Overtime Presenter & NFL Reporter
NFL Fantasy: Cooper Rush, Mike White, Geno Smith among the backup quarterbacks leading from the front in the NFL
Hannah Wilkes helps you navigate your way through the 2021 season in her weekly column; watch NFL Overtime with Hannah and Josh Denzel, as well as guests Phoebe Schecter and Kay Adams, Thursday from 9pm on Sky Sports NFL
Last Updated: 10/11/21 4:22pm
Sky Sports' NFL Fantasy Football guru Hannah Wilkes helps you navigate your way through the 2021 season in her weekly column, focusing this week on the wonderful world of backup quarterbacks, who took the league by storm on Sunday...
Welcome to Back-Up Country
The one and only Rob Ryan, friend to Sky Sports NFL and inside linebackers coach at the Baltimore Ravens, summed up life in the NFL perfectly during one of our NFL Overtime shows last year; "Hannah", he said, "the only thing guaranteed in the NFL is that at some point you're gunna' get hurt".
At the midway point of the 2021 season, never has that fact rung truer.
On Sunday, four back-up quarterbacks delivered for their teams; Mike White heard the New York Jets fans chant his name (and was apparently a little confused by the whole thing); Geno Smith got his first win as a starter since 2014; Cooper Rush threw a touchdown to Amari Cooper in the Dallas Cowboys' win over the Minnesota Vikings to see NFL trivia fans get rather giddy; and then in came third-string New Orleans Saints QB Trevor Siemian to get the job done against the defending Super Bowl-champion, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The stat line on White is impressive; he is just the second quarterback since 1950 to throw for over 400 yards in his first career start (the first being Cam Newton). He helped the Jets break their streak of scoreless first quarters by leading them to a touchdown on their opening drive. He caught a two-point attempt.
Head coach Robert Salah played to the buoyed Jets fanbase by stating that "anything can happen" in regard to who their starter is going forward, while veteran Joe Flacco - brought in from the Philadelphia Eagles after injury to starter Zach Wilson - probably regrets not getting himself up to New York just a tiny bit sooner. 'Off-Broadway' Joe has likely got himself a bench-warming role for the duration of his second stint with the team.
Heading into week nine, Jordan Love is set to join the backups party. He is padding up for the Green Bay Packers against the Kansas City Chiefs after Aaron Rodgers tested positive for Covid-19 and, per league protocols, can't return until November 13 at the earliest.
The ensuing discussion about what that timeline means in relation to Rodgers' vaccine status is best left to Twitter, but Love's first start adds yet another intriguing chapter to the soap opera that's been rolling since the second he was selected in the first round of the draft back in 2020.
If Love plays well, the Packers know they made a solid choice. If Love plays badly, Rodgers still ultimately wants out of Green Bay.
Yeah, I'm not sure who the winners and losers are here, except for the Chiefs. With their own star QB Patrick Mahomes struggling this season, not having to keep up with an offense led by the reigning league MVP is only an advantage.
Edit: Literally as I'm writing this, my phone pinged that Blake Bortles is being signed to the Packers practice squad. I literally cannot wait for next week's Gridiron Heights. That is all.
In other injury news…
Derrick Henry is out for (likely) the season. Michael Thomas is out for the season. James Robinson is 'day to day' with a foot injury. Noah Fant is on the reserve/Covid-19 list.
These are just the players on injury lists that will likely have the biggest impact on your Fantasy lineups (I hadn't forgotten, that is why we're here), the actual list is a whole lot longer.
The Tennessee Titans moved quickly to pick up Adrian Peterson as cover for 'King Henry', but if he's already been snatched from waivers (I see you, Josh Denzel), Jeremy McNichols should also see some increased action for the Titans.
Further afield, Carlos Hyde will see more carries for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the absence of Robinson and, here's one for you: the Philadelphia Eagles come up against the Los Angeles Chargers defense which has allowed the most rush yards per game this season. Enter Boston Scott. He led the Eagles in snaps against the Detroit Lions last week and, more importantly for our purposes, scored three touchdowns!
(While we're on the Eagles…DARN YOU Nick Sirianni for giving your starters, specifically Jalen Hurts, a fourth quarter rest in the blowout of the Lions on Sunday. Literally sabotaged by matchup and I am NOT HAPPY!)
Some moderately helpful words of caution
Tread carefully with Damien Harris in Week Nine. Yes, it has been a THRILL having a moderately reliable New England Patriots running back the last three weeks, but he's up against a Carolina Panthers team this week that are seriously stingy with fantasy points to RBs, allowing the second-fewest in the entire NFL.
Join Hannah Wilkes and Josh Denzel, with Phoebe Schecter and Kay Adams, on NFL Overtime, Thursday at 9pm on Sky Sports NFL.