This column will help you, whether you selected your QB at the onset of your drafts, or if you chose your signal caller in the middle rounds. It will also be beneficial if you are one of the owners who have comfortably locked Aaron Rodgers or RG3 into your starting lineups throughout the season, but must now find an alternative due to their bye weeks. The same is true for owners that have been utilizing Brandon Weeden. John Skelton is also unavailable, but here’s hoping that does not even remotely impact your rosters.
The five QBs that will be discussed immediately below have the most enticing matchups this week among those who merit consideration as a starter. It does not necessarily mean that they are the top five signal callers from a ranking standpoint, although that might actually be the case in certain weeks. That will be followed immediately by the top 20 rankings for this week. Both sections will provide you with additional insight into each QB’s next encounter. Including facts and statistics to guide you toward the best decision regarding whether or not they should be in your starting lineup.
With that, here are the five most enticing matchups, which are followed immediately by the top 20 rankings for this week.
5 BEST MATCHUPS
Tom Brady vs. Bills
He entered his bye week leading the NFL with 2,408 yards for the season, which easily puts him on pace to surpass 4,000 yards for the fifth time in his illustrious career. He has also tossed 16 TDs, and has limited his INT total to just three despite generating 320 attempts. Plus, his 301 YPG, ties him for third among all QBs. Brady now returns for a rematch with the same Buffalo pass defense that he torched for 340 yards and three scores in Week 4. The Bills currently rank just 24th versus the pass, are yielding 248 YPG, and have surrendered 16 TDs through the air. Only four teams have surpassed that total, which has contributed mightily to their meager ranking of 31st in scoring defense. Buffalo is currently allowing opponents to produce 31 points per game, and Brady should encounter little difficulty guiding his team to a similar total this week. Expect him to deliver his sixth 300+ yard performance of the season, along with four TDs.
Matt Ryan @ Saints
While the Falcons lead the series between these long time rivals 46-40, the Saints have won 10 of the past 12 encounters. But the unbeaten Falcons have upped the ante considerably to this point of the season, as Ryan has spearheaded an aerial attack that has produced significantly regardless of who lines up against him. Meanwhile, the Saints are not even remotely proficient in defending the pass, as New Orleans now ranks just 29th, while yielding 295 YPG. They have also allowed at least 300 yards to five of the seven QBs that they have faced. And there is more good news for Ryan owners, in that the Saints have only managed to generate four INTs, yet have been highly susceptible to giving up big plays (16 passing TDs). Ryan has thrown for multiple TDs in six of eight contests this season, and has produced over 340 yards in three games. Expect him to attain those numbers again this Sunday.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Chiefs
He has attempted at least 35 passes in five different games this season, and will almost assuredly do so again this week. Not only will he become the beneficiary of a favorable matchup, but you can expect that former Chief HC Todd Haley will dial up an aggressive aerial assault that enables Roethlisberger to exploit Kansas City’s vulnerable pass defense. The Chiefs would appear to possess talent in their secondary, yet they have permitted 17 TDs through the air. Brandon Flowers’ performance has been uneven, while Eric Berry is not the same player that he was prior to tearing his ACL in 2011. Stanford Routt was such a liability in coverage that he was cut this week. Their unit is yielding 30 points per pame, and will have extreme difficulty containing Pittsburgh’s offensive weapons, regardless of Antonio Brown’s status. Roethlisberger should operate with extreme proficiency, whether the team decides to throw vertically, or chooses to utilize a collection of shorter passes. Expect him to generate well over 300 yards, and four TDs on the Monday Night stage.
Andrew Luck @ Jaguars
Luck threw 46 passes while amassing 313 yards and two scores when he faced the Jaguars in Week 3, and has gained valuable experience since that time. He is now among some extremely elite company by joining Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only four QBs averaging at least 300 YPG.
And while Luck’s production in road contests has fallen short of the output that he has generated in Indianapolis, this Thursday Night road matchup is simply too enticing to ignore. In Week 9 he launched the ball 47 times for a whopping 433 yards and two scores last week against Miami, which supplies further indication that he will accumulate a mammoth number of attempts and yardage this week. He should consistently exploit a Jacksonville pass defense that now ranks 25th, allows 256 YPG, and will grow increasingly weary from spending a significant amount of time on the field. That will be due to the ineffective play of their offensive counterparts, as the Jaguars also rank dead last in scoring (14 PPG), and have too many shortcomings to consistently build sustained drives. This will further cement Luck’s chances of producing his fifth 300-yard performance of the year.
Matthew Stafford @ Vikings
He tossed an enormous 51 passes, assembled 319 yards, and ran for a TD when he met the Vikings in Week 4. In four games since that time, Stafford has averaged 303 YPG, and amassed five TDs. And even though Calvin Johnson is operating at less than 100%, Ryan Broyles and Titus Young have joined Mikel Leshoure, Joique Bell, and the tight end tandem of Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler in providing Stafford with an arsenal of weapons to supplement Megatron. Which should help him accumulate excellent numbers against a Minnesota pass defense that has hardly been stellar in their past three games. During that span they have allowed John Skelton to generate 262 yards and a TD, permitted another 262 yards and three scores to Josh Freeman, and enabled Russell Wilson to connect for three TDs. The Vikings can bring pressure (24 sacks), but have managed to secure only four INTs all season. Stafford should avoid supplying them with a fifth, and will dissect them for 300+ yards and three TDs.
