We’ve done the Big Dog RBs, Second Tier RBs, and Third Tier RBs, now it’s time to look at the next wave of RBs.  We’re getting into #2 RBs if you have stacked your team elsewhere and/or your bench RBs.

LenDale White - LenDale silenced his critics last year by running for 1110 yards and 7 TDs.  He had either a TD or 100 yards in six games during a seven-game stretch last year.  Then he ran for 81 yards combined the next three weeks before four straight weeks of 95+ yards or a TD.  That middle stretch is what keeps him out of the third tier.

Reggie Bush- I think the best thing that can happen for Reggie Bush and New Orleans is for Deuce McAllister to return healthy.  The 1-2 punch was ideal for Bush and the Saints.  Bush doesn’t have to pound it between the tackles so frequently.  He is free to be able to get to the outside as well as become a bigger factor in the passing game. 

Thomas Jones – The Jets made some nice moves in the offseason, mainly to improve their Offensive Line.  The acquisitions of Alan Faneca and Damien Woody (along with FB Tony Richardson) should open the running lanes for Jones.  He had a decent amount of yards last year (1119 rushing, 1336 total), but needs to score more than 2 TDs.

Michael Turner – I hesitate to put him in a higher bracket because he doesn’t have a track record to prove he can hold up to a full load.  He’s also going to a team that will likely be behind in most games, and may have to abandon the run.  It’s also unclear if he was a product of the system (San Diego) or if he can bring his explosiveness to Atlanta.  Oh, and he was mainly used after LT wore the defenses down.  How is he going to do against a fresh defensive unit?  These are the questions I have, and the reason he lands in the 4th tier.  That said, he is worth taking a chance on as your 3rd RB.

Earnest Graham – Tampa’s Earnest Graham falls into the category of RBs I don’t quite trust.  He was a great story last year running for 898 yards (1222 total) and 10 TDs.  I’m just afraid the fluke factor is high for him.  Not to mention the acquisition of Warrick Dunn could cut into his digits.  If Cadillac Williams makes a successful return, Tampa’s backfield is further muddied.

Julius Jones – The Seahawks parted ways with Shaun Alexander and have tabbed JJ as their replacement.  He has the ability, but hasn’t really been a force since his shortened rookie season in 2004.  Since then he hasn’t been much of a TD threat.  We’ll see how he’s used in Seattle, who also has Maurice Morris and T.J. Duckett. 

Previous Previews
Quarterbacks

I did my second The Sporting News Live Mock Fantasy Football Draft today.  They offer 10 & 12 Team Drafts that go 15 rounds, which  I use to gauge where people are picked.  As the season approaches, these Mock Drafts become better because everyone is more up-to-speed on the players and you get a full draft.  When there isn’t a full draft, there is an Autopick in place.  They go by Sporting News rankings.  It’s not ideal, but it’s acceptable.  Another cool feature is the chat board which allows you to discuss players with other fantasy football fanatics. 

Here’s how my team shaked out:

I had the first pick so I took LT.  I love him and Adrian Peterson, but figured LT is the safer pick.  With my next two picks I opted to go WR-WR to see what sort of RB I would get with my 4th pick.  I took Andre Johnson and Housh.  I usually would go RB-WR there, but wanted to try this strategy out.  The RBs that were available were Ryan Grant, Maroney, Brandon Jacobs, Jamal, and Edge.  I think my two wideouts are more likely than any of those RBs to go for 1200 yards and 10 TDs.  I debated between USC backs LenDale and Reggie Bush for my #2 RB.  I decided to go with Reggie Bush.  I think he’s going to catch a ton of passes this year once again.  I considered grabbing Carson Palmer with my 5th pick, but I had him on my first mock.  I wanted to see what QBs would be available if I passed again.  I took Calvin Johnson as my 3rd WR instead.  With my 6th pick I took a chance on Marc Bulger.  If he can stay healthy he’ll produce 4th round numbers.  I grabbed Jonathan Stewart as a backup RB.  With my next two picks I added depth at RB with Felix Jones and WR with Javon Walker.  I picked Alge Crumpler as my TE with my 10th pick and handcuffed Reggie Bush with Deuce McAllister in the 11th.  I figured with Bulger I better get a backup QB so I took Matt Schaub.  With Javon Walker penciled in as my 4th WR, I knew I needed more depth.  I took Indy’s Anthony Gonzalez with my 13th pick.  I grabbed Greg Olsen for TE depth and Jacksonville for my Defense to round out the draft.

