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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Player Trends Report - Quarterbacks - Week 9
Scott Boyter
October 28, 2008
Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Receivers
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RISING

Kurt Warner, Cardinals – Figure this out. Warner goes for 381 yards and two TDs – on the road – against the same Carolina defense that shut down this season’s No. 1 Fantasy quarterback (at least until Week 7), Drew Brees. If this doesn’t make Warner a must-start no matter the competition, then nothing does. To say this week’s game against his former team the Rams will be interesting to watch would be an understatement.

Philip Rivers, Chargers – Rivers has rebounded from a tough two-game stretch to throw for 11 TDs in his last three games. And he’s back in your good graces just long enough to have a bye week. Damn the luck. But with a resurgent LaDainian Tomlinson in the backfield opening up even more opportunities in the passing game, Rivers should be a force the rest of the way. You’ve got to be licking your chops in preparation for that Week 10 matchup against Kansas City at home.

Marc Bulger, Rams – Bulger may be clawing his way back into Fantasy relevance, as his 301-yard, one TD game against the Patriots suggests. Donnie Avery has become a legitimate deep threat, and he’s still got Torry Holt running routes as well. Add to that the probability that Steven Jackson should be fine after sitting out Week 8 with a tweaked quad, and Bulger is someone worth serious consideration for a free agent pickup. This week’s Rams/Cardinals game screams “shootout,” so if you have a bye week QB quandary, or your normal No. 1 has a questionable matchup, Bulger could be a great sleeper start.

David Garrard, Jaguars – Garrard was a fashionable pick before the season started as an under-the-radar type quarterback who would put up excellent numbers and be a great draft value. But he’s disappointed greatly this season; Week 8 against Cleveland was his first multi-touchdown game. The reason he’s “rising” this week is he may have finally started to put it together, and he faces the punching bag defenses of Cincinnati and Detroit in the next two weeks. Granted, he could be without wide receiver Matt Jones the next few games, but against those defenses it shouldn’t matter.

Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs – No, he’s not worth starting after one excellent outing (280 yards, two TDs against the Jets). But the Chiefs have been beaten down all season, and this is one opportunity to say something positive about at least one of their players. However, should you really be strapped at QB, Thigpen does go up against the Chargers in Week 10 and the Saints a week later. If you’re desperate, he may at least warrant partial consideration.

FALLING

Jeff Garcia, Buccaneers – Give the Cowboy defense credit where credit is due. They pressured Garcia all day and kept him from exploiting their incredibly vulnerable secondary. But this was Garcia’s prime opportunity to post big, big numbers and he failed miserably. He does face Kansas City in Week 9, Detroit in Week 12 and the Saints the next week, but how can you trust him?

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers – He’s way too up and down for comfort. Weeks 2 through 4 he was horrible, averaging 169 yards and throwing only two TDs. Then, he averaged 262 yards and threw for five TDs in games against the Jaguars and Bengals. But the arrow once again pointed straight down on Roethlisberger against the Giants, with 189 yards, one TD, and a crippling four interceptions. He’s got great matchups Weeks 11-13, facing San Diego, Cincinnati and New England, but otherwise you should probably lean toward keeping him on your bench.

Brad Johnson, Cowboys – Johnson looked feeble against Tampa Bay, with 122 yards and only one TD. Nearly every downfield throw was a wounded duck, and even his short touchdown pass to Roy Williams looked like an offensive lineman threw it. The Cowboys will actually have to score points to have a shot against New York in Week 9, and it doesn’t look like Johnson could throw a ball through a wet paper bag. If Johnson plays like that against the Giants, look for the Cowboys to give him a quick hook and go with No. 3 QB Brooks Bollinger.

J.T. O’Sullivan, 49ers – It’s never a good sign when a starting quarterback gets yanked for ineffectiveness as Sullivan did against Seattle. But 131 yards, no TDs, one interception and two fumbles are yank-worthy numbers. San Francisco is on a bye this week. Don’t be surprised if Shaun Hill gets the starting nod in Week 10 and beyond.

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