The Loop Fantasy Football Report Week 12: Which replacements are quarterback keepers?

For many fantasy football mavens, a good quarterback is getting awfully hard to find.

The season-ending injury suffered by Cincinnati star Joe Burrow is only the latest setback for the top tier of QBs. Last week also saw an injury suffered by second-tier veteran Geno Smith.

With the previous departures of the Vikings’ Kirk Cousins, the Colts’ Anthony Richardson and the Browns’ Deshaun Watson, the quarterback waters have rarely been this shallow.

Who can you grab on waivers at this late date? You never had a chance at getting Arizona’s returning Kyler Murray. And we won’t even mention untested newbies like the Bengals’ Jake Browning or the Browns’ Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

There are only five replacement quarterbacks to consider, and their appeal varies greatly:

Josh Dobbs (Vikings) – It’s wishful thinking that the Passtronaut might still be available in your league. He’s clearly the best new starter as he is tied for eighth in the league with six rushing touchdowns, and he has passed for 647 yards and four TDs since taking the helm in Minnesota. But if your fellow owners have been asleep over the past couple of weeks …

DENVER, COLORADO – NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback Joshua Dobbs #15 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the football past linebacker Baron Browning #56 of the Denver Broncos en route to scoring a 10-yard rushing touchdown during the third quarter of the NFL game at Empower Field At Mile High on November 19, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Will Levis (Titans) – The rookie from Kentucky has been serviceable, with 857 passing yards and six TDs over the past four games. He’s due for his first NFL rushing TD, and he has a very nice matchup this week against the league’s worst team (Carolina).

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 19: Will Levis #8 of the Tennessee Titans throws a pass in the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Stadium on November 19, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images)

Gardner Minshew (Colts) – Indy’s sub has underwhelmed the past few weeks but has tallied eight passing touchdowns and two rushing TDs since Richardson went down. He’s clearly the most experienced option here, and the Colts’ upcoming schedule has no world beaters.

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 12: Gardner Minshew #10 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after the team’s 10-6 victory over the New England Patriots during the NFL match between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots at Deutsche Bank Park on November 12, 2023 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

Tommy DeVito (Giants) – We laughed, didn’t we, when he came in to replace Daniel Jones in Jersey. But the young paesano is getting the last laugh, looking reasonably competent the past two weeks with five TD passes. And his upcoming foes (Patriots, Packers, Saints) are light.

LANDOVER, MARYLAND – NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback Tommy DeVito #15 of the New York Giants hands the ball off against the Washington Commanders at FedExField on November 19, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Aidan O’Connell (Raiders) – THIS is where we would draw the line. O’Connell has shown some flashes of competence, but he has twice as many interceptions (6) as TD passes (3). And he has to play the Chiefs’ vastly improved defense two of the next four weeks. Do not bother.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 12: Quarterback Aidan O’Connell #4 of the Las Vegas Raiders passes during the 1st quarter of the game against the New York Jets at Allegiant Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Sitting stars

The Bears’ many problems do not include their second-ranked run defense, so neither Vikings RB, Alexander Mattison or Ty Chandler, will do well Monday night. … Indy RB Jonathan Taylor will be kept mostly under wraps by Tampa Bay. … Denver WR Courtland Sutton was the hero last week against Minnesota, but Cleveland’s No. 1 pass defense will focus on shutting him down. … Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs hasn’t done much lately and won’t again vs. Philly. … Raiders WR Davante Adams will be double-teamed all night by the Chiefs. … Cleveland WR Amari Cooper will really miss Deshaun Watson against the Broncos. … And we expect to see three quarterbacks struggle on Thanksgiving: the Packers’ Jordan Love, the Commanders’ Sam Howell and Seattle’s QB vs. the Niners, whether it’s Geno Smith or the underwhelming Drew Lock..

DENVER, COLORADO – NOVEMBER 19: Running back Alexander Mattison #2 of the Minnesota Vikings rushes the football against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter of the NFL game at Empower Field At Mile High on November 19, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Matchup game

Detroit RB David Montgomery had three touchdowns in his last game against the Packers, so he should be good for one or two on Thanksgiving. … Dallas RB Tony Pollard ended his scoreless streak last week and should make it two TD games in a row against Washington. … Miami RB Raheem Mostert gets to do all the running against the Jets’ 30th-ranked rushing defense with De’Von Achane hurt again. … Running backs we like this week include New England’s Rhamondre Stevenson against the Giants and Atlanta’s Bijan Robinson against the Saints. … Cincinnati WR Ja’Marr Chase will still get his numbers against Pittsburgh, even without Joe Burrow throwing to him … Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson will post bigger numbers against Chicago. … And the legend of Houston rookie QB C.J. Stroud will grow against the Jaguars’ 29th-ranked pass defense.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – OCTOBER 08: David Montgomery #5 of the Detroit Lions runs with the ball in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field on October 08, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Injury watch

Green Bay almost certainly will have to go without Aaron Jones on Thanksgiving, so A.J. Dillon will get yet another chance to show he might be No. 1 worthy. … The likely absence of Seattle RB Kenneth Walker moves Zach Charbonnet into the starting lineup. … The Vikings probably will give WR Justin Jefferson another week to heal … Players listed as questionable include
Bears RB D’onta Foreman, Houston RB Dameon Pierce, Washington RB Antonio Gibson, Rams WR Cooper Kupp, Houston WR Noah Brown and Saints QB Derek Carr.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – NOVEMBER 19: Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers reacts as he is carted off the field after being injured in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at Lambeau Field on November 19, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The deepest sleeper

Cardinals wide receiver Greg Dortch came into last week’s game with only a single 2-yard reception on his resume for 2023. But filling in for injured rookie Michael Wilson, Dortch caught six passes for 76 yards, giving him the team lead in catches, targets and yards for Week 11. How long will the veteran have such a connection with quarterback Kyler Murray? For the moment, it’s certainly a stronger connection than with the No. 1 wideout, Marquise Brown.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 12: Greg Dortch #83 of the Arizona Cardinals returns the kickoff against the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter at State Farm Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Christy/Getty Images)

The Thursday-Friday picks

Packers at Lions (-7½):
Pick: Lions by 3

Commanders at Cowboys (-10½):
Pick: Cowboys by 14

49ers at Seahawks (+6½):
Pick: 49ers by 14

Dolphins at Jets (+9½):
Pick: Dolphins by 20

ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 28: An Atlanta Falcons fan gets ready to carve up a turkey in the Home Depot Backyard while tailgating on Thanksgiving prior to an NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Breaking news

We’ll be updating our column, based on the latest injuries and innuendo, right up until Sunday’s kickoff. Go to

You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at

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