Chris Wesseling

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Updated Week 9 Rankings

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Last updated 12:05 ET on 11/4/12

If an embattled Michael Vick is “ready to make a playoff run,” he picked the right opponent to get back on track. Opposing passers have torched the Saints for an average of 336 passing yards, three passing scores, and 30 fantasy points per game over the last four. Over the past month, the lowest fantasy output versus New Orleans was Philip Rivers’ sixth-place fantasy finish (25 points) in Week 5.

Still adjusting to Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme, the Saints don’t effectively rush the passer, lack team speed, consistently take poor angles, and have hemorrhaged big plays due to miscommunication.

New Orleans’ defense ranks dead last in the metrics of Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus. The secondary has surrendered 101 points per game to No. 1 receivers, 63 yards to No. 2 receivers, 50 yards to tight ends and 50 more yards through the air to running backs. In fantasy football terms that translates to the most points allowed to quarterbacks and wide receivers and the second most points allowed to running backs.

In addition to allowing the most yards in NFL history through seven games, the Saints have also become the first team to surrender 400+ yards in seven consecutive games. Whether you come from the Greatest Generation or the Trophy Generation, you have never seen a more inept defense.

Week 9 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Peyton Manning at CIN Probable (thumb)
2 Drew Brees vs. PHI -
3 Aaron Rodgers vs. ARZ Probable (calf)
4 Michael Vick at NO -
5 Robert Griffin III vs. CAR -
6 Matt Ryan vs. DAL -
7 Matthew Stafford at JAC -
8 Eli Manning vs. PIT -
9 Ben Roethlisberger at NYG -
10 Cam Newton at WAS -
11 Tony Romo at ATL -
12 Andy Dalton vs. DEN -
13 Jay Cutler at TEN Probable (ribs)
14 Philip Rivers vs. KC -
15 Matt Schaub vs. BUF -
16 Josh Freeman at OAK -
17 Joe Flacco at CLE -
18 Andrew Luck vs. MIA Probable (knee)
19 Carson Palmer vs. TB -
20 Ryan Fitzpatrick at HOU -
21 Russell Wilson vs. MIN -
22 Brandon Weeden vs. BAL Probable (groin)
23 Blaine Gabbert vs. DET Probable (shoulder)
24 John Skelton at GB -
25 Matt Hasselbeck vs. CHI -
26 Matt Cassel at SD -
27 Christian Ponder at SEA Probable (knee)
28 Ryan Tannehill at IND -

QB Notes: The only quarterback with a longer streak than Peyton Manning’s four straight games of 300+ yards and 3+ TDs is Steve Young (1998). No quarterback in history has matched Manning’s 75.4 completion rate, 1,289 yards, 12:1 TD-to-INT ratio, and 127.9 passer rating over a four-game stretch. He faces a Bengals pass defense that ranks 28th in pass defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders. Suddenly an AFC favorite, the Broncos’ remaining schedule features opponents with a combined record of 22-42.

Aaron Rodgers missed Jordy Nelson last week. On plays where the QB holds the ball 4.5 seconds or more, James Jones and Randall Cobb are the NFL’s two leading receivers this season. They aren’t getting open easily, forcing Rodgers to improvise. On a positive note, Rodgers is the first quarterback in history with 20+ touchdown passes through eight games in consecutive seasons.

It wasn’t just Robert Griffin III’s wide receivers that let him down last week with nine drops (including a sure touchdown to Leonard Hankerson). Tight end Logan Paulsen was running in quicksand on a perfectly arched bomb that fell just out of his reach. The play may have gone for a long score if Fred Davis was healthy. ...Matthew Stafford has lost a league-leading 315 yards in the air on dropped passes. Anecdotal evidence suggests he’s also lost a handful of touchdowns to drops. His mechanics were much improved in tearing apart a strong Seahawks defense last week.

If you believe Cam Newton can adjust his own sloppy mechanics (his footwork was a mess at Chicago), there may not be a better QB buy in Week 9. No quarterback has faced a tougher pass defense schedule (ATL, SEA, DAL, CHI) than Newton over the past month. Statistical regression argues that Newton is due to hit on a few long touchdowns. He’s one of just two quarterbacks with at least 15 throws of 20+ yards and no deep scores.

Ben Roethlisberger sported an adjusted accuracy percentage of 87.1% in sloppy conditions versus the Redskins last week. He’s a legit MVP candidate. … Andy Dalton’s raw numbers look good, but he’s struggled versus the blitz and on third downs this year. The Broncos rank fifth in pass defense, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. … The Titans are on pace to become one of four teams in history to allow 500+ points in a season. If Jay Cutler can stop himself from locking onto Brandon Marshall, this is the week to break out.

Rivers has morphed into a check-down artist without vertical weapon Vincent Jackson. … Andrew Luck has shown a Big Ben-like ability to escape pressure and make plays down the field, but he’s facing a red-hot Dolphins defense that has held its last three opponents to an average of 12 points. … No quarterback is throwing deep as often as Russell Wilson, who showed veteran savvy in commanding the offense and decision-making at Detroit last week. … Although he went through a few rough stretches, last week was the best I’ve seen Blaine Gabbert throw. He made a series of pin-point throws that showed off his arm talent. … Matt Hasselbeck and Christian Ponder both square off against shutdown pass defenses this week.


Sunday Update: Tannehill down amid reports that he's starting but on a short leash with Matt Moore waiting in the bullpen.

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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
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