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While playing the same quarterback at the end of the season that you draft at the beginning is not guaranteed, there may be some leagues in which it is a must. Whether it be a best ball league (acceptable) or a league which limits roster moves (unacceptable!), if you need to find a quarterback in the draft who will be there for you come crunch time, then this is for you.

The good thing about quarterbacks is even if you take them late, you can still find good value. When it comes to quarterbacks, the guys being taken at the back end of drafts, while not the elite, do have one thing in common: durability. The likes of Philip Rivers, Alex Smith and even Eli Manning and Joe Flacco rarely miss games. While they may not put up 40 touchdowns like Aaron Rodgers or 5,000 yards like Drew Brees they are still extremely productive for their draft position.

Let us now take a look at the quarterback and defense positions and which players can be targeted to give you the best matchups during the playoffs of Weeks 13 through 17.

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Late-Round Quarterbacks to Consider

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

When it comes to sexy names at the quarterback position, Joe Flacco is not the first one which comes to mind. This is for a very good reason - he was terrible last season. With a bad back and a worse offense, it was expected in some senses but 3,141 yards and only 18 touchdowns were the direct reason the Ravens moved back into the first round to draft Lamar Jackson from Louisville. With Jackson having a subpar preseason and currently being the third quarterback on the depth chart, this will allow Flacco to not have to look over his shoulder in 2018. The Ravens are a true playoff contender this season and will have to play for all 16 games to get in. Therefore, the last four weeks of the season should be very good for Flacco as he will not be sitting out Week 17, for those who play all the way to the end.

Starting in Week 13, the Ravens will have two straight road games against high-powered offenses. In the first of these matchups, they will visit the Atlanta Falcons in what they hope will be the first of two visits to the stadium this season. With Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and company in the second season of the Steve Sarkisian experiment, the Falcons will be putting up points and the Ravens will need to throw to keep up. The following week in Arrowhead stadium, the Ravens will take on the first of two AFC West opponents in three weeks in the Chiefs. With Patrick Mahomes behind center and receivers like Sammy Watkins, Tyrek Hill and Travis Kelce, this team is going to put up points. This is good because their defense is going to give up points. I mean a lot of points this season. True, Arrowhead is a tough environment but if there is one thing about Flacco we know it is he performs better under pressure than not.

In their only home game in this stretch they get to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what could be a cold day in Baltimore, making it uncomfortable for the Buccaneers who could already be out of contention in the stacked NFC South. If Jameis Winston comes back strong after his suspension the offense could perform nicely, but if Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones II cannot get the rushing game going, the Ravens defense will be able to pressure and sack Winston. This would not allow him to use his weapons of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as well as either of the tight ends O.J. Howard or Cameron Brate.

Unfortunately, the Week 16 matchup is the hardest of the group, especially if the Chargers defense is as good as expected. One thing we will know for sure is there will be no need to worry about cold weather, or a hostile crowd for that matter, in Los Angeles. As long as Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon stay healthy, the Chargers offense should be rolling heading into the playoff run and again, while high-powered offenses are not good in terms of defenses we want, we love them when it comes to our own quarterback playing them. This should be another shootout for the Ravens, giving Flacco great value at a rock bottom price in your drafts. Oh, and if you play week 17? Well first, stop and petition for a rule change, but more importantly, the Ravens close the season at home against the Browns.

 

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Every year Big Ben finishes as a top-15 quarterback and yet every year he is looked past when it comes to draft time. Again, in 2018, this is happening again as Roethlisberger is going off the board at draft pick 10.07 as the 14th quarterback behind the likes of Matt Ryan and Jimmy Garoppolo.
As with Joe Flacco, the Steelers will also be playing their conference games against the AFC West and also like Mr. Flacco, they will be playing two of these teams during the fantasy playoffs. In the first of these games, the Chargers will be coming east to Pittsburgh in Week 13 and bringing their potent offense with them to Heinz Field. This will be the first game of a brutal playoff schedule for the Steelers against some great teams with equally great offenses.

