This week’s recap of the Week 9 leaders includes seven QBs who were able to generate at least 300 yards, led by Peyton Manning’s 438. Only three had achieved that feat heading into Sunday Night, but Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck and Eli Manning all accomplished it during their prime time matchups. Five signal callers also produced at least three TDs, as Roethlisberger amazingly produced six for a second consecutive week.
Now our attention shifts to Week 10, beginning with a congratulatory message to all of you who own Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler and (to a lesser degree) Matt Ryan. You have survived their byes, and can return them to your lineups. Unfortunately another impactful week awaits other less fortunate owners, as Andrew Luck, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers are the most notable among six signal callers who will be unavailable.
However, the information in this week’s rankings will help anyone who is searching for an alternative starter regardless of the reason. It also contains detailed analysis of the QB1s, followed by this week's best and worst matchups.
Top 25 Rankings
1. Aaron Rodgers vs. Bears
11 QBs had attempted more passes than Rodgers when he entered his bye week, yet he has been extremely effective with the opportunities that he has been allotted. He has exceeded 2,000 yards (2,092), averaged 262 YPG, and constructed those numbers in great part due to three games with 300+. He also had the league's fourth highest number of TDs (19) prior to Week 9. Four of which were generated against the Bears in Week 4, when these division rivals met in Chicago. Rodgers connected on 22-28 of his passes in that encounter without being intercepted. He also amassed 302 yards, while averaging nearly 11 yards per completion. His dominance over the Bears will continue this week, as Chicago ranks just 24th against the pass.
2. Peyton Manning at Raiders
Manning was confronted with unattractive weather conditions, along with a proficient New England defense in Week 9, but still managed to generate 438 yards. That was more than any other QB in Week 9, and it was also his second game of 400+ this year. He has now accumulated 2,572 for the season, which places him third among his peers. He also tossed two more TDs, and has now thrown for multiple scores in all eight of Denver’s games. That improves his season total to which trails only Luck. He should assemble another sizable yardage total this week, and will also amass multiple TDs once again. But the Raider defense has performed more effectively in the past three weeks, and Manning’s numbers might not reach the astronomical levels that once appeared imminent when forecasting this matchup.
3. Drew Brees vs. 49ers
Both Brees and the New Orleans offense have performed more fluidly in recent weeks, as Brees has averaged 332 YPG in his last five contests, while amassing 11 TDs during that span. In Week 9, he just missed attaining his fifth consecutive 300-yard game by producing 297 against Carolina. The 2nd quarter scoring pass that he generated was his 15th this season, and he later dove over a cluster of humanity on fourth and goal for his first rushing TD of the year. He now begins Week 10 having accumulated the NFL's fourth highest yardage total (2,524). And his 316 YPG average has been surpassed only by Luck and Manning. His recent momentum will be tested by San Francisco's third ranked pass defense, that is yielding just 206 YPG.
4. Ben Roethlisberger at Jets
By collecting a dozen TDs, His 12 TD binge over the past two weeks broke the old league record of 11 during a two game span, and vaulted into third among all QBs with 22 for the season. And after accumulating 862 yards in those last two contests, he has now amassed 2,720 for the season, which trails only Luck in that category. While it will be difficult to perfectly replicate this recent surge, he should deliver high quality production again this week. The Jets’ extremely accommodating pass defense has been scorched for a league high 24 TDs, and they have intercepted just one pass all season. Roethlisberger and the rejuvenated Steeler offense should compile sizable numbers once again.
5. Carson Palmer vs. Rams
Palmer continues to fortify his residence inside the top 12 by thriving within Bruce Arian’s pass friendly system, and providing consistent production. He has now produced at least two TDs in all five contests that he has participated in this season, after he connected for three more during his Week 9 matchup in Dallas. He also manufactured 249 yards against the Cowboys, while expanding his season total to 1,385, and his YPG average to 277. The Cowboys did garner an INT, but it was only Palmer’s second of the season, which should serve to fortify owners’ confidence in starting him again this week. He will face an inconsistent St. Louis pass defense that has demonstrated their vulnerability, yet just delivered an excellent performance in Week 9. The Rams sacked Colin Kaepernick a whopping eight times, although that only improved their season total to 14.
6. Matt Ryan vs. Buccaneers
While the general uneasiness regarding Ryan's most recent outings is understandable, his overall numbers should not be ignored. He entered his bye with the NFL's third highest yardage total (2,306), and his 15 TDs placed him eighth among his peers in that category. Of course, that is a testimony to how exceptional he was during September, when he surpassed 285 yards three times, and produced 10 TDs. That included his Week 3 output against the same Tampa Bay defense that he will face this week. Ryan amassed 286 yards and three TDs in less than three quarters of work in that contest, although his underwhelming numbers from Weeks 5-8 later compelled many owners to jettison Ryan onto their benches. But he has an outstanding opportunity to deliver his best output since that first encounter with the Buccaneers. Lovie Smith’s woeful defense currently ranks 31st against the pass, and will struggle with Ryan's primary targets this week.
