2. Drew Brees (NO) – In his last 2 games, he has thrown for 784 yards, 4 TD’s and just 1 interception. Brees continues to play on an extremely high level in spite of being without two of his top receiving threats. He will face an improved, yet vulnerable, Minnesota pass defense at home this week. If Lance Moore and Robert Meachem continue to step up in the passing game as expected, we see no reason why Brees should not have another big fantasy effort in week 5.
3. Peyton Manning (IND) – While he has struggled to some extent this season, it is only a matter of time before he breaks out and week 5 against the Texans looks like the match up that will get him going. In his last 4 games against Houston, Manning has been nearly flawless averaging almost 300 yards passing per game with 10 total TD’s and not even a single interception. He should easily get on track this week and is a must start on your fantasy roster.
4. Phillip Rivers (SD) – After putting up monster fantasy totals through the first 3 weeks, Rivers was fairly disappointing in week 4. The good news is that he will face Miami’s 26th ranked pass defense in week 5. The Dolphins have on average allowed 2 TD passes per game and only have 1 interception so far this season. He should get back on track with a great game given the match up and seems to be on a much more reliable pace than in the past. Despite the week 4 letdown, Rivers is worthy of a week 5 fantasy start.
5. Jay Cutler (DEN) – While he threw for an impressive 361 yards last week, he only managed to throw 1 TD pass, and tossed up 2 picks tarnishing what should have been a big fantasy day for him. Cutler is transcending into an elite QB, but you have to keep in mind that he still young and not immune to mistakes. He will have his work cut out for him in week 5 against Tampa Bay. The Bucs pass defense should provide a challenge as they are now tied for the most interceptions in the NFL with 8. That said, Tampa Bay is also not without their weaknesses as they have allowed 7 passing TD’s this season. Cutler has the talent and weapons to get it done in week 5, and we think he will, but don’t be surprised if he has a couple of hiccups.
6. Aaron Rodgers (GB) – There is no question that Rodgers has cooled off to some extent in his last 2 games, but he has still managed to put up acceptable numbers. If his shoulder is up to the challenge (which this ranking is tentatively binding), then week 5 will provide a very favorable match up for him. A young Falcons secondary should be no match for the Green Bay receivers and Rodgers will be comfortable playing at home. We expect a big game from him if he is at or near 100%, but his sprained shoulder is definitely a concern. UPDATE: Rodgers will be a game time decision on Sunday. Even if he plays, he may not finish the game. You should probably prepare to use another option at QB this week to be on the safe side. Check injury report: sprained shoulder
7. Kurt Warner (ARI) – In most fantasy leagues a 472 yard passing day with 2 TD’s is going to garner you a pretty hefty point total, that is unless you started Kurt Warner in week 4. Warner ruined an otherwise outstanding game by getting sacked 5 times and was responsible for 6 total turnovers. While Warner is no stranger to the occasional turnover, 6 of them is unheard of, and his offensive line bears some of the responsibility as well. Warner should stabilize in week 5, but a match up against Buffalo’s 6th ranked pass defense will be a challenge. He will need better protection this week and a healthy Anquan Boldin will be a plus, but Warner should produce solid numbers with fewer mistakes.
8. Donovan McNabb (PHI) – Ever since a 3 TD performance in week 1, McNabb has struggled to find receivers in the end zone with just 1 passing TD in each of his last 3 games. He should improve in that capacity as the season progresses and his supporting cast returns to full strength. McNabb will face division rival Washington in week 5. The Redskins pass defense only ranks 23rd in the NFL through the first 4 games, so the match up bodes well. In addition, McNabb threw for 251 yards, 4 TD’s and 0 interceptions in his last game against them. We like his chances for a great week 5 performance. Check injury report: chest
9. Jason Campbell (WAS) –He has shown week to week improvement while posting solid fantasy totals in the process. Campbell has also been extremely efficient and has yet to throw a single interception so far this season. He will face a talented and tough Eagles defense in week 5, but Philadelphia has shown it can be vulnerable against the pass. In his last game against the Eagles in 2007, Campbell threw for 215 yards, 3 TD’s, and 0 interceptions. If he can get good protection from his offensive line, week 5 should be solid for him once again.
10. Eli Manning (NYG) – While Manning’s week 5 fantasy value suffers a bit without the suspended WR Plaxico Burress in the line up, we still believe he will post solid numbers. For one, he has had two weeks to prepare for this game and secondly, he will face a Seattle pass defense that ranks 25th in the NFL. Manning still has some capable weapons at his disposal as well and should make for a quality fantasy start in week 5.
11. Jake Delhomme (CAR) – After 3 weeks of sub par production, things finally started to click for Delhomme in week 4 as he threw for 294 yards, 2 TD’s, and 0 interceptions. He should carry that momentum into week 5 against a young overachieving Kansas City pass defense. While one good game does not qualify Delhomme for top flight status just yet, the future looks promising and the Chiefs provide a nice match up for him. Check injury report: thigh
12. Matt Hasselbeck (SEA) – He has definitely struggled so far this season, but is not a surprise considering the Seattle WR corps has been plagued with injuries and patched with 3rd rate talent. Fortunately, Hasselbeck’s struggles should be a thing of the past and the future looks bright with the week 5 return of both Bobby Engram and Deion Branch to the receiving corps. While a week 5 match up against the Giants is not exactly favorable, you should see definite improvement from the talented veteran signal caller with capable weapons at his disposal.
