Week 9 Rankings (2019): Top 25 Quarterbacks: Identifying Injury/Bye Week Plugins, Surprising Must Use Options & More

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The quarterback position is starting to get a little bit healthier, especially if Cam Newton is able to return this week, though bye weeks play a bigger role. The just returned Drew Brees and Jared Goff are among those missing, creating a need for some potentially under-the-radar options. Who should be trusted? Whose matchup makes him tough to trust? Let’s take a look at how the rankings currently look:

  1. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Tampa Bay
  2. Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans – at Jacksonville
  3. Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys – at New York Giants
  4. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions – at Oakland
  5. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – at Los Angeles Chargers
  6. Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens – vs. New England
  7. Tom Brady – New England Patriots – at Baltimore
  8. Gardner Minshew II – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Houston
  9. Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings – at Kansas City
  10. Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills – vs. Washington
  11. Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders – vs. Detroit
  12. Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Chicago
  13. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tennessee
  14. Phillip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Green Bay
  15. Jimmy Garoppolo – San Francisco 49ers – at Arizona
  16. Sam Darnold – New York Jets – at Miami
  17. Ryan Tannehill – Tennessee Titans – at Carolina
  18. Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at Seattle
  19. Jacoby Brissett – Indianapolis Colts – at Pittsburgh
  20. Daniel Jones – New York Giants – vs. Dallas
  21. Matt Moore – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Minnesota
  22. Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals – vs. San Francisco
  23. Mitchell Trubisky – Chicago Bears – at Philadelphia
  24. Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns – at Denver
  25. Joe Flacco – Denver Broncos – vs. Cleveland

Thoughts:

  • Watson has had a recent INT binge on the road, throwing 4 INT in his last two road starts.  That does add a little bit more risk, but keep in mind that he has also averaged 8.6 yards/attempt to go along with 8 TD through the air and 3 rushing TD (overall he has 16 TD vs. 5 INT, plus 5 rushing TD).  At this point it’s impossible not to slot him in among the elite every single week.
  • Over the past two weeks Aaron Rodgers has suddenly come to life, throwing for 734 yards, 8 TD and 0 INT against the Raiders and Chiefs.  While the Chargers have been good against opposing quarterbacks, do we believe that they can shut him down (especially if Davante Adams returns to the lineup, which appears to be where things are trending)?  Maybe the stigma from his slow start continues to suppress him, coupled with the matchup, but he’s locked in as a QB1 once again.
  • Speaking of difficult matchups, Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson are going to square off in a matchup of QB1 options…  Of course both are also drawing difficult matchups, especially Jackson who gets the elite defense in the league.  It’s hard to drop him outside of the Top 5, considering his ability to make plays with his legs and his arm, but could this be the week that he significantly disappoints?  Use him, but he does need to drop down the rankings slightly.
  • The Detroit Lions are going to continue leaning on the passing game, especially with Kerryon Johnson recently being placed on the IR.  Over the past two weeks Matthew Stafford has thrown for 706 yards, 7 TD and 2 INT, and that’s before drawing an Oakland defense that’s allowed 8 TD vs. 0 INT over the past two weeks and has been among the worst at stopping quarterbacks all year long (19 TD vs. 3 INT).  No one would’ve expected Stafford to be listed as a Top 5 option for any week this season, but that’s exactly where we are heading into Week 9.
  • Kirk Cousins has come to life in recent weeks, throwing for 10 TD vs. 1 INT over his past four games (and 285+ yards in each game).  Things would only get better if Adam Thielen is ready to return, but the matchup alone and the potential for Minnesota to need to pass early and often to keep up with the Chiefs puts him on the QB1 spectrum.
  • Over the past four weeks the Houston Texans have allowed at least 3 passing touchdowns per game.  Gardner Minshew II is coming off a big performance against the Jets, and with the breakout of D.J. Chark (as well as several other targets) he’s looking like a good gamble for the upcoming week.  He’s not going to be a must start, but there’s too much upside to ignore (especially if you need a bye week or injury plug in).
  • We aren’t sure if Cam Newton will return for Week 9, but things do appear to be heading that way.  Having not played since Week 2 it’s going to be hard to lean on him as a can’t miss QB1, though he has that type of potential.  Depending on your alternatives be ready to fire him up against a Titans’ defense that isn’t going to deter you.
  • Both Josh Allen and Sam Darnold have favorable matchups in Week 9, but are either of them options you’d want to start?  Darnold has been miserable over the past two weeks, playing some of his worst football since being drafted, while Allen has thrown for 219 yards or less in four straight starts.  Allen does have the benefit of being able to make plays with his legs, which puts him as a borderline QB1, but he isn’t a must start depending on your alternative.
  • The San Francisco 49ers are a run first offense, and that’s going to limit the upside potential of Jimmy Garoppolo.  Against the Cardinals (who have allowed the most points per week to opposing quarterbacks), though, the matchup is too appealing not to at least consider utilizing him.  The risk of leaning on Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida keeps him more as a QB2, but he needs to be on radars all the same.

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses

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