QBs
Bulger
Schaub

RBs
LT
Bush
Jonathan Stewart
Felix Jones
Deuce

WRs
Andre Johnson
Housh
Calvin Johnson
Javon Walker
Anthony Gonzalez

TEs
Crumpler
Greg Olsen

DEF
Jax

 | Posted by | Categories: Fantasy Football, NFL | Tagged: Fantasy Football, mock draft, NFL |

We’ve done the Big Dog RBs and the Second Tier RBs, now it’s time to look at the next wave of RBs.  These are likely your #2 backs unless you opted to go QB or WR early (which isn’t a bad idea).

Willie Parker – Fast Willie piled on the yards last year (1316 to be exact), but didn’t make many trips (2) to the endzone.  I don’t see Big Ben tossing as many TD passes next year so that number should go up.  The problem I have with Willie is the drafting of Rashard Mendenhall.  He scares me if I’m a Willie Parker owner.

Jamal Lewis – Jamal had a terrific season (1552 total yards, 11 TDs) last year with Cleveland, but I just don’t trust him to be my #1 RB.  I expect their passing attack to take a step back next year, which will make it harder to run.

Ryan Grant – Ryan Grant came in and answered Green Bay’s prayers for some balance.  Lost in the whole QB debate is whether or not Grant will be a fluke.  If Rodgers struggles at QB, things could get difficult for Grant.  I’d hate to pin my hopes on him.

Maurice Jones-Drew/Fred Taylor – MJD gets the TDs.  Fred Taylor gets the yards.  Will the recipe be the same in Jacksonville next year?  Most likely.  They compliment each other so well.  Unfortunately for fantasy owners it makes it difficult to rely on either one.  Obviously I give MJD the edge because of his age and his ability to reach paydirt.

Laurence Maroney – Did you see Maroney run in the playoffs?  I’m sure the Patriot Coaches did.  Heck, they probably even have video on it.  Bad jokes aside, I see the Patriots running a more balanced attack next year.  With the holes the passing game should open, Maroney should run wild.

Ronnie Brown – Until he got hurt, Ronnie Brown was having one of the best years by any RB.  Unfortunately he blew out his knee following an Interception (thanks Cleo Lemon) and will likely take a year or so to get back to form.

Brandon Jacobs – Brandon Jacobs is a beast.  He should have plenty of opportunity to score TDs.  He needs to prove he can stay healthy.  He’ll likely have to share carries with some capable running mates.

Edgerrin James – Edge had over 1400 total yards last year, but will turn the dreaded 30 next month.  That usually doesn’t go over very well for a Running Back.  The Cards have two extraordinary WRs to keep defenses honest, but I’d be shocked if Edge replicates his 2007 campaign.

Darren McFadden – This one is based on potential, but Run DMC sure seems to be this year’s version of Adrian Peterson.  I don’t see him running for as many yards, or breaking any records, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he finished in top ten for RB fantasy scoring.

Previous Previews
Quarterbacks

The Sporting News has a sweet Live Mock Fantasy Football Draft that I’ve been using for the last few years to get ready for the season.  They offer 10 & 12 Team Drafts that go 15 rounds.  I use it as a gauge to see where certain people are picked.  As the season approaches, these Mock Drafts become better because everyone is more up-to-speed on the players and you get a full draft.  When there isn’t a full draft, there is an Autopick in place.  They go by Sporting News rankings.  It’s not ideal, but it’s acceptable.  Another cool feature is the chat board which allows you to discuss players with other fantasy football fanatics.  Unfortunately I wasn’t in a very chatty room so I didn’t gain much fantasy insight this time around.  Oh well, there’s always next time.

