Week 8 takes an easier toll on starting-caliber fantasy quarterbacks this week. The Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens and Buffalo Bills will all rest, forcing Andy Dalton, Matt Schaub, Joe Flacco and Ryan Fitzpatrick out of action. While fewer owners will be running to the waiver wires this week, there are a few intriguing options available for those looking for a boost at the position.
Once again, the following five QBs, ranked from worst to first, are owned in less than 60 percent of Yahoo! fantasy football leagues this week:
5. Carson Palmer -- Own percent: 48%. Through six games: 148-for-241 passing, 1,732 yards, 7 TDs, 4 INTs
Palmer threw for 353 yards and 298 yards in his Week 6 and Week 7 matchups against the Atlanta Falcons and the Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively. He threw just one touchdown in each of those outings, but that could change against a Kansas City Chiefs secondary that has given up 13 passing touchdowns this season (the same as the Jags and Falcons ... combined).
4. Brandon Weeden -- Own percent: 16%. Through seven games: 154-for-272 passing, 1,783 yards, 9 TDs, 10 INTs
Weeden extended his streak of games with two touchdown passes to three-in-a-row against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Perhaps even more impressively, he did not throw an interception after throwing one in Week 6, and two in Week 5. The San Diego Chargers have given up 14 passing touchdowns this season, which is more than all but four teams in the NFL. Weeden could be a net positive fantasy option this week, and he is almost assuredly available in your league.
3. Christian Ponder -- Own percent: 42%. Through seven games: 152-for-227 passing, 1,492 yards, 9 TDs, 6 INTs
Make no mistake, Ponder was awful Sunday. The sophomore NFL quarterback went 8-for-17 passing for 58 yards, and had one touchdown pass to two interceptions against the Arizona Cardinals. He has a much, much easier matchup against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary that ranks 31st in the league, giving up 323 yards passing per game. Ponder threw for 352 yards in Week 6, and could be in line for a bounce-back performance. His six interceptions in three games are concerning.
2. Josh Freeman -- Own percent: 53%. Through six games: 104-for-187 passing, 1,538 yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs
Freeman will be one of the hottest waiver pickups in fantasy leagues this week, quarterback or otherwise, after throwing for 420 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions against the New Orleans Saints. Owners should be cautious about getting too excited about a big performance in a perfectly staged fantasy matchup against a high-octane offensive squad with little defense, however. Still, Freeman has strung together consecutive big fantasy performances, making him a viable fantasy option this week even against a stout Minnesota Vikings defense.
1. Sam Bradford -- Own percent: 21%. Through seven games: 131-for-219 passing, 1,592 yards, 7 TDs, 6 INTs
Bradford may be the biggest high-risk, high-reward option on waivers this week. His numbers are decidedly mediocre, with just two games with more than 300 yards passing this season, and three touchdown passes over his last five games. However, Bradford faces a New England Patriots secondary that has made Russell Wilson (298 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) and Mark Sanchez (328 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) look like world beaters the last two weeks. If you're in for an uphill battle in your fantasy league this week, Bradford could be a savvy gamble. Just be warned that he could just as easily turn in a dud performance.