Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 10: 5 Quarterbacks Who Are Must-Start
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It's Week 10 in the NFL, and that means that it's time for the contenders to really show their colors and separate from the pretenders.
It also means that your fantasy football league has clearly defined winners and losers as well. It's around this time of year that the legitimate contenders in leagues across the country start to pull away from the bottom feeders and prepare for the playoffs.
That doesn't mean the season is over, though. There are still important decisions to be made, especially with Aaron Rodgers and Robert Griffin III taking the week off along with many others.
Chances are, the schedule will throw a wrench in your plan this week. Very few of the matchups in Week 10 pit a great quarterback against a terrible defense, which means that underrated signal-callers could rise up and take control. There are still safe options, but it's very important to do the research and make the right decision.
With that in mind, these five quarterbacks are must-starts this week. Starting one or the other could be the decision that makes or breaks your chance for a fantasy football title.
Matt Ryan may be the frontrunner for NFL MVP and put on an amazing aerial display against a good Dallas defense last week.
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Opposing defenses might as well just get out of the way, because Matt Ryan has been mowing them down throughout the Falcons' 8-0 start. Ryan has only one bad game on his ledger this year and has been spectacular both at home and on the road.
He'll get his first crack at the New Orleans Saints' defense this week. For anyone who hasn't been paying attention, the fantasy football rulebook was recently revised with a clause requiring players to start any quarterback who is facing the Saints. New Orleans is that bad.
Ryan will have an absolute field day. He should go for 350 yards and three touchdowns, and he should do it with relative ease. The Saints won't stand a chance against Roddy White and Julio Jones, let alone Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner. Ryan truly has an embarrassment of riches on offense, and he will utilize every last one.
Ryan has averaged almost 280 yards per game against the Saints in seven career games. Now that the Saints have a historically terrible defense, he should eclipse that number with ease. The Saints will probably score a lot of points as well, so Ryan will be throwing late in the fourth quarter. That's the best news for fantasy players who need a lot of points to get a win.
Tom Brady shredded the Bills in their last match-up and will look to do the same this week.
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In fantasy football, you can't really go wrong with Tom Brady. Tom Terrific is a fantasy owner's dream because no matter who New England is playing, Brady can put on a show. When you add in the fact that he's playing the Buffalo Bills this week, what's not to love?
In his last start against the Bills, Brady threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns. Expect something similar this week, especially since Bills defensive Mario Williams is having a very tough year. Brady should hover around 300 yards and three touchdowns this week. He had a bye to prepare for this game, so you can be sure that he'll bring his best.
Brady has thrown for at least 220 yards in 17 straight games, which means he's a must-start every single week. Even more amazing, he's thrown for at least one touchdown in 40 consecutive games, which is almost unfathomable. If you have Tom Brady, it should be a no-brainer to start him each and every week no matter what.
Ben Roethlisberger is enjoying one of the best seasons of his stellar career. His great year will continue this week against Kansas City on national television.
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Big Ben Roethlisberger is quietly putting together a stellar fantasy football season. For years, he has been defined by on-field success as opposed to fantasy success, but 2012 is different. He is on pace to throw for over 4,000 yards and already has 16 touchdown passes against just four interceptions.
In relation to fantasy, Roethlisberger's best asset is his reliability. He has thrown for over 200 yards in 11 straight games and has also thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game this season. His numbers have dipped slightly in recent weeks due to the emergence of the Steelers' running game, but fantasy owners shouldn't worry. Roethlisberger gets to play the Chiefs this weekend.
The Chiefs are a terrible team. There's no other way to say it. Big Ben will throw it all over the field early and put the game out of reach before the second half begins. He should throw for 280 yards and three touchdowns. Don't be surprised if he throws for four or even five scores, especially if the running game can help move the ball between the 20's. Roethlisberger has some great red-zone options and could throw a couple of easy scores.
It's been a frustrating season for Joe Flacco, but look for him to bounce back in a big way this weekend.
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No quarterback in the NFL defines inconsistency as much as Joe Flacco. Now in his fifth season, the rocket-armed quarterback out of Delaware has failed to show any marked improvement over his career. His passer rating in 2012 is hovering around his career rating of 85.8, and his completion percentage is below 60 percent for the second year in a row.
Flacco is in the midst of arguably the worst stretch of his career and has all but faded from fantasy relevance. In his last four games, he's averaging 179.5 yards and has a measly three touchdown passes.
But Flacco is never really irrelevant. Just when you think it's time to count him out, he responds. He can throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns on any given afternoon, and the weapons he has to work with are the envy of many NFL quarterbacks.
While there's really no reason to trust Flacco this week, there are two things to keep in mind. First, he's going up against the suspect secondary of the Oakland Raiders. Second, and most important, he's playing at home. In 2012, Flacco averages just 180 yards per game on the road, but 318 yards at home. That has to count for something.
Expect Flacco to go for around 280 yards and two scores. He's a different player at home, and he'll show it this week.
Andrew Luck set an NFL rookie record with 433 yards last week. He faces the porous Jaguars defense on Thursday night.
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It's easy to run out of superlatives when talking about Andrew Luck. The rookie from Stanford has played spectacular football in 2012, and he set an NFL rookie record by throwing for 433 yards in a win against the Miami Dolphins last week.
Luck has been far from perfect. But for a rookie to come into the league and do what he's done is absolutely amazing, and his run of success will not end this weekend. He faces the 1-7 Jacksonville Jaguars in a game that is critical to the Colts' playoff hopes.
The Jags did a decent job of defending against the Green Bay Packers' aerial attack last weekend, but it's a bit much to expect them to put together a similar performance for a second week in a row. Expect Luck to shred the Jaguars secondary and have a clean pocket for the majority of the afternoon.
The only thing that really holds Luck back in terms of fantasy football is that the fans don't seem to trust him (he's not yet owned in 100 percent of standard leagues like elite players generally are). It's understandable because he's only a rookie, but it's time to give him the reins if you're struggling under center in your league.
One main reason to start him, aside from his production so far, is the fact that the numbers are not really going to go away. Luck is tied for third in the NFL in passing attempts, which means he's going to have a chance to put up a lot of fantasy points every single week.
Expect him to throw for over 300 yards with two touchdowns. He might even add a rushing score or two in there. What can't he do?