In Week 5, seven QBs passed for 300+ yards, with Peyton Manning generating a season high 479. While seeing his name atop that list is hardly shocking, discovering that second-signal caller Austin Davis delivered the second highest total certainly is. Manning also led all QBs with four TDs in Week 5, including the 500th of his career. Davis and Brian Hoyer were the only other QBs to produce more than two through the air, as that tandem provided evidence that they are worthy of consideration from fantasy owners.
Now, we roll onward to Week 6, and for the second consecutive week, only two teams will be experiencing their byes. However, New Orleans is among that tandem, which becomes enormously impactful for Drew Brees owners. If you are among them, this is the week that the 14-year veteran cannot take his customary slot in your lineups, and you must endure the uncertainty of using an alternative. Fortunately, this column will help identify the most feasible options for temporarily insertion into your lineups. Plus, it will assist anyone who has employed Alex Smith as their QB2 in deeper leagues.
As always, the top 25 signal callers will be ranked, which will include updated information regarding this week's QB1s. All of which will be followed by this week's best and worst matchups.
Top 25 Rankings
1. Peyton Manning at Jets
He just established new season highs by generating that gargantuan yardage total, along with the aforementioned four TDs versus Arizona in Week 5. Yet, he could assemble even more impressive results this week when he matches up against the Jets. Gang Green was just scorched for 288 yards and three TDs by Philip Rivers. Plus, they have now surrendered 12 TDs, which is the NFL's second highest total. Manning owners should thoroughly enjoy the results of this matchup.
2. Philip Rivers at Raiders
After carving up that defective Jet secondary, he has now generated 1,443 yards, while accumulating 12 TDs. That places him within the top four in both categories, and his assault upon deficient defensive units will continue this week in Oakland. Rivers should deliver his second 300-yard outing of the season. Unless the Chargers sprint to an insurmountable lead so early that Mike McCoy elects to utilize their ground game extensively throughout a large portion of the second half. Even if that occurs, Rivers will provide outstanding numbers.
3. Andrew Luck at Texans
Luck continues to lead the NFL with 1,617 yards, also paces the league with 323 YPG, and has thrown the most TDs (14). Last Sunday, the Ravens became the first team this season to keep him from producing multiple TDs. And he will now be forced to endure a quick turnaround for this Thursday Night matchup. Houston's 18th ranked pass defense is permitting 238 YPG, but Luck should exploit them for 300+, and generate at least two TDs.
4. Aaron Rodgers at Dolphins
His connections with Jordy Nelson have enabled Nelson to remain among the top two in receiving yards, and his throws to the elusive Randall Cobb have also been fruitful. Plus, seven of his 12 TD passes have been generated in Green Bay's last two contests. Now, owners can feel confident in several emerging factors that bode well for Rodgers' production moving forward. After averaging a paltry 40 YPG in his first four games, Eddie Lacy bolted for 105 in Week 5. If he can provide the sustained threat of an effective ground game, that will facilitate matters for Rodgers and the passing attack. As will the continued development of Davante Adams into a dangerous option.
5. Matt Ryan vs. Bears
Despite losing his center, left guard and right tackle, Ryan was able to rise above beyond the challenges of having an injury depleted line, and generated his second 300-yard performance of the season in Week 5. And he accomplished it against a sturdy Giant pass defense. He will now return to the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome, to face a Chicago pass defense that has yielded nine TDs. Only six teams have allowed more.
6. Jay Cutler vs. Falcons
Only once in his career has Cutler exceeded 25 TDs in a season, and he has failed to reach 20 since 2010. But after launching two against Carolina last Sunday, he has already thrown 12. He will expand that total versus Atlanta's generous pass defense. Plus, he will not be forced to endure a formidable pass rush like he did against the Panthers, when he was sacked four times. That will diminish the chances of costly turnovers, and enable him to produce at least two more TDs.
7. Matthew Stafford at Vikings
Even with a healthy lineup, Stafford was already dealing with a smaller assortment of weapons than most of his fellow QBs. While it has not impeded him from accumulating yardage, his TD total has been underwhelming. But injuries to Calvin Johnson, Joique Bell and Golden Tate significantly impacted the Lion offense in Week 5, as it severely limited his options. Stafford still manufactured 221 yards, which extended his season total to 1,397. However, he only managed one TD, and has only thrown six in five contests. Unfortunately for his owners, Stafford’s chances of expanding that number are largely dependent upon the availability of his most critical weapons (particularly Johnson). And his ranking in this column is equally contingent upon their health.
8. Ben Roethlisberger at Browns
His borderline unfathomable 18-1 career record against Cleveland has been a topic in this column, and will remain so until something alters the repetitive results in this matchup. Because they also reflect the statistical success that he has experienced, including the 365 yards that he accrued while facing the Browns in Week 1. Expect another 300-yard performance against the NFL's 28th ranked pass defense.
9. Eli Manning at Eagles
After throwing four INTs in his first two contests, Eli has only tossed one in the past three. He has also generated at least two TDs in each of the last four games, and should continue that streak against a Philadelphia defense that can generate big plays, but also surrenders them. Plus, the insertion of Odell Beckham Jr. into his blend of options will bolster Manning’s chances of accruing excellent numbers in this matchup.
10. Colin Kaepernick at Rams
He continues to subsist on the periphery of QB1s, although there has been little for his owners to owners to celebrate. 14 QBs have thrown for more yardage, and Austin Davis has a higher total, despite playing in two less contests. Kaepernick has only produced one TD through the air in three of his five games, and has failed to throw more than two in any contest this season. While his yardage totals have remained above 200, he has not surpassed 248. His output has been steadily uninspiring regardless of the opposition, and you can expect similar results this week.
