Safe to say that as far as fantasy football goes, the statistics for quarterbacks are far from expected. Robert Griffin III is leading all players, not just quarterbacks, in scoring to this point. Tom Brady has the same point totals as Ryan Fitzpatrick. Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger are tied with – get this – Alex Smith, Sam Bradford, and Matt Cassel. Of course, this happens every year where players have a huge game in the first two weeks that skews their stats for the rest of the year. But there are some very big surprises, quarterbacks that might have been ranked outside the top 20 in many drafts that are proving to have an impact this year.
With that, here are my predictions for the top five fantasy quarterbacks this week, as well as a couple of sleepers for the week.
5. Tony Romo, Dallas
It’s true that Romo had a shaky week against Seattle, but that’s not all Romo’s fault. Seattle has the loudest stadium in the league, and a fantastic young secondary led by four guys (Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor) that should be household names by the end of the year. But now Romo gets to face a shaky Tampa Bay secondary in the Cowboys’ home opener. Although partially due to Eli Manning’s manic comeback last week, the Buccaneers have given up 406 passing yards per game. I don’t think Romo even gets to 300 this week, but I would expect the passing touchdowns to be there.
4. Eli Manning, New York Giants
This week, Manning will be taking on a Carolina secondary that is probably better than either of those he has faced so far this season. The cause for optimism, however, is that it’s a short week (the Giants play Thursday night) and Ahmad Bradshaw is out for the game after suffering a neck injury last week. Andre Brown proved effective last week, and David Wilson is still on the roster, but I would expect a healthy dose of Manning throwing the ball. I would expect no less than 40 passes from Manning, and you know the elite numbers will be there.
3. Robert Griffin III, Washington
There was a lot of hype surrounding Griffin in preseason drafts, and he’s earned every bit of it to this point as he is now fantasy football’s leading scorer. This week he faces a Cincinnati defense that last week surrendered over 300 yards and 2 passing touchdowns to Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns. Pierre Garcon’s status for the game is still unclear, and who knows what will happen to Josh Morgan after his costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the end of last game. But even with a depleted receiving corps, you should trust that RG3 will find a way to have a major impact on this game.
2. Cam Newton, Carolina
Interesting stat here, courtesy of ESPN: Newton has been a notably better passer at home than on the road. While Newton has 9 TDs to 12 INTs on the road, he has 14 TDs and 7 INTs at home. This week he is at home. Additionally, he’s playing Eli Manning’s Giants, so you know this game is going to be an offensive shootout. Expect Newton to go over 300 yards and have 2 or 3 touchdowns, but there could easily be a few turnovers involved as well.
1. Drew Brees, New Orleans
It’s safe to say that Drew Brees and the offense are not the reason that the Saints are 0-2 after two games. Brees has thrown 4 picks in his first two games, which is disconcerting, but he is going up against Kansas City, whose defense could be described as deplorable and appalling to this point. Looking for their first win of the year, I would expect Brees to come out with guns blazing and put on a sensational passing appearance that could be one of the best we’ll see this year.
Now these sleepers are not guys that you should start if you have a good quarterback play this week. But if your starter is Peyton Manning (vs. Houston), Michael Vick (at Arizona), or even Tom Brady (at Baltimore), I would urge you to consider starting one of these guys in their place.
Sleeper 1: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
Dalton rebounded very nicely from a bad week 1 against the Ravens by putting up 318 yards and 3 touchdowns on the Browns. Coincidentally enough, the Washington defense gave up over 300 yards and 3 passing touchdowns to each of their first two opponents. One of those opponents was Drew Brees; the other was Sam Bradford, who hasn’t exactly played worthy of being the #1 overall pick in 2009 to this point. Expect Dalton to meet those statistical goals this week as well.
Sleeper 2: Alex Smith, San Francisco
Watching Alex Smith play in that Lions game last Sunday night, his play looked like it really has taken a significant step forward in the second year under coach Jim Harbaugh. If you haven’t gotten the chance to see Minnesota’s secondary play yet…well, they aren’t very talented. They’ve given Blaine Gabbert and Andrew Luck some solid fantasy numbers, and Smith is playing much better than either of those two. And just to throw this out there, Smith has not turned the ball over once this year. I don’t expect him to this week either. I could see 250 yards and 3 touchdowns being easily attainable for Smith this week.