1. Peyton Manning (IND) – In his last 3 games, Manning has thrown 7 TD passes and 0 interceptions while averaging 271 passing yards per game. He is officially back on track and a must start fantasy option in week 12 against a San Diego pass defense that currently ranks dead last in the NFL. Manning should have an exceptional performance with this match up.
2. Aaron Rodgers (GB) – He hasn’t been as consistent in recent weeks as he was to start the season, but you have to love his chances for a big game against New Orleans. The Saints currently rank 26th in the NFL in pass defense and have allowed 16 passing TD’s in 10 games. In addition, they have allowed the second most pass plays over 20 yards in the NFL. Rodgers should be able to dominate this secondary with his big play receivers in week 12.
3. Jay Cutler (DEN) – The last time Cutler faced Oakland was in week 1 of this season. In that game, he threw for 300 yards, 2 TD’s, and 0 interceptions. We see no reason why Cutler shouldn’t carve up the mediocre Raiders pass defense again in week 12 at home.
4. Kurt Warner (ARI) – There is no question that Warner will have his hands full this week against the Giants 2nd ranked pass defense, but it is also fair to say that the Giants secondary will be in the same boat against this potent passing attack. The Cardinals receiving corps is second to none and by far the best the Giants have faced all season. Warner is simply on fire and a must start in spite of the tough week 12 match up.
5. Tony Romo (DAL) – He was obviously a bit rusty in week 11, but he was also facing a very good Washington pass defense. That will not be the case in week 12 when Romo will match up against the 25th ranked pass defense of San Francisco at home. The 49ers give up 235 passing yards per game and have allowed 15 TD’s through the air in just 10 games. Romo should fare much better this week with this match up. Check injury report: finger
6. Drew Brees (NO) – While Brees is an elite fantasy QB and a must start every week regardless of the match up, you have to expect that he will have his work cut out for him against the Packers 3rd ranked pass defense. The Green Bay secondary has been dominant in recent weeks and they lead the NFL with 16 interceptions. This game will likely turn into a shootout, so you can expect Brees to throw the ball often which should result in a solid fantasy total, but he will be tested.
7. Jeff Garcia (TB) – This probably seems like a high ranking for a guy that hasn’t thrown for more than 1 TD in a game all season, but under the circumstances, we really like his chances this week. The way we see it, the Bucs are probably going to rely heavily on the pass this week without Earnest Graham in the backfield and you have to love the match up against Detroit. The Lions have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and have allowed 16 passing TD’s in just 10 games. Garcia is averaging 283 passing yards in his last 4 games and we expect him to have his first multiple TD game of the season with this match up. Garcia isn’t typically a great fantasy QB, but week 12 should prove to be the exception.
8. Eli Manning (NYG) – While he hasn’t reached the 200 yard passing mark since week 5, Manning has managed to find the end zone on a regular basis. For that reason alone, we like his chances for a solid fantasy outing in week 12 against a Cardinals pass defense that has allowed more passing TD’s than any other in the NFL (19 in 10 games).
9. Kerry Collins (TEN) – He isn’t a guy we typically recommend for fantasy play, but Collins has been as hot as any QB over the last 2 weeks, and he should be able to continue the trend in week 12 against the Jets 28th ranked pass defense at home. Considering that the Jets defense is among the best in the NFL in stopping the run and among the worst in the league against the pass, you have to expect that the Titans are going to come out throwing early and often if they are going to be successful on offense, and after watching what New England’s Matt Cassel did to the Jets secondary in week 11, you have to like Collins’ chances.
10. Matt Cassel (NE) –It is undeniable that his week 11 performance was phenomenal, but we still aren’t completely sold on Cassel as a top flight week to week fantasy option. While we will concede that he has come a long way since the beginning of the season, Cassel has yet to prove that he can put up elite fantasy numbers on a consistent basis. That said, we do believe strongly in the power of momentum, and last week’s performance should provide plenty of it heading into a favorable week 12 match up against a shaky Miami secondary.
11. Kyle Orton (CHI) – Sure, he was pretty bad last week, but the guy hadn’t played in 2 weeks, his ankle was sore, and the match up against Green Bay was horrible. This week should be a different story. Orton is no longer on the injury report, so his ankle should not be an issue and the match up against a really bad Rams pass defense is excellent. Orton should get back on track in week 12 and makes for a decent fantasy start. Our only concern is that the Bears will lean heavily on the running game and may not need much from Orton.
