After throwing for 400-plus yards in back-to-back games to start his career, Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton, the top overall pick this year, has slowed down, but is still off to an amazing start to the first half of his season.
Through eight games, Newton ranks second in the NFL in passing yards (2,393) even though he has thrown for less than 300 yards in four consecutive games.
In addition to ranking second in passing yards, Newton ranks third in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (seven). Only running backs Adrian Peterson (nine) and LeSean McCoy (eight) have more.
If Newton maintains his pace for 16 games, which is certainly unlikely, he'll finish his rookie season with nearly 4,800 passing yards, more than 600 rushing yards, 22 passing touchdowns and 14 rushing touchdowns.
Not only is Newton on bye this week, but so are fellow rookie starting quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert. In addition to those three rookies, Detroit's Matthew Stafford is on bye this week as well.
Here are some quarterback notes for Week 9:
- Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers could not have gotten off to a better start. He has become the only quarterback in NFL history to post seven straight games with a QB rating of 110 or more. During that span, he has thrown for 297-plus yards and multiple touchdowns every game and has a 20:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was held to a season-low 198 yards by the Steelers last week. The Giants, who face the Patriots this week, have allowed only seven passing touchdowns—only three teams have held opponents to less. On the season, Brady ranks third in yards per game (337.3).
- Baltimore's Joe Flacco has been consistently inconsistent this season (six straight weeks of alternating between a 300-yard game and one with less than 200). Although Flacco threw a season-high 51 pass attempts last week for 336 yards, he threw no touchdown passes.
This week, the Ravens face the Steelers, who have allowed a league-low 171.6 passing yards per game. That said, only the Dolphins pass defense has a worse touchdown-to-interception ratio allowed (7:1) than the Steelers (5:1) and Flacco threw three touchdowns and no interceptions against them in Week 1.
- Giants quarterback Eli Manning is unlikely to have his top target this weekend as Hakeem Nicks is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game in Foxboro. Manning has three 300-yard games in the past four weeks including a 420-yard performance against the Seahawks. No team has allowed more passing yards per game (323.1) than the Patriots.
- Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for a season-low 269 passing yards last week, but he still leads the NFL with 343.2 yards per game. Brees has thrown 44-plus attempts in six of eight games this season.
- Eagles quarterback Michael Vick rushed for a career-high nine touchdowns in only 12 games last year. Through seven games this year, Vick has yet to rush for a touchdown in 52 attempts although he is averaging 60.3 rushing yards per game (versus 56.3 rushing YPG last year).
- The Jets have allowed a league-low four touchdown passes while picking off 11 passes (only three teams have more). Meanwhile, the Bills have intercepted a league-high 14 passes. In other words, Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick and New York's Mark Sanchez are unlikely to maintain their 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratios.
- Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is listed as questionable for this week's matchup against the Cardinals, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.
- Atlanta's Matt Ryan has thrown exactly one touchdown in five straight games after his four-touchdown performance in Week 2. In his past three games, Ryan has thrown for 218 yards or less. On a positive note, however, the Falcons get talented rookie receiver Julio Jones back from injury and the Colts have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
- San Diego's Philip Rivers has thrown a league-high 11 interceptions and only seven touchdowns this season. Since Week 3, Rivers has thrown only three touchdowns and seven interceptions. Only the Bills (14) have intercepted more passes than the Packers (13), this week's opponent.
Here are our initial Top 25 fantasy quarterbacks for Week 9:
1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at SD)
2. Drew Brees, Saints (vs. TB)
3. Michael Vick, Eagles (vs. CHI)
4. Tom Brady, Patriots (vs. NYG)
5. Tony Romo, Cowboys (vs. SEA)
6. Eli Manning, Giants (at NE)
7. Matt Ryan, Falcons (at IND)
8. Philip Rivers, Chargers (vs. GB)
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs. BAL)
10. Matt Schaub, Texans (vs. CLE)
11. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers (at NO)
12. Tim Tebow, Broncos (at OAK)
13. Matt Cassel, Chiefs (vs. MIA)
14. Andy Dalton, Bengals (at TEN)
15. Sam Bradford, Rams (at ARI)
16. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills (vs. NYJ)
17. Joe Flacco, Ravens (at PIT)
18. Jay Cutler, Bears (at PHI)
19. Mark Sanchez, Jets (at BUF)
20. Matt Hasselbeck, Titans (vs. CIN)
21. Colt McCoy, Browns (at HOU)
22. Carson Palmer, Raiders (vs. DEN)
23. Kevin Kolb, Cardinals (vs. STL)
24. Tarvaris Jackson, Seahawks (at DAL)
25. Alex Smith, 49ers (at WAS)
26. Curtis Painter, Colts (vs. ATL)
Check out our rankings for other positions and flex rankings at TheTipDrill.com, our fantasy section.
Good luck in Week 9!