Over the past few weeks, I have started noticing a trend when it comes to fantasy football drafts. Mainly when it comes to taking a backup quarterback. For me, my QB2 is not only someone who will fill in when my starter is on a bye. But if my starter goes down for a couple games, my backup can give me valuable points should I need to start him for 2-3 games.
This way of thinking seems to have changed.
When analyzing rosters for the 2012 season, I've noticed owners will either take a one-game backup who has a "soft" schedule against a bad defense during their starter's bye. Or they don't take a backup at all, which frees up a roster spot for another running back or receiver. I'm not entirely opposed to the "Only take one quarterback" way of thinking. But if I have Tom Brady or Drew Brees and I lose them for the season, then I am going to have to hope there will be someone I can trust on the waiver wire to get me through the rest of the year. So while this is something that could work, there will always be a risk factor. Quarterbacks don't exactly pop up on the wire as much as running backs and receivers do.
For those owners who go with a one-week player or pass on a QB2 altogether, below is a list of each bye week and which quarterback could get you through one week of action with an easier game against a suspect defense.
Warning: I want everyone to keep in mind that a lot of these picks were derived from my own personal opinion and last year's stats from both the players and the defenses. With defenses and play from the player varying from year to year, a player who looks like he has an easy schedule in a certain week might not because the defense is playing much better than 2011. Or the player is simply having a bad year. Proceed each pick with caution.
Week 4 Indianapolis, Pittsburgh
Looking at the schedule, Vikings QB Christian Ponder could be an option as he will likely have to throw a lot to keep up with the Lions' juggernaut that is Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Really not much to say here. This game speaks for itself.
Week 5 Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, Tampa Bay
Week 5 could be the time to pick up or play Rams QB Sam Bradford in an inter-divisional game against the Cardinals. Last year, in a down year, Bradford averaged 229 passing yards with one touchdown and an interception. Bradford has looked much improved this year under new coaching, so I wouldn't hesitate in taking Bradford. Just remember that this game is on a Thursday night. Last thing you want to do is forget and be stuck with no one at your quarterback spot.
Week 6 Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville, New Orleans
He is always an iffy prospect, but Chiefs QB Matt Cassel faces a Tampa Defense that could have just as much trouble this year as last year. Keep in mind, however, that the Chiefs are expected to run a lot with Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis. But if you need someone in a pinch, Cassel could be your guy for this week. It helps having Dwayne Bowe around.
Week 7 Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego
Depending on how big your league is, this would be the week I start Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman with a juicy matchup against the Saints. Freeman passed for 303 yards in the first meeting and racked up three touchdowns and no interceptions in two games. Freeman could be your QB1 if you are in a larger league. If so, this would be the week I play him.
Week 8 Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Houston
49ers QB Alex Smith had an up-and-down season in 2011, but he did look good in the team's first game against the Cardinals in 2012, passing for 267 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He could be a desperate play against Arizona if you need him. This is also the week that the Seahawks play the Lions. Just like Ponder in Week 4, the quarterback starting for the Seahawks (Flynn/Wilson) this week could put up garbage yards. If Russell Wilson is the guy, you could have an added bonus for the potential for redzone scores. Keep in mind that both of these players are not as good as the ones I noted above.
Week 9 New England, New York Jets, San Francisco, St. Louis
Call me crazy, but this could be the week to start Cardinals QB John Skelton against the Packers. The Green Bay secondary ranked dead last against the pass last year, giving up 299 yards a game. Skelton might not be consistent enough to start every week, but he could be just good enough to get you by in Week 9. That is if he didn't blow his chance and the starting job went back to Kevin Kolb.
Week 10 Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington
The Giants had problems stopping the pass last year, allowing 255.1 passing yards a game. With a full season under his belt, Bengals QB Andy Dalton could be the sleeper of the week. With A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham and a mixture of talent at the WR2 spot, Dalton could be the guy who surprises.
Week 11 Minnesota, New York Giants, Seattle, Tennessee
After starting 10 regular season games, we could start seeing what Colts QB Andrew Luck can really do by this time. And no better time to use him than this week as he faces the Patriots in New England. The Patriots' secondary couldn't stop anyone in the passing game last year, but will this year be different? If anything, the Colts will likely have to play catchup all game long, giving Luck an opportunity to land as someone's QB1 for Week 11.