2. Donovan McNabb (PHI) – In spite of his struggles to find the end zone in recent weeks, McNabb remains a must start fantasy option with the right match up. Fortunately, week 9 presents an excellent match up against Seattle. The Seahawks have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL allowing 245 yards per game. In addition, they have given up 11 passing TD’s in 7 games, so the odds are in McNabb’s favor to find pay dirt at least once, if not multiple times. This should prove to be one of his better performances of the season.
3. Jay Cutler (DEN) – He hit a bit of a rough patch before the week 8 bye with many of the key members of his supporting cast sidelined with injuries. Cutler should have most, if not all of those guys back in week 9 which will be extremely beneficial to his fantasy production. It also doesn’t hurt that he will be playing against Miami this week. The Dolphins rank 25th against the pass and have allowed 25 pass plays over 20 yards in just 7 games (only the Saints have allowed more). Cutler should get back on track with this favorable week 9 match up.
4. Kyle Orton (CHI) – He is quickly turning into one of the more solid fantasy options at the QB position this season. In his last 4 contests, Orton has thrown for 8 TD’s and only 2 interceptions while averaging 276 passing yards per game. He should continue that trend with a very promising week 9 match up at home against Detroit. The Lions currently rank 31st in pass defense allowing 259 yards per game. They have also given up 12 TD’s through the air in just 7 games. Orton had his best fantasy effort of the season on the road against Detroit in week 5 throwing for 334 yards, 2 TD’s, and 0 interceptions. He should definitely be in your fantasy line up this week with this extremely favorable match up.
5. Matt Schaub (HOU) – In his last 4 games, Schaub has 10 total TD’s (1 rushing) and only 2 interceptions while averaging 308 yards passing per game. Granted, he hasn’t played against the stiffest of competition in those games, but it’s extremely impressive none the less. The good news is that Schaub has yet another favorable match up in week 9 against Minnesota. The Vikings mediocre pass defense currently ranks 20th in the NFL, so we like Schaub’s chances to extend his hot streak.
6. Peyton Manning (IND) – He was fairly impressive scoring 3 TD’s in week 8 against a dominant Titans defense, but Manning continues to have his shaky moments, and he isn’t quite back to the elite level we are accustomed to seeing him. He should have a much easier go of it in week 9 against a pretty average Patriots secondary. New England currently ranks 15th in the NFL against the pass, but they have been vulnerable in the red zone allowing 11 passing TD’s in 7 games which bodes well for Manning who excels in that area of the field. Manning should do well with this match up.
7. Chad Pennington (MIA) – In his last 4 contests, Pennington has thrown 5 TD passes and only 2 interceptions while averaging 280 passing yards per game. While he wouldn’t be our first choice as a starting fantasy QB any week, we definitely think he has a legitimate shot to be the near the top of fantasy leader boards in week 9. Pennington should cruise against a pathetic Denver pass defense that does not stand much of a chance against any QB without their best cover CB Champ Bailey who will miss the game with a groin injury. Even with Bailey, the Broncos have ranked at or near the bottom of the NFL in pass defense allowing 240 yards per game. In addition, they have given up 12 passing TD’s in just 7 games with only 2 interceptions to their credit. Pennington and the emerging Dolphins passing attack should have a field day with this match up.
8. Eli Manning (NYG) – Granted, Manning isn’t playing his best football of late, especially with regard to fantasy production, but a week 9 match up against a beat up Dallas secondary leans in his favor. He has traditionally played some of the best games of his career against the Cowboys, including a 4 TD effort in a 2007 meeting. Manning will likely have his shaky moments, as he always seems to in this match up, but we expect him to get back on track against a Dallas pass defense that isn’t currently playing at an optimal level.
9. David Garrard (JAX) – He probably isn’t going to put up monster numbers this week or any week for that matter, but Garrard is likely to give you solid and consistent stat lines week in and week out which should be the case again in week 9. While the Bengals 8th ranked pass defense has been solid in their own right allowing only 191 yards per game, they have proven vulnerable in the red zone allowing 13 passing TD’s on the season. Only San Diego and Arizona have allowed more TD’s through the air. Garrard is playing his best football of the season right now and he should be a solid start for your fantasy roster in week 9.
10. Aaron Rodgers (GB) – Rodgers has been exceptional throughout the season, but he has yet to see a defense as potent as the one he will face in week 9. The Titans currently rank 4th in the NFL in pass defense and they have only allowed 3 passing TD’s all season, while accumulating 12 interceptions. Tennessee is also extremely good against the run, so Ryan Grant will have a difficult time opening up the Packers passing game (not that he has done that much this season anyways).While it is encouraging for Rodgers that Peyton Manning was able to find the end zone 3 times (once on the ground) against the Titans on Monday night, Rodgers will certainly have his work cut out for him, even with Tennessee coming off a short week of practice. Rodgers has played too well to bench him against any opponent, but if you have one of the options higher up on this list, you might want to consider going that route. Check injury report: shoulder
11. Brett Favre (NYJ) –While you can never dismiss Favre’s big game potential against any opponent, he hasn’t exactly played his best football in recent weeks, and the Bills pass defense does not provide a cup cake match up. Buffalo ranks 13th in the NFL allowing just over 200 passing yards per game, but they are very stingy in the TD department having only given up 7 TD’s through the air on the season. The stat that probably bodes best for Favre with this match up is that the Bills only have 4 interceptions so far in ‘08. This is important because Favre has been plagued with interception issues lately throwing 7 in his last 3 games. This isn’t a match up to get excited about, but Favre should provide sufficient fantasy production in week 9.
12. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) – He doesn’t have much in his favor heading into a week 9 match up with the Redskins on Monday night, but you can never count Big Ben out. Roethlisberger is coming off of a horrible 4 interception performance in week 8. He will also have tough row to hoe against a solid Washington pass defense. The Redskins rank 11th against the pass and have allowed just 1 passing TD per game on average. Fortunately, there is a silver lining in that Roethlisberger has a rich history of rebounding nicely from bad games, and he usually plays well in night games. The return of WR Santonio Holmes this week should also prove beneficial as well. Check injury report: shoulder
13. Trent Edwards (BUF) – He isn’t a bad starting fantasy option this week, but only because of the favorable match up. Edwards will face the Jets 23rd ranked pass defense which allows 233 passing yards per game in addition to having given up 10 passing TD’s on the season. It is also promising that the Jets secondary allowed Chiefs third string QB Tyler Thigpen to throw all over them last week. That said, don’t expect Edwards to repeat Thigpen’s lofty numbers against this secondary, as he has yet to throw for more than 1 TD in any game all year. Edwards will also face a formidable pass rush from the Jets who rank 3rd in the NFL with 24 sacks. Check injury report: ankle
14. Marc Bulger (STL) – He is still a bit shaky as a week to week starting option in fantasy, but with the emergence of big play WR Donnie Avery and a very favorable week 9 match up, you could do much worse than Bulger. Arizona ranks just 21st in pass defense giving up 223 yards per game. The Cardinals have also allowed 14 passing TD’s on the season (2 per game) tying them for last in the NFL in that category. Bulger has a great opportunity to get back on the fantasy radar with this match up, but he is still risky.
15. Matt Ryan (ATL) – He continues to show improvement every week posting decent to solid numbers against some of the better pass defenses the NFL has to offer. In week 9, he will face what we consider to be an underrated, but surmountable Oakland pass defense. The Raiders rank a mediocre 19th against the pass, but they can be dangerous with two of the better cover CB’s in the NFL in Nnamdi Asomugha and former Falcon DeAngelo Hall. Ryan should put up decent numbers in this game, especially with Roddy White at his disposal, but you shouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary.
16. Gus Frerotte (MIN) –He is a fairly average QB with a pretty average match up against a middle of the road Houston secondary. The potential is there for decent production with big play WR Bernard Berrian at his disposal, but you probably can’t expect much more than that. While Frerotte isn’t the ideal candidate for fantasy use in week 9, he will do in a pinch.
17. Jeff Garcia (TB) – While a week 9 match up against Kansas City might look very appealing, the Chiefs are actually decent against the pass. This is primarily due to the fact that teams wisely choose to favor the run against their horrible run defense. Regardless, opposing QB’s have been pretty average or worse against the Chiefs for the most part this season, and Garcia isn’t the flashiest fantasy QB to begin with. He should make for an acceptable bye week replacement as usual.
18. Derek Anderson (CLE) – He hasn’t been bad over his last 3 games and it is promising that he does not have an interception during that stretch. That said, he still isn’t putting up the kind of numbers we were expecting from him, and his week 9 match up is less than favorable. Anderson will face a solid Ravens pass defense that ranks 3rd in the NFL. Baltimore limited Anderson to 125 passing yards and 1 TD back in week 3 while picking him off 3 times. Anderson has come a long way since week 3, and he should easily surpass those numbers at home, but he still has a ways to go before considering him as anything more than a bye week fill in, and a risky one at that with this match up.
19. Jason Campbell (WAS) –Unfortunately, efficiency does not translate well into fantasy football. Campbell’s lack of interceptions is impressive, but his lack of TD passes and inconsistent yardage totals does very little in terms of helping his fantasy value right now. He only has 2 TD passes in his last 4 games, and he only managed to find pay dirt once last week against a pathetic Detroit secondary. Campbell is probably worth using when the match up is right, but week 9 against the Steelers top ranked pass defense does not hold much promise.
20. Matt Cassel (NE) – He has a ton of talent around him, but Cassel is a mediocre QB at best. While Cassel’s dink and dunk passing style could prove effective against an overly aggressive Colt’s pass defense, you should also keep in mind that Indianapolis has only given up 2 passing TD’s all season and rank 2nd in the NFL in passing yards allowed. The risks outweigh the potential reward with this match up, sit him if you can.