Jay Cutler, Broncos – Cutler hasn’t lived up to the potential he flashed the first few weeks of the season when he looked like the runaway No. 1 quarterback in Fantasy Football, but he torched the Jets for 357 yards and two TDs in a critical week for most Fantasy players. Now, as the playoffs get rolling, he faces a Kansas City defense he lit up for 361 yards and a TD in Week 4. And he gets them at home. If you’re in the playoffs, you should be set this week with Cutler as your QB.
Eli Manning, Giants – What was shaping up as an off week turned into a fairly salty game for Manning against Washington, as he threw for 305 yards and a TD. That’s two weeks in a row he’s had solid to excellent games, and this week he goes up against a Philly D that allowed 235 yards and three TDs to Kurt Warner. This isn’t to say Manning should start for your team over your normal No. 1 quarterback, but he’s worth consideration if your main guy’s matchup isn’t that great.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Rodgers had a great game in a losing effort, throwing for 298 and three scores against a tough Carolina D. But because it was a losing effort, the Packers are nearly cooked in the playoff race. Sunday was a desperation game and they fell short; one more loss and they’ll be taken off life support. With that as a backdrop, you’ve got to like Rodgers’ chances at putting up really big numbers at home against Houston – weather permitting, of course.
Joe Flacco, Ravens – This is five out of six weeks that Flacco has put up strong Fantasy performances. The schedule gets quite a bit tougher for the rookie from here on out, starting with the Redskins this week, so this isn’t a recommendation you should start him. It’s more recognition of a young player who looks like he’ll be worth a surprisingly early pick next season.
Donovan McNabb, Eagles – The yo-yo season of McNabb is back on the upswing, and should stay on that course unless his 260-yard, four-TD outburst against Arizona was an aberration. Don’t look for similar numbers this week against the Giants, but he should be more than serviceable for your squad.
Gus Frerotte, Vikings – Somewhere along the line these next three or four weeks there’s going to be a quarterback come out of nowhere to post better numbers than most of the more established Fantasy quarterbacks. Frerotte’s a good candidate to be that quarterback this week with Minnesota playing the Lions. Don’t be surprised if he’s in the Top 5 in Fantasy point totals this week while he sits on the bench for 99 percent of all Fantasy teams.
Matt Cassell, Patriots – Thud. How many teams were burned by Cassell? Just when you felt no one could stop him, he kills you. Absolutely kills you. If you were able to somehow withstand the pathetic numbers he put up against Pittsburgh, he should do a lot to get back into your good graces against a weak Seattle pass defense.
Chad Pennington, Dolphins – That one week against the Patriots, when Pennington was fantastic, reminds me of the move “Awakenings.” You know, the one where Robin Williams prescribes a wonder drug to a group of catatonic patients and they spring back to life only to revert to their previous state once the drug wears off. Pennington was shockingly bad from a Fantasy perspective against a horrible Ram defense. He’ll probably stay nothing more than an afterthought against Buffalo.
Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs – Another guy who burned those who had finally decided to trust him, Thigpen was awful against Oakland with 162 yards, no TDs, and an interception. Chances are he’ll put up good numbers against Denver, but Thigpen’s more of a dynasty league keeper than someone you can actually count on during your playoff run.
Kyle Orton, Bears – Orton had two TDs against Minnesota but his three picks and 153 yards didn’t help many Fantasy teams. You could have blamed his last two meager outputs on the ongoing effects of his sprained ankle, but it’s hard to keep making that excuse. Hopefully you won’t have to rely on him this week against Jacksonville.
Peyton Manning, Colts – His disappearing act against the Browns probably knocked a lot of teams out of their Fantasy playoffs. And it came out of nowhere after he had posted strong to excellent numbers in six of his previous seven games. You’ve got to think he’ll turn it around in a big way this week against the Bengals, but he was so bad against Cleveland he had to be mentioned on this list.
Trent Edwards, Bills – You can probably close the book on whatever limited Fantasy impact Edwards has had this season. An injured groin made him a big question mark early in the week, and, even if healthy, he wasn’t that much of a consideration anyway for Sunday’s game against Miami.
Derek Anderson, Browns – In his chance to audition for the rest of the league in Brady Quinn’s absence, he put up a mere 110 yards and no touchdowns before leaving with a knee injury that has likely ended his season. Ken Dorsey will take the reins in Cleveland. Good luck with all of that.