For my first mock I got the 9th pick.  The Big Dog RBs (as well as Brady, Moss, and Lynch) were off the board.  I opted to go for Larry Johnson.  With my second pick I opted to go with the 2 RB system and grabbed Clinton Portis.  I thought about Larry Fitzgerald, but chose to go with 2 RBs here with thoughts of grabbing 2 WRs in the next Snake swing.  When my pick got to me I was surprised to see Torry Holt still hanging around.  Naturally, I grabbed him.  The other WRs available were Jennings, Harrison, Boldin, and Roy Williams so I eschewed the 2 WR thought and went with Carson Palmer.  I again let the WRs slide (as Dwayne Bowe and Chris Chambers were the ilk of WRs available) and took Darren McFadden with my 5th pick.  Dwayne Bowe was still available when the Snake swung to me so I grabbed him.  I took old man Hines Ward with my 7th pick to round out my starting WR corps.  In the 8th round, I opted to take another rookie RB in Jonathan Stewart.  With my 9th pick I added WR depth with Vincent Jackson, hoping he’ll meet the high expectations that were put on him last year.  I finished off with a TE.  I debated between Alge Crumpler and Vernon Davis, but was afraid one is washed up and the other is too injury-prone so I went with Chicago’s Greg Olsen.  In Round 11 I decided to go Defense and chose Pittsburgh.  In Round 12 I decided to add RB depth by choosing Deuce McAllister.  In the 13th round I went with D.J. Hackett.  I was a big fan of his heading into last year, and think he should do fine in Carolina.  I took a flier on the Giants’ Steve Smith in the 14th.  I finished the draft by taking a Kicker.  Much to my delight Adam Vinatieri was available.  I snatched him up quickly.

One suggestion I have is to stick with the picks until the end.  Often people duck out early to get to their next draft (because they are rather addictive), but that defeats the purpose of the mock draft.  Anyone can pick the first several rounds.  Where you want to practice is the middle to late rounds.  That’s where fantasy football championships are won.  So head on over to the Sporting News and sign up for a Mock Draft right away.  My team name is Lester’s Legends.  If you see me, say hi.

We’ve done the Big Dog RBs so let’s continue with the Second Tier Running Backs.  These are guys that will go in the first couple of rounds.  They aren’t quite of the Big Dog ilk, but if you’re in the back end of a snake draft you can pick up a pair of these 2TRBs.

Marion Barber III - So MB3 can’t the chance to shine on his own.  Well, not exactly.  The Cowboys replaced Julius Jones with rookie Felix Jones.  Marion the Barbarian will still be your TD man, but the other Jones will cut into his yardage.

Clinton Portis – Portis will still only be 27 when the season kicks off.  He seems so much older than that.  I guess that’s what success will do to you.  Will he be like Emmitt Smith and just keep turning it out?  I think so.  I don’t see 1500  yards in him, but 1200 & 10 is attainable.

Frank Gore – Here’s a guy I love.  Everyone was HUGE on him last year and he failed miserably by his draft postion standards.  However, he still had over 1500 total yards.  If that’s a “down year”, I’d be glad to grab him and see what he can do in a good year.

Larry Johnson – Maybe because I own him I am wishful thinking, but I see a rebound for LJ.  He’s still a beast.  He hasn’t reached the 30 mark.  He doesn’t have a lot of mileage considering his age.  He is a year removed from back-to-back 1700 yard 17+ TD seasons.  I know Shaun Alexander dropped like a elevator with the cable cut, but I see a different story for LJ.  As long as he has some burst and he gets a decent showing from the passing game, LJ will be solid.  I don’t see another monster year, but if he can turn out 1400 yards and 12 TDs, I’d be stoked.

Marshawn Lynch – Here’s another guy I own.  I was huge on him before his little hit-and-run drama.  I hope that was a one-time slip-up and not a sign of things to come.  He was the Bills’ offense last year.  He wasn’t a contender for the ROY last year as All Day was unbelievable, but for a while he was at least a part of the conversation.

Willis McGahee – Here’s another guy who was his team’s offense last year.  Willis has over 1400 yards and 8 TDs in his first year in Baltimore.  All of that despite only having five carries the past two weeks.  He should be fully recovered from his rib injury that finished his season a little early last year.

Previous Previews
Quarterbacks

On to the Running Backs.  We’ll start again with the Big Dogs.  These are the guys that everybody wants to own.  At times, they can almost single-handedly carry you to a victory.  They go for the most in auctions and take up the majority of the first round in snake drafts.  A word of caution, there is usually a bust or two among these.  Last year Larry Johnson and Frank Gore didn’t meet expectations.  Before that it was Shaun Alexander.

Big Dogs
LaDainian Tomlinson –
What can you say about LT that hasn’t already been said. He’s quite possibly the best fantasy football player that’s ever existed. 

Adrian Peterson – All Day is right up there with LT when it comes to projected fantasy numbers following his amazing rookie campaign.  He cracked the 200 yard mark twice last year, including breaking the single-game mark.  He’ll need to score more TDs (as if 13 isn’t enough) to be considered the Alpha Dog.