TOP 20 RANKINGS
1. Tom Brady (vs. Bills)
Brady has won 19 of 20 games against Buffalo during his career, and has thrown more TDs against the Bills than any other team. Considering how effectively the Patriots have moved the ball, and how extensively the Bills have struggled to contain opposing passers, that script should be followed perfectly on Sunday.
2. Matt Ryan (@ Saints)
Ryan was held without a TD pass for the first time this year when he faced the Cowboys in Week 9. But this week’s matchup with New Orleans will enable him to add significantly to his total of 17 for the season.
3. Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Chiefs)
Roethlisberger has been averaging 37.5 attempts per game, and has every reason to continue throwing with frequency against the Chiefs. Only one team has surrendered more TDs passes than Kansas City, and only two have permitted more points per game.
4. Peyton Manning (@ Panthers)
Manning has thrown three TD passes in five consecutive contests. That streak could be in jeopardy when he faces a Panther pass defense that has allowed just nine all season. Nevertheless, he will produce significant yardage and a sizable number of fantasy points.
5. Andrew Luck (@ Jaguars)
Luck should produce his most effective road performance this season against a Jaguar team that contains widespread inadequacies.
6. Drew Brees (vs. Falcons)
Brees continues to lead the NFL’s most productive passing offense, and has exceeded 300 passing yards five times in eight games this season. He should approach that number once again, even though Atlanta has been respectable against the pass (229 YPG).
7. Matthew Stafford (@ Vikings)
He tossed an enormous 51 passes but could not generate a TD when he met the Vikings in Week 3. However, he did run for a score, and with 637 yards, three passing TDs, and a rushing score in the past two weeks, the rejuvenated Stafford is far more likely to deliver multiple scores.
8. Josh Freeman (vs. Chargers)
He has vaulted into legitimate status as a QB1, after throwing 11 TD passes in his last four games, while amassing 1,309 yards in the process. He is a must start until he displays otherwise.
9. Eli Manning (@ Bengals)
Eli should rebound from generating just 125 yards in Week 9, when he faces a 19th ranked Cincinnati pass defense that has struggled in multiple areas. They are allowing 240 YPG, and have only intercepted three passes prior to picking off Eli’s brother twice in Week 9. Eli’s biggest challenge might be their pass rush, as the Bengals have generated 23 sacks.
10. Tony Romo (@ Eagles)
Romo’s 13 INTs still lead the NFL, and any of his owners can tell you that nine of them occurred in just two contests. But the Eagles have picked off seven passes, which only places them 7th in that category. There is more good news for Romo owners, as Philly have only managed 11 sacks all season.
11. Andy Dalton (vs. Giants)
While Dalton passed for 299 yards in Week 9, he has now thrown at least one INT in every contest this season. He will now face a pass defense that is tied for the NFL lead with 17 in that category.
12. Cam Newton (vs. Broncos)
Yardage won’t come easily against a 10th ranked Denver pass defense that permits just 221 YPG. Newton will need to connect with other weapons beyond Steve Smith in order to have any hope for a successful outing.
13. Carson Palmer (@ Ravens)
Palmer tossed an gargantuan 61 passes in Week 9, and shortcomings within Oakland’s injury depleted running game might force him to throw extensively again.
14. Philip Rivers (@ Buccaneers)
After accumulating 220 yards versus Kansas City in Week 9, he has still surpassed 300 only one time all season. By comparison, he had exceeded that number five times after the first eight games of 2011.
15. Joe Flacco (vs. Raiders)
Flacco returns home, where he has thrown seven of his ten TDs, and averaged 365 yards. Oakland’s 21st ranked pass defense that should be bolstered by the return of top corner Ron Bartell, but still possesses many inadequacies.
16. Michael Vick (vs. Cowboys)
The helpless Saint pass defense will enable any QB to experience a brief resurgence. But Vick’s frequent turnovers, his 10 QB / nine INT ratio, and his almost nonexistent rushing TDs, nearly replicate last year’s disappointing numbers. Meanwhile, those 21 passing TDs and nine rushing scores of 2010 seem long, long ago.
17. Matt Schaub (@ Bears)
Schaub will encounter much more difficulty accumulating yardage against Chicago than he did versus the Bills in Week 8. He must also be cautious, as the Bears have generated 25 sacks and 17 INTs.
18. Jay Cutler (vs. Texans)
Houston’s smothering run defense has yet to allow a TD all season. Therefore, Cutler will need to throw, and must contend with Texans pass rush (24 sacks). He only cracks the top 20 this week due to the presence of Brandon Marshall.
19. Ryan Fitzpatrick (@ Patriots)
He should assemble sufficient numbers for fantasy owners with bye week issues. New England’s 28th ranked pass defense has been unable to contain opposing passing attacks, having allowed 281 YPG and a whopping 17 TDs.
20. Alex Smith (vs. Rams)
26 other signal callers have now thrown for more yardage this season. But this is a good week to use Smith if you have bye issues. He will face a St. Louis pass defense that has been pillaged for 646 yards and seven TDs in just their last two games.