Week 17 Fantasy Football Mailbag: Jalen Hurts Uncertainty, More
Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Hurts (left), Gardner Minshew (right).
In the penultimate edition of the Week 17 mailbag, I address all of your fantasy football championship (or semifinal) dilemmas, many of which have to do with late-season injuries to quarterbacks.
Want personalized lineup advice? Have start/sit questions? Want me to adjudicate dicey league disputes? Email email@example.com with your questions each week to be featured in this article.
Fantasy Start-Sit Advice
Justin Fields, Jared Goff or Trevor Lawrence?
@BuccaneerMick asks via Twitter: “[Justin] Fields, [Jared] Goff or [Trevor] Lawrence? Fields has [the] highest upside, but seems like they’ve gone conservative. Lawrence has pretty good upside but playing a crappy team so may run a lot. Goff is pretty steady, but limited upside. Also may be up big against the Bears so lots of running.”
Samantha: Fields for me, though all three are top-12 plays, so this is quite the problem of riches to have. All have solid matchups, though Fields stands out to me, as you said, as having the highest upside.
He had an off game in Week 16 in frigid temps, so I really don’t want to hold it against him. Prior to that, he showed well a tough matchup against the Eagles in Week 15, when he finished as the QB7. Week 16 was the first time he finished outside the top eight at the position since Week 5. Fields should light up the Lions defense, which ranks 28th in defensive DVOA.
I suspect the Jaguars will go a bit run-heavy, as have many opposing teams against the Texans. Houston ranks 24th in rush DVOA and has allowed the most fantasy points to running backs this year. Lawrence should still be considered a mid-tier QB1, but with lower upside than Fields.
Goff has been solid of late and finally had a good game on the road. The last time the Lions and Bears met, however, Goff was the QB22 and was held to just one touchdown on the day. He is my third choice, but still a QB1.
Zonovan Knight or Tyler Allgeier?
@JanODriscoll asks via Twitter: “[Zonovan] Knight or Tyler Allgeier?”
Samantha: I prefer Allgeier over Knight. Both have fabulous matchups this week against the Cardinals and Seahawks, respectively. Both rank bottom six in fantasy points allowed to running backs and bottom eight in rush DVOA.
Allgeier has finished as the RB7 and RB12 in back-to-back weeks with over 100 scrimmage yards in each game. Perhaps more significantly, he appears to be the favored back over Cordarrelle Patterson with Desmond Ridder under center.
Last week, Allgeier rushed 18 times for 74 yards and caught 4-of-5 passes for 43 yards, while Patterson logged eight attempts for 17 yards and caught a pass for 14 yards. Allgeier also out-snapped Patterson by a count of 42 to 26.
Knight, meanwhile, has been on a bit of a skid of late and has four total fantasy points in the last two games combined. I do like his value better now that Mike White is back at the helm, but not as much as I like Allgeier this week.
Mark Andrews or Shane Zylstra?
@Quichurbichin asks via Twitter: “Mark Andrews or Shane Zylstra?”
Samantha: What an indictment on Andrews and the tight end position that this is even a question.
Still, I lean Andrews because I do not like chasing touchdowns. Zylstra tallied three last week after scoring just one over the 15 weeks prior. He caught five passes, which doubled his total for the year.
This strikes me as extremely flukey and much riskier than Andrews, even if he has been disappointing of late.
More Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew Fallout
What to Do Without Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa
@realtalkfv24 asks via Twitter: “Got [Jalen] Hurts and Tua [Tagovailoa] both hurt. Picked up [Trace] McSorely and Colt [McCoy] is probably back. Only hope is getting [Teddy] Bridgewater off waivers and I’m 5th. FML.”
Samantha: That is some bad luck with Hurts and Tagovailoa ending up injured this late in the year, though there is still some hope Hurts plays in Week 17.
Bridgewater would be a decent play, as he was the QB7 in his last start — granted that was in a much easier matchup against the Vikings in Week 6. New England ranks top three in pass DVOA, while Minnesota ranks 24th in the same metric.
If Mike White (at Seahawks), Brock Purdy (at Raiders) or Mac Jones (vs. Dolphins) are available, I would prefer all three over Bridgewater. If you miss out on Bridgewater, Sam Darnold (at Buccaneers), Kenny Pickett (at Ravens) or Baker Mayfield (at Chargers) might be your best bets.
Best of luck to you in the fantasy finals!
Gardner Minshew or Mike White?
@PharaohJay417 asks via Twitter: “Waiting on [Jalen] Hurts decision. Have [Gardner] Minshew and Mike White. Trying to figure out how to beat [Patrick] Mahomes + [Travis] Kelce + [Austin] Ekeler + [Tony] Pollard and friends.”
Samantha: That is a rough matchup as all four are superstars, but you know what they say about any given Sunday…
Between Minshew and White, I would probably have to give the edge to Minshew. He was very impressive on the road against a tough Dallas defense that ranks second in overall DVOA. This week’s matchup is slightly easier against the Saints, so Minshew should be at least a low-end QB1 in Week 17 if he gets the nod.
I like White, and he does have a better matchup, but he is surrounded by significantly fewer weapons. Minshew (or Hurts) has A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert and Miles Sanders, while White has Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, Tyler Conklin, Michael Carter, Zonovan Knight and an inferior offensive line. White should be a fringe-QB1/low-end QB2 against the Seahawks, who rank 21st in pass DVOA.
Gardner Minshew or Justin Herbert?
@JDubyaRose asks via Twitter: “I can’t believe I’m gonna say this… do I start [Gardner] Minshew over [Justin] Herbert???”
Samantha: No. Herbert still gets the edge for me despite recent struggles.
He has not thrown a touchdown since Week 14 and has two touchdowns total (and three interceptions) in the last four games. I am hopeful he will bounce back against the Rams, who rank 20th in pass DVOA.
I like Minshew a lot this week, but I just can’t imagine actually starting him over Herbert, who is the fantasy QB11 on the year. Start your studs.
Dak Prescott on Thursday or Pray Jalen Hurts Plays?
@greenemachine25 asks via Twitter: “Got both Dak [Prescott] and Jalen [Hurts]. Play it safe and start Dak this [Thursday] or wait on the status of [Hurts]?”
Samantha: Yes, I would probably play it safe with Prescott.
He was the QB1 last week against a stout Eagles defense and he now has a great matchup against the Titans, who rank 27th in pass DVOA and have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. This, coupled with their brutal run defense, should lead to a lot of action in the passing game from Prescott.
With Hurts, I am not even sure I would rank him over Prescott in light of the injury. They would be close, but I would much rather go with the “guaranteed” points on Thursday than wait and scramble on the weekend should Hurts be ruled out.
Advice After Being Eliminated
What Do I Do Without Fantasy Football This Week?
@NicholasHost asks via Twitter: “What to do now that I’m eliminated in every league I’m in?”
Samantha: This is an easy one. If your situation allows for it, either play daily fantasy or place some wagers on player props. Both should satisfy your desires to root for your favorite players and potentially make some money as consolation for being bounced from your playoffs.