Believe it or not, the QB rankings aren’t getting any easier despite the fact it’s probably your semifinal week in fantasy. If you’re still playing a mid-level QB or riding with a hot guy you hope continues his upward trend, this is your biggest decision of Week 15. Remember, you start Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton and Eli Manning regardless of the matchup.
Here are my rankings 6 through 10 for the week before Christmas:
6. Tony Romo @ TB: At least Romo can say the collapse against the Giants wasn’t his fault. But he’s rolling more now than ever with Miles Austin back. You can expect days like this the rest of the season, as there will be more of an emphasis on throwing the football to keep the wear and tear low on Felix Jones. Again, he had another game completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. Also, the Bucs are giving up nearly 250 yards a game through the air. Romo is just outside the list of must-starts.
7. Matthew Stafford @ OAK: What can I say, he’s a machine – Calvin Johnson or no Calvin Johnson. With teams double and triple-teaming Megatron, Stafford has been just fine finding his complementary WRs. (Not so good if you own Johnson, though.) He’s also been completing nearly 70 percent of his passes over the last six weeks and is in the zone once again. You can’t count on him for Rodgers or Eli-type numbers, but he’s not far behind. The Raiders are middle-of-the-pack against the pass, but Stafford will find a way as he has all season.
8. Michael Vick vs. NYJ: As a Jets fan, I feel like Ebenezer Scrooge at the end of ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Michael Vick? You are the ghost I fear most of all. He energized the Eagles last week against the Dolphins, and while it didn’t translate in fantasy, I think that will happen this week. The Jets defense brings pressure, but they’re still slow. Expect a huge game on the ground for Vick, where he could be worth nearly 15 fantasy points before you count any of his passing stats. Remember, the Jets first game without Jim Leonhard last year was New England 45, Jets 3.
9. Tim Tebow vs. NE: Normally you’d think “It’s Bill Belichick, he’ll find a way to mystify this relatively-new-to-the-NFL-QB.” But I submit this: look at New England’s last three games. Vince Young went for 400 and a TD. Dan Orlovsky had 353 and two TDs. Rex Grossman posted 252 and two TDs, with one called back by a penalty. They’ve also allowed a 400-yard game to Chad Henne, and a 344-yard game to Jason Campbell. Do you need any more than that?
10. Matt Ryan @ JAX: It’s hard to not put T.J. Yates or Rex Grossman here because they’ve been surprisingly good the last couple of weeks, but as you know I subscribe to the theory of ‘If you lose, lose with your stud.’ Ryan’s been hot, and while he doesn’t have the greatest matchup against the Jaguars, he’s been pretty consistent since November. His lowest yardage day in the last six weeks has been 262 yards, and he’s totaled 14 TDs in that time.
See Jason Smith on “NFL Fantasy Live”, airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the “NFL 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.