A Break From Reality

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - For Week 10, fantasy quarterbacking took a sabbatical from what we deem "normal." Most of the superstars were sitting on the couch watching the games like the rest of us and a strange conglomerate of names took over the leaderboard.

Philip Rivers, who leads all quarterbacks in passing yards and fantasy points through the first 10 weeks of the season (170 fantasy points), was on a bye as were No. 3 Aaron Rodgers (154 points) and No. 4 Drew Brees (148).

The fourth-ranked quarterback in most fantasy drafts, Tony Romo, was standing on the sidelines trying to help Jon Kitna and his Dallas Cowboys end a losing streak with a sling protecting his broken collarbone.

And, apparently, Peyton Manning went on vacation and didn't tell his fantasy owners (20-for-36 for 185 yards, no TDs). Manning's five fantasy points were five less than what Tim Tebow earned in three plays for Denver.

All of which left huge openings for a few lesser-known quarterbacks to shine. And shine they did.

David Garrard posted the second-best total of any quarterback in Week 10. Garrard was the 17th quarterback off the board on draft day (RapidDraft ADP 133) and has played like a non-starter for most of the season. But he performed well in Week 8 against Dallas and following the team's bye week had a great matchup against the worst pass defense in the NFL, the Houston Texans.

Garrard didn't disappoint the 45 percent of fantasy owners who installed him in their lineup, throwing for 342 yards and two touchdowns. Sure, one was a Hail Mary miracle, but it got the job done for fantasy players and he is now averaging 29.5 ppg over his last two outings. He'll face a vulnerable Browns pass defense in Week 11 (ranked 25th), so don't be too quick to take him out of your lineup.

Then there is Matt Cassel, who hadn't cracked the 250-yard mark since 2009, throwing for an absurd 469 yards and four touchdowns despite the fact his Chiefs got blown out by the Denver Broncos 49-29.

Cassel has benefited from the reappearance of the "good" Dwayne Bowe. Bowe had nine catches in his first four games for 152 yards and a score, but since then has 30 receptions for 454 yards and eight touchdowns. He caught 13 balls for 186 yards and two scores on Sunday. With matchups against Arizona (27th-ranked pass defense) and Seattle (30th-ranked) you might get another couple of good weeks from the Cassel-to-Bowe hookup.

Kitna had his best week since taking over for Romo, posting 28 fantasy points. Even Matt Hasselbeck had a 300-yard day, returning from injury to earn 22 points.

There were a total of 12 quarterbacks who collected the 300-yard bonus, including the unlikely pair of Troy Smith (356 yards) and Derek Anderson (322).

But it was good that Tom Brady brought a sense of reality back to the weekend, by doing what he does best on Sunday night. He torched the Steelers' surprisingly weak pass defense (ranked 24th) for 350 yards and three scores.

So long as Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb don't jumble reality once again by throwing for 300 yards on Monday night, all should return to normal in Week 11 with the return of Rivers, Rodgers and Brees from byes and Manning from his "vacation."

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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