Figuring out who the best fantasy football quarterbacks will be from week to week is a little easier than doing so for running backs and wide receivers, but by no means is it simple—especially in Week 9 with four teams on a bye and injuries galore throughout the league.
That's why those of us in the fantasy industry put together these lists for you—to give you a gauge of what to expect from your players on any given Sunday.
With that, here are the weekend's top quarterbacks, along with some detailed analysis of the 10 best plays for the week:
(BYE: New England Patriots, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams)
28. John Skelton (at GB)
27. Matt Hasselbeck (vs. Chi)
26. Christian Ponder (at Sea)
25. Blaine Gabbert (vs. Det)
24. Matt Cassel (at SD, Thursday night) – FINAL STATISTICS: 19-of-29 - 181 yards - 0 TDs - 1 INT // 6 carries - 37 yards - 0 TDs
23. Brandon Weeden (vs. Bal)
22. Ryan Fitzpatrick (at Hou)
21. Russell Wilson (vs. Min)
20. Ryan Tannehill (at Ind)
19. Andy Dalton (vs. Den)
18. Joe Flacco (at Cle)
17. Jay Cutler (at Ten)
16. Josh Freeman (at Oak)
15. Philip Rivers (vs. KC, Thursday night) – FINAL STATISTICS: 18-of-20 - 220 yards - 2 TDs - 1 INT // 2 carries - –2 yards - 0 TDs
14. Tony Romo (at Atl, Sunday night)
13. Matt Schaub (vs. Buf)
12. Carson Palmer (vs. TB)
11. Andrew Luck (vs. Mia)
The Top 10 QB Plays for Week 9
10. Ben Roethlisberger (at NYG)
The Steelers won't be able to run the ball very well with Isaac Redman starting, which should get Roethlisberger a whole bunch of passing attempts in this game.
The Giants have actually been pretty good against the run this season, but they’ve been susceptible to the pass allowing the third most passing yards on the year. As usual, New York's secondary should be wide open for Big Ben to pick apart and put up some real nice fantasy stats for your team.
The Giants are a super-opportunistic defense, however, as they’ve intercepted 16 balls already on the season, but if Roethlisberger is patient, he should be able to exploit their over-zealousness and make some big plays throughout the game.
9. Eli Manning (vs. Pit)
After a four-game streak of putting up an average of over 20 fantasy points per game in Weeks 2 through 5, Eli has come back down to earth and averaged a mere 10.5 points per game over the last three weeks.
He’s done what he’s needed to do, however; the Giants won all three of those games, so you can’t really say he’s been playing poorly.
Still, this is the fantasy world, and his owners need him to step up fast if they want to make the playoffs.
To this end, I believe he will because even though the Steelers have been pretty stingy against opposing QBs this season, they haven’t been nearly as good on the road, allowing 14.3 fantasy points a game compared to just 11.3 at home.
I expect Eli to exploit Troy Polamalu’s absence all day long en route to QB1 fantasy stats on the day.
8. Cam Newton (at Was)
The question of the week for the Carolina Panthers: Is Cam Newton really back?
The Chicago Bears aren’t in the habit of allowing opposing QBs to look good throwing for 300 yards against them, but that’s exactly what Newton did this past Sunday.
This week, he’ll be looking at a Redskins defense that has allowed the fourth most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season along with the most passing touchdowns in the league.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Newton will prosper, as the Panthers will likely be without their WR2, Brandon LaFell, but I still expect Cam to shine.
Whatever happens, this is certainly one of the best games to watch in Week 9 with the 2011 rookie of the year (Newton) going up against the possible 2012 rookie of the year (RGIII).
If anything, it will be fun to see which QB comes out on top.
7. Michael Vick (at NO, Monday night)
This is it for Michael Dwayne Vick.
Either he puts together a good game against a league-worst Saints defense this Monday night, or he likely loses his starting job to a rookie. It’s that simple.
Does he have enough magic left in the tank to pull it off?
I believe he does, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Eagles will win the game.
What it DOES mean, however, is that you should be starting him on your fantasy team this week, as the Saints defense has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs this season.
Again, it’s as simple as that.
6. Matt Ryan (vs. Dal, Sunday night)
It looks like Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons offense is back into a groove after a couple of lackluster games before their Week 7 bye.
Last week, Matty Ice threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles in Philadelphia, and it could have been a lot more if they didn’t go up early and basically run out the clock in the second half.
