Higher or Lower: Tough to trust Tom Brady this year

Normally I'm not a guy who likes to look ahead, but this week I'll make an exception. Usually for me it's about what's right in front of me and then I'll worry about the rest later. However big story lines have come to light that deserve to be addressed now so you can reap the rewards later. And yes, Homeland, I'm talking about you with the futures thing, too.

4: The number of QB's I play ahead of Andrew Luck and Tony Romo. Under. Outside of Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees - these are your next best fantasy quarterbacks and they need to play every week. They've become matchup-proof. Start them against anyone. There was a lot of hesitancy to play Luck against the Legion of Boom, but he had Richard Sherman talking to himself for most of the day. Luck is that good. He's given you 18+ fantasy points in four of his five games this year but better yet, when you do it against the best, you become elite. Same with Tony Romo. He's always been a great fantasy QB throughout his career. He has the respect of the fantasy community because we don't have to worry about ill-timed interceptions - "What, he threw another pick? Now I only have 40 points from him." Throw in the fact he has one of the easiest schedules in the league and you have your new Top 5 fantasy QB's. Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford come just after these five. Rivers is ahead of Stafford because as we've seen, Rivers can put up numbers with anyone catching passes, whereas if Stafford is missing Calvin Johnson, you can't even start him - especially not after what happened last week.

5: On a scale of 1-10, the trust level I have for Tom Brady the rest of the season. Push. I understand the weapons are on their way back. Danny Amendola has returned and Rob Gronkowski could be back on Sunday. But there's just too many if's for my liking. There's also too many teams who can pressure Brady and hit him, which he doesn't like. At all. Hey, no QB wants to get hit but now every team is starting to say the same thing: If you hit Brady he gets rattled. They speak the truth. He's been this way since his 2008 knee injury. You don't even have to plant him on the ground, but just be near enough to him and he gets scattershot and rushes throws that turn inaccurate. You have to make sure you have a good backup at this point because you may have to start him very soon, and for an extended period of time. Because if you've played Brady every week he's given you one passable game, but the rest have been so disappointing he's most likely single-handedly sunk your team and you're probably 1-4.

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Week 10: When Nick Foles becomes fantasy relevant. Under. How much longer can Michael Vick stay healthy? If he's grabbing at his hamstring running untouched, you know you can't count on him. It's why we advised you to trade him when his value was the highest because he can't stay on the field, and his talent level is on a slow decline. Foles looked terrific Sunday and will not only start Sunday, but head coach Chip Kelly said Foles has a chance to win the job if he plays well. That's all you need to know about Vick's future in Philadelphia. Foles is a great stash right now. Every year around Week 10 or so we get two or three players who suddenly put up tons of fantasy points out of nowhere and you can ride them to a championship. Foles could be the QB who does so, as he seems to have a pretty good grasp of Andy Reid's offense even with limited reps.

10: On a list of 1-10, how much I've been disappointed in 'Homeland' so far. Over. If I didn't know better, I'd say they changed showrunners after last season. Homeland has been built on a fast-moving plot for each of it's first two incredible seasons. They got a little flak that Season 2 was a bit unrealistic and it's like they've knee-jerk reacted to that and as a result pulled back to show us more "realism" this year. And in the process they've slowed things to a crawl. Seriously, now it's about Dana? And politics? And Dana? And we're going down the 'Crazy Carrie is off her meds' story line again? And Dana? (I'm not as negative on Dana having a story as most people are, I just wish it was more interesting. Because these long-lasting close-ups where we're supposed to read her mind isn't doing it for me. Or anyone else, apparently.) During the apex of it's brilliance, which was end of Season 1/start of Season 2, I remember saying to my wife "This is awesome, but are they going to run out of plot too soon?" I think I have my answer. We actually found ourselves fast-forwarding through a couple of scenes last week (yes, involving Dana). And if you're doing that, what are you watching the show for?

85%: How much I believe Andre Ellington will be a fantasy savior for you the second half of the season. Over. Finding a running back off the waiver wire or deep on your bench to contribute this season is hard. Really hard. But Ellington's time is coming in Arizona, and it's getting here now. His 11 touches Sunday resulted in 83 yards from scrimmage. Rashard Mendenhall's 19 touches went for 50. Ellington is averaging over 7 yards per carry the last two games and Mendenhall is at 2.1 YPC. Ellington is clearly the more explosive of the two, while Mendenhall's plodding ways could turn him into a goal-line only back before long. Pick up Ellington or try to swipe him in a trade if you can. He'll be a weekly starter for you by the end of October.

Jason Smith writes fantasy and other pith for nfl.com. You can see him as the host of NFL Fantasy Live that airs Sunday through Friday on NFL Network at 5pmET/2pmPT and also at 1amET/10pmPT. Listen to him on the NFL Fantasy Live podcast available at nfl.com and on itunes. Reach out to him on Google plus or Twitter @howaboutafresca, and listen to his Fantasy Podcast with Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison every week on nfl.com. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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