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December 1, 2008

Fantasy Football Week 14 QB Rankings

1. Kurt Warner (ARI) – The most consistent fantasy QB in the NFL, Warner doesn’t always put up the best numbers, but he is solid each and every week. In week 14, he should be better than just solid against a Rams pass defense that ranks just 22nd in the NFL. While the St. Louis secondary has seemingly improved its stock over the last few weeks, it isn’t because they are playing better. It stems from opposing offenses choosing to run against them rather than pass. That should not be the case with Arizona. If there is one thing we can be sure of, it’s that the Cardinals are going to do what they do best and that is throw the football with Warner and fantasy owners alike reaping the benefits. In week 9, Warner torched the Rams by throwing for 342 yards, 2 TD’s and no interceptions. He is an obvious must start.

2. Drew Brees (NO) – In spite of his 3 interceptions in week 13, Brees still managed to salvage a solid fantasy effort by throwing for close to 300 yards and 2 TD’s. In week 14, he will face an improved, yet vulnerable Atlanta pass defense. The good news is that this will be a home game. At home, Brees averages 336 passing yards per game with 17 TD’s and just 4 interceptions in 6 games. Through 6 road games, he has averaged 309 passing yards per game, still impressive, but he has just 7 TD passes and 10 interceptions. Brees should be a major contributor to your week 14 fantasy success with this favorable match up at home.

3. Aaron Rodgers (GB) – In his last 3 games, Rodgers has 8 TD’s to his credit while averaging 258 passing yards per game. Even better, he will face a mediocre Houston secondary coming off of a short week at home on Sunday. The Texans have allowed 18 passing TD’s in just 12 games, so Rodgers should be able to find the end zone with ease with this match up. Rodgers is a great week 14 starting option.

4. Peyton Manning (IND) – Hopefully his poor week 13 performance was not indicative of a regression, but certainly no one saw that coming with such a sweet match up. While last week should merit at least a little concern, chances are Manning will bounce back in a big way against a poor Cincinnati pass defense this week. We have little evidence to back that up, other than the fact that it’s Peyton Manning we are talking about, and the Bengals secondary stinks. He should be your starting fantasy QB for week 14.

5. Matt Cassel (NE) – After putting up monster numbers in back to back weeks, reality set in for Cassel in week 13 in the form of another monster, the Steelers defense. While facing the NFL’s top ranked pass defense proved to be too much for him, fantasy owners should find comfort knowing that his week 14 opponent is the exact opposite, ranking dead last in pass defense. The Seahawks secondary has been horrible giving up 265 passing yards per game and allowing 19 TD’s through the air in 12 games. Cassel was an embarrassment in week 13, but this match up could propel him back into the fantasy spotlight.

6. Jay Cutler (DEN) – After two mediocre performances in a row Cutler was able to rebound nicely in week 13 throwing for 357 yards, 2 TD’s, and 1 interception. While Cutler has proven to be shaky recently, he should be able to keep the momentum rolling with a favorable week 14 match up against division rival Kansas City. The Chiefs rank just 25th in the NFL against the pass and unbelievably have only 6 sacks to their credit on the season. The only concern with this match up is that the Broncos have the option of relying heavily on their rushing attack against a terrible Chiefs run D which could limit Cutler’s numbers a bit.

7. Matt Ryan (ATL) – After a pair of mediocre outings, Ryan returned to form by throwing for over 200 yards and a pair of TD’s last Sunday. He should be able to sustain that momentum with a favorable week 14 match up in New Orleans. The Saints rank just 24th in pass defense and have allowed 19 TD’s through the air in 12 games. If this game turns into a shootout as we suspect it will, Ryan could be in for a big day. In week 10, he threw for 248 yards, 2TD’s, and no interceptions against New Orleans.

8. Tyler Thigpen (KC) – While Thigpen’s fantasy value may have taken a bit of a hit with his poor week 13 performance against the Raiders, keep in mind that the Oakland secondary has been tough on every QB they have faced recently, just ask Jay Cutler. Thigpen should rebound nicely with a much easier week 14 test against the Broncos. The Denver pass defense has shown some improvement in recent weeks, but they still rank among the worst in the NFL. Thigpen should be a solid starting option with this match up.

9. Brett Favre (NYJ) – Ever since his explosive week 4 performance, Favre has seen more ups and downs than Pam Anderson back stage at a hair band convention. That said, week 14 should prove to be one of his better weeks or so the match up would indicate. Favre will face a struggling San Francisco pass defense that ranks just 28th in the NFL. He is hit or miss these days, but the match up certainly bodes well.

10. Eli Manning (NYG) – It hardly seems logical, but Manning is a better fantasy QB without Plaxico Burress in the line up. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t have to focus on trying to get the ball to a whiny and double covered Burress, or it could simply be that he is able to spread the ball around more efficiently in general. Whatever the case, the stats do not lie and offer every indication that Manning is better off without Plax. Hopefully, Manning will continue his solid play against the Eagles at home in week 14. The Philly pass defense is fairly solid in terms of passing yards allowed, but they have given up18 TD’s via the air already this season which is not a good thing. In a week 10 meeting with the Eagles, Manning only managed to throw for 191 yards and he did throw a pick, but he was able to salvage an otherwise mediocre fantasy effort with 2 TD passes. He should be better this time around at home, but don’t expect anything huge.

