Week 8 advice: two-quarterback leagues
The quarterback position isn't too badly impacted by the bye schedule this week. Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton are the best of the four men out, and even they're coming off poor performances as borderline No. 1 options. Fortunately for any owners who rely on one of these names weekly, there are some promising upstarts to choose from among lower-tier passers. Since scores can be so unpredictable, the best method of sorting through the reserve passers is to follow the trail of yards, which is how we get to this week's top QB2.
1. Brandon Weeden vs. San Diego - Weeden has turned in at least 230 yards and two touchdowns three straight weeks. He's found a great playmaker in Josh Gordon who could score in any game from anywhere on the field with his combination of elite size and speed. Weeden can make all the throws, and with the Chargers' shaky pass defense coming to town he should continue to prove it.
2. Carson Palmer at Kansas City - The Chiefs are tied for tops in the league with 8.9 yards per attempt allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Palmer is eighth in the league with 289 passing yards per game. A visit to Arrowhead will help Palmer stay in that top-10 for yardage, as the Chiefs' leaky defense combined with their ineffective offense will lead to many opportunities for him to burn them deep to Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
3. Philip Rivers at Cleveland - Aside from two games in which Rivers has picked on awful defenses (Tennessee and New Orleans), he has averaged a paltry 213 yards and just over one score per game. That makes him a QB2, at best. Fortunately, he gets a Cleveland defense that's allowing 277 yards and two touchdowns a game. Unfortunately, the Browns rank third in the league with 10 picks, and Rivers is among he most-intercepted quarterbacks with nine in just six games. That makes him something of a high-risk/high-reward option. Given his pedigree, however, he's worth the risk for at least one more week.
4. Josh Freeman at Minnesota - With nearly 1,050 yards the last three games and seven scores, Freeman is approaching top-12 status, and thus could be considered a QB1 in many leagues. However, going on the road, on a short week and facing the Vikings' 11th-ranked pass defense, Freeman remains a No. 2 option for at least one more week. With the shocking exception of Blaine Gabbert (260 yards, two TD), Minnesota has limited every opposing quarterback through the air (Robert Griffin III torched them with his legs). Freeman, though, boasts the best receiver combo of anyone the Vikings have faced with the big and athletic Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams helping him put points on the board.
5. Sam Bradford vs. New England (in London) - The Patriots are right back where they left off last year against the pass. Their 16 touchdowns allowed through the air are tied for the most in the league, and they've given up 338 yards per game over the last five, including a combined 621 yards and four scores to Russell Wilson and Mark Sanchez. Furthermore, their sacks and interceptions rates are lower than last year's - they've actually regressed from what was one of the worst pass defenses in history. Bradford is far from a gunslinger, but he's done well with little the last two weeks, totaling 570 yards passing. Expect at least 250 and a score in this prime matchup.
6. Matt Hasselbeck vs. Indianapolis - Alhough Hasselbeck has plenty of weapons to target, with Chris Johnson doing his best CJ2K impression once again, the Titans offense figures to lean on the speedy legs of its tailback against a run defense that has been beaten like a drum a few times this year. Nevertheless, the Colts have allowed 12 passing scores in six games while picking off just two balls. So if you're looking for a couple cheap scores, this is as good an option as any of the lower-tier quarterbacks.
No. 2 QUARTERBACK RANKINGs
* Check injury status.
13. Philip Rivers SD at Cle
14. *Jay Cutler CHI vs. Car
15. Matthew Stafford DET vs. Sea
16. Cam Newton CAR at Chi
17. Brandon Weeden CLE vs. SD
18. *Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. Ind
19. Christian Ponder MIN vs. TB
20. Josh Freeman TB at Min
21. Sam Bradford STL vs. NE
22. Ryan Tannehill MIA at NYJ
23. *Alex Smith SF at Ari
24. *Mark Sanchez NYJ vs. Mia
25. Russell Wilson SEA at Det
26. John Skelton ARZ vs. SF
27. *Blaine Gabbert JAC at GB
28. *Brady Quinn KC vs. Oak
29. *Chad Henne JAC at GB
30. *Jake Locker TEN vs. Ind
31. *Matt Cassel KC vs. Oak
Follow @Hoover_L_A on Twitter.
Get a FREE RotoWire 10-day trial (no credit card required) at RotoWire.com.