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Less than perfect
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady insists that his throwing hand, which appeared to have ballooned to Andre the Giant proportions during Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins, is "perfect."

While Brady can use that adjective to describe most of the things in his life -- his wife, his hair, his NFL career -- it's probably the last one I would think to use when discussing his play this season.

In eight games, Brady is carrying career worsts with a 55.7 percent completion rate, a 5.94 yards-per-attempt average and a 74.9 rating. He has thrown for nine touchdowns with six interceptions.

For fantasy owners, blaming the quality of his weapons is no longer an option; Brady had Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski both active for the first time all season in Week 8, and he threw for 116 yards on 13-of-22 passing with one touchdown and one interception.

In his last four games, the two-time NFL MVP has completed 52.3 percent of his passes for 810 yards, two touchdowns and four picks, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England's Week 9 opponent, have only allowed five passing touchdowns in seven games this season.

The Patriots have somehow managed to start out 6-2 despite Brady's horrid statistics. It's doubtful any fantasy owners have been as lucky, but those who are still in playoff contention need to consider a new strategy: QB-by- committee.

Here are some readily available quarterbacks to consider in Week 9:

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati at Miami - This is the one obvious name on the list, as he has thrown for 1,034 yards and 11 touchdowns over the last three games, but he's worth mentioning because he is still available in 56.5 percent of ESPN.com leagues and 24 percent of Yahoo! leagues. He'll be one of the top waiver claims this week, but if you have a high priority, make the move and roll with Dalton as your starter until he cools off.

Jake Locker, Tennessee at St. Louis - Locker, who is owned in 5.5 percent of ESPN.com leagues and 17 percent of Yahoo! leagues, has produced 66 fantasy points in his last three starts. The Rams entered Week 8 in the middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs, but their defense also isn't one fantasy owners need to shy away from.

Terrelle Pryor, Oakland against Philadelphia - Pryor only threw for 88 yards and had two picks in Week 8 against the Steelers, but he ran nine times for 106 yards and a touchdown. Pryor has averaged 8.8 rushing attempts per game this season, and he should have a better day throwing the football against the Eagles. Prior to Week 8, Pryor had thrown for at least 216 yards in three straight starts.

Josh McCown, Chicago at Green Bay - McCown is a 34-year-old journeyman who has a 38-44 TD-INT ratio in his career, so fantasy owners shouldn't expect any miracles next Monday night against the Packers, but McCown does have Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett and quarterback guru Marc Trestman on his side. And prior to facing Brandon Weeden and Christian Ponder the last two games, the Packers had given up 19.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

Geno Smith, New York Jets against New Orleans - Smith continued his trend of posting single-digit fantasy points in even-numbered weeks Sunday at Cincinnati. In Weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8, the Jets QB has combined for 16 fantasy points. In odd-numbered weeks, he has produced a total of 79 fantasy points, including 20-plus in each of his last three. The Saints haven't allowed opposing quarterbacks to do much this season, but nine is an odd number and that may be good enough.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.