Bye weeks take away some of the easy decisions at quarterback, including Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford and Colin Kaepernick. They also take away the preseason fool's gold that has proved to be Carson Palmer and Eli Manning. Oh, and the Jags are off too.
We sort through the remainder of the quarterbacks here.
Mini quarterback controversy
The Vikings still haven't picked a starting quarterback for this week's game against the Cowboys—at least publicly. Christian Ponder was taking the first-team reps in practice Thursday, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Mark Craig and Chip Scoggins.
ESPN's Ed Werder previously speculated the Vikings would start the now-cleared Josh Freeman (concussion) to evaluate him for the future. The only reason anyone cares in fantasy is because of two-quarterback formats and the fact the Cowboys have been the worst team in fantasy against quarterbacks to date.
Brady likely needs to sit
Tom Brady was supposed to take off when Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski both came back from injury. The Pats receivers were all healthy last week, but Brady struggled to one of his worst performances in years.
The Boston Globe's Ben Volin suggested the struggles are related to the reported issues with his swollen hand, which remains unreported on the official NFL Injury Report. What is worse than the struggles or the injury is the matchup: The Steelers are No. 1 in fantasy against quarterbacks. You should sit Brady if you have a productive backup with a better matchup, like Alex Smith at Buffalo or Terrelle Pryor vs. Philly.
Like him more
Speaking of Smith, the Bills are the second-worst team in fantasy against quarterbacks. Also, the offense could be a tad more on Smith's shoulder, as the Bills are expected to get C.J. Spiller (ankle) back. The Bills have played better at home and could make a game of this against the Chiefs early, forcing Smith into some passing numbers he usually doesn't get.
Smith is among the quarterbacks we like more than the expert consensus below:
Andy Dalton (already played Thursday night)
- Alex Smith
- Joe Flacco
- Geno Smith
- Thad Lewis
Like him less
We might not get a resolution on the Ponder vs. Freeman decision up until Sunday morning. It is the reason we cannot advise you trusting either this week, despite the favorable matchup described above. Both are among the quarterbacks we like less than the masses below:
- Russell Wilson
- Terrelle Pryor
- Jake Locker
- Ryan Tannehill
- Josh Freeman/Christian Ponder
Week 9 Quarterbacks Rankings - Eric Mack