Week 6: 2QB Fantasy Leagues
Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans get the week off. Only one superstar quarterback takes a set (Drew Brees), but what hurts the fantasy prospects of many, though, is the absence of three awful defenses. That translates to less promising matchups for yor starters.
Often when top talent isn't readily available the best factor to look for from fringe players is volume (pass attempts, rush attempts, red-zone drives). When you can combine bulk opportunity with an attractive matchup, that's when a bold move crosses the line to a calculated one.
1. Alex Smith vs. New York Giants - After dismantling the Jets and Bills the last two weeks, the Niners welcome the Giants for a revenge match with the team that narrowly stole their shot at the Super Bowl. The Niners come into this game, though, with more weapons surrounding Smith, the league's highest rated passer, and they face a Giants defense that is nowhere near as hot as last year's champs. Through five weeks the G-Men are in the bottom quarter of the league in sacks with eight and have allowed both Josh Freeman and Brandon Weeden to post two scores. Smith is coming off a pristine performance and is poised for an equally strong follow-up in what figures to be a midseason war.
2. Andy Dalton at Cleveland - Star corner Joe Haden will return to Cleveland after serving a four-game suspension, but that shouldn't phase Dalton much. While Haden is an elite talent, he could be a bit rusty after not practicing the last month. And drawing A.J. Green, who is playing as well as any receiver in the league, is a particularly daunting assignment. Moreover, the Browns allowed 300-plus yards and two scores to Michael Vick in Week 1 with Haden playing. And though the Browns return Haden, defensive leader D'Qwell Jackson, who picked off Dalton and sacked him three times in Week 2, might miss this contest after suffering a concussion versus the Giants.
3. Brandon Weeden vs. Cincinnati - The Bengals let Weeden go off in their first meeting, giving up 322 yards and two touchdowns to the rookie in just his second start - and following a 12-of-35, 118-yard, four-INT performance in Week 1. Weeden has grown increasingly comfortable since, posting more than 600 combined yards versus the Ravens and Giants on the road the last two games. With Trent Richardson providing a threat out of the backfield and Weeden slinging it a ton (he's second with 40 pass attempts per game), the numbers will keep coming for this old rookie signal caller.
4. Christian Ponder at Washington - No team has allowed more passing yards or scores than the Skins this year. Although Ponder hasn't thrown it a ton so far, he's been very efficient when he has. Additionally, he's added more than 30 rushing yards two of the last three weeks. If the Skins, who are ranked 10th against the run, can slow Adrian Peterson at all, Ponder will take advantage of Washington's inability to cover or pressure the quarterback.
5. Ryan Fitzpatrick at Arizona - Fitzpatrick was shut out of the end zone by the 49ers defense last week and yet he is still third in the league with 12 touchdown passes. Staying out west this Sunday he'll draw a Cardinals defense that's struggled a bit the last two weeks following a red-hot start. After allowing just two passing scores in the first three games, including just one between Tom Brady and Michael Vick, the Cards have let Ryan Tannehill and Sam Bradford combine for three, and Tannehill also topped 400 yards. With the Bills strong offensive line capable of slowing an aggressive Arizona pass rush, Fitzpatrick figures to bounce-back nicely from last week's stinker.
6. Mark Sanchez vs. Indianapolis - Sanchez should finally get tight end Dustin Keller (hamstring, questionable) back this week, and the athletic receiver should instantly boost Sanchez's efficiency as well as open things up for the rest of his ragtag group of wideouts. And call it a hunch, but if Sanchez can throw for 230 yards on a stifling Houston defense without Keller, who's to say he can't top 300 facing a Colts D that's allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a 102.8 average passer rating?
7. Brady Quinn at Tampa Bay - The Chiefs are not about to rush Matt Cassel back from a concussion when the veteran starter was already struggling badly with turnovers. Expect them to give Quinn a shot versus a Bucs defense that's dead last in pass yards allowed per attempt and per game. Admittedly, this would be a risky play given that Quinn has not started a single game since 2009, but the 2007 first-round pick does have enough ability to put up some points and a stud in Dwayne Bowe to help him. In fact, were it not for a questionable offensive pass interference call on Dexter McCluster, Quinn would have thrown a potential game-winning touchdown to Bowe on his only drive versus the Ravens.
No. 2 QB RANKINGS
*Check injury status
13. Joe Flacco BAL vs. Dal
14. Christian Ponder MIN at Was
15. Matt Schaub HOU vs. GB
16. Matthew Stafford DET at Phi
17. Carson Palmer OAK at Atl
18. Tony Romo DAL at Bal
19. Brandon Weeden CLE vs. Cin
20. Russell Wilson SEA vs. NE
21. Mark Sanchez NYJ vs. Ind
22. Kevin Kolb ARZ vs. Buf
23. Josh Freeman TB vs. KC
24. Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at Ari
25. Ryan Tannehill MIA vs. StL
26. Sam Bradford STL at Mia
27. *Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. Pit
28. *Brady Quinn KC at TB
29. *Kirk Cousins WAS vs. Min
30. *Matt Cassel KC at TB
31. *Jake Locker TEN vs. Pit
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