The talent he has at his disposal is beyond what most quarterbacks have to work with, so it’s no surprise he’s currently fourth in the league in fantasy points per game.
This week presents another tough NFC East matchup, though I believe he’ll be able to do the same thing to the Cowboys as he did to the Eagles.
He may not put up top-five fantasy numbers, but it’ll be damn close when all is said and done.
5. Drew Brees (vs. Phi, Monday night)
Drew Brees at home? There may never be more of a sure thing in all of fantasyland history.
In fact, since he joined the Saints in 2006, Brees has acquired more touchdowns and passing yards at home than any other quarterback in the league. He also has the highest completion percentage.
So far in 2012, Cool Brees has averaged 316.3 yards and 3.3 TDs at home, so it seems the trend will continue.
This week, he’ll go up against a pretty tough—though hardly unbeatable—Philadelphia pass D. Matt Ryan just threw for three TDs against them last week, while both Matthew Stafford and Eli Manning were each able to go over 300 yards on them.
I’m expecting some sort of combination of the two out of Brees, whether it be 275 and three TDs or 325 yards and two TDs.
Either way, he’s a QB1 this week.
4. Matthew Stafford (at Jax)
They don’t call this guy “Second-Half Staff” for nothing.
Against a Seattle defense he had no business dominating last week, Matthew Stafford proceeded to throw for 352 yards and three touchdowns while also running in a fourth TD for good measure.
Hey, he didn’t throw for 5,000 yards last season because he was lucky!
However, it’s no coincidence that his tide suddenly turned, either, as it’s plainly obvious how much Stafford and the Lions offense needed Titus Young to get more involved.
This week, the Lions visit a Jaguars team that surprisingly kept Aaron Rodgers at bay last weekend—though I don’t believe they’ll do the same against Stafford.
As a matter of fact, now that Matty has a taste of what it’s like to be elite again, I’m kind of expecting an explosion here.
3. Robert Griffin III (vs. Car)
So the very week I proclaim my unwavering faith in Mr. Griffin III, the guy goes out and puts up his biggest fantasy stinker of the year. Go figure.
It happens to the best of ‘em, though, so I’m not too worried about it.
This Sunday he’ll face off against a Carolina Panthers team that has actually been pretty good against QBs this season, but it’s really only because teams keep trying to run all over them.
In fact, the Panthers defense has allowed the second-highest passing percentage in the league right now—at a whopping 68.4 percent!
Because of their mediocre rush defense, RGIII will gain a good 70-80 yards on the ground. I still expect him to throw for around 250 yards as well, so when you add all that to the three combined TDs he’ll have, you’re looking at a top-of-the-line fantasy day.
2. Peyton Manning (at Cin)
Okay, so I would have been the last person to say this was possible (though nobody in their right mind would, anyway), but it’s looking like Peyton Manning may actually be BETTER than he was BEFORE his neck surgery!
Well, probably not in certain ways, but his statistics sure fit the bill.
Manning is on a current streak of five straight 300-yard games with three touchdown passes in each of the last four (two TDs in the one that started the streak).
He’s only done this one time before—back in his record-setting 2004 season—so who’s to say he’s NOT better now?
This week, he faces a Bengals defense that can give up some pretty nice fantasy numbers to QBs, so look for Peyton’s streak of 300-yard, three-TD games to extend to five on Sunday.
1. Aaron Rodgers (vs. Ari)
This position in the top slot for the week is completely dependent upon Jordy Nelson and whether he plays or not. If he plays, Rodgers stays. If he doesn’t, Rodgers plummets.
Well, maybe not “plummets,” but you could certainly move him down to around the six-through-eight spot, as it became painfully obvious last weekend that Aaron needs his horses (Nelson and Jennings) out there to be at his fantasy best.
That being said, Rodgers still has 21 TDs compared to four INTs this season, and he is third in the league in fantasy points per game, so he’s obviously not THAT bad off. Last year at this time, he had 24 TDs and three INTs, so the drop-off hasn’t been that big of a deal, either.
This week, the Packers face a very solid Cardinals defense, though they’ve had a bit of trouble lately, allowing their two highest point-totals in 2012 over the last two weeks to two teams not really known for scoring (Minnesota and San Francisco).
With Green Bay needing a win to keep pace in the NFC playoff race, I expect them to lean heavily on Rodgers—which is, obviously, a fantasy owner’s dream to hear.
For rankings at all the positions, check out the: Pyro® Rankings
For advice on who to start, check out the: Pyro® Start 'Em Sit 'Em
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