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Late Season Quarterbacks
Joe Levit
November 15, 2006

In many leagues, there are only four more weeks left to secure a spot in the playoffs. During this time, make certain that you are not allowing any of your starting slots to atrophy. Fantasy football is about more than a strong draft, clever trades and smart waiver wire selections. It is as much a game of attrition. It is imperative to maintain the integrity of your roster. That means constantly looking to improve your starting slots and overall depth, and it means watching for and understanding the natural ebbs and flows of a fantasy football season. Pay attention to who is hot, and who suddenly displays an icy disposition.

After your starting running backs, no other position is as crucial to monitor as your quarterback. Most of the owners in your league will have a decent guy to start each week, but there are only a few sure things over time at this position. This year, unless you drafted Donovan McNabb or Peyton Manning, you have likely had to start more than one quarterback due to injuries or ineffective play when matchups dictated a change.

Now, in this crucial quarter of a season, is not the time to see your pillar of consistent points become a liability. If your quarterback is beginning to exhibit diminishing returns, don’t wait around and simply hope it will get better. Take some action to ensure your lineup has its best chance to win each week.

Below are six quarterbacks who are beginning to heat up. If you have had them on your bench while they were fighting inconsistency, start inserting them now. If you can acquire one of them relatively cheaply because another owner is stocked at QB, do so now. It helps a great deal to have a hot hand guiding your fantasy team as it barrels toward the playoffs, and these guys are steaming to the top.

Carson Palmer

With Chad Johnson’s first explosion of the year, the team now has three wideouts who can make big plays at any time, or hadn’t you noticed that T.J. and Chris Henry score an awful lot for a second and third-rated receiver? It won’t be every week that Palmer tops 400 yards, as he did in an epic battle against the Chargers last Sunday, but three touchdowns in a game is not actually asking too much. The Bengals have put themselves in a real bind. They are going to have a difficult time reaching the playoffs from their current 4-5 record, and are going to have to start airing it out to get ahead in games. Most teams won’t be able to keep up.

Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben has been a walking problem this season. Motorcycle Crash, Emergency Appendectomy, Concussion. You name it; Roethlisberger has dealt with it this off-season. It is as if the gods of fantasy football were punishing for his dream romp through the playoffs last season. After an abysmal statistical start to the season, Roethlisberger has begun to polish his game. The further he is removed from the injuries and surgery the better. Two weeks ago he threw for 433 yards. Last week he had three touchdowns and no interceptions. He is in sync with Hines Ward and Heath Miller, and is on the cusp of connecting with Santonio Holmes, Cedrick Wilson and even Nate Washington (dropsies). Watch out next week against Baltimore.

Philip Rivers

The training wheels have been off for some time for Rivers. In October he threw for two touchdowns in three straight games, going over 300 yards passing in one of them. Last week he threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns, without a pick. On the year, he has 11 scoring tosses and but three interceptions. Even though he has rushed for four touchdowns in each of the last two weeks, LaDainian Tomlinson is no longer the only show in town. The sudden emergence of Malcolm Floyd (5-109 last week) could further propel Rivers, who already has a star tight end and veteran receiver to target.

Tony Romo

It’s hard to believe now that there was ever a quarterback controversy in Dallas this year. Drew Bledsoe has been usurped yet again by a younger, more mobile quarterback. In his last two games, Romo has passed for 284 or more yards and two touchdowns without any interceptions both times. Most importantly, he has gotten both Jason Witten and Terrell Owens involved heavily in the offense again. When this offense if firing on all cylinders it is a very dangerous one. If Romo can continue to appease Owens (and that should be possible since Romo is favoring him) and can also find Terry Glenn, he should be a fantastic fantasy start the rest of the season.

Jake Delhomme

He hasn’t shown up in the consistency column yet, but with Steve Smith as a stabilizing force, Delhomme should have some productive games in the next few weeks, especially against a weak Eagles and Giants pass defense in weeks 13 and 14, respectively.       Keyshawn Johnson presents another big target, and the team seems to be righting itself for a playoff run. Delhomme is a streaky player, so if he gets hot, play that hand until the luck runs out.

Brett Favre

A lot here depends upon the health of rookie Greg Jennings. Early in the year when Jennings was healthy, Favre posted consecutive 340-yard, three-TD outings. Last week, with Jennings still somewhat gimpy after aggravating his ankle, Favre played well in the Metrodome, a venue where he has always struggled. His 347 yards and two scores that day mean he can create without a full complement of health among his skill position players. He needs 11 more touchdowns this year to tie Dan Marino for the career mark in that category, and 12 to hold the title outright. It will be a difficult task to accomplish in just seven weeks, but the bet here is that Brett will come out slinging it.

Perhaps your starting quarterback is starting to decline. Or maybe you just want to put yourself in a good situation to succeed in the postseason. Either way, try grabbing one of these newly hot QBs.

Joe Levit provides fantasy football presentations for corporate outings or client appreciation events. Go to and find out what this service is all about. Joe can be reached at