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Week 10 fantasy tips: QBs

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By PFW staff

There are no teams on bye in Week 10, so you have your full slate of players available, barring injuries.

Outside Titans RB Chris Johnson, there has been no healthy NFL player this season who has caused more fantasy owners to bang their heads into walls than Chargers QB Philip Rivers. Considered by many to be one of the top fantasy quarterbacks available in fantasy this season, Rivers has been a great disappointment, throwing 14 interceptions already this season. Though he won't say he's hurt, there seems be something bothering Rivers, as he's made repeated throws that are just so out of the ordinary for the former Pro Bowler. He still has the potential to put up big yards and TDs, but don't expect standard top-tier production from Rivers, based on how the first half of his season went. Against the middle-of-the-road Raiders secondary, he makes a decent start, but until he begins to produce, if you have a better option, consider it.

Based on his first six quarters as Raiders quarterback, Carson Palmer has given fantasy owners no indication he is a viable starting option. Despite two gorgeous touchdown throws in Week Nine, Palmer still appears out of sync in the offense, throwing six interceptions in just 56 attempts. Though he's facing a Chargers defense over the past four weeks that has become bottom-10 in the category of least fantasy points allowed, it'd be wise to sit Palmer until he proves he can pick up the playbook. Despite the fact the Chargers over the past four weeks have become a bottom-10 defense in the least fantasy points allowed, he's a bench play.

One thing we knew about Panthers QB Matt Moore when he took over was that he had a swagger to him, which could help open the passing game a bit more than it was with Chad Henne at the helm. Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Chiefs, a big reason for his success was pass protection, which has limited the passing game all season. Before Week Nine, he had a four-week average of four sacks per game, with a high of five in Week Eight against the Giants. The Redskins' defense has fallen off, and Moore will look to build off his performance. You can't expect that game out of him every week, but if he has time to throw, he can make big plays as we saw against Kansas City. Before we recommend him for a spot start, let's see if he can have another positive performance, but he's a watch-list player.

With the success of the Jets' run game the last two games, Mark Sanchez has become more accurate, with his 71.4 completion percentage in Week Nine his best of the season.

Ravens QB Joe Joe Flacco's TD passes are down from a season ago, and he's on pace for just 18, seven fewer than in 2010. Flacco is on pace to attempt slightly more passes from inside the opponent's 20-yard line this season, but he's completed just 12-of-33 passes (36.4 percent) for four TDs inside the red zone. Last season, he completed 31-of-64 passes for 17 TDs. TE Todd Heap and WR Derrick Mason, who caught multiple TDs inside the 20 last season, were released in the offseason. Flacco's on pace to throw for more than 4,000 yards for the first time, and this week he makes a low-end starter in larger leagues, a bench in others.

This week, the Browns' passing game is sputtering for various reasons, with RB injuries and pass-protection woes real concerns of late. QB Colt McCoy has struggled, too. Overall, this is an offense that lacks much field-stretching potential right now. McCoy's lack of playmaking is hurting the other skill-position players, reducing their weekly fantasy value, with McCoy himself having no fantasy value right now.

Texans QB Matt Schaub has clearly missed WR Andre Johnson (hamstring), but we don't think anything is wrong with him. He's been a bit shaky on some short and intermediate throws, but it's not out of the ordinary for him. His protection has mostly been great; his receivers just aren't any good. Also, Houston's bread and butter is running the football. As good as Arian Foster and Ben Tate have been, all the Texans need Schaub to do is avoid the costly turnover, which he has done fairly well. He has lost most of his fantasy relevance and right now is a long-term No. 2 fantasy quarterback, including this week. 

Colts QB Curtis Painter is nothing more than a career backup. He's not regressing; defenses have more tape on him now and are devising successful ways to attack him. He doesn't see the whole field, part of the reason only Pierre Garcon, with whom he is most comfortable, has had a big year, while the other weapons have faltered.

Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert's development has definitely been slow. In fact, he has regressed since the start of the season, with tucking and ducking his biggest issues. He has not done a good job dealing with pressure this season, but we hear the coaching staff has not done him any favors. Quarterbacks coach Mike Sheppard worked with the Bengals wideotus the past three seasons. Obviously, he has next-to-no weapons in the passing game and is a nonfactor in fantasyland.

The Titans have allowed 300 yards passing only once this season, and Panthers QB Cam Newton's numbers, while impressive, were not through the roof in the second quarter of the season. He has a four-game average of 251.8 yards, 1.5 TDs, one interception and 7.5 rushing attempts for 46.5 yards and 0.8 TDs. That's 2.3 TDs per game. He's a start Sunday vs. Tennessee in Week 10, however, and is no less than a top-five No. 1 QB. Newton has scored at least one rushing touchdown in all but two games, and he's thrown at least one TD in seven of the first eight games of his career. Expect the Panthers to keep emphasizing the passing game in the second half.

So how does Cardinals QB John Skelton shape up as a fantasy option should he replace Kevin Kolb under center this week? Can you say, "So-so"? In his first start this season, Skelton completed 20-of-35 passes for 222 yards and did two positive things that Kolb has been unable to do consistently: avoid turnovers (he had zero) and get Larry Fitzgerald involved in the offense, with a key TD connection on which he and Fitzgerald improvised. That bodes well for their developing chemistry. Skelton also offered a noteworthy rushing dimension with four carries for 38 yards. However, there were times when Skelton, making only his fifth pro start, looked terrible. Sacked for one safety in the third quarter, on the next possession he was called for intentional grounding in the endzone, resulting in another safety. Though many Cardinals fans would prefer that Skelton remain the starting QB, there is no way Kolb doesn't get the job back as soon as he's healthy. It could happen this Sunday in Philly, where you know Kolb would love to take it to his old Eagles team, if at all possible. Regardless, whoever winds up under center doesn't warrant a fantasy start.

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