If you decided to buck the industry trend this year and draft a quarterback early, there’s a 66 percent chance you are happy. Sure, Aaron Rodgers put up an expected dud in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, but since then, he’s been the model of consistency. There’s also a guy by the name of Peyton Manning that you may have heard of before. Yeah, he’s pretty good. But then there’s Drew Brees. Brees was a consensus top three quarterback during drafts, and he went as high as the first round over Manning and Rodgers in certain drafts. But so far this year, Brees has left much to be desired for fantasy owners. Thus far on the season, Brees has nine touchdowns, six interceptions and hasn’t topped 375 yards or 23 fantasy points in a game yet. You’d sign off on those numbers over five games for many quarterbacks, but not for what it cost to get Brees.
To make matters worse for Brees, NFL.com reports that Jimmy Graham could miss 2-3 weeks after injuring his shoulder against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head Coach Sean Payton was mum on Graham’s status on Wednesday, and despite the possibility of being without their top offensive weapon for a few weeks, one would think the Saints made good use of their bye week with a game plan for the Detroit Lions. After all, Brees has been a monster in the past coming off of a bye.
That game plan, however, could include more of the ground game — which the Saints have relied on much more this year than in year’s past — instead of an aerial display. If the Saints faced the Lions last year coming out of the bye week, Brees would be a top two quarterback. This year in Motown, the Lions have an improved defense which has allowed just over 10 fantasy points to quarterbacks. With the success of the Lions’ defense, and the long history of Brees struggling on the road, if you have a better alternative, don’t be afraid to bench Brees this week as he’s our sit of the week.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals: I’ve been higher on Palmer than most people this year, and I wasn’t afraid to play him last week even with his status up in the air. Until you hear that Palmer isn’t practicing, feel free to run him out there. This week, he faces a poor Raiders team that has struggled against the pass since the beginning of last season, essentially. In his third start of the season, look for Palmer to score over 17 points again, and with that, increase the value of Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Ellington and John Brown.
Ben Tate, Browns: Look, Tate isn’t going to hold up for the rest of the year. He’s already dealing with a not-so-serious finger injury this week. Isaiah Crowell is the better talent of the two backs in Cleveland, despite his two fumbles last week. But as long as Tate is healthy, he’ll continue to get the majority of carries. His yardage wasn’t impressive in the Browns’ Week 6 win over the Steelers, but he’ll continue to get the rock in the red zone. For the most run-heavy offense in the league, you couldn’t ask for a better matchup than the Jaguars.
Brandin Cooks, Saints: Cooks has been a frustrating player to own so far this year, as he’s produced inconsistent lines during his rookie campaign. However, with Graham expected to be on the shelf, Cooks should see upwards of 13 targets against the Lions. In the come-from-behind win over Tampa Bay, Cooks played 68-of-91 snaps for the Saints, which led all receivers according to Yahoo! He’s better in PPR leagues, but he’s worth starting this week in standard leagues as a low-end WR2.
Zac Stacy, Rams: At first it was just Benny Cunningham that Stacy owners had to worry about. Now, rookie Tre Mason could complicate things even more after he got some run on Monday night. The Rams’ backfield could make the Patriots’ backfield look simple. If you drafted Stacy in the second or third round, I’m sorry. Feel free to bench Stacy this week and going forward until the situation sorts itself out.
Mohammed Sanu, Bengals: Sanu has been great this year with and without A.J. Green. It’s hard to say that you should bench him, but Vontae Davis continues to be one of the more underrated corners in the game. Sanu is an OK PPR option based on pure volume, but in general, he’s no better than a low-end flex this week.
Matt Ryan, Falcons: Similarly to Brees, Ryan has struggled away from home. This week, he and his putrid offensive line travel to Baltimore. Shoddy offensive line plus struggles on the road equals an automatic sit of Matt Ice who has been Ice Cold as of late.