackson are in the lineup.
Reliable QB1Cam NewtonCARCam is a stud, but this season has removed my unwavering confidence in him to produce regardless of matchup. He's completed more than 14 passes only twice in his last six games, hasn't thrown for 300 yards since mid October, and only has one great matchup (Week 16) in the playoffs. If you have to choose between someone in this tier and Cam, I don't blame you for avoiding him.
Reliable QB1Jameis WinstonTBJameis has scored a touchdown in every game in 2016 and has eclipsed 250 yards passing in four of his last five games. With two matchups against NO in the playoffs and another with DAL, he's a QB1 the rest of the way.
Reliable QB1Ben RoethlisbergerPITBig Ben has scored nearly twice as many points at home as he has on the road this season, and has two road matchups against BUF and CIN.
High End QB2Tyrod TaylorBUFTygod has struggled in two of his last three, but after a tough bout against PIT, he has two cake matchups against CLE and MIA. His high floor makes him an ideal QB2.
High End QB2Eli ManningNYGSporting a cool 14:6 TD to INT ratio since the bye, Eli gets two of three playoff matchups at home, where he throws for nearly 100 more passing yards per contest. DAL, DEN, and PHI aren't anyone to write off, but start him with confidence.
High End QB2Matthew StaffordDETStafford hasn't had a blowup game since his four TD effort back in Week 6, as the Lions have shifted to a ball control offense. His ceiling will be capped, but he's been a consistent QB2 all season.
High End QB2Dak PrescottDALCould Dak be coming back to earth? He's had two straight sub par games as a passer and gets NYG and DET in the playoffs, who have been a nightmare for opposing QBs of late.
Reliable QB2Carson PalmerARZPalmer has turned it on of late, with multiple scores in three straight. MIA and NO are two great matchups to start the playoffs, but I would look for another option if you need him Week 16 against SEA.
Reliable QB2Colin KaepernickSFEven playing half a season, Kaep is among the top rushing QBs in the NFL. He's been a QB1 in all of his matchups, and even has two cake ones against NYJ and ATL before facing LA, but his Week 12 statline is why I can't put him as a QB1. The floor is simply too low.
Reliable QB2Andy DaltonCINDalton has definitely missed Gio Bernard and AJ Green. After a beautiful matchup against CLE, it will be hard to trust Dalton against PIT and HOU, who each rank in the top nine in terms of passing touchdowns allowed.
Low End QB2Blake BortlesJAXIt's alarming how much Bortles relies on garbage time to produce fantasy points, and amazing he's been able to do it for so long. His matchups are alright, but everyone seems to be waiting for the bottom to drop out from him.
Low End QB2Ryan TannehillMIATannehill had made strides in November before predictably struggling against a tough BAL defense. He has a tough matchup against ARI before facing NYJ and BUF. Like Smith, I'd only start him if I had to.
Low End QB2Alex SmithKCHe hasn't upheld the level of consistency he has during the rest of his career. Smith isn't a terrible option if you need him in the playoffs, but I wouldn't be happy starting him.
Low End QB2Trevor SiemianDENSiemian was playing really well (albeit against a soft slate) before missing a game to injury last week. With two nice matchups in the playoffs, Siemian may be a quiet 2QB hero if he can stay healthy.
Low End QB2Joe FlaccoBALDon't be fooled by Flacco's last four weeks. He's had two fluky games against CLE and MIA, two terrible pass defenses. He's simply too inconsistent to trust in the playoffs.
Low End QB2Carson WentzPHIAfter the first month of the season, Wentz has struggled to put up points even in prime spots. He has three tough matchups for anyone, let alone a rookie (WAS, BAL, NYG), and one reason to start him (there's nobody else).
Fringe QB2Jared GoffSTLPutting him here because he faces ATL and SF, two of the most generous defenses to quarterbacks in the playoffs.
Fringe QB2Brock OsweilerHOUNothing he has done has led one to believe he can be anything more than mediocre. He's above Bradford because he at least has a supporting cast.
Fringe QB2Sam BradfordMINHe's thrown multiple scores just three times all season, and is in an offense that is severely lacking talent at the moment.
Fringe QB2Matt BarkleyCHIHe fared surprisingly average in two cake matchups, but it gets much more difficult in the playoffs. With nobody to throw the ball to, he's nothing more than an emergency start.
Fringe QB2Bryce PettyNYJThere's a reason Todd Bowles did everything in his power to not start him for so long.
Fringe QB2Robert Griffin IIIPITSo many reasons to avoid him entirely. Injury, injury prone, lack of recent success, tough schedule. The list goes on.
StashPaxton LynchDENIf Siemian can't go, Lynch will be the hottest waiver wire add at QB.
StashRyan FitzpatrickNYJIt's highly unlikely he gets the job back unless Petty gets hurt.
StashCody KesslerCLEIf RGIII gets hurt again, Kessler will be the one the coaches want tape on.
StashTony RomoDALDon't expect to see him unless something terrible happens to Dak.
StashCase KeenumSTLNope
StashTom SavageHOUIf he can get over his elbow infection, HOU may want to see what it has in him.
StashChad HenneJAXOnly on here if Bortles manages to get benched.

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