There are some messy situations at quarterback these days. A lot of owners have been frustrated with the subpar numbers put up by the New England Patriots' Tom Brady and the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton, while Matt Ryan has been a shell of himself following a breakout 2012.
A lot of teams have picked up their game in the past couple weeks. For some, it’s due to the schedule, and for others, it's because of cohesive play on offense. Here’s a look at five quarterbacks who could carry their recent production into the fantasy playoffs.
Carson Palmer (owned in 34 percent of leagues)
After hitting the skids on offense in Weeks 4-7, the Cardinals are starting to click on offense. In those bad weeks, they went up against formidable defenses such as the Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. They also visited Raymond James Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team with a great front seven and solid secondary.
The dark days are behind them and the Cardinals are starting to get it going by putting points on the board. Interestingly, they scored 27 points in each of their last three games. The former top pick in the NFL Draft had a hand in that with two scores in each of those games. Last week he was extremely productive with a season-high 419 passing yards.
Their schedule is favorable in the next four weeks, too. This week they face an Indianapolis Colts team which has given up solid days to quarterbacks such as Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kellen Clemens and Case Keenum. Palmer is a little better than those guys, so he could have a nice game.
Mike Glennon (owned in 10 percent of leagues)
He was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL on Sunday with his sterling performance against the Atlanta Falcons. Glennon carved up the Dirty Birds to the tune of 231 passing yards and two scores on 20-of-23 passing. Those numbers were good for a career-high 137.5 passer rating.
He is finally getting on the same page as Vincent Jackson, going to him early and often with 12 targets. He completed 10 of those passes, including one score and a total of 165 yards for Jackson. The ability to stretch the field is really going to open up doors for himself and the overall offense. The Buccaneers have a pretty solid offensive line, but everyone seems to have forgotten that due to all the turmoil on their team.
This week they get a Detroit Lions team that just gave up huge day to Ben Roethlisberger. Glennon isn’t going to have a lot of upside, but he will likely have to air it out to keep pace with Matthew Stafford and Co.
Josh McCown (owned in 16 percent of leagues)
Sometimes it’s not about which players are the best, it’s more about the talent around them. A good example is Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Last year Ryan was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but this year he’s just mediocre at best. The loss of Julio Jones has really set the Falcons back on offense and Ryan’s numbers have suffered significantly.
This year, it’s not too tough of a case to make that McCown has some of the best weapons in the NFL. Brandon Marshall is arguably the best possession receiver in the game and he can also get deep for the big play. On the other side, Alshon Jeffery has really blossomed into an upper-echelon wideout. Add that to an exceptional pass-catching back in Matt Forte, and McCown is set up for success.
This week he gets the Rams in a dome. After the horrific weather in Chicago on Sunday, a dome setting will be a welcomed sight. Plus, the Rams have been apt to give up some big plays. McCown is a nice fill-in for owners who need a stop-gap option for either Aaron Rodgers or the bye-week blues.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (owned in 6 percent of leagues)
He didn’t get the win on Thursday, but he did show signs of life. He completed 22-of-28 passing for 222 yards and a TD. Amazingly, he completed 19 of his 22 passes to just two receivers. Delanie Walker caught 10 balls for 91 yards and a score while Kendall Wright reeled in nine catches for 80 yards. Those two only missed out on three targets and are great short-option guys.
This week, he might be able to stretch the field. The Oakland Raiders have been giving up big plays all season. You probably heard about Nick Foles’ seven-TD effort, but the New York Giants and Houston Texans also had some success. Fitz is a solid fill-in guy in two-QB leagues.
Matt McGloin (Owned in 1 percent of leagues)
His name sounds like a main character in a comedy movie, but the Texans certainly weren't laughing after they lost at home to the Raiders on Sunday. He threw for three scores and didn’t throw any picks in the win, completing 18-of-32 passes for 197 yards. He had all of his options working in prototypical fashion with Rod Streater leading the team in receptions with six and in yardage with 84. He hit six different receivers in the win.
He has an interesting matchup this week against the Titans. Tennessee does have a vulnerable secondary at times, but the Titans can force their share of turnovers. Terrelle Pryor could be back, so this is more of a desperation pickup.