The following week should be their easiest game of this part of the season as they will have a Sunday night game against the Oakland Raiders and their 1970’s throwback offense being developed under John Gruden. With the trade of Khalil Mack to the Bears, the Raiders are going to have a terrible defense which will be easily exploited by the Steelers, to the delight of Roethlisberger owners. As if this was not enough goodness, just wait for the final two weeks of the playoffs and the matchups in these games.

The next two weeks will bring a visit to Pittsburgh from the New England Patriots where the Steelers will have nothing in mind but revenge from the "No Touchdown" touchdown from last season which cost the Steelers a shot at the number one seed where they could have avoided the Jaguars for another round and maybe gotten past them to the Super Bowl. In the final week of the fantasy playoffs in Week 16, the Steelers will be on the road to face the New Orleans Saints in the Super Dome. With the Drew Brees-led offense likely to be fighting with the Falcons for the division, the yardage from both of these teams could likely be the highest seen all season in any game. Think Saints versus Giants from a few years back and you will get the picture. While yes, the Saints defense is better than years past, they are still not at the level to stop Roethlisberger and the rest of the Steelers weapons. This should as stated be a shootout and you want a piece of the action any way you possibly can get it. As for Week 17 for the Steelers? Bring on division rivals, the Bengals to Pittsburgh. We can only hope the Steelers still need to play for something otherwise everyone will be sitting.

 

Eli Manning, New York Giants

I love Eli Manning this season. And why not? With Odell Beckham Jr. returning from injury and getting his money, Saquon Barkley being drafted second overall and Evan Engram in his second season at tight end he will have arguably a top-five player at all three positions around him. Add into this past season's number one receiver in the absence of Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and you have a seemingly prolific offense behind what should be a better offensive line. With the signing of Nick Solder from the Patriots allowing for Ereck Flowers to finally move to the right tackle spot, the Giants should finally be able to block someone. Now let’s look at the matchups in the playoff weeks and see why else he should be a solid pick at quarterback.

In Week 13, the Bears will come to MetLife stadium with an offense which should be better than last season with new coach Matt Nagy actually planning an offense as compared to John Fox. With Mitchell Trubisky and Jordan Howard leading the way and the Giants defense being a low spot on the team this could be a sneaky high-scoring game. Eli could have a field day throwing in the winds of New Jersey.

In the next two weeks, the Giants will be playing two teams which do not have a great defense but should again, should be much better on offense this season. Starting in Week 14 against the division rival Redskins, the Giants will be looking to head to the nation's capital and take Washington to the wood shed. With Alex Smith in and Kirk Cousins out, the position should remain solid as they both have the same skill set. Where they differ is in the skill positions which should be available to Smith. With the hopefully healthy return of Jordan Reed and the signing of Paul Richardson to add to Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder, the receiving corps should be much better and allow for the redskins to put up points which will be matched by the Giants and Eli.

In the following week, the Giants will return home to take on Marcus Mariota and the Titans. With Corey Davis leading the way at receiver and Dion Lewis coming in from New England to provide the dual-threat, this is another offense who should rebound in 2018 as they look to overtake the Jaguars in the AFC South.

In Week 16, the Giants will head west to face off against their second AFC South opponent in a row. This time they get to play the Colts. While hopefully being led by Andrew Luck and a potent offense once again, the real treat here is the defense which could be not only the worst defense in the league, but just possibly the worst group in the league on either side of the ball. In the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Stadium, the Giants should be able to run up and down the field much like the elder Manning brother led the Colts up and down the field during his time there.

At this point in time, Manning is being drafted as the 24th quarterback off the board and with the weapons he has, many of them being top-five at their position, there is only room for him to gain in value. We know the only thing to take Manning off the field is a bad head coach as he has never missed a game otherwise, so durability is not an issue. The only issue here will be your willingness to draft him despite recency bias of his 2017 in which he only accrued 3,468 yards passing and 19 touchdowns while playing without his top two receivers and no running game behind a terrible offensive line.

 

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