7. Matthew Stafford vs. Dolphins
Injuries have robbed Stafford of several dangerous weapons during his first seven games, and any assessment of his performance at this point of the season should include that factor. Foremost among those is the ankle issue that jettisoned Calvin Johnson to the sidelines for three games, while also limiting him to 19 yards in Weeks 4 and 5 combined. Still, even though Stafford's output has not been catastrophic, he has not met the expectations of most who drafted him. Prior to his bye, he was fifth among all QBs with 2,216 yards. However, his 262 YPG average was just 10th best. And even though he produced two TDs in both Weeks 7 and 8, that merely brought his season total to 11. Leaving him tied for 14th in that category. This week his weapons should return to the lineup. But Stafford still will be facing an unfavorable matchup, as Miami's second ranked pass defense is permitting just 201 YPG.
8. Jay Cutler at Packers
While Cutler's decision making has led to turnovers, and might prohibit the Bears from winning a Super Bowl, he has delivered for owners throughout the season. Through seven games, Cutler attained the NFL's eighth highest yardage total (2,093) while also producing 17 TDs. However, six of his eight INTs have been generated during Chicago's last five games, and are a concern in leagues that deduct points for those transgressions. Especially considering his history with the Packers, as Cutler's 19 career INTs are by far the most that he has manufactured against any NFL franchise. He has also produced just 13 TDs in 10 games versus Green Bay, and will not achieve massive success in this contest either.
9. Tony Romo at Jaguars
One week of experiencing Brandon Weeden as the Dallas starter was sufficiently disturbing that a return engagement is highly doubtful. Romo appears destined to return this week, after Weeden only manufactured 183 yards and a TD in Week 9, while also tossing two INTs. Romo had produced multiple TDs in five consecutive games before the Redskins limited him to one in Week 8. But his productivity should resume when he joins the Cowboys' 11th ranked passing attack for Sunday's matchup with Jacksonville. The Jaguars have been more effective defensively in recent weeks, but their massive deficiencies against the pass earlier this season still leave them ranked 27th. They have also permitted 263 YPG, 15 TDs, and won't be able to completely suppress the Cowboys' aerial attack. night
10. Russell Wilson vs. Giants
He barely merits inclusion in the top 12 due to the depletion of options that the bye week and Foles' broken collarbone have created. Even though a cluster of injuries to Seattle's offensive line has not facilitated matters for Wilson in Week 9, he was also uncharacteristically inaccurate throughout the contest, which contributed significantly to his disappointing output. Wilson only managed 179 yards against the Raiders, which was third time in four games that he has been unable to reach 200. In fact, he has only surpassed the 260 yard mark once this season. And it appears that forecasts within the fantasy community that he was now ascending into the upper echelon of QB1s were premature. The Seahawks are now devoid of receiving weapons that strike fear into opponents, which supplies a sizable hurdle for Wilson as he attempts to guide the offense. However, he will now face a Giants pass defense that permitted 354 yards and four TDs to Luck last Monday night.
11. Colin Kaepernick at Saints
If Kaepernick could consistently stockpile fantasy points to the degree that he did when he faced St. Louis in Week 6 - 343 yards and three TDs - owners would reap the benefits of having an undisputed QB1. Unfortunately, he could not even duplicate those numbers in a rematch against the same Ram unit that he shredded just three weeks earlier. He only managed 237 yards, which was the sixth time that he has failed to even reach 250. Amid a disappointing year, it was originally thought that he would be able to produce when provided with a favorable matchup. But even that is now in question. This week he will face an improving New Orleans defensive unit that was woeful during much of the season, but has performed better in recent weeks. In their past two contests, the Saints have generated three INTs and seven sacks, while limiting Cam Newton to 151 yards in Week 9.
12. Ryan Tannehill at Lions
The third-year signal caller established a new season highs in yardage (288) in Week 9, while also producing three TDs, for the first time this season during Miami's thorough domination of San Diego. It was the third time in the past five weeks that he has thrown for over 250 yards. Plus, it was the fourth time in five games that Tannehill has manufactured multiple TDs. He has also rushed for at least 47 yards in four straight games, which raises his viability as a QB1 even further. The concern with utilizing him this week, is his daunting matchup with Detroit’s top ranked defensive unit.
13. Cam Newton at Eagles
14. Andy Dalton vs. Browns
15. Joe Flacco vs. Titans
16. Kyle Orton vs. Chiefs
17. Mark Sanchez vs. Panthers
18. Eli Manning at Seahawks
19. Alex Smith at Bills
20. Michael Vick vs. Steelers
21. Brian Hoyer at Bengals
22. Josh McCown at Falcons
23. Derek Carr vs. Broncos
24. Blake Bortles vs. Cowboys
25. Zach Mettinberger at Ravens
Aaron Rodgers vs. Bears When Rodgers threw two INTs with just one TD during his last game in Week 8, that was the first time that he had failed to garner multiple TDs since Week 3. Plus, those were his first INTs since Week 1. Yet, in the aftermath of those developments, he still had constructed a stellar 19/3 TD to INT ratio after seven contests. That fortified the level of satisfaction with his owners, who had invested an early round selection in Rodgers. Now his systematic punishment of opposing defenses should resume this week, as a result of his very favorable matchup with Chicago. He has traditionally feasted upon Bear secondaries, as his 25/8 TD to INT ratio against Green Bay's long-time rival will attest. Plus, Chicago has permitted opposing QBs to accumulate more fantasy points than any other defense this season. They have also surrendered 262 YPG and 17 TDs. Expect their hospitality to continue as Rodgers picks them apart with regularity.
