The PFW staff brings you its late-week fantasy tips for quarterbacks, in which Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger are recommended plays. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson might be a strong sleeper play.
Last week, Lions QB Matthew Stafford had a tough matchup. The Seahawks have a strong defense and an excellent secondary. There was a case to sit him if you had the QB depth to do so. Well, Stafford proceeded to show why he’s so hard to bench, passing for 352 yards and three TDs and rushing for another score in a 28-24 Detroit win. In Week Nine, Stafford has a favorable matchup, and the decision on whether to start or sit him is quite simple, really. With the Jaguars surrendering 251.3 passing yards per game, Stafford will be a must-play for many fantasy owners.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is on pace for 32 TD passes, which would equal his career-high. He’s a strong starting option in Week Nine against the Giants, who are allowing the fourth-most yards per passing play.
He might not be able to keep up his pace of the past three weeks (1,010 yards, nine TDs, one INT), but Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman is still a nice option in deeper leagues vs. the Raiders in Week Nine. Oakland’s pass defense has improved to 20th in the league, but it has faced a combination of Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne, Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel over the past two weeks. Oakland’s defense is in for tougher test against Freeman and Tampa Bay’s vertical passing game.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson shapes up as an intriguing fantasy option this Sunday for a couple of reasons. For starters, there are indications that Pete Carroll is starting to loosen the reins on his rookie. Good for at least a handful of heaves downfield per game, Wilson had a nice game against the Lions last week (236 passing yards and a pair of TDs) and finally has started to establish a rapport with No. 1 WR Sidney Rice. One other reason to like Wilson this Sunday: He will be going up against a Vikings secondary that has lost Chris Cook, its top corner (broken arm).
Yet another poor performance from the second-year QB in Week Eight and rumors of a Steve Smith trade might have had owners of Cam Newton feeling extra scared this Halloween, but fear not — he has a matchup against the Redskins’ 32nd-ranked pass defense this week. Newton has been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments this season, and he has provided very little production over the past three weeks (one TD, three interceptions). He’s still worth a start in most formats this week, though.
If you’re thinking of rolling with Texans QB Matt Schaub against Buffalo’s 22nd-ranked pass defense, keep in mind that the Texans, a team that wants to wear down opponents on the ground, will be even more inclined to do so against the Bills, who have surrendered an alarming 6.0 yards per carry. Schaub will take his chances off play action, per usual, but you might want to consider other options this week.
The Titans Sunday will give QB Matt Hasselbeck his sixth consecutive start in place of Jake Locker, though his matchup against the Bears’ No. 1-ranked defense is one we would recommend avoiding. Hasselbeck has been efficient in recent weeks, but he hasn’t seen a stop unit the caliber of the Bears’ since his three-turnover dud against the Texans in Week Four.
Brady Quinn is out and Matt Cassel is in for the Chiefs. Cassel is not a great play; in fact, we would label him as “emergency” at best in Thursday’s game.
We hear that Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb (ribs) has started to do some light throwing but is far from being able to play, which would appear to keep the ball in John Skelton’s court for the foreseeable future — for better or worse.