Clue us in to your cash portfolio this week in terms of the quarterback spot. We know it's probably sharpest to stick to the upper pricing tier – it's not an expensive group, and it's stable for a Week 17 – so rank for us these quarterbacks in terms of cash-game value:
Ben Roethlisberger vCLE ($7,000 DK / $8,500 FD) – PIT can clinch the AFC's No. 1 seed with a win and a NE loss, and both teams play at 1PM ET
Russell Wilson vARI ($6,900 DK / $8,700 FD) – SEA can clinch the playoffs with a win and an ATL loss, and both teams play at 4:25PM ET
Cam Newton @ATL ($6,800 DK / $8,400 FD) – CAR can clinch the NFC South with a win and a NO loss, and both teams play at 4:25PM ET
Tom Brady vNYJ ($6,800 DK / $8,500 FD) – NE can clinch the AFC's No. 1 seed with a win or a PIT loss, and both teams play at 1PM ET
Dan Hindery: I'll go into a bit of detail on how I rank the top four and why:
Newton – Since Week 4, Newton is averaging over 22 fantasy points per game. His consistent production as a runner (at least 5.0 rushing points in 11-of-13 games) gives him a surprisingly high floor and he’s scored at least 15.5 points in 7 straight games. He also has a nearly unmatched ceiling, with 3 games of 30+ points. Newton and the Panthers have a lot to play for, with an outside shot at earning a first-round bye. The potency of the Atlanta offense makes this the only of the four games listed above with shootout potential.
Brady – The Patriots have an implied team total of 29.75 points and this looks like a nice spot at home against a mediocre Jets pass defense. As mentioned above, the Patriots need the win to lock up home-field throughout the playoffs, so odds are high we see Brady for most or all of this game.
Wilson – This is a must-win spot for the Seahawks and Wilson has a solid floor since he is responsible for nearly every Seahawks touchdown. However, this could be a low-scoring affair with Drew Stanton not likely to push Wilson to play aggressively. Wilson has cooled off in recent weeks and has a tough matchup against a solid Arizona defense that pitched a shutout at home last week. In 11 career matchups against Arizona, Wilson has thrown for more than 240 yards just twice.
Roethlisberger – It may be a contrarian stance this week, but I am avoiding all Pittsburgh Steelers in cash games. There is a 90-95% chance that this is a meaningless game because the outcome only matters if Bryce Petty leads the Jets into Foxboro and comes out with a win. There are enough realistic scenarios where the Steelers starters could only play one half (for example if the Patriots jump out to a big lead), that this is a GPP-only spot for me. The late movement of the Las Vegas line points to this possibility, with the line dropping by 5.5 points in the last 24 hours from 16 to 10.5.
Jason Wood: My rankings are the same on both DraftKings and FanDuel:
But as the question noted, this is a week when cash lineups do not feel like a place to be too cute with the quarterback spot. I also like Case Keenum and Philip Rivers, but the quartet you've highlighted can and should be considered the top four options this week.
Justin Bonnema: My ranks are identical to Jason's, and I also love Rivers this week. I'd actually rank him above all four of these guys. Another option I'm considering in both cash and tournaments is Kirk Cousins. Washington may not have anything to play for, but Cousins is looking for a long-term contract and needs to end the year with a solid butt-whooping of a division rival.
Moderator: Good point, Bonnema. The playoffs aren’t the only motivation right now.
Wilson – The Seahawks are playing in a must-win game at home, and the matchup against the Cardinals has blowout written all over it. Wilson will play a huge part in running up the score.
Brady – The Patriots need the win to lock up the No. 1 seed, and they get the privilege of making that happen against a hated rival in the Jets. Look for Brady to do some serious damage before the Patriots finally call the dogs off in the fourth quarter.
Newton – The game against the Falcons has shootout potential, and that places Newton in the conversation for the week’s top quarterback option.
Roethlisberger – As Dan noted, this could be a meaningless game for the Steelers, and that makes me leery of looking their way in cash games.
Wilson – After two clunker fantasy games in a row from Wilson, he will look to get right this week as the Seahawks are in a must-win game to even give them a shot at the playoffs. I think the offense comes alive this week at home, and that Wilson is in on at least three touchdowns.
Newton – The Panthers are looking to get a home playoff game, and they will be going after it against the Falcons in a game that could be back-and-forth with some higher scoring.
Brady/Roethlisberger – I really won't be looking in this direction at all this week, as both teams have easy matchups at home and there will be no need to run up the score through the air.
Wilson – Dan brings up great points on Wilson’s history with the Cardinals, as well as their inspired defensive showing last week. But he represents the week’s best combination of statistical ability and motivation.
Brady/Newton – These two are nearly indistinguishable for me. I’d probably lean Brady, as I hate relying on rushing production from a quarterback. But Newton isn’t your average running QB – he’ll rack up 10+ carries and lead the charge near the goal line. Swap those: Newton, then Brady.
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