So Matt Schaub is your starting quarterback and you’re currently wringing your hands trying not to envision your league championship hopes spiralling down the drain.
You had a suitable bye-week fill-in, but there’s no one good on the waiver wire and you’re desperate to find someone to lead your team to fantasy glory — or at least not wreck your entire season.
What do you do?
Is John Skelton available in your league?
Week 10 was an injury-filled disaster for NFL quarterbacks — Schaub and Kansas City’s Matt Cassel may be lost for the season, Ben Roethlisberger has a broken thumb and Michael Vick has two broken ribs.
Here’s a look at some replacement options for those in particularly dire situations.
These are guys who could be available in shallow leagues and could be worth a roster spot and some spot starts based on matchups (or injuries) down the stretch.
Carson Palmer, Raiders — Throwing him into a game only a few days after he joined the team set him up to fail. And everyone knows Tim Tebow is an unstoppable force (if he’s unowned, go get him), so let’s look past the six interceptions Palmer threw in his first two games of 2011. Last week against the Chargers, he found chemistry with rookie speedster Denarius Moore — and only thew one pick, for a change. He’s not going to win you your league playing on a team that likes to pound the ball with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, but he’s capable of giving you 250-300 yards and a pair of touchdowns most weeks, which is more than you’re getting from say, Jay Cutler, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez or Josh Freeman.
Andy Dalton, Bengals — Cam Newton has been tremendous in his first year in the league, but few would have predicted the red-headed TCU “system quarterback” would have his team at 6-3 and in the thick of the playoff hunt. The yardage total isn’t much to shake a stick at (207 ypg), but he has at least two touchdown passes in three straight games and has a 7-to-4 touchdown to interception ratio over that stretch. The Bengals remaining schedule is though (Baltimore twice, at Pittsburgh), but you could do a lot worse.
Alex Smith, 49ers — He has not thrown for multiple touchdowns in a game since Week 5, but this is not the same Alex Smith who stunted San Francisco offense the last few years. He’s making smarter decisions, limiting his turnovers (four in his last five games) and has one touchdown in every game since Week 3. The odds of him exploding for three touchdowns and 300 yards are very slim, but he won’t kill you.
Bye week fill-ins
Drew Brees and the banged up Big Ben and Schaub are on bye this week. Here are a couple guys who could be used as a one-week fill-in.
Matt Moore, Dolphins — One week after throwing for a career-high three touchdowns in a blowout of the Chiefs, Moore had three turnovers and not much else against the Redskins. The Fins get Buffalo this week — a team that has given up at least 23 points in all but two weeks this season and is fresh off a 44-7 blowout in Dallas. If your other options look bleak, Moore could have a halfway — or maybe even all the way — decent — day against the Bills.
Vince Young, Eagles (if Vick is out) — You would have to be pretty desperate to take a gamble on a guy who is 0-for-1 with an interception this season and has not started an NFL game in nearly a year. But Young actually put up respectable numbers in his final season in Tennessee (59.6 completion percentage, 10-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio) and there will be points scored Sunday against the Giants.
John Skelton, Cardinals — When NFL fans saw the score from Sunday’s Eagles-Cardinals game crawl across the bottom of their television screens, their first reaction was probably shock. Their second was, “Who the heck is John Skelton?” The second-year backup out of Fordham threw for three touchdowns last week, and one more productive game might bump Kevin Kolb from his starting gig (yes, Kolb has been dreadful). Arizona’s opponent, San Francisco, has one of the best defenses in the league, but Skelton has found a way to get Larry Fitzgerald more involved in the offense, and we’re starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel here.
Next up: Week 11 desperation plays