Matt Cassel, Patriots – If Tom Brady was on your team and you were astute enough to grab Cassel as your No. 3 QB (if you didn’t, that’s understandable, since Brady never missed a game), don’t hesitate to start him. Randy Moss is healthy, Wes Welker is healthy, and Laurence Maroney can take pressure off of Cassel in the running game. Plus, Cassel knows the Patriot offense like the back of his hand, since he’s been immersed in it since 2005. He’ll put up very good to excellent numbers the rest of the way.
Donovan McNabb, Eagles – McNabb was rated a mid-tier Fantasy quarterback before the season started, and his prospects for success looked bleak after his top two receivers, Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown, went down with preseason injuries. Then, of course, McNabb goes out and absolutely torches the Rams for 361 yards and three touchdowns. Who knows what those numbers would have been if Andy Reid hadn’t decided to call off the dogs? Is Philly that good or are the Rams that bad? The truth, as usual, probably lies somewhere in the middle. But unless you have another quarterback with an irresistible matchup this week, McNabb needs to be your starter – even against the Cowboys in Texas Stadium.
Drew Brees, Saints – Tony Romo, Cowboys – They were Nos. 3 and 4 of The Big Four. Now they’re Nos. 2 and 3 of The Big Three. We’ll keep Peyton Manning at the top of the list for now, but Brees and Romo are threatening to leapfrog him.
Jon Kitna, Lions – It was only one game, but it was a horrible one for the Lion run defense, which was shredded by the Falcons for 318 yards. The Detroit defense once again looks like a joke, and Kitna will probably need to put up huge numbers to keep the team competitive.
Jake Delhomme, Panthers – Delhomme was an afterthought in most Fantasy drafts, lasting until the late, late rounds – if he was taken at all. People either forgot how good he was before injuring his elbow last season, or didn’t believe preseason reports that his arm was completely healed. But 247 yards and a stirring last-second TD pass against a strong San Diego defense should quell any lingering doubts. If you had the foresight to grab Delhomme, pat yourself on the back and enjoy the huge numbers he’ll put up once he gets Steve Smith back.
Brett Favre, Jets – He didn’t set the world on fire against Miami, but he did enough to prove he’s still a more than viable Fantasy quarterback. That being said, think long and hard before starting him against a Patriot defense that should be foaming at the mouth.
Brian Moorman, Bills – The Buffalo punter, who doubles as the holder on field goals, will throw for more TDs than Tom Brady this season.
Tom Brad, Patriots – What more can you say about this devastating loss? If you drafted Brady and didn’t give serious consideration to choosing your backups, and you get beaten to the punch in grabbing Matt Cassel off your league’s waiver wire, prepare to have your roster pillaged by the vultures circling above your head.
Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks – The guy had to have his back shot up just to play, and he just lost his only respectable receiver in Nate Burleson. Hasselbeck looks like a disaster waiting to happen, and you have to seriously consider benching him – even at home against San Francisco.
David Garrard, Jaguars – Garrard had OK numbers against a tough Titan defense, but his offensive line is close to being decimated. That doesn’t bode well for owners who thought he was going to be this season’s breakout Fantasy quarterback.
Vince Young, Titans – Young will probably miss at least two to four weeks with a sprained knee, opening the door for Kerry Collins to take over. Even when Young is healthy, he’s a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback at best.
Brodie Croyle, Chiefs – Croyle will be out a while with a bad shoulder. Not that he could fall much farther in terms of Fantasy numbers, anyway.