If you’re anything like me, you’re poring over the waiver wire looking into which desperation plug-and-play QB you can start this week or next week. During Weeks 9 and 10, a total of 12 teams are on bye, meaning owners will be without normal starting QBs Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Phillip River, Andrew Luck, and a few others. Today we’ll be ranking the widely available QB options for Weeks 9 and 10. Let’s do this!
Note: QBs for each week are listed in the order that I rank them.
I actually really like the matchup here for Tannehill and the Dolphins. The Chargers give up the 11th fewest fantasy point to opposing QB, but the Dolphins are at home and he’s has been on a roll. Specifically, he’s contributed at least 35 yards rushing for each of his last four games. The SD offense is going to score points either way, and I like the game flow for Tannehill to throw 30+ passes here and put up some good fantasy numbers for owners in a pinch. (about 50% owned)
The matchup isn’t great, on the road at Dallas. The Cowboys pass defense gives up the 9th fewest points to opposing passers, and they’re coming off a stinging loss to the Redskins on Monday Night Football. A look under the hood suggests they aren’t as good as advertised, however: Dallas victimized Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 5 (5.46 points) and crappy Jake Locker in Week 2. Other than that, nearly all opposing QB have scored 17+ per week like clockwork. I like Palmer as a fill-in for Week 9. He’s yet to be under 17 fantasy points in any start this year, has only a single interception on the year, he spreads the ball around, and it’s likely to be a shootout-type situation with plenty of fantasy points to go around. (about 50% owned)
Robert Griffin III
Word came out of the Redskins camp late yesterday: RG3 is on track to start in Week 9. HC Gruden said that Griffin III wouldn’t start until he was both physically and mentally ready, and it appears he’s ready to rock. But does this make him a good bye-week play? He clearly hasn’t started, or even played in a game, since Week 2, so we can certainly expect some rust to show once the game is real. Minnesota looks like a terrible QB matchup (4th least points allowed to opposing passers) but if we look closer, that ranking is being propped up by giving up under 10 to the early-season bad versions of Austin Davis and Tom Brady in Week 1 and 2. I’d rate them to be about an average pass defense overall, and they’re a top-10 worst run defense. I think the Redskins are able to move the ball here, and therefore I think 15 points is a reasonable expectation from RG3. If you get anything at all from his running game, it’s a bonus on wheels. (about 50% owned)
So the first thing you have to notice about Smith is the Week 9 matchup: At home against the New York Jets. Those Jets are a monster plus matchup for opposing QBs, as they’ve given up the second most points them in the league. In fact, the only QB they’ve held under 15 points on the year is Derek Carr. So, that’s a plus. Another plus is that Smith is very careful with the ball, throwing only a single interception since his Week 1 disaster against Tennessee. The main issue is that Smith doesn’t have a strong WR corps, and therefore doesn’t take many shots down the field. The KC offense centers around Jamal Charles, and that certainly limits Smith’s upside. Despite this, he’s a very safe bet for 15+ points for Week 9. (about 45% owned)
We sorta know the drill on Fitzpatrick at this point. He can roll up the passing yards, and a few rushing yards here and there, but he takes a lot of risks and turns the ball over a lot. To that end, FitzMagic has seven INTs already this year to only nine TDs. He’s averaging right around 220 passing yards per game, which is fairly pathetic in the 2014 version of the NFL. All that being said, I think his averages go up this week against the dreadful Eagles pass defense. I don’t think Houston can stop the Philly hurry-up offense, and the Texans should be playing plenty of catch-up. Fitzpatrick isn’t anywhere near the top option, but if you’re desperate, he’s better (for Week 9) than options like Hoyer, Bridgewater, Bortles, or Davis. (about 50% owned)
The mention of Palmer as a great bye-week replacement for Weeks 9 and 10 is not an accident. I believe he’s not only a great fill-in, but that he stands a legitimate chance of being a top-12 QB the rest of the way. He’s got Larry Fitz, Michael Floyd, Andre Ellington, and John Brown to throw to, and the while the Cards run D is rock solid, their passing D leaves so much to be desired that Arizona will need to score 20+ points to win every single week. The Rams currently give up the most points in the NFL to opposing QB. And Palmer’s at home. What more do you want? (about 50% owned)
Note that I left Vick out of the Week 9 conversation. I want no part of Vick, on the road, at Arrowhead. The KC defense is trending up and it could be a disaster on stilts. Week 10, however, is much kinder and gentler – the Steelers questionable-at-best defense at home. He will have two games started under his belt at that point and should be back in the rhythm of the Jets offense. Their weapons are underwhelming, basically centered around Eric Decker and Chris Ivory, but Vick still has his dominant legs. He averaged almost 60 yards rushing per game in four starts last year, and I expect his rushing stats to contribute to a solid performance for owners in Week 10. (under 10% owned)
Flacco started out 2014 red hot, but has cooled considerably over the last couple of weeks, culminating in a two INT, zero TD monstrosity of a performance against the Bengals in Week 8. If you played him there, he killed you. Based on that, he’ll be floating freely on most waiver wires at this point, and therefore should be considered for use in Week 10. The Ravens match up against Tennessee, who is about middle of the pack against opposing QBs. I like Flacco here because he finally returns home (after two straight road games) where he’s generally better, and also because the Titans are generally just a bad team. They have Zach Mettenberger starting at QB at this point, and the Ravens defense should have a jolly old time with the rookie. I foresee multiple interceptions and chances for Flacco to throw short passes into the end zone. I wouldn’t trust Flacco in general, but I think you could do a lot worse for a fill-in QB in Week 10. (about 65% owned)
Atlanta is bad at this thing we call ‘Defense’. They’re particularly bad at it on the road. They have only four interceptions in eight games played. I don’t love Mike Glennon in general, but in a week where a bunch of useful fantasy options are on bye, I think he’s a safe play to grab you around 15 fantasy points with a slight bit of upside for more – Vincent Jackson is going to break out one of these weeks, and it could be Week 10. (under 10% owned)
You certainly don’t like Davis’s prospects in Week 9 against SF, but I do like him as a potential bye-week QB filler for Week 10. The Rams are matched up against Arizona, who defends the run extremely well. Since the Rams can’t really run against anyone, I don’t expect them to have success against such a stout front. It should be Austin throwing early and often against the deficient Cardinals secondary. His receivers aren’t great after the loss of Brian Quick, but I think there’s enough there for him to throw for 250 and a two TDs, maybe with some room to grow. I’d rather have Palmer in this matchup, but if he’s gobbled up, consider Davis. (about 15% owned)