I have Peyton Manning ranked 18th this week. That’s behind Cam Newton, who draws Seattle, and only directly above Blake Bortles and Brian Hoyer. The truth is, though, that he could be much lower. A question I had to ask myself was to rank Josh McCown or Manning higher, and Manning has the much easier matchup.
If you own Manning, what do you do? If there are viable free agents, Manning is droppable. It’s a reasonable expectation for this performance to continue. But where that is not the case, I’d hang on, figuring that a player as smart as Manning should be able to adapt to his weakened arm. The crowd has turned on Manning, including many smart people who know what they’re talking about. But from a purely contrarian perspective, I might take a flyer on a player that might be hiding the fact he still has gas in the tank.
Here’s how last week’s recommendations performed.
Joe Flacco vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 5 Finish: 6
A pair of rushing touchdowns boosted mediocre passing stats. He remains in play as a streamer.
Alex Smith vs. Chicago Bears
Week 5 Finish: 18
Smith is playing his way out of the streaming class. Losing Jamaal Charles either means the offense will worsen or Smith will have the opportunity to air it out to Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin.
Josh McCown vs. Baltimore Ravens
Week 5 Finish: 1
Well, I would have felt bad if I excluded McCown from this space last week. With 457 passing yards and three total touchdowns, he would have been a must-add if he had an easier schedule.
Blake Bortles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 5 Finish: 3
Bortles threw a career-high four touchdowns, but we now know he is dealing with a shoulder injury. If he can play, he’s still usable.
Kirk Cousins vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 5 Finish: 24
He would have finished higher if we exclude the overtime interception, but that’s not how this works. Cousins’ accuracy was again subpar and should be ignored in fantasy unless things turn around.
Now let’s move on to this week’s streamers.
Week 6 Streamers
Joe Flacco vs. San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco has been an easy defense to target, as the only opposing passer to fail to throw a touchdown pass was Teddy Bridgewater in Week 1. Joe Flacco has been boom-or-must, with two games with fewer than eight points and three with more than 20 points.
Colin Kaepernick vs. Baltimore Ravens
With the way the Baltimore pass defense has looked, I’m not afraid to go after it with Colin Kaepernick, who has been shaky behind center for San Francisco all year. It should be an informative game in that it’ll demonstrate the usability of Kap in a game that might not have garbage time.
Jay Cutler vs. Detroit Lions
Alshon Jeffery’s presence on the field would make this pick stronger, but Jay Cutler played relatively well without Jeffery against the Chiefs. Detroit has allowed usable fantasy weeks to all five quarterbacks it has faced, so Cutler has a good chance of turning in fantasy numbers.
Blake Bortles vs. Houston Texans
The Houston defense is a tough one to understand for fantasy purposes, and in a way that makes this pick risky. Their numbers on the season look encouraging, but also somewhat boosted by quarterback rushing touchdowns. Blake Bortles isn’t much of a threat in that department. But he is a top-10 quarterback on the year and will probably get his yardage regardless of the strength of the Houston defense.
Brian Hoyer vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I had a rough time choosing between Bortles and Brian Hoyer, and there really isn’t much difference from my perspective. It is worth noting the Jaguars have only allowed two 300-yard games, but the quarterbacks who failed to reach 300 were Cam Newton, Matt Hasselbeck, and Jameis Winston. Hoyer is certainly in play here.
I'm not too strict with my ranks, so please don't be either. The gap between a lot of these players is so small there's no reason to fret about what looks to be a poor rank. For the column 'Pass Defense Rank', I used numberFire's Adjusted Defensive Pass Net Expected Points per Play, which adjusts for strength of schedule and measures how good a pass defense was on a per-play basis. After previously using 2014 statistics, I have listed the 2015 ranking. You can learn more about Net Expected Points here.
|Rank||Player||Team||Opponent||Pass Defense Rank|
|1||Tom Brady||New England Patriots||Indianapolis Colts||28|
|2||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||San Diego Chargers||15|
|3||Carson Palmer||Arizona Cardinals||Pittsburgh Steelers||16|
|4||Joe Flacco||Baltimore Ravens||San Francisco 49ers||25|
|5||Matt Ryan||Atlanta Falcons||New Orleans Saints||31|
|6||Marcus Mariota||Tennessee Titans||Miami Dolphins||32|
|7||Eli Manning||New York Giants||Philadelphia Eagles||8|
|8||Philip Rivers||San Diego Chargers||Green Bay Packers||7|
|9||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||Atlanta Falcons||17|
|10||Colin Kaepernick||San Francisco 49ers||Baltimore Ravens||13|
|11||Jay Cutler||Chicago Bears||Detroit Lions||27|
|12||Russell Wilson||Seattle Seahawks||Carolina Panthers||2|
|13||Sam Bradford||Philadelphia Eagles||New York Giants||21|
|14||Andrew Luck||Indianapolis Colts||New England Patriots||10|
|15||Andy Dalton||Cincinnati Bengals||Buffalo Bills||6|
|16||Cam Newton||Carolina Panthers||Seattle Seahawks||12|
|17||Peyton Manning||Jacksonville Jaguars||Cleveland Browns||23|
|18||Blake Bortles||Jacksonville Jaguars||Houston Texans||20|
|19||Brian Hoyer||Houston Texans||Jacksonville Jaguars||30|
|20||Ryan Tannehill||Miami Dolphins||Tennessee Titans||11|
|21||Ryan Fitzpatrick||New York Jets||Washington Redskins||14|
|22||Kirk Cousins||Washington Redskins||New York Jets||3|
|23||Josh McCown||Cleveland Browns||Denver Broncos||1|
|24||Matthew Stafford||Detroit Lions||Chicago Bears||24|
|25||Teddy Bridgewater||Minnesota Vikings||Kansas City Chiefs||22|
|26||Alex Smith||Kansas City Chiefs||Minnesota Vikings||9|
|27||Michael Vick||Pittsburgh Steelers||Arizona Cardinals||4|
|28||E.J. Manuel||Buffalo Bills||Cincinnati Bengals||18|