Two Quarterback Rankings: Week 5 October 7, 2015  |  Chet


Up is down and down is up in the two quarterback landscape. Tyrod Taylor has emerged as a QB1 after years of toiling in irrelevance. Brandon Weeden was relied upon last week and actually delivered. Blake freaking Bortles is currently your QB10! What is going on? Am I taking crazy pills?? No my friends, this is just a beautiful time to play in a two quarterback league. If you’ve been streaming or going with a quarterback by committee, chances are it’s paid off for you, as we’ve seen heroic performances each week from Alex Smith, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton, and Josh McCown. Let this, combined with the underachievement of quarterback staples such as Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, Big Ben, and Andrew Luck serve as a reminder that you’re best off relying on keeping at least one of your quarterback spots fluid. This week almost all of the lower ranked quarterbacks have some sort of appeal to their matchup.

Three I like from the lower tiers?

Brandon Weeden might be the bye week fill in that reaps the most benefits. The New England Patriots have been blasting opposing defenses. What does this have to do with Weeden? Well, the Pats have done such a great job of getting ahead early that their opponents have had no choice but to throw; not coincidentally, they currently give up the third most points to opposing quarterbacks. Bascially, they’re so good that they give quarterbacks plenty of time to try and get back into the game. With virtually no weapons on offense, Weeden has managed to maintain an average completion % of 73% in his two starts. I expect that to dip as the volume goes up, but against an already weak passing defense Weeden will have plenty of time to try and keep the Cowboys in the game.

Speaking of no weapons, how about Josh McCown? He’s come out blazing hot after sitting in Week Two and gets to face a Ravens’ defense that’s already allowed two games of elite QB1 production. If you’re in a pinch, you can certainly do worse than McCown at the moment.

Last week, I found myself debating starting Brandon Weeden or Matt Hasselbeck. If you have to make a similar decision this week, my advice is to see if you can pick up or trade your last bench player for Ryan Mallett. Yes, he’s horrible, but there’s a silver lining here: the return of Arian Foster. If he comes back, expect Mallett to be more efficient and have much less control over the offense in the short week. The Colts have only three interceptions on the year and have a banged up Vontae Davis. They’ll be keyed in on the run, forcing Mallett to throw – only he might actually find some success this week.


Elite QB1s:

  1. Tom Brady (@ DAL) – Tom Brady in FU mode after a bye. Money in the bank.
  2. Aaron Rodgers (vs STL) – Before giving up 352 passing yards to Carson Palmer playing in catch up mode, the Rams gave up 196 ypg through the air and are tied for second in sacks.
  3. Eli Manning (vs SF) – He’s been playing well and gets the trainwreck that is the 49ers coming from across the country who are giving up over two passing scores a game.
  4. Carson Palmer (@ DET) – He’s thrown for at least 300 yards or multiple scores in each game this season.
  5. Drew Brees (@ PHI) – I’m anticipating a shootout here; while Brees didn’t look 100% last week, he was able to move the ball and had his best game to date.
  6. Peyton Manning (@ OAK) – Perhaps the league’s second worst pass defense is just what Peyton needs to regain his mojo.

Solid QB1s:

  1. Matt Ryan (vs WAS) – A revenge game for Kyle Shanahan bodes well for Matt Ryan’s Week Five fortunes. Washington is a tougher matchup for sure, but this game will ultimately fall on Ryan’s shoulders.
  2. Philip Rivers (vs PIT) – Start with caution here as his wideouts are dinged up and Pittsburgh has started to improve on defense.

Fringe QB1s:

  1. Andrew Luck (@ HOU) – He’s injured, playing on a short week, has no line, and is traveling to square up against a Houston defense that is looking to bring the pain after getting destroyed last week. I don’t like his chances of regaining his form here.
  2. Tyrod Taylor (@ TEN) – Played without his starting wideout and running back, was nicked up himself, and still put up a respectable game. Tennessee is nothing special and he hasn’t scored fewer than 15 points so far. His floor is there.
  3. Marcus Mariota (vs BUF) – So much for Rex’s improved defense. The Bills have allowed almost 300 ypg and 10 touchdowns through the air so far this season. On a team with a murky running back crew, Mariota’s passing attempts have steadily risen. Fire him up.
  4. Blake Bortles (@ TB) – I just went there. He currently is sitting at QB10 and has three games of at least 26 rushing yards. Don’t look now, but the Jaguars have themselves an offense.
  5. Russell Wilson (@ CIN) – The Bengals have been a mixed bag for opposing quarterbacks, but his floor is there as he trails only Cam in terms of quarterback rushing attempts.

Solid QB2s:

  1. Andy Dalton (vs SEA) – Has been playing out of his mind, but if there’s ever a game for him to turn back into a pumpkin, this is it. The Seahawks are only allowing 190 passing ypg and have given up only three touchdowns.
  2. Jameis Winston (vs JAX) – As awful as he’s been, fantasy wise he’s actually been serviceable. Jacksonville is a plus matchup and with the byes you’re probably starting him anyway.

Low End QB2s:

  1. Joe Flacco (vs CLE) – He’s at home against a defense that has been very friendly to quarterbacks. Browns are giving up the seventh most points to quarterbacks.
  2. Jay Cutler (@ KC) – Slide him down a bit if Alshon doesn’t play, but the Chiefs have currently allowed the most passing touchdowns in the league and have allowed the fourth most passing yardage.
  3. Sam Bradford (vs NO) – Everything began to click in the second half for Bradford, but his day was aided by three deep passes. Hopefully he continues to keep it up against the Saints, who just allowed Brandon Weeden to look like a starting quarterback.
  4. Alex Smith (vs CHI) – Smith has been a true Jekyll and Hyde all season, but he’s currently QB12 and gets a plus matchup here against a struggling Bears defense.
  5. Josh McCown (@ BAL) – H/t to @the_ff_engineer for this fun fact: Andy Dalton and Derek Carr each threw for 350 yards and 3 TDs against the Ravens. McCown has thrown for at least 340 yards and 2 scores in each of his two starts this season.

Fringe QB2s:

  1. Matthew Stafford (vs ARI) – Arizona has allowed 200 yards to only one passer this season and has a healthy seven takeaways. This probably isn’t the game he turns it around.
  2. Derek Carr (vs DEN) – The matchup is absolutely brutal, but he should benefit from garbage time. The plus is he actually has looked and played well so far this season.
  3. Kirk Cousins (@ ATL) – So, somehow, Cousins has improved his fantasy output and thrown a touchdown in every game this season. He’s shaping up to be the new Alex Smith!
  4. Brandon Weeden (vs NE) – The Pats have been so good that opposing quarterbacks literally feast on them while trying to play from behind, as they’ve given up the third most points to quarterbacks.
  5. Colin Kaepernick (@ NYG) – The bad news is he’s been about as bad as you can be at quarterback this year. The good news is the Giants have the league’s worst pass defense and he probably will be playing from behind.

Dumpster Diving:

  1. Nick Foles (@ GB) – Played well last week, but the game plan here will most likely be to use Gurley and play ball control to keep the Green Bay offense off the field.
  2. Ryan Mallett (vs IND) – Nobody is really sure why he still has the starting job, but he’s been airing it out and should be more efficient with the return of Arian Foster. The matchup isn’t terrible either.
  3. Michael Vick (@ SD) – His ceiling just isn’t there anymore.

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