Wealth of QB options present more questions than answers for fantasy owners.
By Mark T. Vogel, Site Contributor
With the NFL season beginning to tick down, fantasy football owners will need to make tougher roster decisions this week in order to keep their title hopes afloat - and those decisions start at the top.
The quarterback position in the NFL is in a constant state of flux and fantasy owners must adjust now or their seasons will be doomed to failure. So how do you predict which QB will keep your fantasy ship afloat from the one who will sink it?
Let's simplify things.
Five quarterbacks carry the moniker of fantasy elite. These guys are as consistent as they come and provide little heartache for fantasy owners on a weekly basis. They should be in your starting lineup without question.
Below the group of elite there exists a vast middle ground of QBs who may be solid starts for the week, but have been hampered by a spotty fantasy past or are racked by inconsistent play this season. Some are obvious starters but others deserve a second look.
We will help you break down the stats and match-ups and provide the must starts, risky starts and false starts at the quarterback position for Week 11.
Peyton Manning - Manning's sizzling performance against the Texans last week (18-27, 320 yds, 5 TD, 2 INT) has established him as the most valuable fantasy performer to date. He has 31 TD passes, 17 shy of Dan Marino's record 48, and has tossed five touchdowns in a game three times this year.
Daunte Culpepper - The Vikings are in their typical late season swoon, but Daunte Culpepper is going down fighting. His numbers have certainly decreased since Randy Moss' absence, but Culpepper is still at the helm of the number one offense in the NFL and his 26 total touchdowns are second only to Manning's.
Brett Favre - The Packers are surging and guess who's leading the charge? Favre is still the most consistent QB in the NFL, throwing at least one touchdown pass in 36 straight games. His terrific performance against the Vikings last week (20-29, 236, 4-0) should carry-over this week against the Texans, whose secondary was torched by Manning and ranks near the bottom of the league.
Tom Brady - Brady is one step behind Favre in the consistency department but his fantasy numbers have been solid all season. Brady threw two TD passes against a tough Bills secondary and he has a favorable match up this week against the Chiefs Monday night. He continues to spread the ball to what seems like an unlimited amount of offensive weapons.
Donovan McNabb - McNabb ran circles around the hapless Cowboys in not-so-Big D. He already has more touchdown passes this season (18) than all of last year and is ranked fifth in passing yards with 2,426. Even though he's facing a Redskins defense ranked 7th in the NFL, McNabb is a potent fantasy weapon and any thoughts of benching him would be - what Bill Parcells might call - stupid.
There are some big names in this group who have had very solid fantasy seasons and warrant a start for most squads in Week 11.
Trent Green - The expected absence of Priest Holmes this week may put more pressure on Green, but he is still one of the most coveted fantasy quarterbacks in the league. The Chiefs offense racked up 497 total yards last week against the Saints and although Green's 13 TD 8 INT ratio is not fantastic, he is still much to valuable to bench. He has thrown six TD passes in the last two games.
Drew Brees - Brees is the biggest surprise of the season and would have the edge on MVP consideration if not for Manning. He has thrown 18 touchdowns to only three interceptions and should find success against a Raider passing defense ranked 23rd in league.
Jake Plummer - Jake Plummer's reward for back-to-back 4-TD games is a date with the Saints in Week 11, whose defense is giving up a league worst 424 yards per game. New Orleans' pass defense has been particularly accommodating surrendering 4 TD passes to Drew Brees in week 9 and 311 passing yards and two touchdowns to Trent Green last week. Plummer has thrown 10 interceptions this year but his favorable match up this week is too good to pass up.
Brian Griese - Another pleasant surprise in the league this year is Griese, who last week completed 19 of 26 for 174 yards and 2 TDs against a tough Atlanta defense. He has the second highest passer rating (105.8) in the NFC trailing only Culpepper. This week he faces a depleted 49er secondary that were touched last week by Panthers QB Jake Delhomme.
Since being thrashed by the Chiefs, Vick has led the Falcons to two impressive victories against the Broncos and Buccaneers. This week, Vick faces a decimated Giants defense and he may rack up some serious yardage on the ground. However, unless your league awards points for rushing stats, Vick may be a risky start. His total touchdowns and interceptions are even at seven and his 1537 passing yards are 12th in the NFC.
Can anyone figure out the Seahawks? RB Shaun Alexander is the only consistent member of the Seattle offense and his increased workload coupled with poor WR output has severely limited Hasselbeck's fantasy appeal. Hasselbeck and the Seahawks did not score an offensive TD last week against the Rams, who are ranked 21st in passing defense. Hasselbeck is hampered by a thigh injury suffered last week and he's facing the top ranked defense Sunday a home against the Miami Dolphins.
While RB Lamont Jordan and S Ed Reed had a large part in the Ravens win last week, Boller did lead a superb comeback on the road. He completed 19-33 passes for 213 yards with two touchdowns and showed his first signs of fantasy life. But hold on a minute. The Ravens owe most of their success to their defense and even though RB Jamal Lewis is struggling, the offense still hangs its hat on the run. Still, as coach Brian Billick said, "It's all about the matchups," and his QB certainly has a good one this week against a Cowboy defense ranked 24th in passing.
Ben Roethlisberger - Even though Big Ben has struck seven in Steel town his fantasy numbers haven't been timeless. He faces an improving Bengals defense ranked 10th overall in the NFL and first in takeaways with 24.
Other risky starts:
Jake Delhomme (thumb injury)
Some names on this list are obvious fantasy cellar dwellers. Some just have poor matchups this week. All should be benched and re-evaluated next week.
Aaron Brooks - Will his solid performance against the Chiefs carry over this week or will that New Orleans voodoo conjure up another spooky stat line against Denver? The Saints may be playing from behind most of the day but even that sometimes doesn't help Brooks.
Jeff Garcia - After being yanked in a lackluster performance against the Steelers, Garcia continues to complain about Cleveland's predictable offensive scheme. His 24th ranked passer rating of 75.4 makes his release from every fantasy owner's roster this week even more predictable.
Joey Harrington - Enough is enough. The Detroit quarterback continues to under whelm despite an offensive system geared toward his abilities. Coach Steve Mariucci said he will stick with Harrington but that backup Mike McMahon might get more practice time in preparation for a possible change.
Mark Brunell - Another once great combatant who has fallen on hard times. He has led Washington to a 3-6 record and has the worst completion percentage in the NFL. Patrick Ramsey is ready to start for the Skins but not for any fantasy team.
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