The calendar turns to November.
Fantasy owners know at this point what their teams have and don’t have, and are capable of and incapable of. But most are still in the chase for that cherished playoff spot.
Each week becomes more essential in terms of picking the right starters and getting a win, especially at QB. Here are eight signal-callers who should post solid numbers in Week 9:
Freeman has thrown for nine touchdowns and been picked just once in the last three games—a ratio of six TDs to zero interceptions the last two weeks.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fly from bay to bay in Week 9 for a pirate plundering matchup with the Oakland Raiders. The Silver and Black pass defense ranks in the middle of the league, and it will have to adjust its game plan thanks to RB Doug Martin’s huge day in Week 8 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Shaking off some October doldrums, Matt Ryan scorched the Philadelphia Eagles for three TD passes in Week 8 and kept the Atlanta Falcons unbeaten.
This Sunday, Atlanta welcomes a sluggish Dallas Cowboys team that’s desperate for a win and couldn’t have drawn a worse opponent at the worst time. Dallas’ pass defense is salty (ranked No. 2), but Ryan has been pure sugar most of the season (17 TD passes).
Expect Ryan to exploit the middle of the Dallas defense that’s missing LB Sean Lee.
He may only have 10 TD tosses thus far, but Matt Schaub also has been very careful with his passes (only four interceptions).
Coming off their bye week, the Houston Texans draw a home game vs. Buffalo in Week 9. The Bills are ranked 18th in pass defense and average two TD passes allowed per game.
With the threat of Arian Foster on the ground, Schaub should have plenty of time to sit in the pocket and do damage.
The 6-1 Chicago Bears showed a lot of grit in scratching their way back for a win against the Carolina Panthers last week.
Jay Cutler’s steady hand had a lot to do with it. His numbers this season aren’t great (9 TDs, 8 INTs), but Chicago faces a weary Tennessee Titans defense in Week 9. The Titans are 31st against the pass and have given up 17 passing scores.
Cutler and his longtime hookup, Brandon Marshall, are must-starts in a road game the Bears figure to roll in.
Though he still hasn’t thrown a TD pass to Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford looks like his game may be finally rebounding.
He torched the Seattle Seahawks for three scores in a must-win game at home in Week 8, throwing for a season-high 352 yards.
Detroit takes to the road Sunday at Jacksonville, another must-win game if it wants to keep pace in the NFC North race. The Jaguars haven’t won a game at home this season (0-3), and rank in the lower half of the NFL against the pass.
With Ryan Broyles emerging at WR, along with Titus Young and Johnson, Stafford can’t say he won’t have opportunities to put points on the board.
Philip Rivers is in the midst of his second straight lousy season (157-243-1, 646-10-9), but he’ll be throwing against the Kansas City Chiefs at home.
Kansas City has allowed 15 TD passes through the first eight weeks and only intercepted five passes. Rivers tore the Chiefs up at Arrowhead three weeks ago, going 18-for-23 for 209 yards and two touchdowns.
Something along those lines should repeat itself Thursday night in San Diego.
He may only have eight passing touchdowns, but Robert Griffin III has added six more on the ground.
Couple that with only three interceptions, and you’ve got your Rookie of the Year. On Sunday, Griffin III returns to Washington to take on a Carolina Panthers team deflated by a late loss at Chicago.
The Panthers aren’t bad defensively, but they aren’t great, either. The Redskins have only played in front of the home folks three times so far this season, and the atmosphere will be electric in anticipation of RG3 putting on a show. They shouldn’t be disappointed.
Drew Brees has at least one interception in every game but one so far in 2012.
His 20 TDs are impressive, but his eight INTs are not. But every fantasy owner alive starts him week in and week out, and sometimes like Sunday night against Denver, he has an average night.
He’ll rebound nicely this coming Monday night at home against the reeling Eagles. Philly’s pass D was demolished at home by Matt Ryan and the Falcons in Week 8. Brees should wreak even more havoc against a defense that saw its coordinator fired last week.