12. Tyler Thigpen (KC) – There are few if any NFL QB’s that can match Thigpen’s fantasy success over the last 4 weeks, and no one can deny that he is a legitimate fantasy QB at this point. That said, Thigpen has also had a pretty easy road to that success in 3 of his last 4 match ups against very poor pass defenses, and the only reason his fantasy total was so high against Tampa Bay is because he caught a long TD pass on a trick play. Thigpen is a good QB and we don’t want to diminish his accomplishments, but at the same time, we still aren’t convinced that he is the super star that everyone seems to think he is. Ultimately, all we are saying is that you probably shouldn’t get your hopes up for a monster week 12. Thigpen should be decent, but the Bills secondary is solid, and they have only allowed 7 passing TD’s all season.
13. Donovan McNabb (PHI) – With the Eagles running game struggling to get going in recent weeks and facing Baltimore’s top ranked run defense in week 12, we figure the Eagles will throw the ball a bunch with this match up. For that reason alone, McNabb is capable of rebounding with a solid fantasy effort. However, you should keep in mind that Baltimore’s pass defense is not a push over and McNabb didn’t look very sharp last week.
14. Jason Campbell (WAS) – After a nice start to the season, Campbell’s fantasy numbers have steadily fallen into the range of mediocrity. While you probably can’t consider him an elite fantasy option against anyone at this point, you do have to like his chances to put up solid numbers against Seattle in week 12. The Seahawks currently rank a horrible 31st in the NFL against the pass and they have allowed 15 TD passes through 10 games.
15. Phillip Rivers (SD) – While we can’t deny that Rivers has had an amazing season to this point by in large, we do question the level of competition he has faced to achieve his success. Rivers has had more QB friendly match ups than any QB in the NFL. In 10 games, he has only faced 2 pass defenses currently ranked in the top 10, one of which is the Pittsburgh pass defense that he was so horrible against last week. That said, Rivers will face another difficult match up in week 12 against Indianapolis. The Colts secondary has only allowed 2 passing TD’s all year and give up just 189 yards per game. Rivers is a capable QB, but don’t get your hopes up for a big game against this defense.
16. Sage Rosenfels (HOU) – With 5 interceptions and only 1 TD pass in his last 2 games, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that Rosenfels has been horrible. That said, both of those games came against two of the better pass defenses in the NFL. That will not be the case in week 12 against a Cleveland secondary that has had its fair share of difficulties recently as well. Rosenfels is risky and he is a pretty good bet for at least 1 interception, but he should put up decent fantasy numbers otherwise with this match up.
17. Shaun Hill (SF) – You can’t expect a monster game from Hill any week, but he has proven that he is a capable fantasy QB. In the 2 games since taking over the starting job, Hill has thrown 4 TD passes while averaging 215 passing yards per game. He will face a fairly solid Dallas pass defense in terms of yards allowed, but the Cowboys have allowed 13 passing TD’s on the season and only have 4 interceptions. Hill isn’t a great fantasy option with this match up, but you could do worse.
18. Matt Ryan (ATL) – While Ryan has come a long way since the beginning of the season, we can’t highly recommend him for fantasy use in week 12 against Carolina. The Panthers currently rank in the top 5 in the NFL against the pass and they held Ryan to his second lowest fantasy total of the season back in week 4. In that game, Ryan threw for just 158 yards and 0 TD’s. He should be better at home this time around, but he is not a safe bet this week.
19. Brady Quinn (CLE) – Quinn has a very favorable match up against a Houston pass defense that has allowed 17 passing TD’s in just 10 games, but he is also nursing a broken index finger and we weren’t exactly impressed with his play last week. Quinn could do some damage with this match up if his finger is not an issue, but he is a risky fantasy play none the less. Check injury report: finger
20. Brett Favre (NYJ) – He looked very sharp last week, but Favre is going to have a beast of a match up in week 12 against the Titans. Tennessee is excellent at limiting QB’s and forcing turnovers, so you might want to look for a safer fantasy option at QB this week.
* Participants in Thursday night's CIN @ PIT game are not included in week 12 QB rankings. (For info on Fitzpatrick and Roethlisberger see Thursday night start/sit)