Time to take a look at my QB rankings for Week 7. Remember, we go with the philosophy that you always start the ‘Holy Five’ regardless of matchup: Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick and (for now) Philip Rivers. Rivers still maintains this status (even against the Jets), but he’s not far from being removed if he has another bad week or two. Remember, Brady and Vick have byes this week, so our rankings will go 4-10. And no, Carson Palmer is not on this list, because it isn’t 2005.
4. Matthew Stafford v. ATL: First of all, it’s Matthew Stafford, who would be the guy to replace Rivers should he falter. Secondly, Atlanta is giving up 8.3 yards per pass and are in the bottom six of just about every passing category. Stafford gets back over 300 yards this week, easily.
5. Tim Tebow @ MIA: Forget about the rest of the Tebow conversations. Fantasy-wise, Tebow is a beast. And Miami is most definitely user-friendly, as quarterbacks are averaging a rating of 105.4 against them, second worst in the league. They also are near the top of fantasy points allowed to QBs this season, and Tebow has had two weeks to prepare. Hey, I’m starting Tebow this week. Three TDs total for Timmy. Happy Florida Homecoming!
6. Matt Cassel @OAK: The Raiders have given up 12 TD passes this season, tied for worst in the NFL. Cassel has been red-hot the last three weeks, with his completion percentage up around 70 percent. This trend continues to the tune of 250-plus yards and two or three TD passes. Wow, seriously, Tebow and Cassel are in the top six this week.
7. Tony Romo v. STL: A pretty good week for Romo in New England, and I’m believing in bigger things this week at home against the Rams. DeMarco Murray will be a jolt of energy, which will open up the pass a little more. And when Jerry Jones says he wants more dynamic play-calling, there will be more dynamic play-calling. Romo has been over 300 yards in every game but one this season, and against a Rams defense in the bottom third of every defensive statistical category? Forget it. He’ll find the end zone three times.
8. Curtis Painter @ NO: No. 1, you have to throw to keep up with the Saints. No. 2, the Saints will allow you to throw on them. They’ve also allowed 12 TD passes this season. It’s not every week I can recommend Painter and the Colts’ weapons, but this is one of those weeks. Look for Painter’s attempts to be near 50 in this one (with 45 of them to Pierre Garcon). The Colts will put a lot of points on the board and lose. But in fantasy, we’ll all be winners.
9. Colt McCoy v. SEA: On paper it doesn’t look that great. Seattle is a middle-of-the-pack team defensively. But with the lack of a running game, more onus is put on McCoy’s shoulders. He’ll be throwing the ball 40 times regularly. And he’s been solidly over 200 yards a week while throwing for one or two TDs. Greg Little is emerging as his No. 1 weapon, and he completed passes to eight different targets last week. I see a high-scoring game here and McCoy around 20 fantasy points.
10. Cam Newton v. WAS: Newton barely scrapes by on the list this week because his matchup isn’t the best. He’s also coming off of his worst game as a pro, and you wonder if teams are figuring him out just a little bit. Atlanta, as I said before, doesn’t defend the pass well, but they harassed Newton all day long in Week 6. But he’s still Cam Newton, who’s thrown the ball 30-plus times in every game he’s played and will more than likely give you a TD running, probably 200-plus yards throwing, 50-plus rushing and two total TDs.
See Jason Smith on NFL Fantasy Live, airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the Red Zone Channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2 p.m. ET and 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. He writes Fantasy and other NFL pith on NFL.com daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.