Let's scrap the typical introduction; if you're still reading this in Week 17, you know what we do here. After we recap last week's plays and discuss this week's options, be sure to read the final section below for a recap on this season's results.
Using the average of each week's "candidates" section, we had sustained (albeit, not smashing) success -- especially from Week 6 on.
Week 16 Results
Let's take a look at how last week's recommendations fared.
Nick Foles - vs. Houston
Last week's top choice ended up being this season's top producer in the Rent-a-Quarterback space. Foles lit up the Texans for 38.7 fantasy points, the highest gross score of any quarterback selection this season, narrowly besting Jameis Winston's Week 6 performance of 36.9 fantasy points in his return to the starting lineup after the "Fitzmagic" had dried up for the first time.
Foles was the perfect "process" play. He was in a game with a high total, playing a defense that was deceptively bad (decent stats against aided by poor competition), and in a must-win game for his team. 38.7 wasn't the expectation, but a top-six weekly finish felt like it was in play. Foles ended the Week as the QB3, only because of virtuoso performances by Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson.
Josh Allen - at New England
Allen's fantasy glory felt like it was due to come to an end, and against a Bill Belichick defense felt like the time it would happen. But the process was still in place to look at Allen last week. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, as Allen passed for 217 yards and 1 touchdown. He also didn't generate much rushing production, which had been key to his recent success. Allen ended the week as the QB22.
Week 17 Candidates
Here are the players available in at least 40% of typical leagues who could provide QB1 production this week.
Nick Foles - at Washington
Despite all of their struggles throughout the season, Philadelphia can still make the playoffs with a win and a Minnesota loss. This makes it likely that Philadelphia will be exerting maximum effort to defeat Washington, making this another great spot for our Week 16 hero.
Jameis Winston - vs. Atlanta
Post-publish edit: We were wrapped up with wrapping gifts when Dirk Koetter first mentioned the prospect of playing Ryan Griffin on Monday. When he mentioned it again after this article published, we had to cross Winston off the list. If you play season-long in Week 17 and don't have a quarterback, godspeed. If you're reading this for DFS purposes, pay up for quarterback this week and find your value elsewhere (don't worry, there is plenty).
Lamar Jackson - vs. Cleveland
The matchup is fine, but that doesn't matter with Jackson. We're looking for rushing production, and Jackson will have enough designed runs to give us a floor. And he is progressing as a passer as well. In a game Baltimore must win, Jackson will do what is necessary.
Deep Leagues Only
These selections are best saved for deeper leagues and/or 2QB/Superflex leagues.
- Blake Bortles - at Houston: he's starting again, and Houston hasn't been great against the pass. Houston could also pull starters here if (when?) they gain a big lead.
Let's see how we did this season. In the graph below, the blue line represents the average weekly finish of our top quarterback picks each week. These do not include those in the "Deep Leagues Only" section. The red bars (charted on the secondary axis at right) represent the average fantasy points scored by those selections.
The blue line is the more important measure, as raw points can be misleading. For example, in Week 5, our picks averaged 20.6 fantasy points and finished as QB18 on average. In Week 15, however, the picks scored an average of 17.0 fantasy points and finished as QB13. How we score relative to our competition in that week is more important to fantasy success than measuring fantasy points across the season.
- Even the disaster that was Week 2 had a QB1 performance. Joe Flacco was that week's QB11, but Tyrod Taylor and Case Keenum dragged us down with QB25 and QB26 finishes.
- The top five positional finishes of the year were:
- The bottom five positional finishes of the year were:
- We had 15 top-10 performances, but we also had 14 performances worse than QB18.
- Of the 14 poor performances, 10 occurred in Weeks 1-6.
- Of the 15 top-10 weeks, 6 occurred in Weeks 1-6.
As you can see, we performed better after the first month of the season. That's a logical conclusion, given the nature of Rent-a-Quarterback. The main point behind using the waiver wire for your quarterback selections is that volume at the quarterback position is a given, so the position is predictable based on opponent. At the beginning of the season, we didn't have as much data on defenses.
Another contributing factor is the larger pool of available players as the season progresses. Injuries, benched starters, and how fantasy GMs roster quarterbacks can provide us with more choices later in the year. Players like Lamar Jackson and Nick Foles come to mind here.
But remember, part of the strategy behind drafting a quarterback late is to find one that turns into an every-week starter so you don't have to play "Rent-a-Quarterback" every week. The results shown above, however, don't account for that. Players such as Baker Mayfield and Mitchell Trubisky were picked up by enough fantasy GMs that we couldn't recommend them here all year long. Additionally, players such as Patrick Mahomes II and Andrew Luck were never available to us here.
While we didn't have QB1 finishes every week, we were in the top-14 in 12 of 16 weeks this season, including every week from Week 6 onward. That means that if you used Rent-a-Quarterback each week, you didn't get crushed at the quarterback position. Ideally, renting quarterbacks allowed you to stock up at the more premium "flex-eligible" positions and win your league with depth and elite scoring there.
Questions, comments, suggestions, and other feedback on this piece are always welcome via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org