Not many of us have been looking forward to this week of the NFL season. The reason being that six teams have their bye week. Four of those teams have quarterbacks that many of us have been using almost exclusively as our starting quarterback on our fantasy teams. We'll examine below a few options that may be available for you to use as your bye week starter. Let us first look at those quality starting fantasy quarterbacks that have their bye week and what they've accomplished so far this season.
Matt Ryan has stepped up his game this year. Thus far, he has passed for 1,756 yards, fourteen touchdowns and six interceptions. He's completing close to 68% of his passes and throwing for just under 300 yards passing per game. This last matchup against the Raiders was the first time this season where he threw multiple interceptions and just the second time he failed to pass for at least 275 yards.
I like the way the schedule sets up for Ryan and the Falcons, as there are no cold weather games on the schedule and definitely some games that could turn into passing game shootouts. My one concern is the offensive line keeping Ryan upright and healthy. They face the Eagles and Cowboys coming out of the bye and the Giants during the fantasy playoffs. That's three defenses that can really get after and do some damage to a quarterback. In Week 4, he was sacked seven times by the Panthers, so there has been a precedent. He has been quite durable, missing only two games in his first four seasons. I think Matt Ryan will finish with a career year and carry quite a few teams to a fantasy title.
Peyton Manning has thrown for over 300 yards in four of six games this season and thrown multiple touchdowns in five of those six games. If you were able to grab him in the mid to later rounds of your draft, than you have a steal so far. As the season goes on, I think Manning will become more and more comfortable running his offense and with his receivers in Denver. We need to remember that this is his first season with Decker and Thomas. My concern is more about how he will deal with the cold weather games. They play at the Ravens in Week 15 and at home against the Browns in Week 16 I love the schedule Manning faces up until those two games. So hopefully you have a solid fantasy team around him to push you over the top, in case he falters in the fantasy playoffs.
Michael Vick has held onto the starting job in Philly despite his turnover issues. Vick has passed for 272 yards a game and rushed for 205 yards over the first six games. He's thrown eight touchdowns but turned the ball over thirteen times (eight interceptions and five fumbles). If the Eagles had a backup quarterback that was ready to start, then Vick might have been benched by now. His numbers have been good especially with the bonus of his rushing yards but if your league penalizes turnovers, you are probably not very happy. Coming out of the bye, Vick has two very positive matchups with the Falcons and Saints. I think the rest of the schedule could have mixed results for Vick with a lot depending on him staying healthy.
Last but not least we have Philip Rivers. His Monday night game turned into a disaster. In the second half , he threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles. It seems as though Rivers is still getting used to his new receivers and the offense has not really hit it's stride. Rivers has only gone over 300 yards passing in one of his starts this season but has multiple touchdown games in four of the Chargers six games. I really like the first three games that Rivers and the Chargers have coming out of the bye. If you have an elite starter at quarterback and Rivers is your backup, you might consider trading him while his value is high to strengthen your team at a weak position.
My predictions for quarterbacks that will have a strong Week 7:
Brandon Weeden, Browns - The Brown have their first win and that means that pressure is off of Weeden's back. He has quietly been having a decent season, averaging 253 passing yards per game and multiple touchdowns in the last couple games. If his receivers stop dropping the ball, Weeden's stats would take a small jump.
Christian Ponder, Vikings- Ponder threw for 352 yards and two touchdowns against the Redskins in Week 6. A lot of those yards came as the Vikings tried to come back from a deficit. I think the Cardinals will key on Adrian Peterson this week, leaving room for Ponder to have opportunities down field.
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