Sep 27, 2010
::WEEK 4 RANKINGS UPDATED AS OF OCTOBER 2, 2010::
It is a sad week around the Bruno Boys offices. We’re sad because it’s Week 4 of the NFL season and that means it’s time for the bye weeks to start. That’s four fewer teams and two fewer games this week, and this continues all the way through Week 11. OK, so we’re not that sad about it, after all the NFL regular season is underway and nobody can complain about that. Bye weeks make it that much more important to know which players to insert into your starting lineup and which ones to avoid.
This week’s quarterback rankings will take a look at some interesting matchups, perhaps none more intriguing than Washington Redskins’ quarterback Donovan McNabb heading back to his old stomping grounds in Philadelphia to play the Eagles. Will fans boo or cheer him? Or do they even care now that Michael Vick is playing so well? We’ll have to wait until Sunday to see how that plays out. For now, here’s our Week 4 quarterback rankings for your consideration.
**RANKINGS BASED ON STANDARD SCORING - 1 POINT PER 25 PASSING YARDS, 1 POINT PER 10 YARDS RUSHING, 4 POINTS ALL PASSING TOUCHDOWNS, -2 POINTS ALL TURNOVERS**
1. Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts) @ Jacksonville
Manning’s early season performance has been overshadowed by the many interesting story lines involving quarterbacks around the league – the re-emergence of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, the improved play of Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, and the rapid rise of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez from a Week 1 disaster to the so-called “Sanchise.” If you’re one of Manning’s fantasy owners, then you’re aware that he has thrown three touchdown passes in each of the first three games of the 2010 season and no interceptions. Manning has a great matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4, and it doesn’t matter that he’s playing on the road. The Jaguars reworked part of their defense in the offseason, however it hasn’t done much good. The hapless Jags rank No. 29 or worse in passing yards allowed, total yards allowed, and points allowed. Big day for Peyton and company, guaranteed.
Point Projection: 24 points
2. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) vs. Detroit
Rodgers completed 34-of-45 passes for 316 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the Green Bay Packers 20-17 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. He also ran for 20 yards and another score. The five-year veteran faces the winless Detroit Lions in Week 4, a team that he torched for five touchdowns last season. The Lions have the makings of a decent team, yet their roster is still among the weakest in the NFL. The defense ranks No. 26 or lower in every major defensive category. Detroit played the Minnesota Vikings tough in Week 3, at least for the first half of the game. Don’t expect this to be the case against Rodgers and the Packers’ formidable offense. Look for another great game from Rodgers this week.
Point Projection: 21 points
3. Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers) vs. Arizona
Though he’s 1-for-2 in leading his team to victory in early season play, Rivers’ overall stats are good from a fantasy football perspective, and frankly, that’s what we care about around these parts. Playing without wide receiver Vincent Jackson clearly hasn’t affected Rivers too much. He and tight end Antonio Gates are as in synch as ever, and Rivers is developing his rapport with wide receivers Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee. While having Rivers as your fantasy quarterback is never a bad thing, he plays a defense-challenged Arizona Cardinals that allows an average of 231.3 passing yards and 25.7 points per game. Rivers makes a better than usual starter in Week 4. If he’s on your roster, be sure he’s in your lineup.
Point Projection: 21 points
4. Jay Cutler (Chicago Bears) @ New York Giants
Cutler led the Bears to a 20-17 victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers before a rocking crowd at Soldier Field on Monday night. Under heavy pressure from the Packers’ defense, Cutler demonstrated his evolution from the risk-taking gunslinger who threw 26 interceptions in his first season with Chicago, to a more mature and decisive leader. While Cutler’s stats weren’t spectacular – 16-for-27, 221 yards, one touchdown, and one pick – he is clearly more comfortable in Mike Martz’s offense. Cutler has a favorable matchup in Week 4 against a 1-2 New York Giants team. After facing two run-heavy offenses in the Carolina Panthers and the Tennessee Titans in early season play, the Giants rank No. 4 in passing yards allowed, yet they rank No. 30 in points allowed. If the Giants’ defense doesn’t put pressure on him, the canon-armed Cutler will do some serious damage in the air.
Point Projection: 20 points
5. Michael Vick (Philadelphia Eagles) vs. Washington
Vick’s been under center for two-and-a-half starts and he looked better each time we saw him. In the Eagles’ 28-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3, Vick threw for 291 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also ran for 30 yards and a score. Three weeks into the season, Vick has completed a career-best 60.7% of his passes and has a quarterback rating of 110.20. Next up for Vick and the Eagles are division rivals the Washington Redskins. The Redskins pass defense seems to be falling apart, ranking No. 22 in points allowed and No. 31 in passing yards allowed. While Vick’s accuracy is much improved from his days in Atlanta, the Eagles’ schedule gets much tougher from Week 4 onward. Start Vick against the Redskins, but go into the decision with your eyes wide open. It’s unrealistic to expect Vick to match his Week 3 numbers on a weekly basis.
