Quarterbacks: Working The Waiver Wire Part II
Alex Smith (KC): While Smith gets criticized for being a “game-manager,” he quietly recorded multiple TD tosses in the majority of games last season and should only get better with a season to learn Andy Reid’s system. There were only two teams in all of football to allow 8-plus yards per pass on at least 350 attempts last season, and Smith gets to play them in back-to-back weeks. He gets an extra week to prepare for the Chargers, giving a typically low-upside quarterback plenty of fantasy potential for a two-week period.
Week 7 @ San Diego Chargers
Week 8 vs St. Louis Rams
Carson Palmer (AZ): No list tailor made to help “big game hunters” can be complete without the services of good ol’ Palmer. For the third consecutive season, Palmer had a three game stretch last year in which he totaled at least 1,020 passing yards. Good luck finding that sort of upside from any other quarterback ranked outside of the starters at any position. The game against the Lions has the potential to be a showdown of two elite receivers and the other two defenses allowed opponents to complete nearly two-thirds of their passes. At this point in the season, it is nice to get three games that figure to be weather-proof against teams that have the potential to put some points on the board. Don’t be surprised if Palmer makes a difference down the stretch as your playoff bracket is finalized.
Week 9 @ Dallas Cowboys
Week 10 vs St. Louis Rams
Week 11 vs Detroit Lions
Eli Manning (NYG): Everybody’s favorite punch line from 2013 should be better this year, and while I’m not calling him a starting quarterback on a consistent basis, these two crucial weeks figure to be among his best of the season. Even in a statistically down year, Manning managed to pass for 624 yards and six scores in two games against “America’s Favorite Team,” the third time in four years that he has averaged at least 300 yards and 2.5 touchdowns vs Dallas. As for the other opponent, do you really need a reminder of how bad the Jags were? Only the Vikings saw teams pass more and have a worse touchdown-to-interception ratio than Jacksonville, and by addressing needs on the offensive side of the ball in the draft, it is hard to imagine this defense being a whole lot better in 2014. If your starting quarterback is struggling or injured at this point in the season, kick the tires of this two time Super Bowl champion.
Week 12 vs Dallas Cowboys
Week 13 @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Andy Dalton (CIN): “I get no respect.” The Rodney Dangerfield of quarterbacks, Dalton finished last season as a Top 5 fantasy quarterback, yet his job was hardly safe, let alone his place among fantasy’s elite. The skills are erratic and he often panics far too early, but that being said, he has a stud in A.J. Green and is capable of the monster week (his Top 4 performances last year netted 1,335 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and one interception, numbers that aren’t that far off from Drew Brees’ Top 4 week totals of 1,518 and 18/0). This is no longer the stingy Steelers defense that you remember from years past, and the turnover-prone Red Rifle managed to throw 89 passes against them without an interception. The Browns, much like the Steelers, allowed opponents to throw more than two touchdowns per interception, lacking the opportunistic nature it takes to punish Dalton for the occasional bone-headed decision. Those are two solid matchups to start your fantasy playoff run, and a Week 16 date with a Broncos team that may not need the game isn’t a bad gamble if you’re stuck in a tough quarterback spot for your Super Bowl.
Week 14 vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 15 @ Cleveland Browns
Week 16 vs Denver Broncos