2-QB Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Week 5

Philip Rivers

Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the tunnel prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Week 5 byes: Minnesota Vikings (Christian Ponder/Matt Cassel), Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger), Washington Redskins (Robert Griffin III), Tampa Bay (Mike Glennon)

Ranking fantasy quarterbacks this year has been quite the challenge. No matter how good you think a certain quarterback is, or how much you feel like the match-up is just ripe for fantasy domination, something completely unpredictable happens. Like Brian Hoyer posting back-to-back weeks of QB1 performances.

The quarterback rankings for 2-QB leagues have felt a bit rigid for me so far this season, so I felt it was time to shake things up a bit. We’ve already grown accustomed to the fact that Michael Vick is in the QB1 tier, but it’s my ranking of Terrelle Pryor that will probably have you shaking your head in disbelief the most.
Just take a look at his weekly finishes:

Week 1 – QB12 – 19.88 fantasy points
Week 2 – QB28 – 10.04 fantasy points
Week 3 – QB11 – 18.84 fantasy points
Week 4 – DNP

Now take a look at where opposing fantasy quarterbacks against the Chargers have finished each week:

Week 1 – Matt Schaub – QB7 – 23.84 fantasy points
Week 2 – Michael Vick – QB2 – 33.42 fantasy points
Week 3 – Jake Locker – QB3 – 28.76 fantasy points
Week 4 – Tony Romo – QB9 – 19.26 fantasy points

The Chargers have given up the most fantasy points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks this season, and when it comes to rushing quarterbacks, they gave up 34 rushing yards to Vick, 68 rushing yards to Locker, and Romo even tacked on 15 yards of rushing.

The least amount of yards Pryor has rushed for this season is 36 yards. An extra week of rest, plus a late night Sunday game, could give Pryor a chance to finish the week as the highest scoring fantasy quarterback. But, I’m just not crazy enough to rank him that high. Below you can see my full Week 5 quarterback rankings for 2-QB fantasy football leagues, followed by my weekly 2-QB Stock Watch:

1. Michael Vick – at New York Giants
2. Terrelle Pryor – vs. San Diego
3. Peyton Manning – at Dallas
4. Aaron Rodgers – vs. Detroit
5. Drew Brees – at Chicago
6. Cam Newton – at Arizona
7. Matthew Stafford – at Green Bay
8. Philip Rivers – at Oakland
9. Eli Manning – vs. Philadelphia
10. Tony Romo – vs. Denver
11. Matt Ryan – vs. New York Jets
12. Brian Hoyer – vs. Buffalo
13. Russell Wilson – at Indianapolis
14. Jay Cutler – vs. New Orleans
15. Tom Brady – at Cincinnati
16. Colin Kaepernick – vs. Houston
17. Sam Bradford – vs. Jacksonville
18. Alex Smith – at Tennessee
19. Andrew Luck – vs. Seattle
20. Ryan Tannehill – vs. Baltimore
21. Andy Dalton – vs. New England
22. Matt Schaub – at San Francisco
23. Joe Flacco – at Miami
24. EJ Manuel – at Cleveland
25. Carson Palmer – vs. Carolina
26. Geno Smith – at Atlanta
27. Ryan Fitzpatrick – vs. Kansas City
28. Blaine Gabbert – at St. Louis
29. Chad Henne – at St. Louis

Week 5 Quarterbacks on the Rise in 2-QB Leagues:

Philip Rivers
It’s time to face facts, and admit what we’ve been trying to find a way to avoid admitting, which is that Philip Rivers is a fantasy QB1 again. Currently sitting at QB3 overall in standard scoring fantasy leagues, Rivers isn’t going to be making a dramatic fall down the rankings anytime soon. Especially not when three of his next four opponents are the Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Washington Redskins.

If you need a QB2 upgrade for your 2-QB team, target the team that has Rivers on their bench, managing their roster as if they have the 2012 Rivers on their team, not willing to believe in the current 2012 version yet. You might be able to snag yourself a cheap QB1.

