The most noteworthy accomplishment by a QB in Week 7 belongs to Peyton Manning, who established a new NFL record for career TD passes. He was one of four signal callers who produced at least three TDs, and was among the five who exceeded 300 yards during their matchups.
Meanwhile, Russell Wilson was the only QB to generate a TD on the ground, while becoming the first player in NFL history to pass for 300 yards, and rush for at least 100 in the same contest. We will soon discover if Week 8 can also provide historic performances. But be assured that they will not be delivered by Colin Kaepernick or Eli Manning, as the 49ers and Giants take their one week hiatus from the schedule. However, a sufficient number of alternatives are available, which is reflected in this week’s rankings.
As always, this updated information includes detailed analysis of the QB1s, followed by this week's best and worst matchups.
Top 25 Rankings
1. Andrew Luck at Steelers
What had been a formidable Cincinnati pass defense that entered Week 5 as the league’s fourth best remained AWOL in Indianapolis, as the Colts steamrolled for 506 total yards, including the 344 that Luck manufactured through the air. He now has amassed 2,331 yards for the season, which continues to lead all QBs. He also leads the NFL in TDs with 19. A journey to Pittsburgh is next on the agenda, but Luck’s high quality production has been consistent regardless of the matchup, and that process should continue against the Steelers.
2. Aaron Rodgers at Saints
Rodgers enters Week 8 with an outstanding 18/1 TD/INT ratio, and there is nothing about this matchup that would indicate an impending struggle to maintain his torrid scoring. During his last two encounters with the Saints, he has amassed 631 yards and seven TDs. And this year’s overly hospitable New Orleans defense remains highly vulnerable to the pass. The Saints now rank just 27th, are yielding 271 YPG, and have also surrendered 11 TDs. They will not be able to prohibit Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and the emerging Davante Adams from exploding for big plays, and owners can expect another excellent outing from Rodgers.
3. Peyton Manning vs. Chargers
In the aftermath of his record setting performance on Sunday Night, Manning has now collected 19 TDs in six contests, and has forged a tie with Luck for the NFL lead in that category. He has generated four in two of the past three weeks, and has failed to throw at least three just once this season. The degree to which he scorched San Francisco, which entered Week 7 as the NFL’s ranked defense, should override any concerns about his eventual output against San Diego’s stingy unit. The Chargers currently rank third, are permitting 210 YPG, and have yielded 11 TDs. But that number will expand this week.
4. Philip Rivers at Broncos
Part of San Diego's success this season has been a result of their ability to control the ball. During their Week 2 victory over Seattle, they ran 75 offensive plays, while holding the ball for over 42 minutes. In Week they had 69 plays and that increased to 71 in Week 6. But in Week 7, Kansas City dominated that aspect of their matchup, running 70 plays while Rivers and the Chargers only managed 49. That gave Rivers only 21:00 of game time to guide the offense, and with diminished opportunities came an inevitable drop in production. He produced a season low 205 yards against the Chiefs, even though he did toss two TDs. Still, he remains third among his peers with 1,961 yards, and his 17 TDs trail only Luck and Manning. This week's matchup will be more challenging then it may appear, as the Broncos’ ranking of 18th versus the pass is very deceptive. Even though they are allowing 243 YPG, they have the personnel to create issues for Rivers. Plus, Denver’s offense is fully capable of keeping him on the sidelines more extensively than owners will prefer.
5. Tom Brady vs. Bears
After entering October with just four TDs, Brady has now thrown nine in his last three matchups. That includes the trio of scoring throws that he generating while scorching the Jets in Week 7. His owners can thank New York for defensive lapses, and a curious switch to a three man rush that facilitated matters for Brady on his TD. He also accumulated 261 yards, and he should continue his recently expanded production against the Bears. Chicago's 19th ranked pass defenders are allowing 248 YPG and have yielded 12 TDs.
6. Tony Romo vs. Redskins
Romo tossed three TD passes in Week 7, which was the second time that he has accomplished that this season. It was the fifth consecutive week in which he has generated at least two TDs, after he managed just one in Weeks 1 and 2. That in turn has boosted his season total to 14, which is the NFL's fifth highest total. He has also produced at least 250 yards in four straight games, which has propelled him to ninth overall with 1,789 for the season. This week, he should benefit from a favorable matchup with Washington, as the Redskins have allowed at least two TDs through the air in their last five contests.
