1. Tom Brady vs. Buf – 10
When Tom Brady saw these Bills at Ralph Wilson in Week 2, he uncorked an aerial barrage on the Bills, throwing 59 times for 466 yards and three scores. If it weren't Tom Brady, I'd assure that you that a repeat is impossible, but it's Brady, so anything could happen. Still, it's very unlikely. In the first game, the Bills had no answer for Julian Edelman who was targeted 19 times and scored twice. Edelman is gone, and so is Dion Lewis who chipped in 6 receptions for 98 yards. Between the two, Edelman and Lewis accounted for 200 yards of passing offense for Brady. That's a big loss. Yet, Brady adapts to personnel changes better than any quarterback in history, and he still has viable targets in Rob Gronkowski, Brandon LaFell, and Danny Amendola. The Bills have allowed multiple touchdowns to every opposing quarterback except for Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota.
2. Philip Rivers vs. KC – 9.75
Philip Rivers comes into this game short handed, without his No. 1 and No. 2 receivers. But the cupboard isn't bare. He still has Stevie Johnson, Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead. And, I'm a fan of depth guy Dontrelle Inman. And, even with the injuries, it's not like Philip Rivers won't throw passes. He leads the NFL in pass attempts, 43. The Chargers just aren't a rushing team. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are good run defense, and a wobbly pass defense. It all adds up to a lot of volume for Rivers. If Rivers hits even 37 pass attempts (6 fewer than average), his average stat line is a ridiculous 364 yards and 2.3 touchdowns. Also, I'll note that Rivers has thrown multiple touchdowns against the Chiefs in five of the past six meetings.
3. Derek Carr vs. Det – 9.5
If you're not thinking of Derek Carr as a top-ten fantasy quarterback, you might want to take a quick look at your league's QB leaderboard. He's an every week, matchup-proof starter, with elite upside against wobbly defenses, like this week's opponent, Detroit. Yes, the Lions secondary did an admirable job against Aaron Rodgers last week, but he still finished with 333 yards and two scores. They’ve allowed multiple touchdowns to seven of nine opposing quarterbacks, and over 287 yards to six quarterbacks. Meanwhile, Carr is pounded far better secondaries, with big stat games against the Vikings, Chargers, and Jets in the last month.
4. Cam Newton vs. Was – 9.5
With rushing touchdowns in six games, Cam Newton has been a fantasy godsend this year. I've stopped talking about his lackluster receivers, and saying things like, "let's hope for a rushing touchdown." Now, I'm saying, "In addition to his probable rushing touchdown, let's see what his arm chip in." To that point, Newton should have a pretty good chance at finding success against a secondary that has allowed multiple touchdowns in six of the past seven games, including to Sam Bradford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jameis Winston. Between rushing and passing, Cam has scored multiple touchdowns in every game since the opener.
5. Blake Bortles vs. Ten – 9.25
Even when Blake Bortles isn't playing particularly well, at the end of the day, he's posting solid (and sometimes explosive) fantasy numbers. He's thrown multiple touchdowns in five straight games, and in seven of the past eight games. He's topped 300 yards in three of the last five games. The Tennessee secondary is a wobbly unit, allowing multiple touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in every game but one. I expect there to be plenty of volume from Bortles, especially since Tennessee's run defense is good, and TJ Yeldon is dealing with a foot injury.
6. Carson Palmer vs. Cin – 9.25
This isn't Carson Palmer's first crack at revenge against the team that tried to end his career a decade early. As a member of the Raiders, he faced the Bengals in 2012. But, now he's got the weapons to rub some dirt in Mike Brown's face, and I wouldn't be surprised if he did. Carson Palmer proved himself to be 100% matchup proof on Sunday night as he went into the most hostile environment possible, Seattle, and walked away with 363 yards and three touchdowns. So, I'll mention the Bengals fantastic pass defense here, but let's acknowledge that it may not matter. No opposing quarterback has topped one touchdown pass since Week 3. No quarterback has topped 300 yards since Week 4.
7. Tony Romo @ Mia – 9.0
Normally I'd advise waiting a week to start Tony Romo while he knocks the rust off—just three weeks ago, Ben Roethlisberger was wobbly in his first game back. But, this matchup is so compelling, you need to consider starting Romo. Over the past four games, only two teams have allowed more passing touchdowns than the Dolphins, and, only five teams have allowed more passing yards. Brian Hoyer hit 'em for three scores. Brady scored four times. Tyrod Taylor threw one incompletion. And last week, the Sanchez/Bradford combo platter put up 392 yards. You've probably forgotten, so I'll remind you that Romo's only full game resulted in 356 yards and three touchdowns.
8. Aaron Rodgers @ Min – 8.75
Aaron Rodgers' long term history suggests that he's a phenomenal start against the Vikings. He's scored touchdowns in every matchup since November of 2008. And since that time, his average game is a fantastic 286 yards and 2.6 touchdowns. He's also won nine of the last ten meetings. But, I'm not much of a believer in historic trends, especially ones that go back more than a couple years. When I analyze these 2015 teams, the most probable outcome for Aaron Rodgers has an adequate fantasy game. The Vikings are 8th in passing yardage allowed, and 5th in passing touchdowns allowed. No opposing quarterback has topped two touchdowns, and six starters have been held to zero or one. Meanwhile, Rodgers has clawed his way to decent fantasy games throughout the year, but most haven't been explosive, like we're accustomed. Sure, the last two weeks he's thrown seven touchdowns and topped 700 yards. But it's taken him a crazy 109 passes to get there. The Vikings are a daunting rushing defense, particularly at home, and I expect plenty of passing from Rodgers. That volume should get him to fantasy relevancy.
