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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fantasy football: Quarterback replacement options

Before we get started, I'll admit replacing Matt Schaub with a Week 11 waiver-wire candidate is similar to benching Arian Foster in favor of Chris Ogbonnaya, but desperate times call for acquisitions of Andy Dalton.

Monday, we learned the Texans' Schaub is out for the season because of a Lisfranc injury, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has "a couple" broken ribs and Chiefs QB Matt Cassel will need hand surgery and might miss the remainder of the season.

Cassel's injury is minor at quarterback, but it isn't welcome news if you own Dwayne Bowe.

Vick is questionable for this week's game against the Giants, and if you don't have a decent backup, you could stash Vince Young on your bench and make the switch if needed prior to Philly's Sunday night game at New York.

We don't need to tell you the Schaub situation is much more serious, and we don't need to inform you of the importance of drafting two quarterbacks for times such as this.

If, however, your backup is of the Colt McCoy variety, or if you were planning on picking up a fill-in QB for Schaub this week (when Houston is on a bye), here are five names to consider (all are available in more than 74 percent of the leagues on

1. Carson Palmer, Raiders (owned in 25.7 percent of the ESPN leagues): What, you expected Matthew Stafford to be available? I'm not a fan of Palmer, who has thrown seven interceptions in three games since the Raiders overpaid the Bengals to lure him out of retirement, but he has racked up 631 yards and five TDs (with four picks) in his last two games. Last Thursday at San Diego, he actually looked pretty competent (299 yards, two TDs, one interception).

Of the five players on this list, the Raiders' schedule is the most favorable for a QB. In the next six weeks, Palmer will face the Vikings (No. 30 against the pass), Bears (No. 29), Dolphins (No. 25), Packers (No. 31), Lions (No. 4) and Chiefs (No. 16).

2. Andy Dalton, Bengals (24.7 percent): The rookie has thrown for 1,866 yards and 14 TDs with a passer rating of 82.6. In his last three games, Dalton has seven TDs and four picks, and he's thrown for at least two scores in four of his last five contests. Don't get too excited, though, since Cincy's schedule is about to get much more difficult.

Dalton will face four of the NFL's top six pass defenses in the next four weeks (all rankings are prior to Monday night) -- the Ravens (No. 6), Browns (No. 1), Steelers (No. 3) and Texans (No. 2). If you can make it to Week 15 with him, the slate gets much more favorable, as the Bengals will match up with the Rams (No. 12 vs. the pass) and Cardinals (No. 24) in Weeks 15 and 16.

3. Alex Smith, 49ers (15.1 percent): He has been surprisingly effective (1,709 yards, 11 TDs, three interceptions, 95.8 rating) for the 8-1 49ers, but he's also more "game manager" than fantasy stud. Smith has one TD in four consecutive games, and has accounted for two or more scores in only three of nine contests. In the next six weeks, the 49ers will play the Cardinals (No. 24 vs. the pass), Ravens (No. 6), Rams (No. 12), Cardinals again, Steelers (No. 3) and Seahawks (No. 19).

4. Matt Leinart, Texans (0.0 percent): Be among the first to acquire Matt Leinart! Hurry! Time is running out!

Leinart hasn't thrown a pass in a regular-season game since 2009, and he has six more interceptions (20) than TD passes in his disappointing career. Yes, he has more weapons at his disposal than the first three players on this list, assuming Andre Johnson returns after Houston's bye to play in Week 12. But, to be blunt, we don't trust him, and you probably shouldn't, either.

Houston's schedule from Weeks 12 to 16 is as follows: at Jacksonville (No. 5 vs. the pass), home against Atlanta (No. 23), at Cincinnati (No. 10), Carolina (No. 14) at home and at Indy (No. 21).

5. Christian Ponder, Vikings (10.2 percent): Let's just say we were a little more excited about Ponder -- well, at least excited enough to consider him over Leinart -- before he threw for 190 yards, no TDs and one interception Monday night against Green Bay's generous pass defense. Prior to Monday, the rookie threw for 455 yards, three TDs and two picks in his first two starts.

The schedule in Weeks 11 through 13 is favorable -- Oakland (No. 22 vs. the pass) at home, at Atlanta (No. 23) and Denver (No. 20) at home -- but not enough to justify starting Christian Ponder in the final three weeks of the fantasy regular season.

If that's the predicament you find yourself in, good luck. And remember, crazier things have happened (see Ogbonnaya rushing for 90 yards last week).

We'll be back Tuesday night with Week 11 waiver-wire picks. Until then, you can follow me on Twitter.

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