7. Drew Brees vs. Packers
Heading into Week 7, Brees was averaging 315 YPG, had a less than stellar 9/6 TD/INT ratio, and was confronting a road matchup versus the NFL's premiere pass defense. While many owners expressed ambivalence about utilizing him in what appeared to be a daunting matchup, Brees rewarded those who continued to trust him, by burning the Lions for 342 yards, and two TDs. While his crucial fourth quarter INT set up Detroit’s game winning score, Brees still exceeded most expectations with his performance against an elite pass defense. He has now accumulated at least 340 yards in three consecutive games, and has thrown two TDs in five straight. Another challenging road encounter awaits him this week, as Green Bay’s sixth ranked pass defense will make it difficult for him to deliver another 300 yard performance.
8. Russell Wilson at Panthers
24 QBs have attempted more passes than Wilson, and 22 have produced more yardage. But his ranking in those categories does not do justice to his true fantasy value. During Seattle's first game in the post-Harvin era, Wilson established the aforementioned record by generating 300 yards through the air, along with 100 on the ground. While it was the first time that Wilson has reached 300 yards this season, he has now tossed two TDs during five of his six contests, after accomplishing it against the Rams. Wilson has also run for over 100 yards twice during Seattle's last three games, and has rushed for a TD in three consecutive games. He should stockpile fantasy points again next week, versus a Carolina defense that has surrendered at least 37 points in four of their last five matchups.
9. Matthew Stafford at Falcons
After averaging 299 YPG in his first four contests, a temporary loss of weaponry had propelled Stafford's YPG steadily downward. He averaged a mere 208 in Weeks 5 and 6, while managing just two TDs during that span. But during his Week 7 matchup with New Orleans, Stafford took advantage of the Saints now burnable pass defense by amassing 299 yards and two TDs. It was his best yardage total since Week 1, and was easily his highest output since Calvin Johnson departed the lineup. This week he will face a Falcon team with massive deficiencies throughout the roster. Detroit will dominate the matchup offensively and defensively, which greatly improves Stafford's chance to produce favorable numbers again.
10. Nick Foles at Cardinals
After six games, Foles has amassed 1,628 yards, which is the league's fifth highest total. However, the precision that he performed with in 2013 has not been achieved this season. Which is partially why last year's magical TD/INT ratio of 27/2 is a distant memory. Foles currently has thrown 10 TDs, while his INT total has ballooned to an unsightly seven. Only Kirk Cousins had thrown more as Foles entered his Week 7 bye. Plus, the 9.12 YPA that he recorded last season has dropped to just 6.87 this year. He attains this ranking based upon the belief that the additional week of preparation will help Foles improve his proficiency. And the optimism that this matchup will expedite that process.
11. Jay Cutler at Patriots
After averaging 279 YPG in the first six games, and an impressive 335 in his last two, Cutler could only assemble 190 against Miami in Week 7. It was his lowest total since Week 2, and he failed to counter that disappointing yardage total with multiple TDs. He managed just one scoring pass for the second consecutive week, while also tossing his seventh INT of the year. Another disappointing outing appears imminent for his owners this week, as he attempts to rebound against New England. The Patriots' pass defense now leads the NFL with a YPG of only 208. They have also limited five of the seven signal callers that they've faced this season to 226 yards or less, and Cutler will have great difficulty attaining that total.
12. Cam Newton vs. Seahawks
Despite Newton's season best performance against Cincinnati in Week 6, I was not among those within the fantasy community who projected favorable numbers for Newton in Week 7. Not only was he facing a fifth ranked Packer pass defense that had constructed an impressive 7/9 TD to INT ratio, but Carolina's 27th ranked ground game was averaging just 86 YPG, making it easier for Green Bay to focus on neutralizing Newton. He ultimately manufactured 205 yards, with a sizable portion of those being accumulated late in the contest. He did supplement them with 47 yards on the ground, and his resurrected prowess as a duel threat is sufficient for him to reside within the low end QB1s. However, owners will not receive anything beyond modest results this week in Seattle.