Brian Hoyer
If the Browns had any notion of giving Brandon Weeden his starting job back, Hoyer made them reconsider. Why would the Browns want to re-insert Weeden after what Hoyer has been able to accomplish? Not only has Weeden helped the Browns win back-to-back games, but he also finished in the Top-12 of fantasy quarterback scoring those two weeks. Win-win for real and fake football fans. Every little stat counts for a Browns team trying to figure out what their future has in store, and one thing teams love in a quarterback, is their ability to perform in the 4th quarter.

According to Producer/Researcher for the NFL Network’s Playbook, Ben Fennell, that’s exactly what Hoyer has been able to do. In the fourth quarter this year, based on Fennell’s calculated stats, Hoyer has a 69.6% completion percentage, two touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 117.3 QB rating. Weeden’s fourth quarter completion percentage is under 45%, and he has a 60.0 QB rating in the fourth.

Hoyer has also clicked with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, and his Yards/Attempt has risen from 5.9 to 7.1. Don’t expect the “you never lose your job to injury” mantra to apply to Weeden.

Matt Cassel
The moment Christian Ponder went down with an injury, Cassel seized his opportunity, and did his best to make Leslie Frazier think long and hard about handing Ponder the keys back to the Vikings passing game.

Ponder might not be back until Week 9 as he deals with a fractured rib, and if Cassel can play the way he did in Week 4, Ponder might have started his last game for the Vikings this season. A fairly tame rest of season schedule awaits Cassel, with match-ups versus the Seahawks (Week 11), Bears (Week 13), and Bengals (Week 16), being the toughest tests. Cassel should be consisted a QB2 streaming option, as long as he starts.

Week 5 Quarterbacks on the Slide in 2-QB Leagues:

Carson Palmer
Bruce Arians thought he had the right man to lead his vertical based passing game in Carson Palmer, but that just hasn’t happened yet. It’s not all Palmer’s fault though. The bad offensive line protecting Palmer, which just lost Levi Brown in a trade, is no help. Neither is the lack of a run game, with Rashard Mendenhall proving to be another bad free agent signing.

In his last two games, Palmer has thrown for only one touchdown, while throwing four interceptions. That’s not a good ratio, and the 2-2 Cardinals expect more from Palmer. There hasn’t been any talk of a quarterback controversy in Arizona, and Arians will ride with Palmer for as long as he has to, but if the Cardinals keep losing, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see Palmer make way for back-up Drew Stanton.

Sam Bradford
This is an interesting name to watch for the next few weeks. We already know Bradford leads the league in pass attempts, but that volume isn’t producing fantasy points on a consistent basis. Weeks 1 and 2, he had over 20 fantasy points, but in Week 3, he barely put up 13 fantasy points, and last week, that number dwindled to under 8 fantasy points.

Bradford has been asked to carry that offense on his back, but without a run game to take the pressure off, defenses won’t have to pay much attention to whichever running back is getting stuffed in the backfield. Brighter days are hopefully ahead for Bradford, and if he keeps passing 40+ times a game, fantasy points will hopefully come. But the rest of season schedule for the Rams is a near nightmare, with the Rams still having to play the Seahawks twice. A Week 5 match-up versus the Jaguars should cure Bradford’s fantasy production and even bump his trade value up. Take that opportunity to entertain offers.

Matt Flynn
It’s easy to pick on Flynn, but he’s just not meant to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League. And I doubt the XFL would take him at this point either, if they were still operating.

You probably were wise enough to drop Flynn the moment the Raiders lost in Week 4, but if you didn’t, do so now. Undrafted Free Agent Matt “theflowerson” McGloin passed him on the depth chart officially this week. That’s a sign that a career in the NFL might not be in your future.

*Stats used in this article from FantasyData.com and Pro Football Focus

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Salvatore Stefanile is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and believes that 2-QB fantasy football leagues will be the future of fantasy football. You can read about his 2-QB fantasy football opinions and analysis at XNSports.com.
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