Ben Roethlisberger at Jets In the aftermath of Roethlisberger’s remarkable performance in Week 8, the belief from here was that he would follow that up by delivering respectable numbers in Week 9 against a Baltimore secondary that was missing Jimmy Smith. But the notion that he would collect six TDs for a second consecutive week was nonexistent. Now that he has actually accomplished it, the idea that Roethlisberger could garner six for a third straight week seems beyond impossible. However, if there is a secondary that can boost his chances of achieving that, it would be the one that he will be facing this week. As mentioned earlier, the Jets have allowed more TDs through the air than any other team, and have done so by a considerable margin. They have surrendered 15 in the past five games alone, and Rex Ryan continues to hold open competition to determine who should start at CB. Roethlisberger should shred this overmatched unit, and supply owners with valuable fantasy points.
Matt Ryan vs. Buccaneers After Ryan delivered an extensive number of fantasy points during Atlanta’s first four contests, the results were very disappointing as the calendar progressed into October. Injuries, ineffective line play, and talent deficiencies within Atlanta's offense combined to derail what had been a highly productive season for the seven-year veteran. During that span, his YPG dropped from 316 to 261, he only manufactured five TDs, and Ryan also appeared unsettled at times. But prior to the statistical decline, he delivered an exceptional performance against Tampa Bay in Week 3, connecting on 21 of his 24 passes, before performing the role of spectator in the 4th quarter. While the Falcons have not been able to replicate the same degree of proficiency since that contest, the Buccaneers defense remains just as accommodating. They are allowing 400 YPG, and are also permitting a league worst 30 PPG. Plus, they are next to last against the pass, while yielding 285 YPG and 18 TDs. They also just allowed Brian Hoyer to produce 300 yards for the first time this season. If Ryan cannot exploit this awful unit after having an additional week to prepare, then his status as a QB1 for the remaining weeks is highly questionable.
Matthew Stafford vs. Dolphins
Even though Stafford should benefit from having both Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate in the lineup, he will still face a daunting challenge this week. The Dolphins seventh ranked defense has been a formidable obstacle for opposing offenses this season in that they have been stingy against the pass while often supplying a forbidding presence versus the run. But their complete domination of a San Diego unit that had averaged 353 YPG entering Week 9 was particularly impressive. Miami kept the Chargers of the scoreboard by thoroughly stonewalling their offense. Permitting just 178 total yards, with 138 of those being generated through the air. They also harassed Philip Rivers relentlessly, while also picking him off three times. That performance helped elevate them into second among all teams in pass defense (202 YPG) and they have held the last five opposing QBs to just 190 YPG. However, given the structure of Detroit’s attack, Stafford will be tasked with challenging the Dolphins through the air. But he may encounter great difficulty exceeding his 262 YPG average.
Drew Brees vs. 49ers
Since Week 4, Brees has averaged 332 YPG, and has amassed 11 TDs, including the rushing TD in Week 9. In doing so, he has generated a 332 YPG average with 10 TDs in his last five contests, and averaged 325 with seven TDs during his last three games inside the Superdome. While he has guided the Saints' passing attack with sustained effectiveness in recent weeks, he will be tested in this week’s matchup with the 49ers. In addition to possessing the NFL’s third best YPG average versus the pass, San Francisco just limited Austin Davis to a mere 105 yards in Week 9. With the exception of their Week 7 encounter with Denver, when Manning scorched them for 318 yard and four TDs, they have neutralized four of their past five opponents’ passing attacks. Allowing 195 yards to Foles, 158 to Alex Smith, 236 to Davis, followed later by their smothering effort in the rematch with Davis. Brees will still amass reasonable output while performing at home for this matchup, but San Francisco will keep the results from reaching significant levels.
Ryan Tannehill at Lions
Tannehill occupied the mid to lower teens in these rankings, during much of the season, until his recent production surge elevated his relevancy, and thrust, him into QB1 consideration. But even though he could easily help owners in the upcoming weeks, it may be best to search elsewhere for your Week 10 starter. Because the Lions will return from their bye leading the NFL in total defense, and are yielding just 290 YPG. They are also allowing the fewest points of any NFL team (15.8 PPG), are fourth against the pass (216 YPG), have surrendered the fewest TD passes (nine), and are currently eighth with 23 sacks. They will be well rested, and performing at home. All of which underscores the fact that even though Tannehill has now earned consideration as a low end QB1, this simply is a difficult week to rely upon him.