9. Russell Wilson vs. SF – 8.75
If you're not going to start Russell Wilson at home against the Niners, when will you? Everything lines up for Wilson to post the best game of his season. He's scored exactly one touchdown in eight of nine games. His biggest problem has been a horrible offensive line that's allowed him to absorb a league-high 33 sacks. He's under constant duress, and rarely has the luxury of setting up to make throws. Here's where the good news starts. No team has registered a lower sacks rate on the road than San Francisco, with just 0.73% of opposing drop backs resulting in sacks. What's more, the Niners are allowing a whopping 327 passing yards per road game, and 2.25 passing touchdowns. If not now, when?
10. Matthew Stafford vs. Oak – 8.5
I keep thinking that Matthew Stafford's easy second-half schedule is going to result in some big fantasy games. But, aside from the Bears overtime game, it hasn't happened. We've got another opportunity this week against a secondary that was (inexplicably) unchallenged last week, and downright awful in most every previous game. Prior to Teddy's dud last Sunday, the Raiders were allowing 325 yards per game, and every opposing quarterback had thrown multiple touchdowns, except Peyton Manning. Stafford has a great opportunity to reacquaint himself with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, who matchup well against the Raiders always-shuffled deck at cornerback (DJ Hayden/David Amerson/Neiko Thorpe/TJ Carrie).
11. Matt Ryan vs. Ind – 8.5
There's no sugar coating Matt Ryan's mediocre fantasy season. His yardage is been okay, but he hasn't topped two touchdowns in any game. Meanwhile, the Colts have only allowed one three touchdown game, and that was to Tom Brady. Everyone else has been 1-2 scores, just like Ryan who has posted 1-2 scores in every game. His most reliable target (by far), Julio Jones, will lock horns with excellent cornerback Vontae Davis, which further caps Ryan's upside.
12. Marcus Mariota @ Jax – 8.5
Listen to the last four quarterbacks to face Jaguars: Brian Hoyer, EJ Manuel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Joe Flacco. None are great passers to begin with. Two of them have been benched, one was playing with one thumb, and Joe Flacco didn't have Steve Smith. Now, check out their average game: 295 yards and 2.5 touchdowns. That brings us to Marcus Mariota, a guy who hasn't been benched, and has the use of both thumbs. Two weeks ago he proved that he can post big numbers against a bad secondary when he blew up for 371 yards and four scores against the Saints. The Jaguars' secondary isn't much better than the Saints.
13. Andy Dalton vs. Ari – 8.25
For Andy Dalton's sake, let's hope this game is on cable access. On Monday night, Dalton went belly up against a lousy Houston secondary. Prior to that, he'd racked up 20 touchdowns in eight games, second-most in the league. Now he faces the Cardinals, a much tougher test than the Texans. Arizona has allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards per game, just 233. Patrick Peterson is dramatically improved, and Tyrann Mathieu is having a Pro Bowl year. No quarterback has topped 252 yards against Arizona since Brees did it way back in Week 1. It's a tough assignment, but it's not an impossible one. Josh McCown threw three touchdowns against Arizona just two games ago. And Dalton has put up multiple touchdowns against similarly talented defenses like Seattle and San Diego.
14. Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Hou – 8.25
Over their past two games, the Houston defense hasn't allowed a touchdown. That's a remarkable turnaround considering that they were blasted off the field by Miami (44 points) and Atlanta (48 points) the prior month. I'm not sold that the Texans suddenly possess a shut down defense. They stymied Zach Mettenberger, for which they get little credit; and Andy Dalton adopted his national television deer-in-the-headlights persona, for which they get some credit. Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown exactly two touchdowns in every full game but one, and his steady production should continue, provided his thumb surgery doesn't complicate things. Remember, prior to shutting down Mettenberger and Dalton, the Texans had allowed touchdowns to every opposing passer.
15. Tyrod Taylor @ NE – 8
When Tyrod Taylor last saw the Patriots, his team fell behind early, and Taylor gallantly attempted a fourth quarter comeback, scoring 19 points. Sure, garbage time accounted for a lot of his stats, but he ended up with three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown, en route to the best fantasy day of his career. The Bills are built to run the ball. No starting quarterback throws fewer than Taylor's 25 attempts per game. But because the Patriots are A) really good against the run, and B) usually playing with a lead, opponents throw the fourth-most times against New England, 40 per game. That's 15 more than Taylor's typical game, which hopefully will allow him to improve on his current string of four straight one-touchdown games.
16. Mark Sanchez vs. TB – 7.75
17. Ryan Tannehill vs. Dal – 7.75
18. Matt Hasselbeck vs. Atl – 7.75
19. Case Keenum vs. Bal – 7.75
20. Jay Cutler vs. Den – 7.75
21. Jameis Winston vs. Phi – 7.75
22. Brock Osweiler @ Chi – 7.5