1. Tom Brady (NE) – We realize he only threw for 380 yards and 1 TD last week. Despite the off week, we think you are probably safe with him in your starting line up in week 13.
2. Derek Anderson (CLE) – If Trent Dilfer can do some serious damage against the Arizona pass defense, Derek Anderson should be able to annihilate them. Anderson could have a monster week 13. Start him with confidence.
3. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) – He should rebound nicely this week after a poor outing in the Slop Bowl last week. Roethlisberger will match up against a pathetic Bengals pass defense that ranks 26th. In week 8, he threw for 231 yards and 2 TD’s against them. Expect similar numbers or better this time around.
4. Kurt Warner (ARI) – He is coming off a huge performance last week, in more ways than one. Warner threw for a career high 484 yards and added 2 TD’s. He also threw a pair of interceptions and had a couple of key fumbles, including 1 that ultimately cost Arizona the win. While we do not expect him to throw for 484 yards this week, he should surpass the 300 mark against Cleveland’s 30th ranked pass defense. He should also have little trouble finding pay dirt as the Browns have given up a league leading 25 passing TD’s this season. Unfortunately, interceptions and fumbles are also highly probable, but the positives should drastically outweigh anything negative he will do. Warner is a must start.
5. Matt Hasselbeck (SEA) – He has been battling a sore hip much of the week in practice, but he should be good to go this week against the Eagles. While the Philadelphia defense is fairly solid as a whole, they do have trouble stopping the pass, and only rank 22nd in that category. Hasselbeck is playing well, and should make for a solid start in week 13. (Check injury report: hip)
6. Carson Palmer (CIN) – He has a tough match up ahead of him this week against Pittsburgh’s top ranked pass defense, but Palmer seems to always have success against them. In their last 2 meeting Palmer has been very efficient, throwing 3 TD’s and no interceptions. Do not expect a monster game, but he should be solid.
7. Peyton Manning (IND) – After a poor stretch of games, Manning was able to bounce back nicely on Thanksgiving. This week will not be so easy. While a match up against Jacksonville’s 28th ranked pass defense looks great on paper, Manning always seems to struggle against the Jags. While you really can not afford to bench him any week, do not expect a monster game from him in week 13.
8. Drew Brees (NO) – After a pair of average performances, Brees bounced back with a huge week 12. This week he will face a very good Tampa Bay pass defense that ranks 5th. The Bucs should present a challenge, but Brees has a solid string of successful games against them. In a week 2 meeting, Brees threw for 260 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception, but it was on the road, and he was in a slump at the time. He should do better this time around.
9. Jon Kitna (DET) – Kitna has struggled somewhat in recent weeks, and was pretty average in a week 2 meeting with the Vikings, but the match up in week 13 is still too good to pass up. Minnesota has the worst pass defense in the NFL, and Kitna throws the ball as much as any QB in the league. The opportunity is there if he doesn’t screw it up with interceptions and sacks. The match up screams start him, but you never know with Kitna.
10. Jason Campbell (WAS) – In his last 3 games; Campbell has thrown 6 TD passes. He has also thrown for over 300 yards in 2 of the 3. This week he will square off against Buffalo’s 29th ranked pass defense at home. While Campbell is not always the most reliable fantasy QB, we like his chances for a nice game.
11. Matt Schaub (HOU) – Since the return of Andre Johnson, Schaub has had 2 of his best fantasy performances of the season. He will be in for a tough match up against Tennessee, especially if DT Albert Haynesworth is back. If Schaub can successfully avoid the pass rush, he should have a good game. He is high risk-high reward option for week 13.
12. David Garrard (JAC) – No one can accuse Garrard of being a flashy fantasy QB, but he is efficient and consistent. While the 2nd ranked Colts pass defense could pose a challenge this week, Garrard’s recent performances bode well for his ability to get the job done.
13. Jay Cutler (DEN) – He is not the best guy to have in your starting line up this week, but you could do much worse. Cutler will face a very tough Raiders secondary this week. The good news is that Cutler continues to improve, and has posted 2 solid outings in a row. The Broncos will likely run the ball a lot against Oakland, so do not expect much more than an average performance.
14. A.J. Feeley (PHI) – It is still unclear if Donovan McNabb will be the starter this week, but as of right now, it appears Feeley will get the nod. Feeley was very impressive last week, and that is an understatement considering he was facing New England. He threw for 345 yards and 3 TD’s, and almost lead the Eagles to a colossal upset. The bad news is that he also threw 3 interceptions, including 1 that closed the door on the Eagles hopes of winning. Feeley has proven that he is capable of a big game, but it is difficult to start a guy in fantasy based on 1 performance. Check on McNabb’s status before placing Feeley on your starting roster against Seattle.
15. Phillip Rivers (SD) – He doesn’t exactly make for a golden start this week, but he is coming off a monster week 12, and his fantasy output seems to come in mini streaks, both good and bad. Rivers will face a pretty solid Chiefs pass defense this week, and he did not fare all that well in their last meeting. Rivers has been far too unreliable to consider a strong start this week, but if you believe in the mini streak theory, we say go for it.
16. Vince Young (TEN) – While this week’s match up looks promising for Young, it is hard to consider him for a starting spot when he has thrown 7 interceptions and only 2 TD’s in his last 4 games. He could easily have a huge game, but is he worth the risk? We doubt it.
17. Eli Manning (NYG) – He was able to throw 4 TD’s last week, unfortunately, 3 of them went to the opposing defense. In what looked to be dream match up in week 12 against the worst pass defense in the NFL, Manning choked big time. He has not had what can be considered a great performance since week 1. The match up against Chicago’s 25th ranked pass defense looks promising, but then again, so did last week’s match up. Manning is way too shaky right now to consider a solid start. If you have the luxury, look elsewhere until he breaks out of this slump.
18. Damon Huard (KC) – It appears as though Brodie Croyle will be out this week with a back injury. If that is the case, Huard will return to the starting role. While Huard is not highly recommended for a week 13 start, he did throw for 284 yards and 2 TD’s against San Diego in an earlier meeting. He will probably not repeat such a performance against them this time around, but there is precedent for it, and he is at home.
19. Gus Frerotte (STL) – Having Gus Frerotte as your starting fantasy QB in week 13 is not ideal, and if that is the case, you are probably in a tight spot. On a positive note, Frerotte did have a big performance in week 5 filling in for Bulger, and he does have a nice arsenal of weapons to work with. A match up against Atlanta sounds appealing as well, until you realize that the Falcons have the 8th best pass defense in the NFL. With Frerotte’s tendancy to throw more interceptions than TD’s, he is not a safe start, but he will likely have quite a few yards and a TD or 2 is not out of the question.
20. Joey Harrington (ATL) – He has shown the ability to have a pretty good game, but for the most part, he has played well below average. Harrington will face an underrated Rams secondary this week that could give him trouble. He is probably capable of an average game at best, so he is not highly recommended.
21. Rex Grossman (CHI)
22. Trent Dilfer (SF)
23. Trent Edwards (BUF)
24. Vinny Testaverde (CAR)
25. Daunte Culpepper (OAK) – Check injury report: quadricep
26. Kyle Boller (BAL)
27. Kellen Clemens (NYJ)
28. John Beck (MIA)
29. Tarvaris Jackson (MIN)
30. Luke McCown (TB)
* Tony Romo and Brett Favre are not included in this week’s rankings. Thursday night game participants are listed separately each Wednesday.