13. Carson Palmer vs. Eagles
14. Ryan Tannehill at Jaguars
15. Kyle Orton at Jets
16. Joe Flacco at Bengals
17. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Colts
18. Matt Ryan vs. Lions
19. Alex Smith vs. Rams
20. Geno Smith vs. Bills
21. Andy Dalton vs. Ravens
22. Derek Carr at Browns
23. Mike Glennon vs. Vikings
24. Austin Davis at Chiefs
24. Teddy Bridgewater at Buccaneers
Matthew Stafford at Falcons
Stafford was presented with an appealing matchup in Week 7, and rewarded his owners with his second highest yardage total of the season. That expanded his season total to 1,891, which is now fifth among all QBs. Even with the two TDs that he generated against the Saints, his total of nine is far less impressive, and places him in a tie for 17th in that category. However, more favorable numbers should be forthcoming, thanks to yet another enticing encounter with a hospitable defensive unit from the NFC South. Atlanta's performance on both sides of the ball has degenerated sizably since their nationally televised flogging of Tampa Bay in Week 3. That certainly includes their pass defense, which promptly followed up that effort by surrendering 317 yards Teddy Bridgewater, two TDs to Ell Manning, 381 yards to Jay Cutler, and to Joe Flacco. That has inflated their 274 YPG average, and led to their lowly ranking of 29th. Of course, it is incumbent upon Stafford to exploit this vulnerable unit, even if Calvin Johnson remains a bystander. But he should dissect the floundering Falcons for his best production since Week 4.
Nick Foles at Cardinals
Foles has not always capitalized on opportunities that present themselves this season, but he should have enough proficiency to deliver excellent numbers in this week's matchup with Arizona. The Cardinals' defense has endured injuries, and still possesses playmakers throughout their unit. Yet they had surrendered a mammoth 309 YPG, and their pass defense ranking had plunged to dead last heading into Week 7, before last week’s encounter with Oakland’s substandard passing attack helped them rise one slot to 31st. But they still are yielding 285 YPG, and have only sacked opposing QBs seven times. Foles’ owners should be satisfied with his performance this week.
Russell Wilson vs. Panthers
Last season, the Panthers were an elite defensive unit without question. They ranked second in total defense, (301 YPG), sixth against the pass (214 YPG), and were second in scoring defense, while permitting just 15 PPG. Plus, they only yielded 17 TDs through the air. But this season, the Panthers have plummeted to 26th in total defense, with a YPG average that has soared to 388. They are 22nd versus the pass (251 YPG), and have already, surrendered 15 TDs which is the leagues' second highest total. They have fallen to just 29th in scoring, with a PPG average that nearly doubles 2013 (28). Since Week 2, this they have surrendered 363 total yards to Green Bay, with Aaron Rodgers watching the fourth quarter from the sidelines, 516 to Cincinnati, 454 to Baltimore, 374 to Chicago and 460 to Pittsburgh. Wilson should follow-up his exceptional production from Week 7 by exploiting this struggling defense.
Matt Ryan vs. Lions
It wasn't that long ago that Ryan was shredding NFL defenses, and Atlanta's offense appeared to be running proficiently. But the inadequacies within Ryan's offensive line, coupled with an underwhelming ground game - with the exception of Antone Smith's infrequent opportunities - have conspired to make it progressively difficult for Ryan to retain the lofty production that he achieved earlier this season. He has also been under siege from opposing pass rushers, while simultaneously being victimized by a growing number of drops. Not only must he rise above these recent issues in order to have any chance of delivering acceptable numbers for his owners, but would need to accomplish that versus Detroit’s forbidding defense. The Lions still lead the league in total defense (290 YPG), and are second in scoring (15 PPG). And despite Brees’ performance against them in Week 7, they are still allowing only 217 YPG through the air. Their ferocious front four has also generated 21 sacks, which is the NFL’s second highest total. Factors are not aligning favorably for Ryan, and owners should explore other options this week.
Jay Cutler at Patriots
It is not difficult to see how impactful Cutler's turnovers have been for Chicago this season, as all seven of his INTs have occurred during the team's four losses. He has also fumbled eight times, while losing three of them. None of these facts will be missed by New England’s coaching staff, and they will prepare the players accordingly. The Patriots have already ascended into the league lead in pass defense, while allowing just 208 YPG. They have also collected 18 sacks, and have garnered seven INTs. All of which results in a cluster of reasons for Cutler owners to be uneasy this week.
Andy Dalton vs. Ravens
It is doubtful that many of you are counting the moments until you can start Dalton this week. Particularly after he only produced an anemic 126 yards, while connecting on just on 18 of his 38 attempts in Week 7. But owners in deeper leagues might still be considering him since he did throw for 301 yards when these division rivals met in Week 1. However, the teams have traveled very divergent paths since that time. Cincinnati began the year with three consecutive victories, but has not won since that time. Meanwhile, the Ravens have collected five wins in six weeks since their opening day encounter with the Bengals, and their defense has become an imposing force. They lead the NFL in scoring defense, and are yielding just 14.9 PPG. Since Week 4, that number shrinks to under 12. They have also given up just seven TDs through the air, and have the defensive playmakers to contain the Bengal offense. Even if A. J. Green returns, do not rely upon Dalton this week.