Let these top five fantasy football quarterbacks guide your teams in week 3.
5- Ryan Tannehill (MIA), $11,750 vs (KC)
Coming off a loss against the division rival Bills on the road, Tannehill and the Dolphins will look to bounce back to week one form where they paddled the Patriots. The sledding should be easier for Tannehill this week against an already bad Chiefs pass defense that Football Outsiders ranks dead last in pass defense. Pro Football Focus ranks them 30th in pass coverage and they might be without elite safety Eric Berry who missed practice on Wednesday nursing an ankle sprain. Traditional NFL QB Rating doesn’t paint a favorable picture of Tannehill, but Pro Football Focus’s PFF QB Rating has Tannehill ranked 15th out of 28 quarterbacks that have taken 50% of their team’s dropbacks. A horrible pass defense can make even a mediocre signal caller like Tannehill look good, and the price is right to allow for an easy return on the investment, and then some.
4- Russell Wilson (SEA), $13,600 vs (DEN)
Ranking second in PFF QB Rating is none other than the defending Super Bowl Championship quarterback Wilson himself. The knock remains the same on Wilson, and that is that the Seahawks don’t allow him to air it out with the frequency of the other elite quarterbacks in the league. Vegas Insider calls for the fourth highest scoring game for the Seahawks and Broncos contest with a total of 48.5, and the Seahawks project to be the higher scoring squad as a five point favorite. If this turns into a high scoring affair, it’s highly likely Pete Carroll will call for Wilson to air it out more often than usual. Adding further optimism to the Wilson airing it out more theory is that the Broncos have been decent defending the run, ranking 12th by Football Outsiders and 11th by Pro Football Focus. In addition to his throwing exploits, Wilson is always a threat to add points with his legs too. He had the third most rushing yards among quarterbacks last year, and he has 47 on the ground through two games this year.
3- Aaron Rodgers (GB), $16,250 @ (DET)
Rodgers is an underdog in the game with the highest total of the week. Vegas Insiders has the total presently sitting at 53 and the Packers are +2. That leaves plenty of points for Rodgers and the Packers to hang on the Lions. The Lions pass defense has graded out as strong through two weeks by both Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders, but keeping Eli Manning and Cam Newton in check are a far cry from holding Rodgers at bay. Even having been saddled with a tough opening assignment against the Seahawks, Rodgers has managed to earn the sixth best PFF QB Rating. Eddie Lacy will help provide the Packers offense balance and keep the Lions honest, but this remains Rodgers’ team. The duo of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb could have an emerging third threat in second round pick Davante Adams too.
2- Matthew Stafford (DET), $15,950 vs (GB)
The favorite in the shootout in Detroit is Stafford and the Lions. Stafford trails Rodgers in PFF QB Rating, but he’s no slouch ranking ninth. As if throwing to Calvin Johnson year-after-year wasn’t enviable enough, Stafford got a damn good weapon in the offseason when the Lions added Golden Tate. Only the Seahawks run heavy approach in 2013 masked the skills of Tate. Pro Football Focus gave him the 16th best pass rating among receivers. Tate is a handful in the open field, and he was the leader in missed tackles among wide receivers last year. He’s a sure handed receiver as well, posting the fifth best drop rate in 2013 among receivers filtered with a 50% target rate per Pro Football Focus. This is a round about way of saying that not only do the Packers have to contend with Megatron, but opposite the studly wide receiver is another very good one. It’s not just the wide receivers that Stafford has at his disposal either, a pair of talented pass catching backs in Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, and tight ends Joseph Fauria and rookie Eric Ebron are also in the mix. The Panthers remarkably held this offensive unit to just seven points in Carolina in week two, but the Packers defense is not even in the same class.
1- Jay Cutler (CHI), $15,400 @ (NYJ)
Rookie quarterback Derek Carr helped mask for one week just how bad the Jets secondary is, but Rodgers undressed them in week two. The result is the Jets ranking 20th in pass defense according to Football Outsiders and 19th in pass coverage according to Pro Football Focus. Not a single member of the Jets secondary earned a positive pass coverage score by Pro Football Focus in week two, and the transition from safety to cornerback took quite the toll on Antonio Allen, with him earning by far the worst coverage score on the Jets. The terrific duo of Brandon Marshall, my number two ranked wide receiver this week, and Alshon Jeffrey will torch the Jets corners, and the rest of the secondary will have their hands full with athletic and talented tight end Martellus Bennett. Oh, and coach Marc Trestman does a stellar job of getting running back Matt Forte work in the passing game. The Jets run defense is tough as nails, and the Bears offense got things going against the 49ers in week two when they gave up on a struggling running attack and winged the ball around through the air. Another sub-200 yard passing effort isn’t likely from Cutler, and I’m thinking more along the lines of the 300-plus he tallied in week one against the Bills. He’ll add multiple passing touchdowns for good measure.