13. Carson Palmer (CIN) – While Palmer has stated publicly that he will play in week 5 against the Cowboys, comments from the coaching staff seem to indicate that Ryan Fitzpatrick will probably get his second straight start for the Bengals. Palmer was a surprise late scratch after popping up on the injury report late in the week with an elbow issue. This was disappointing as a week 4 match up against Cleveland looked promising after it seemed Palmer was turning the corner on a rough start with a nice week 3 performance against the Giants. Palmer is a very risky fantasy start in week 5 for a number reasons, the main one being that he may not even play. Palmer should continue to show improvement as the season progresses, but a week 5 match up against the Cowboys looks like a long shot. UPDATE: Palmer is expected to play on Sunday against the Cowboys. We still think he is a little iffy, but he has the tools for a nice game. Check injury report: elbow
14. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) – He has struggled mightily through two very tough match ups against the Eagles and Ravens. While week 5 against Jacksonville will not be a walk in the park for him, it should offer some relief compared to his last two games. Now that the Steelers are down to their 3rd string RB, Pittsburgh will likely come into this game with a mind set to pass early and often. Other key injuries to the offensive line are also a concern, but he still has plenty of weapons at his disposal and is capable of a solid game from a fantasy standpoint. The Jaguars pass defense is ranked just 24th in the NFL and Roethlisberger threw 3 TD’s against them in a meeting last season. Roethlisberger is not the safest option this week based on his recent play and the injuries, but the potential is still there. Check injury report: shoulder
15. Kyle Orton (CHI) – He is a long shot for week 5, but he has real sleeper potential. While we do not consider Orton a great or even a good fantasy QB most weeks, he has been fairly impressive in his last 2 starts throwing 5 TD passes. Also, when you look at the brutal match ups he’s faced through the first 4 games of the season; Orton has been somewhat respectable and showing improvement. A week 5 match up against a weak Detroit pass defense is extremely favorable. You shouldn’t expect a monster game, and mistakes will likely be made, but Orton should provide enough production to merit a start as a nice bye week fill in.
16. Trent Edwards (BUF) – After seeing what Brett Favre did to the Cardinals pass defense in week 4, it would be hard not to get excited about Trent Edwards chances against them in week 5, and understandably so. Unfortunately, defenses have meltdowns from time to time and that is probably what you saw with Arizona in week 4. They were actually one of the NFL’s better pass defenses statistically heading into that game. So while it is possible that the Cards secondary could get torched again this week by Edwards, the chances are very slim. Edwards is a transcending QB, but he is no Brett Favre. Edwards tends to play to the level of competition he is facing, last week against the Rams being a shining example of that. He has a chance to play well, but the Cards secondary is going to be out for redemption, so keep your expectations realistic if you start Edwards in week 5.
17. Jon Kitna (DET) – He started off the season with a strong week 1 fantasy performance against the Falcons. Unfortunately, his numbers have been on the decline ever since. You would think that Kitna would be producing better stat lines with the weapons he has at WR, but it just hasn’t happened to this point. A week 5 match against the Bears probably won’t do much to help the trend either. Chicago’s pass defense has been shaky so far this season, but not as shaky as Kitna. He was solid in both games against Chicago last season, and he is capable of such this time around, but he is only worth using as a bye week fill in at best.
18. Brian Griese (TB) – After a strong week 3, expectations were high heading into week 4 against the Packers, and he was horrible. Griese is one of those QB’s that can have a huge game against anyone, but more times than not, he will put up average or poor numbers. A week 5 match up against Denver’s 31st ranked pass defense bodes well for him, but it is difficult to expect him to bounce back big with his sketchy track record. He may pay off as bye week fill in, but as last week proved; Griese is not a reliable fantasy QB. The match up is excellent, we aren’t so sure about Griese.
19. Matt Schaub (HOU) – He finally lived up to expectations in week 4 with a monster 300 yard, 3 TD performance against Jacksonville. This is promising news for fantasy owners, but keep in mind his overall track record for the season. We aren’t saying that week 4 was a fluke because we know Schaub is a very capable QB, but two very poor performances speak louder than one good outing. Hopefully, this will give him the momentum to jump start the remainder of the season, but a week 5 match up against the Colts doesn’t look all that great. The Indianapolis defense might be terrible against the run, but they have been flawless defending the pass. Through 3 games, they have only allowed 141 yards passing per game and have yet to have a single TD scored on them through the air. In addition, Schaub threw 2 interceptions and only 1 TD against them last season. He is a risky proposition for week 5, but if he somehow plays great again this week, you can probably feel safe about using him on a weekly basis again.
20. Chad Pennington (MIA) – He has the match up in week 5 to do some real damage, but we aren’t sure he has the weapons. Pennington has been quietly efficient so far this season, but from a fantasy standpoint, he hasn’t been of much value. He will face a San Diego pass defense that surprisingly ranks dead last in passing yards allowed and passing TD’s allowed. Pennington is a big reach even with the nice match up, but don’t be surprised if he has a solid game.