Here are my top 25 quarterbacks for fantasy Week 9.
This countdown doesn't lean on a particular stat. It's merely an educated early guess of which signal-callers will have the best combination of total yards (passing/rushing) and total touchdowns for the NFL's ninth weekend.
Regardless of how these rankings shake out every week, they shouldn't supersede two important factors that go into regular lineup consideration:
1. Always play your healthy superstars.
2. Always ride your gut instinct over a certain guru's analysis.
NOTE: The Jets, 49ers, Rams and Patriots are all on byes.
Top 25 QBs For Week 9
1. Drew Brees vs. Philadelphia
2. Aaron Rodgers vs. Arizona
3. Peyton Manning @ Cincinnati
4. Matthew Stafford @ Jacksonville
5. Robert Griffin III vs. Carolina
6. Ben Roethlisberger @ N.Y. Giants
7. Andrew Luck vs. Miami
8. Michael Vick @ New Orleans
9. Matt Ryan vs. Dallas
10. Tony Romo @ Atlanta
11. Eli Manning vs. Pittsburgh
12. Cam Newton @ Washington
13. Carson Palmer vs. Tampa Bay
14. Andy Dalton vs. Denver
15. Josh Freeman @ Oakland
16. Matt Schaub vs. Buffalo
17. Philip Rivers vs. Kansas City
18. Jay Cutler @ Tennessee
19. Ryan Fitzpatrick @ Houston
20. Brandon Weeden vs. Baltimore
21. Joe Flacco @ Cleveland
22. Matt Hasselbeck vs. Chicago
23. Blaine Gabbert vs. Detroit
24. John Skelton @ Green Bay
25. Russell Wilson vs. Minnesota
25a. Matt Moore/Ryan Tannehill @ Indianapolis
25b. Matt Cassel @ San Diego
25c. Christian Ponder @ Seattle
1. I'm not super confident in Peyton Manning's road matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. But if I've learned anything from the classic movie Bull Durham, you NEVER mess with a streak. And Manning has absurdly notched four straight games of 300 yards passing and three TDs—the longest run of his Hall of Fame career. Think about that for a second.
2. In his last six home games (including the playoffs), Drew Brees touts per-outing averages of 352 yards passing and 3.7 touchdowns. On the flip side, the Philadelphia Eagles defense has registered just two sacks since Week 4 and has surrendered 28 points per game in the last two outings. Ouch.
3. How's this for a scheduling quirk: Excluding the NFC playoffs, Matthew Stafford is set to play his seventh straight road game on grass this Sunday (at Jacksonville), with all seven outdoor games occurring in different venues.
In this era of domed stadiums and FieldTurf, doesn't that seem a little strange? For what it's worth, Stafford boasts per-outing averages of 332 yards passing and 2.17 touchdowns in the six road tilts.
4. Given the lack of injuries to elite quarterbacks (ALWAYS a good thing) and dearth of high-end QBs on Week 9 byes (excluding Tom Brady), Ben Roethlisberger (1,987 yards passing, 14 TDs) is not necessarily a lock to start in the vast majority of 12-team leagues.
But consider this: In his last three road games, Big Ben has per-game averages of 342 yards passing and two touchdowns.
5. No one would be shocked if Eagles coach Andy Reid pulled the plug on the Michael Vick experiment at any point this season—or even this week. But as long as Vick remains Philly's starting quarterback, he'll likely garner a midweek top-10 QB ranking.
Bottom line: Vick is simply too talented and has too many weapons (LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek) to fail in the fantasy realm.
Especially against a New Orleans Saints defense that's allowing an NFL-worst 474 total yards per game.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.