Fantasy football: Five must-start QBs for Week 16

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow passes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Joe Burrow and Justin Fields are among my five must-start quarterbacks for Week 16 of the 2022 fantasy football season.

Each of my must-start passers ranks inside the Top 14 in my Top 20 weekly rankings, meaning they should be started in leagues with at least 14 teams. My full Top 20 weekly rankings are listed below.


Geno Smith is another high-end QB1 play this week. My list of five must-start quarterbacks also features some streaming options or injury fill-ins.

Patrick Mahomes, Burrow, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa make up the Top 5 of my weekly rankings. Smith, Tom Brady, Trevor Lawrence, Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff also are inside my Top 10.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (C) is my No. 2 fantasy football play for Week 16. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Joe Burrow

Burrow ranks fifth among quarterbacks in fantasy points per game over the last four weeks and remains an elite option for the remainder of the postseason. The Cincinnati Bengals star is the No. 2 option in my Week 16 quarterback rankings.

Burrow accounted for at least two touchdowns in 12 of his 14 starts this season, including his last three appearances.

This week, the Bengals will face the New England Patriots. The Patriots are decent at defending opposing quarterbacks, but I think this Bengals offense is too potent to stop. Look for Burrow to total at least 300 passing yards and three scores.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is a Top 10 fantasy football play in Week 16. File Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI

Geno Smith

Smith lands at No. 6 in my Week 16 rankings. The Seattle Seahawks veteran totaled the ninth-most fantasy points per game among quarterbacks over the last four weeks.

RELATED Fantasy football: Okonkwo, Wilson, Purdy lead add-drops for Week 16

Smith totaled at least two passing touchdowns in each start from Week 7 through Week 14. That streak ended in Week 15, when the Seahawks faced a tough San Francisco 49ers defense.

Look for Smith to rebound when the Seahawks battle the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs allowed the most passing touchdowns (2.1), 11th-most passing yards and fourth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks through 16 weeks.


Smith is a near lock for at least two passing scores. He also should eclipse 250 passing yards.

Quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Arizona Cardinals at 8:20 p.m. EST Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI

Tom Brady

Brady is my No. 7 play for Week 16, when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Arizona Cardinals. The Buccaneers quarterback eclipsed 300 passing yards and threw three touchdown passes in the same game for just the second time this season last week against the Bengals.

I expect Brady to experience similar success against a Cardinals secondary that allowed the 10th-most passing yards, eighth-most fantasy points and tied for allowing the second-most passing scores (1.8) per game to quarterbacks through 15 weeks.

Brady should total at least 275 passing yards and two scores.

Quarterback Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions will face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in Charlotte, N.C. Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI

Jared Goff

Goff is my No. 10 play for Week 16. The Detroit Lions quarterback averaged the eighth-most fantasy points per game among quarterbacks over the last four weeks.


He also averaged 290.5 passing yards and two touchdown passes over that span for the streaking Lions.

This week, the Lions will battle the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are decent at defending opposing quarterbacks, but I expect this to be a high-scoring matchup, with Goff finding the end zone at least twice.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is among my top players to start in Week 16. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI

Justin Fields

Fields, who at one point was the top quarterback in fantasy football, is my No. 11 play in Week 16.

Fields ran for an average of 100.8 yards per game over his last eight starts. He also scored seven rushing touchdowns and threw 12 passing touchdowns over that span. I expect Fields to finish as a low-end QB1 in Week 16 due to his dual-threat skillset.

The Bears also will face the Buffalo Bills, who allowed the 12th-most passing yards per game to quarterbacks through 15 weeks. Fields should log at least 200 passing yards and add another 100 yards on the ground. He could move into the Top 5 if he accounts for more than two touchdowns.

Week 16 fantasy football quarterback rankings


1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. SEA

2. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals at NE

3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills at CHI

4. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers at IND

5. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins vs. GB

6. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks at KC

7. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at ARI

8. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars at NYJ

9. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings vs. NYG

10. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions at CAR

11. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears vs. BUF

12. Zach Wilson, New York Jets vs. JAX

13. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at MIA

14. Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia Eagles at DAL

15. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens vs. ATL

16. Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers vs. DET

17. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers vs. WAS

18. Daniel Jones, New York Giants at MIN

19. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys vs. PHI

20. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders at PIT

This week in the National Football League

Jacksonville Jaguars running back JaMycal Hasty (22) is tackled after running in the fourth quarter as the Jaguars take on the Cowboys at the TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville on December 18, 2022. The Jaguars defeated the Cowboys 40-34 in overtime. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

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