There are a few inalienable truths at the quarterback position this year: 1)if you have Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, you start them, no questions asked; 2) if you have a quarterback facing the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers or any of the NFC East teams, they're about to have a big week; and 3) and no, you still shouldn't trust Jay Cutler.
After that, everything regarding the position is pretty fluid. With that in mind, I've ranked my top 20 quarterbacks for the week and provided some reasoning for my more surprising selections.
Notes: Rankings for standard-scoring leagues and scoring via ESPN. The Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all on byes this week.
Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
I love Philip Rivers this week. After four weeks, he's the No. 3 quarterback in all of fantasy behind Manning and Brees.
He is averaging 22 points per game, and he has a revitalized Antonio Gates to lean on. This week, he plays an Oakland Raiders team that has allowed 18.8 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week in ESPN standard-scoring leagues this season.
He may not get started until 11:35 p.m. ET on Sunday night, but you can bet he'll be lighting up the Raiders in West Coast primetime. If you own him, make sure you're starting him this week.
Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
Take away his dreadful Week 4 performance on Thursday night against the San Francisco 49ers, and Bradford has actually been a pretty solid fantasy option this year, posting a combined total of 45 points against the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons to start the season.
In Week 5, he gets the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are giving up 20.3 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week. When you consider that the Rams have absolutely no running game whatsoever—the team's 47.6 rushing yards per week is worst in the NFL—Bradford should be throwing early and often.
Against a Jacksonville secondary that couldn't stop a fly with a windshield, that should result in a big afternoon for the St. Louis quarterback.
Tony Romo, Terrelle Pryor and Eli Manning
In 12-team leagues, I think two of these three players should be started, and I am projecting each of those two players to post 15 points.
Let's break this trio down.
Romo is the safest option, averaging 16.8 fantasy points per week and currently sitting at No. 10 in standard-scoring quarterback rankings. The Broncos have allowed 16 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week thus far, so you can pretty much pencil in Romo for at least 15 points and be done with it.
Pryor has the best matchup this week. The Chargers are giving up 22.5 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks each week, tied with Washington and Philadelphia for worst in the NFL. Furthermore, the Chargers have also allowed 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in the past three weeks, meaning Pryor could really hurt them on the ground.
Manning has the most upside of the three, but of course, he's also the riskiest given his 11 turnovers this season. The Eagles' secondary is dreadful, and remember, Manning did explode for 28 fantasy points against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1.
You never know when Manning will turn it back on and have a huge outing. He's a huge risk play, but he could handsomely reward owners who are crazy enough to start him.
Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions, make ill-fated NFL predictions and tweet cheesy jokes. You bring the cooler.