Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 11: Early Look at Biggest Quarterback Conundrums

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 27: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks for an open man in the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on October 27, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Remember when quarterback was so deep that filling the position was the least of a fantasy manager's worries?

Before draft day beckoned, all the cool kids (fantasy football analysis is considered cool, right?) preached patience when selecting a quarterback. After all, there were plenty of star signal callers for everyone. Is Drew Brees really all that special anyway?

This season, Peyton Manning and Brees have operated head and shoulders above the inconsistent competition. Granted, anyone who ignored that advice and took Aaron Rodgers hates everyone and everything at the moment.

So with Rodgers out, Jay Cutler right back on the injury line and Tony Romo getting a much-needed week to rest, the quarterback slot is far from a sure thing this weekend. Let's try to make your life a little easier than handicapping some choices.

Week 11 QB Rankings
1Drew BreesSan Francisco 49ers
2Peyton ManningKansas City Chiefs
3Philip Riversat Miami Dolphins
4Russell WilsonMinnesota Vikings
5Robert Griffin IIIat Philadelphia Eagles
6Matthew Staffordat Pittsburgh Steelers
7Nick FolesWashington Redskins
8Cam NewtonNew England Patriots
9Tom Bradyat Carolina Panthers
10Ben RoethlisbergerDetroit Lions
11Andrew Luckat Tennessee Titans
12Alex Smithat Denver Broncos
13Colin Kapernickat New Orleans Saints
14Matt Ryanat Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15Joe Flaccoat Chicago Bears
Schedule courtesy of


Tom Brady (at Carolina Panthers)

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 3: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts to the cheers of fans as he runs onto the field before a game with the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/G

How loyal are you to playing the right matchup?

On paper, the Panthers present one of the toughest draws a quarterback can bump into this season. While the secondary does not feature a name-brand stalwart, their vicious front seven amplifies the pressure. As a result, opponents are averaging just 201.3 passing yards per game.

Just ask Eli Manning and Matt Ryan how rough Carolina can be. Manning mustered just 119 yards in Week 3 while Ryan squandered three interceptions. After proving their legitimacy against the San Francisco 49ers, the Panthers are hungry to make an even larger statement against the New England Patriots on Monday night.

A few weeks ago, sitting the slumping Tom Brady against an elite Carolina defense would have been the smart course of action but sitting the golden boy is too bold after his last performance.

Finally showing life, Brady generated 432 passing yards and four touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who allow the same amount of passing yards per contest as the Panthers. While he has completed just 57.1 percent of his passes during a worrisome campaign, Brady now has go-to targets Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola healthy and ready to roll.

For once, don't let the numbers trick you into a decision you may badly regret. Now's the time to hope Brady returns to his usual form.

Verdict: Start


QB Andy Dalton (vs. Cleveland Browns)

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 10:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 10, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Andy Dalton is no Tom Brady, so he does not receive the benefit of the doubt.

Over his last five games, Dalton has averaged 329.2 passing yards per game, collecting 13 passing touchdowns in the process. Unfortunately, he has recently washed out those gains with three interceptions in two straight games.

Were it not for a lucky Hail Mary pass miraculously bouncing to A.J. Green for a 51-yard score, Dalton would've finished with ugly numbers against the Baltimore Ravens. Can he count on another fortuitous break against the equally potent Cleveland Browns?

With Dalton, it's not worth the gamble. When he faced Cleveland in Week 4, he recorded 206 passing yards, no touchdowns and an interception. The Browns allow 217.4 passing yards per game, and Joe Haden will force Dalton to utilize receivers other than Green.

Have you heard from Marvin Jones since that four-touchdown outburst? Me neither.

Verdict: Sit


Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Detroit Lions)

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 03:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after a touhdown catch in the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 3, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Ge

Need a temporary replacement?

Ben Roethlisberger, ranked 16th among quarterbacks by ESPN's scoring, has rarely amassed worthwhile fantasy efforts. Only twice has he offered multiple-touchdown games, but Week 11 can very well mark the third time.

This Sunday Pittsburgh faces Detroit, who ranks 27th with 275.6 passing yards allowed per game. In addition to their loose secondary, the Lions have sacked the quarterback 15 times, so even Roethlisberger shouldn't get taken down too often in the pocket.

In his other games against equally inferior NFC North passing defenses, Big Ben piled up the yards in losing efforts. He threw for 406 yards against the Chicago Bears and 383 against the Minnesota Vikings, both of whom rank in the bottom 10 against the pass.

If Roethlisberger is floating around the waiver wire, consider adding him for a spot start this Sunday. He should soon start delivering the touchdowns to match his loftier yard tallies.

Verdict: Start