Okay, it’s finally official. Philip Rivers has lost his status as one of the Holy Five QB’s: the guys you start every week regardless of matchup. He’s not accurate, he’s making bad decisions, and just isn’t the Philip Rivers of old – at least for this year. Now it’s a Holy Four. So, let’s take a look at my top ten QB rankings for Week 8. Remember, you go with the philosophy that you’re always starting Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Michael Vick (Aaron Rodgers is on a bye). How do they shape up? This is a hard week because five of the top seven worst defenses against the pass have the week off.
4. Ben Roethlisberger v. NE. Rashard Mendenhall was incredibly disappointing against Arizona. If you can’t run against them, who can you run against? This will be an aerial war with Brady and I expect another 300-yard day at home from Roethlisberger. He’s becoming a QB you once again have to think about starting even if he’s your backup. Hard to find a team worse against the pass this week than the Patriots. (Because there isn’t one.)
5. Cam Newton v. MIN. Newton was back with a great week last week. Just five incomplete passes. You can now pencil him in for nearly 25 fantasy points every week: 200-plus yards passing, 50-plus rushing, and at least one TD passing and rushing. He’ll continue to be a monster and he’s got a terrific matchup at home against Minnesota, the third-worst team in the league against the pass. I’m one game away from putting Newton in the ‘Holy Four’ which would get it back to the ‘Holy Five’.
6. Tim Tebow v. DET. See Newton, Cam as far as weekly production goes. He won’t garner as many points because Newton throws the football better but still, 20-25 points is hard to dismiss. Remember, Tebow had just five fantasy points until the final five minutes against Miami. Detroit is on the road and wounded. The Broncos crowd will be at a fever pitch and will actually block for Tebow on a few plays.
7. Eli Manning v. MIA. Coming off the bye the Giants will try to run, but Eli is fantasy hot. His last three games have been 321, 420, 292 yards through the air. And Eli’s just a bit better than Tebow in throwing the football (see how Tebow’s name just keeps coming up?). He’s averaging nine yards per pass attempt for the season. He’s becoming the Eli of 2010, without the one-to-one TD to INT ratio.
8. Matthew Stafford @ DEN. He used to be higher on this list but he hasn’t been over 300 yards passing since beating Minnesota in September. His ankle will give him issues, but Detroit is still going to have to throw the football in a hostile environment. The Broncos have intercepted just three passes this season. Reality-wise I’m smelling a Broncos win, but you still have to play Stafford right now.
9. Matt Hasselbeck v. IND. Okay, not because they gave up 62 to Drew Brees and company. Okay, a little because of that. Opposing quarterbacks this season are averaging a 113 rating against Indianapolis. I think Chris Johnson has a nice day but I think Hasselbeck has one of those efficient, 200 yards and 2 TD games as well.
10. Philip Rivers @ KC. Hey, he stays in the top 10! Congratulations. He’s only in because I like his matchup against the Chiefs on Monday night. Kansas City has given up 12 touchdown passes this season, tied for third-worst in the NFL. It’ll be another week of health for Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson, so he bounces back. Still not what he was, but better than he’s been.
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.