Point Projection: 19 points
6. Tom Brady (New England Patriots) @ Miami
Brady and the Patriots rebounded from a tough loss to the New York Jets in Week 2 as they defeated the Buffalo Bills 38-30. The 11-year veteran completed 21-of-27 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns, and an impressive quarterback rating of 142.6. Brady also surpassed former San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Steve Young on the all-time passing touchdown list, moving up to No. 19. And except for two interceptions in the second half of the game against the Jets, Brady has showed pinpoint accuracy not unlike the way he threw the ball during his record-setting 2007 season. The victory against the Bills gives the 2-1 Patriots the momentum they need to face the Miami Dolphins in Week 4. The Dolphins defense ranks fairly high, however two of their first three games were against the Buffalo Bills and the Minnesota Vikings, teams with struggling offenses. Expect another solid performance from Brady this week.
Point Projection: 18 points
7. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints) vs. Carolina
Brees had his best game from a fantasy football perspective in Week 3’s overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons, completing 30-of-38 passes for 365 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. He finished with a passer rating of 111.1. That said, three games into the 2010 regular season and you don’t get the impression that Brees and the New Orleans Saints’ offense are clicking on all cylinders. They rank in the middle of the pack in points per game and are dead last in rushing yards per game. Not only is the running game stuck in neutral, the Saints big play receivers are either MIA (hello Robert Meachem) or having trouble hanging onto the ball (talking to you Devery Henderson). The Saints are averaging 21 points a game, good enough for No. 14. Hopefully Brees and the Saints get it together in what should be a tasty matchup in Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers, a team that ranks No. 23 in the NFL in points allowed.
Point Projection: 18 points
8. Matt Schaub (Houston Texans) @ Oakland
Three games into the regular season and Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is driving his fantasy owners crazy with his inconsistent play. His stats were bad in Week 1, then good in Week 2, and in Week 3’s all-Texas showdown against the Dallas Cowboys, Schaub’s numbers were mediocre. He completed 23-of-32 passes for 241 yards, one touchdown, and two costly interceptions. Schaub should get back on track this week against the 2-1 Oakland Raiders. While the Raiders have some good defensive backs, in particular cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, the defense allows an average of 25.3 points per game. Look for Schaub to bounce back in Week 4 with solid stats and fantasy points that should make his fantasy owners happy.
Point Projection: 17 points
9. Eli Manning (New York Giants) vs. Chicago
Manning moved the New York Giants up and down the field in Sunday’s ugly 28-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans , completing 34-of-48 passes for 368 yards. With the Giants playing from behind, Manning was forced to throw the ball the entire game, yet turnovers and bad penalties killed several scoring chances. The Titans picked off two of Manning’s passes, including a catchable ball that bounced off wide receiver Hakeem Nicks’ hands. While Manning failed to throw a touchdown pass, he still put up decent fantasy numbers. Manning faces Jay Cutler and the pass-happy Chicago Bears in Week 4, and unless the Giants’ defense gets it act together quickly, Manning’s arm will get another heavy workout. We doubt that Manning will go consecutive weeks without a passing touchdown, and his expected production makes him a worthwhile fantasy starter this week. He might not lead the Giants to a win over the 3-0 Bears, but he should do his fair share for your fantasy team.
Point Projection: 16 points
10. Mark Sanchez (New York Giants) @ Buffalo
Sanchez’s 2010 season got off to a really bad start with a poor performance against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. The second-year quarterback played so badly, that many thought backup Mark Brunell deserved a shot to play. Sanchez responded with back-to-back games of three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Maybe we owe Sanchez an apology. Turns out he’s pretty good after all. The second-year quarterback faces the winless Buffalo Bills in Week 4. While the Bills defense is better than their offense, they aren’t “all that” defensively either, ranking No. 31 in the league in points allowed. Start the “Sanchise” with confidence.
Point Projection: 15 points
11. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) vs. San Francisco
Aside from his poor performance in the first week of the season, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been good. In the last two weeks he’s thrown for 453 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. The San Francisco 49ers defense was supposed to one of the best this season but thus far it’s been nothing more than mediocre. Overall the 49ers are allowing 29 points per game, which ranks last in the league.
Point Projection: 15 points
12. Chad Henne (Miami Dolphins) vs. New England
Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne played well against the New York Jets last week as he threw for 363 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. What was great to see was that he hooked up often with receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught 10 passes for 166 yards and one touchdown. Though the New England Patriots have played well so far their defense is allowing an average of 260.3 passing yards and 27.3 points per game. Henne may not lead the Dolphins to a win, but he will do well enough to warrant consideration as a starter if your top quarterback is on a bye this week.
Point Projection: 15 points
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