Matt Cassell, Patriots – Cassell’s shot up to “must play” status like a bullet after yet another monster game. Against the Dolphins he had his second consecutive 400-yard day, his second consecutive three-TD performance, and even added a rushing score. He doesn’t just have a hot hand, he’s got a Taco Bell volcano taco-hot hand. Cassell’s supreme test comes this week at home against Pittsburgh. The Steelers have allowed only one quarterback, Peyton Manning, to surpass the 200-yard mark this season. There’s a very good chance Cassell will be the second; not just because he’s hot and has established a rapport with Randy Moss, but because the Patriots will probably not be able to do anything on the ground.
Kurt Warner, Cardinals – You may have approached Warner’s start against the tough Giant defense with trepidation, but he probably quelled those fears with a 351-yard, one-TD game. You already know Warner needs to be in your starting lineup no matter the opponent. However, remember he’s on the road to face Philadelphia this week in a game that has the potential for weather issues. Run him obviously, but you probably should temper your expectations somewhat.
Chad Pennington, Dolphins – Pennington had his best game by far this season against New England, with 341 yards, three scores, and a rushing TD. As you get nearer your league playoffs, conventional wisdom dictates you ride your horses all the way. Obviously, you probably haven’t been relying on Pennington too often this season, but if you’re still in contention and Pennington’s on your team, give him consideration this week on the road against the thoroughly deflated Rams.
Tony Romo, Cowboys – He looks like he’s finally, fully, back. With a 341-yard, three-TD day against San Francisco, Romo flashed the form that’s made him an elite quarterback – especially from a Fantasy perspective. If you were hesitant to start him this week, his performance against the 49ers should have been enough to convince you it’s time to get him back into your lineup.
Trent Edwards, Bills – On a day filled with phenomenal QB performances across the league, Edwards’ 273-yard, four-TD (two rushing) game was right at the top. It’s amazing he was able to come up with those kind of numbers just six days after looking pathetic against Cleveland on Monday Night Football. This isn’t to say you should immediately put Edwards into your lineup during the crunch time of the season, but he does get the 49ers at home this week. That should at least be food for thought if you’re not thrilled with your usual QB.
Jake Delhomme, Panthers – He’s “rising” this week only because I’ve bashed him the last two weeks – with good reason. So it’s only fair I recognize when he has a good game, like he did against the Falcons. His 295 yards and one passing TD were accentuated with a rushing TD. But if you ran him against Atlanta, think seriously about putting him back on the pine on the road against a Packer pass defense that’s been strong just about all season.
Donovan McNabb, Eagles – Just when it looked McNabb had returned to the Fantasy elite, he put up his second consecutive stinker. And he was planted on the bench the second half because of it. But since Kevin Kolb was just as bad, McNabb is starting against the Cardinals. He can go one of two ways; pout because of the benching and go completely down the toilet, or use it as motivation and tear it up from here on out. Odds are the latter is the more likely scenario, but it would probably be prudent to let McNabb prove it before you put him back into your lineup.
Brady Quinn, Browns – You had to know Quinn would be on a short leash due to a broken index finger on his throwing hand, and sure enough he was benched against Houston after throwing for only 94 yards and two interceptions. Head coach Romeo Crennel said Quinn is still his starter, but until that finger is completely healed expect Derek Anderson to see quite a bit of playing time.
Marc Bulger, Rams – Bulger probably can’t wait until his days in St. Louis are done. He was banged around yet again, this time suffering a concussion against the Bears. His offensive line sucks and Steven Jackson is a non-factor due to a thigh injury. If he had even a halfway decent cast around him, Bulger would be a great Fantasy sleeper the rest of the way, considering some of the defenses St. Louis faces (Miami, Arizona, Seattle, San Francisco) in upcoming weeks. But he doesn’t, so he’s not. Don’t be surprised if the Rams shut Bulger down soon.