On Sunday, the Bills will start Nathan Peterman at quarterback for the first time. The controversy about benching Tyrod Taylor stems from the fact that this is a rare instance of a team sitting the starter even though his numbers are roughly league-average and Buffalo would be in the playoffs if the regular season ended right now.
We've seen Peterman throw only 10 passes so far in his career, so it's hard to say how good he's going to be when he faces the Chargers on Sunday. But he'll be far from the first new starter the NFL has seen during the 2017 season.
So how might Peterman rank among 10 other replacement quarterbacks currently starting for their teams?
10. Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert, Cardinals
Stanton has completed 52.5 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns, 21 interceptions, 5.9 yards per attempt and a rating of 66.7 in his career. In the past two seasons alone, Stanton is completing 45.3 percent of his passes with 5.3 Y/A and a rating of 58.8, so it's only getting worse. How did Arizona allow itself to go so long without a reasonable backup option behind a 38-year-old, Carson Palmer, with an injury history? It probably won't get better on Sunday as the Cardinals turn the reins over to Gabbert for the first time. With the 49ers last season, Gabbert made five starts and had fewer Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement than fellow infrequent starters Kevin Hogan, Mark Sanchez and Stanton.
9. Brock Osweiler, Broncos
We meet again. Osweiler struggled with Denver the first time but got a $72 million deal from Houston. He followed that deal up by struggling with Texans and then got traded to the Browns. He's lost his first two starts with the Broncos since replacing Trevor Siemian, but to be fair, they had lost three in a row before that, too. Paxton Lynch could soon become the second replacement QB in Denver this month alone.
8. Tom Savage, Texans
Savage was quickly replaced by Deshaun Watson early the season and then, sadly, had to replace the injured rookie. If you didn't think that Watson's stats were mostly of his own doing, just check out how Savage has played: 47.3 percent completions, 5.4 Y/A, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a rating of 62.2. The only QBs with a lower DVOA this season are Matt Cassel and Scott Tolzien.
7. Brett Hundley, Packers
Hundley has at least looked better each week since replacing Aaron Rodgers. He had three interceptions in the game in which Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone, then a rating of 39.9 in his first start, then 86 and finally a rating of 110.7 last week against the Bears, his first win. Hundley's also an adept runner, scoring twice on the ground and averaging 8.5 yards per carry. He's capable for a game or two but is a less-than-ideal option over a long period of time.
6. DeShone Kizer, Browns
No QB with at least 150 passes this season has a lower DVOA or DYAR than Kizer, and only Mike Glennon has a worse QBR. Kizer began the season as starter, then was replaced, then had to take over again. We've seen Jared Goff take huge steps forward from year one to year two, but it's not likely that the Browns are going to replace Hue Jackson with the next Sean McVay, so Kizer's future as a starter is still pretty unclear. Right now, he's 0-8 and leads the league in interceptions.
5. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bucs
There's nothing exciting about Fitzpatrick, but unlike Stanton or Brian Hoyer, he's proven to rarely be a detrimental to an offense. He's now made a start in 10 straight seasons despite rarely ever being named as the starter, and last week he stopped a five-game losing streak by helping Tampa beat his old team, the Jets. There may not be much incentive for Winston to return, meaning Fitzpatrick could start half of the Bucs' games this year. Not even Fitzpatrick can deny that there could be a curse.
4. C.J. Beathard and Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
Beathard replaced Hoyer, and the third-rounder out of Iowa struggled in his first three starts before going 19-of-25 for 288 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Giants. His reward may be getting benched for Garoppolo, the team's latest "franchise QB," but GM John Lynch notes that it may not be fair to ask anyone to play quarterback for San Francisco right now. Another reason that trading for Garoppolo seemed like a bad idea: The Niners don't have a supporting cast capable of allowing them to fairly evaluate him.
3. Mitch Trubisky, Bears
Trubisky may be the quarterback on this list who is most likely to become a perennial Pro Bowler or fantasy star, but his first five starts have been rough and it's tough to imagine the situation will get better anytime soon. Chicago's moves to sign Mike Glennon to a $15 million per year contract, then trade up one spot to draft Trubisky, then bench Glennon for Trubisky even though he's clearly not ready (he had seven pass attempts against the Panthers), are confusing. Trubisky has all the upside, but his QBR of 26.9 is worse than even Kizer's. The only QB with 150 attempts who has a worse QBR? Glennon. The Bears should have either started Trubisky from the onset or stuck with Glennon, but instead we seem to get the worst of both worlds.
2. Jacoby Brissett, Colts
I don't believe that Brissett is going to be better than Trubisky. He might not even stick as a starter past 2017, but he deserves an extraordinary amount of credit for doing what he's done. At only the cost of a No. 5 receiver, Colts GM Chris Ballard managed to get a 24-year-old quarterback who has decent numbers (86.7 rating, 7.4 Y/A, a higher QBR than Winston and Andy Dalton) and is keeping them competitive most of the time. Brissett is 3-6 as a starter, but three of those losses were by no more than a field goal. Worst-case scenario seems to be that Brissett will be one of the most respected backups in the league, which for guys like Fitzpatrick and Stanton has been quite lucrative and full of future opportunities. Including perhaps one day being like the No. 1 QB on this list …
1. Case Keenum, Vikings
Keenum may be more like the second coming of Josh McCown than he is the second coming of Tony Romo, but he's still proven his value as a quarterback most teams would be comfortable to start if necessary. Now that he's led the Vikings to a 7-2 record, first place in the NFC North, and a top-five ranking in passing offense per DVOA, Keenum has turned from replacement to irreplaceable. At least, for the time being. Mike Zimmer confirmed that Keenum has earned the starting job even though Teddy Bridgewater is finally back on the 53-man roster, as they've won five in a row and are in contention for a first-round bye. The cost for Minnesota to add him to the roster this year? A one-year, $2 million deal, which is the exact same amount that the Bears are paying Sanchez, and less than Ryan Mallett, Scott Tolzien, Matt Moore, Paxton Lynch, Landry Jones and Derek Anderson. At this rate, he is looking at a significant raise in 2018 with some financial security beyond that, but only if he keeps playing like someone you can't replace. Which is what has made him the top replacement.