More and more in fantasy football, a simple but vital rule has taken shape—outside of the top two or three options, there is parity in the top 10 at the quarterback position.
Each week, a new hero seems to emerge at the position, shuffling the rankings. And yet, patterns emerge, familiar faces stick around the top 10, and owners without one of those players find themselves looking up in the standings.
So, do you have a top-10 player at the position this week? If you don't, it may be time to add one. Let's break down this week's quarterback rankings.
I know, I know—one subpar game and Manning gets moved to fourth on my rankings?
The truth is, Manning's early-season pace probably wasn't sustainable, and this week he has a tough matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, allowing just 12.3 points to opposing quarterbacks per week (ninth in the NFL).
A projection of 22 points is nothing to sneeze at, of course. He'll get his, but automatically penciling him in for 30 points a week is unrealistic.
I love Philip Rivers this week, even if the Jacksonville Jaguars shockingly were the team that exposed Manning's humanity. The San Diego Chargers will probably turn to the ground game once again—the Jaguars are 32nd in the NFL in rush defense—but that should open up the play-action passing game and allow Rivers to take shots down the field.
Plus, the return of Justin Blackmon has given this Jags offense a boost. This one could end up being a shootout.
Cam Newton, Tony Romo, Andrew Luck and either Nick Foles or Michael Vick should exploit favorable matchups. The latter three are facing defenses that are 23rd or lower in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks.
Meanwhile, Newton faces a defense in the St. Louis Rams that is 23rd in yards allowed and 22nd in points given up per game.
The loss of Julio Jones and the uncertainty surrounding Roddy White—will he play at all, and even if he does, will he be anywhere near 100 percent?—drops Matt Ryan out of the top 10, though barely. A less-than-favorable matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals—a team that held Aaron Rodgers to 11 fantasy points and Tom Brady to just five—does the same for Matt Stafford.
For as awful as he's been this year, a date against the hapless Minnesota Vikings could be just what the doctor ordered for Eli Manning. The Vikings allow 20 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week (27th in the NFL) and 308 passing yards per game (29th), so Manning should put up solid numbers.
If he doesn't throw half a dozen interceptions, that is.
Beyond that, starting a quarterback out of the top 14 is really risky. Avoid if you can. If you can't, roll with Flacco or Smith, or say your prayers and hope for the best.
Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions and commiserate with you over underachieving players. You bring the beer.