Going into the season, I expected big things from San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers including a record-setting performance.
Specifically, I wrote in my Week 1 quarterback rankings,
"Rivers threw for a league-high 4,710 yards with a bunch of waiver-wire guys plus Antonio Gates last year. With Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd all in the lineup, the sky's the limit. In fact, my bold prediction for 2011 is that Rivers breaks Dan Marino's single-season passing yardage record."
While Rivers is on pace to throw for more than Marino's record of 5,084 yards (see below), the health of Jackson, Gates and Floyd has been less than ideal. It's uncertain when Gates will return, Jackson was on and off the field in the second half last week due to a "leg sprain" and Floyd has been playing through injuries.
In addition to the injuries, Rivers has not been sharp.
Before 2011, Rivers threw 136 career touchdowns and 58 interceptions or roughly 2.3 touchdowns for every interception thrown. So far this year, Rivers has only five touchdowns and has thrown six interceptions.
This week, the Chargers face the Broncos. Only two teams have allowed more passing touchdowns and only two teams have intercepted fewer passes than Denver. Perhaps this is the week that Rivers breaks out of his slump.
Here are more notes on quarterbacks for Week 5:
Through the first four games, six quarterbacks are on pace to throw for at least 5,000 yards this season. Here are their paces: Tom Brady (6,212), Drew Brees (5,640), Cam Newton (5,544), Aaron Rodgers (5,300), Philip Rivers (5,144) and Tony Romo (5,092).
Although Brady threw for only 226 yards, by far his season low, against the Raiders, he threw another two touchdowns. On the season, he has 13 total touchdowns and has thrown at least two in every game this season. Counting last season's playoff loss to the Jets, this week's opponent, Brady has thrown two or more touchdowns in 14 straight games.
With the exception of Romo, there are no other elite fantasy quarterbacks on the bye this week. The other teams (and quarterbacks) on the bye are: Baltimore (Joe Flacco), St. Louis (Sam Bradford), Miami (Matt Moore/Chad Henne), Cleveland (Colt McCoy) and Washington (Rex Grossman).
Carolina's Cam Newton threw for 374 yards in last week's loss to Chicago and now has thrown for 374 yards or more in three out of his four NFL games. As impressively, Newton has rushed for four touchdowns in four games. In fact, those are the Panthers' only four rushing touchdowns this season. (Only Cardinals running back Beanie Wells has rushed for more touchdowns (five) than Newton.)
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is dealing with a foot sprain, is expected to play in Week 5 against the Titans. But how effective will he be? Tennessee ranks first in scoring defense and has not allowed an opponent to score more than 16 points this season.
Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has never thrown for 4,000 yards in his NFL career. Based on his performance in the first four games of the season, Hasselbeck is on pace for more than 4,600 yards and 32 touchdowns. This week, the Titans face the Steelers, who rank No. 1 in pass defense (157.5 yards allowed per game).
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez completed only 31.4 percent of his passes against the Ravens on Sunday Night Football. In that game, Sanchez set the low for any Jet quarterback ever. Sanchez also threw for a season-low 119 yards and no touchdowns. In four games this season, Sanchez has thrown for 335 yards (or more) twice and for 182 yards (or less) twice. Fortunately for Sanchez, the Patriots have only allowed 300-yard passers this season.
Here are my top 25 fantasy quarterbacks for Week 5:
1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at ATL)
2. Drew Brees, Saints (at CAR)
3. Michael Vick, Eagles (at BUF)
4. Philip Rivers, Chargers (at DEN)
5. Tom Brady, Patriots (vs NYJ)
6. Matthew Stafford, Lions (vs CHI)
7. Cam Newton, Panthers (vs NO)
8. Matt Ryan, Falcons (vs GB)
9. Eli Manning, Giants (vs SEA)
10. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills (vs PHI)
11. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers (at SF)
12. Matt Schaub, Texans (vs OAK)
13. Mark Sanchez, Jets (at NE)
14. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs TEN)
15. Kevin Kolb, Cardinals (at MIN)
16. Jay Cutler, Bears (at DET)
17. Matt Hasselbeck, Titans (at PIT)
18. Jason Campbell, Raiders (at HOU)
19. Kyle Orton, Broncos (vs SD)
20. Donovan McNabb, Vikings (vs ARI)
21. Alex Smith, 49ers (vs TB)
22. Andy Dalton, Bengals (at JAC)
23. Matt Cassel, Chiefs (at IND)
24. Tarvaris Jackson, Seahawks (at NYG)
25. Curtis Painter, Colts (vs KC)
Please note that these are our initial rankings for the week. We will update our rankings, as necessary, throughout the week. To get the most up-to-date rankings and see rankings for other positions, visit our fantasy section here.
If interested, here is our free Week 5 fantasy football contest.
Good luck in Week 5!