By Adam Harris-
(CBS) Looking ahead in fantasy football is annoying. Owners want to focus on winning the current week and not worry about things like byes, matchups, and even playoff implications. I understand that, and that is why I will do the crystal balling for you at the quarterback position right now.
In this edition of my fantasy football blog, I will tell you of a few good options at quarterback that might be available in your league to replace your quarterback on bye.
QBs ON BYE: Tony Romo (DAL), Matt Stafford (DET), Carson Palmer (OAK), Josh Freeman (TB)
Andy Dalton (CIN): He faces a Miami Dolphin defense that gives up 297 passing yards per game and ranks 30th in the NFL. I see two touchdowns and 310 yards passing for Dalton this week.
Christian Ponder (MIN): Ponder is very efficient, completing 67 percent of his passes this year and has a quarterback rating of 97.7. Ponder had a 24 point day against the San Francisco defense and an 18 point day against Indianapolis in Week 2. The Vikings face the Titans this week and the Titans’ defense ranks 27th in the NFL in passing defense and has given up 10 touchdowns in the air, which is the 2nd most in the NFL.
Andrew Luck (IND): The Colts didn’t go through their horrid 2011 for nothing. Andrew Luck should be owned by many teams, but if by chance he is a free agent and you have one of the quarterbacks above, grab Luck and don’t let go. The Packers defense has been good this year, but Luck will be throwing a lot in this high scoring game.
QBs ON BYE: Cam Newton (CAR), Jay Cutler (CHI), Drew Brees (NO), Blaine Gabbert (JAX)
Josh Freeman (TB): Freeman looks to be in shape this year, and faces a Chiefs defense that has given up 10 passing touchdowns, ranking second most in the NFL. In Week 6, look for Freeman to throw for 2-3 touchdowns and about 225 yards.
Christian Ponder (MIN): I know, I mentioned Ponder for Week 5, but he looks good again in Week 6. The Redskins defense he faces has given up the most touchdowns in the air so far, and the second most passing yards per game at 343. Minnesota’s offense is better than expected.
QBs ON BYE: Matt Ryan (ATL), Peyton Manning (DEN), Matt Cassell (KC), Ryan Tannehill (MIA), Michael Vick (PHI), Philip Rivers (SD)
Jake Locker (TEN): If healthy, Locker has a nice matchup in Week 7 in Buffalo. The Bills have given up an average of 32.75 points per game which ranks third most in the NFL. A high scoring game means Locker will pass a ton.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (BUF): In the same type of argument, the Titans have given up the most points per game this year at 37.8. These quarterbacks are not owned in many leagues and can even be acquired via trade as a throw in if you have one of the quarterbacks on bye.
Josh Freeman (TB): Facing a New Orleans defense, Freeman will air it out in Week 7. The addition of Vincent Jackson has really been a plus for Freeman, and he can really help you..
Andrew Luck (IND): Luck faces the Cleveland Browns, who are horrible in general, let alone against the pass. The Browns rank 28th in passing yards per game and have given up nine touchdowns in the air this year. The Colts will not hold back this week and will use Week 7 as a step for Luck, pouring on the offense.
QBs ON BYE: Joe Flacco (BALT), Ryan Fitzpatrick (BUF), Andy Dalton (CIN), Matt Schaub (CIN)
Honestly, there are no major starters on bye in Week 8. I hope you are not starting any of these quarterbacks week in and week out, however I will give you a few options.
Brandon Weeden (CLE): This might be the only time I suggest playing a Browns player all year. Weeden looked good the past two weeks and has a nice match up against the San Diego defense. It should be a pass heavy game.
Ben Roethlisberger (PITT): Most likely owned, Roethlisberger is on his way to having one of his best seasons. Big Ben is at home against the league’s second worst pass defense: the Washington Redskins. The Steelers’ pass heavy, quick pace offense will give Roethlisberger a chance to blow up Week 8. He could win you the week by himself.
Christian Ponder (MIN): This one is simple. Ponder faces the worst pass defense currently in the league this week. Tampa Bay is not good at defense and Ponder will take advantage.
QBs ON BYE: Tom Brady (NE), Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow (NYJ), Alex Smith (SF), Sam Bradford (STL)
Kevin Kolb (AZ): Kolb has taken the starting spot back for the undefeated Cardinals. I do not think they will be undefeated by Week 9, but I imagine the Cardinal quarterback will take advantage of a high scoring game in Green Bay. Larry Fitzgerald cannot be contained by the shorter Packer secondary all game.
Joe Flacco (BAL): When Flacco faced Cleveland last week, he scored 23 fantasy points. Granted, six of his points came from the fifth rushing touchdown of his career, but it was raining in Baltimore that day. Nicer weather and the fifth worst pass defense sets up a fantasy performance.
Carson Palmer (OAK): In two home games this year, Palmer has thrown for four touchdowns and 506 yards. The Buccaneers give up 343 passing yards per game which, as I said above, ranks the worst in the NFL. Palmer is a solid play this week.
QBs ON BYE: Kevin Kolb (AZ), Brandon Weeden (CLE), Aaron Rodgers (GB), Robert Griffin III (WASH)
Christian Ponder (MIN): Facing Detroit has been a delight for teams in general this year. I believe at this point in the season, the Vikings will be successful, and the Lions will remain a disappointment. Ponder will be a big reason for the success and is a rising fantasy player. He’s been on my list a few times so I suggest picking him up ASAP.
Ryan Tannehill (MIA): We have already established how bad Tennessee is against the pass, so wouldn’t you know that Ryan Tannehill gets them at home in Week 10. Tannehill will have gained even more experience by Week 10 and will throw all over this horrible Titan defense.
QBs ON BYE: Christian Ponder (MIN), Eli Manning (NYG), Russell Wilson (SEA), Jake Locker (TEN)
Brandon Weeden (CLE): Okay, I stand corrected. I will tell you twice to play a Browns player, and this one is purely based on matchup. After watching the Dallas Cowboys defense torn up by the Bears this past Monday night, I wouldn’t hesitate to tell anyone to play any quarterback against them, including a rookie out of Cleveland.
Carson Palmer (OAK): New Orleans has given up the third most points per game in the NFL so far. Darren McFadden has not rushed as well as expected, thus the weight rests on Palmer’s shoulders to successfully pass in order to win. New Orleans’ defense is in shambles and will continue to be through Week 11.
Bye weeks are very annoying, but these options should help you tread water while your stud quarterback sits on his couch and watches the games right along with you. Hopefully he will cheer for your fantasy team as well. He owes it to you.
Ask Adam Harris fantasy football questions on Twitter at @AHarris670.