11. Nick Foles vs. Giants
After averaging 326 YPG during his first three games, Foles has only managed 207 in the past two. His TD/INT ratio has also been a discomforting 2/3 since Week 3. This week's matchup with the sturdy pass defense of Philadelphia's divisional rival will be difficult, and will extend his struggles for another week.
12. Russell Wilson vs. Cowboys
His proficient performance on Monday Night served as a reminder that he can function as a low end QB1 despite the fact that he won't be asked to launch 45 passes during a game. Wilson produced 201 yards and two TDs on just 24 attempts, while rushing for 122 yards and another TD against Washington. Even though 26 QBs have generated more passing attempts, only 14 have more TDs. Plus, he leads all QBs with 209 yards on the ground. This week, he should provide owners with another respectable point total versus the Cowboys' 23rd ranked defense.
13. Tony Romo at Seahawks
14. Andy Dalton vs. Panthers
15. Cam Newton at Bengals
16. Kirk Cousins at Cardinals
17, Tom Brady at Bills
18. Brian Hoyer vs. Steelers
19. Mike Glennon vs. Ravens
20. Joe Flacco at Buccaneers
21. Austin Davis vs. 49ers
22. Ryan Tannehill vs. Packers
23. Blake Bortles at Titans
24. Kyle Orton vs. Patriots
25. Charlie Whitehurst vs. Jaguars
Philip Rivers at Raiders
September's AFC Player Of The Month delivered another high quality performance in Week 5, and now is presented with an opportunity to assemble a massive number of fantasy points against Oakland's poorly constructed defensive roster. The Raiders headed into their bye ranked a deceptive fourth against the pass, although anyone who watched Ryan Tannehill slice through them effortlessly in Week 4 can attest that they can be tortured through the air. They have even greater difficulty restricting the run, as the Silver and Black rank 31st, and are allowing 158 YPG. While Branden Oliver has injected much needed juice into San Diego's 25th ranked ground game, the Chargers should be compelled to attack their division rivals though the air. That will lead to considerable success throughout what will be a lopsided contest.
Jay Cutler at Falcons
Jacksonville's league worst pass defense has been such a frequent topic throughout fantasy circles, that it has averted attention from the massive struggles of other units such as Atlanta. And the Falcons’ various defensive weaknesses are significant in their own right, when conducting an evaluations of their matchups. Their pass defense is yielding 260 YPG, as they have permitted two signal callers to surpass 300 yards against them, and have surrendered 250+ in three games. They have also manufactured just four sacks in five contests, and will not be capable of overpowering Chicago’s offensive line. That will result in a clean pocket for Cutler, who will become the latest signal caller to exploit Atlanta’s vulnerable unit.
Eli Manning at Eagles
The Eagles have been a helpful unit for fantasy owners, due to their excellent special team performances, along with their opportunistic nature. But their pass defenders also have the propensity to be extremely generous, particularly in terms of allowing opponents into the end zone. The 29th ranked unit is permitting 274 YPG, and has now been torched for 13 TDs. That includes the 375 yards and three scores that Austin Davis generate in his third career start last Sunday. Now, Manning and the revitalized Giant offense will invade Lincoln Financial Field, and should continue their recent surge. Expect Manning to produce multiple TDs, and approach 300 yards during the NFC East encounter. And with Rashad Jennings now sidelined, the Giants will be even more reliant upon Manning and the passing game.
Tony Romo at Seahawks
Seattle's pass defense has not been the impenetrable force that we witnessed last season when the Seahawks possessed the NFL's premiere pass defense, allowed only 172 YPG, and gave up 16 TDs. After permitting 283 YPG and two TDs against Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, Seattle now ranks just 22nd, and has already permitted eight TDs. However, even though moving the ball against Seattle is currently not the insufferable process that it was in 2013, that does not make this a favorable matchup for Romo. The Seahawks will be very inspired in front of their enthusiastic home crowd. And even though Romo just generated a season best 324 yards against the Texans, owners should temper expectations in this encounter.
Austin Davis vs. 49ers
So... should you really take Davis seriously as a fantasy option? The answer is yes... definitely. In his first three career starts, he has jump started what had been a dormant offense. He has also thrown for 325+ yards in each of his last two games, including the 375 that he amassed against the Eagles in Week 5. Davis has also registered three TDs in two consecutive contests. However, his output has been accumulated against the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Eagles, and this week's matchup will present him with a more daunting challenge. The 49ers currently are seventh against the pass, and are allowing 209 YPG. They have limited three opposing QBs to less than 200 yards, and will provide Davis with the biggest test of his brief career. Owners in deeper leagues can add him, as can those of you who will be facing bye week issues in 12 team leagues. But keep your expectations tempered this week.
Teddy Bridgewater vs. Lions
Bridgewater’s professional debut elicited very favorable reaction and understandably so. That thrust him into consideration as a QB2 for owners in deeper leagues, although the injury that sidelined him in Week 5 temporarily delayed his insertion into lineups. He will return this Sunday, but you should exercise restraint when determining whether to use him. Because Detroit has performed well enough defensively to be started on a weekly basis, and is equipped to create massive issues for Bridgewater and the Viking offense. The Lions lead the NFL in total defense, allowing just 282 YPG, and fifth in pass defense, permitting 208 YPG. The Lions are also tied for sixth with 12 sacks, and are permitting just 16 PPG, which is the NFL’s second best average. No QB has managed more than one TD pass against the Lions this season, including Rodgers in Week 2, and any thoughts of starting Bridgewater should be postponed at least another week.