11. Donovan McNabb (PHI) – It’s amazing what a player can do when his starting job comes into question. McNabb had his best effort of the season in week 13 throwing for 260 yards, 4 TD’s, and no interceptions. Unfortunately, he will not have the luxury of facing a cupcake pass defense like Arizona’s in week 14. McNabb will face a much stiffer challenge in the form of the Giants 10th ranked pass defense. The good news is that Brian Westbrook looked great last week which boosted McNabb’s performance tremendously. It is clear that McNabb’s success hinges on the Westbrook’s ability to make plays and open up the passing game. Both guys will have their work cut out for them against the G men and this match up is not without risk, but we like McNabb’s chances for a quality stat line. He threw for 194 yards and 3 TD’s against the Giants in week 10.

12. Tony Romo (DAL) – After watching the Steelers humiliate a red hot Matt Cassel last week, it is hard to imagine any QB having much success against the top ranked Pittsburgh defense, and that includes Tony Romo. That said, there is a big difference between a first year starter like Matt Cassel (hot hand or not) and a battle tested and poised veteran like Romo. There is no question that Romo is a risky fantasy option with this match up and you probably shouldn’t expect spectacular numbers as he will almost certainly take his lumps, but he is tough to sit against anyone.

13. Shaun Hill (SF) – There is little doubt that the Jets game plan this week will primarily focus on shutting down Frank Gore and force Hill to beat them with his arm. The good news is that he is capable of doing just that. While Hill was a bit shaky last week in the cold weather of Buffalo, he has been outstanding otherwise, throwing 6 TD passes in the previous 3 games. Even better, the Jets have the 3rd worst pass defense in the NFL and they were torched by Jay Cutler just last week. The Jets do have a great pass rush and they will get after Hill, but he has the tools to burn this secondary. Consider him a high risk high reward prospect for week 14.

14. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) – Looking at his numbers for the last two weeks, all indications are that Roethlisberger is back on track. That said, he did slip in the mud in practice on Wednesday and may have tweaked his knee which will be something to keep tabs on. If healthy, he will face the Cowboys 11th ranked pass defense on Sunday. While the Dallas secondary can’t be considered an elite unit, they are pretty solid, and Roethlisberger will have his work cut out for him. In addition, the Cowboys pass rush could give him fits. The Steelers offensive line is shaky at best and Dallas’ 40 sacks so far this season rank them 2nd in the NFL just behind the Giants with 42 sacks. Roethlisberger is playing well of late, but this match up should not be considered favorable. Check injury report: knee

15. Chad Pennington (MIA) – In a week 8 meeting against Buffalo, Pennington was able to throw for over 300 yards and a TD. While Pennington is certainly capable of matching or even exceeding those numbers this time around, the circumstances will be less favorable to do so. First, this game will be played indoors at Toronto’s Rogers Center (formerly known as Sky Dome). Pennington has not played especially well indoors in his career including 2 games this season where he only averaged 139 passing yards per game and has 0 TD’s. Secondly, he will be without the Dolphins leading receiver Greg Camarillo this time around. Not a huge deal because Ted Ginn has stepped up, and Davone Bess is playing well in Camarillo’s place, but still, it is a factor. Finally, the Bills best cover CB Terrence McGee was pretty beat up when these teams met in week 8. McGee will be at full strength in week 14. Pennington will probably put up decent numbers with this match up, but we can’t see him lighting Buffalo up in the Great White North.

16. Kyle Orton (CHI) – Granted, he has been fairly mediocre since returning from the ankle injury, but in his defense, the match ups have either been bad or more favorable for a run heavy game plan. The Bears are probably always going to lean heavily on the run, but a week 14 match up against Jacksonville is also very favorable for Orton. The Jags pass defense has been one of the more generous units in the NFL this season giving up 19 TD passes through 12 games. In addition, they will be without their best cover CB Rashean Mathis who was lost for the season with a knee injury. Orton is risky based on his erratic play of late, but we like the match up.

17. David Garrard (JAX) – He doesn’t have the luster as a fantasy QB that he did heading into the season, but Garrard is still capable of a solid effort, especially against a struggling Bears secondary. The Chicago pass defense ranks just 29th in the NFL and losing CB Nathan Vasher for the season probably won’t help matters. While this match up is favorable, you should keep in mind that the Jaguars offensive line is horrible and Garrard doesn’t exactly have a wide array of quality weapons at his disposal. Even in the best of circumstances, he is not going to have monster fantasy numbers.

18. Joe Flacco (BAL) – Flacco has flown under the fantasy radar in the latter stages of the season in spite of putting up double digit fantasy numbers for 7 consecutive weeks. He isn’t flashy, but Flacco has proven to be a capable and consistent fantasy QB. While a week 14 match up against a solid Redskins pass defense is not ideal, it is manageable and they did give up over 300 passing yards to Eli Manning just last week. Flacco has not earned the credentials of a Manning so the comparison probably isn’t just, but it just goes to show that Washington is beatable via the passing attack. Flacco probably isn’t going to torch this secondary, but he is capable of decent production.

19. Matt Schaub (HOU) – Prior to injuring his knee in week 9, Schaub was putting up top flight fantasy numbers. He is slated to return this week to face the Packers in Green Bay. In spite of Schaub’s vast fantasy potential moving forward, he has a pretty steep deck stacked against him this week. For one, he is an obvious injury risk. Secondly, he will be playing in the frigid conditions of Lambeau field on the road against a very good pass defense. And finally, he is sure to be rusty after missing the last 4 games. Schaub is certainly capable, but you are better off taking a wait and see approach. Check injury report: knee

20. Jeff Garcia (TB) – In spite of a somewhat challenging week 14 match up against a solid Carolina pass defense, Garcia will likely put up acceptable numbers. If you are looking for a fantasy QB to help put you over the top this week, look elsewhere, but he is almost always a safe play, including week 14. Garcia threw for 171 yards and a TD against the Panthers in week 6.


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