Bridgewater missed all of this season due to a serious knee injury suffered in late August. After undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL and dislocation of his left knee, Bridgewater was able to walk without crutches nearly two months later. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old still has a long way to go in his recovery, which could extend into next season. Although Zimmer couldn't pin down a targeted return for Bridgewater, he said earlier that Sam Bradford, whom the Vikings acquired following Bridgewater's injury, "has earned the right to be the starting quarterback." That situation adds another layer of uncertainty to Bridgewater's fantasy stock, which obviously is reliant on him first returning to full health.
Brissett did not throw any TD passes or picks during that span, but the 2016 third-rounder did gain some valuable experience when thrust into action when fellow signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo (who had been filling in for the suspended Tom Brady) suffered a shoulder injury in Week 2. Brissett subsequently missed time after undergoing surgery on his right thumb in October, but was eventually activated off IR by the Patriots in December in order to reprise his depth QB duties.
The 2014 second-rounder had an early-season opportunity to fill in for the suspended Tom Brady cut short due to a shoulder injury, but Garoppolo was nonetheless able to do enough in the time that he was healthy to potentially draw offseason trade interest. Garoppolo is under contract with New England in 2017, but with Brady still entrenched as the team's starter, the Patriots could be tempted to deal Garoppolo if the right offer comes along. Alternatively, they could hold on to him as a valuable insurance policy for Brady, who is set to turn 40 this coming August.
Grayson was the Saints' third-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he spent the past season on the team's practice squad after failing to crack the final 53-man roster out of training camp. The 6-2, 220-pound quarterback out of Colorado State has not developed as quickly as the Saints have hoped, and he will presumably be given one last chance to earn a roster spot as Drew Brees' backup next season.
Big Ben primarily got out of the way and let Le'Veon Bell and his defense handle most of the heavy lifting. That's not to say he didn't have an impact in the victory, however, as Roethlisberger made several impressive throws, including a 52-yard bomb to Antonio Brown and a 26-yard strike to Jesse James down to the Chiefs' five-yard line. His one mistake came when he got a tad greedy on the play following the latter completion, as he reportedly audibled out of a run and subsequently had his pass batted by Frank Zombo at the line and intercepted by Eric Berry. Roethlisberger was mistake-free otherwise, and will likely need a similarly pristine performance in next week's conference championship for the Steelers to have a realistic chance of upending the Patriots on the road. Roethlisberger has now completed 33 of 49 passes for 421 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions over two postseason games.
Another day, the same old Alex Smith. The Chiefs quarterback was his usual unspectacular self Sunday and unfortunately had a few strokes of bad luck as well that ultimately assured Kansas City's demise. His interception came off a tipped pass that fell in the hands of Steelers LB Ryan Shazier and a holding penalty by tackle Eric Fisher negated a successful two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game at 18-18 with just minutes to go in the game. Key drops by Spencer Ware, Travis Kelce and Albert Wilson only made things worse. Despite returning a stellar receiving corps that includes the likes of Kelce, Jeremy Maclin and Tyreek Hill in 2017, Smith simply doesn't appear to possess the upside to join the upper echelon of fantasy quarterbacks.
Rodgers added to the burgeoning legend of his storybook 2016 campaign with a superb all-around performance, and yet another completion that defied the odds and set the Packers up for a game-winning field-goal attempt. The perennial Pro Bowler helped Green Bay build a 28-13 lead by early in the third quarter with a pair of scoring throws to his tight ends, hitting Richard Rodgers for a 34-yard touchdown in the first quarter and then finding Jared Cook from three yards out on the first possession of the second half. However, after the Packers defense allowed that edge to evaporate, it was Rodgers to the rescue, first leading an eight-play, 37-yard drive that culminated in a 56-yard field goal by Mason Crosby that snapped a 28-28 tie. After Dak Prescott did a pretty good Rodgers impression on the subsequent drive, which ended in a game-tying 52-yard field goal by Dan Bailey, Rodgers rolled left on third down with 18 seconds remainin and threw across his body 36 yards downfield to Cook, who just managed to keep his feet inbounds and make a spectacular catch. That led to Mason Crosby's 51-yard game-winning field goal as time expired, sending Rodgers to his third conference championship game. Factoring in Sunday's production, Rodgers has now completed 53 of 83 passes for 718 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception in two postseason contests, with what should likely be a high-scoring shootout against Matt Ryan on tap.
Making his first playoff appearance, Prescott was able to complete 63 percent of his throws while connecting with Dez Bryant for a pair of touchdowns and Jason Witten for another. He also led the Dallas offense to a last-minute field goal that tied the game just before Green Bay's winning field goal as time expired. Despite the fact that the season ended on a losing note, Prescott established himself as one of the most promising young quarterbacks in the NFL and acquitted himself extremely well on the postseason stage.
Sanchez, who logged some action in Week 17, when the Cowboys took it easy on a number of their key starters, is once again the odd man out at QB, with Tony Romo slated to serve as Dak Prescott's backup Sunday.
As was the case in virtually every game he started in a considerably disappointing first season in Houston, Osweiler underwhelmed Saturday, and his mistakes ultimately sealed the Texans' fate. The fifth-year pro threw his first pick in the third quarter in New England territory at the 46-yard line, at a point in which the Texans were still facing a manageable 24-13 deficit. His most crucial miscue was the second one, however, as it came early in the fourth quarter after Houston had managed to pull within 24-16. Osweiler's throw down the middle for DeAndre Hopkins was plucked out of the air and returned to the Texans' six-yard line by Logan Ruyan, setting up a game-clinching one-yard touchdown run by Dion Lewis. The error-laden performance was in a way a fitting conclusion to Osweiler's 2016 campaign, one in which his career highs in multiple categories belied the ineffectiveness he displayed over 15 games.