Brian Westbrook – Westy was a major force last year going for 2100 total yards and 12 TDs.  He’s such a dual threat, with over 1200 yards rushing and 700 yards receiving the past two years.  The knock on him is his health, but he only missed two games over the past two years.  He did kill some fantasy owners by taking a knee on a sure TD last year.

Steven Jackson – He had somewhat of a down year because of injuries, but he still topped the 1000 mark rushing and added nearly 300 receiving.  His TD production took a major hit, but St. Louis’ offense as a whole was down.  Steven Jackson can be had with the third to fifth pick.  Talk about a great value.

Joseph Addai – Addai was a force as well last year with over 1400 total yards and 15 TDs despite missing a game.  He’s had virtually the same amount of rushing and receiving yards both years to show his consistency.  With Peyton Manning keeping defenses in check, Addai should be able to have his way once again.  Like Westbrook and Steven Jackson, Addai will be the 3rd-5th player taken, which makes the 5th pick in the draft the most attractive slot to me.

Previous Previews
Quarterbacks

With training camp approaching, I figured what better time to take a look at the QBs around the league.

Big Dogs
These are the best of the best. The beauty of having a Big Dog is you can plug and play them every week without debating which is the best matchup. Owning a BDQB means you’ll likely win that matchup most weeks. The drawback is you could weaken your RB and/or WR depth because you’ll have to take them fairly early in the draft. Another risk is there is always one or two Big Dogs at each position that doesn’t deliver. They can sink your franchise faster than you can say “Toilet Bowl”. Last year’s Big Dogs that missed were Marc Bulger and Donovan McNabb.

Tom Brady – Obviously any QB discussion needs to start with Brady. While I don’t expect him to replicate his record-breaking 2007 season, I do think he’ll be the Alpha Dog among QBs again this year. He’s got a ton of weapons and is in a great system. I could see him approach 40 TDs again.

Tony Romo – He’s not the second best QB in the league, but he is in fantasy circles. Of course, that depends on whether T.O. will continue to stay healthy (mentally and physically) and he doesn’t allow outside “distractions” affect his play.

Peyton Manning – When you ask who the best QB in the league is, Peyton is your 1B answer in my book, meaning he’s on the same plane as Tom Brady. If Marvin Harrison can make a healthy return life will be a little easier for Manning. Of course, with Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Anthony Gonzalez, etc. he’ll be just fine if Marvin doesn’t return to form.

Drew Brees – I think Brees will be a great value this year as Big Ben and Derek Anderson will likely go ahead of him in most drafts. I like Drew’s track record better than those AFC North gunslingers. He has produced back-to-back 4400 yard seasons, and his TD production has increased the past couple of seasons.

Carson Palmer – He may also be overlooked a little because of the turmoil in Cincy. He lost a weapon (Chris Henry) and could lose another one (the disgruntled Chad Johnson). Nonetheless, he’s still one of the games best. T.J. Houshmandzadeh will deliver huge numbers, and, if Ocho doesn’t go, Carson will make a star out of one of his other wideouts. Either that or he’ll turn a couple of guys into “matchup” plays.

Ben Roethlisberger – For some reason I don’t see Big Ben repeating his 32 TD performance. What scares me off a little is 3100 yards he threw for last year, which is far fewer than the rest of the Big Dogs. With Willie Parker and the addition of Rashard Mendenhall, I would be surprised if Pittsburgh didn’t focus a little more on their ground attack.

Derek Anderson – Here’s another guy who’s fluke factor is high. Derek Anderson came out of nowhere to become one of the biggest surprises in football last year. His 3787 yards and 29 TDs helped many a lucky owner advance to the playoffs. What makes me nervous is his splits.

Games 1-8: 91.7 QB rating, 57.6% completion percentage, 2108 yards, 17 TDs (2.1/gm), 9 INTs (1.1/gm)
Games 9-16: 73.7 QB rating, 55.6% completion percentage, 1679 yards, 12 TDs (1.5/gm), 10 INTs (1.3/gm)

What’s even worse were his December numbers.
66.6 QB rating, 53.1 completion %, 205.8 yards/gm (well off his average), 7 TDs (1.4/gm), 8 INTs (1.6/gm)

You don’t have to look very hard to see who I think will be the Big Dog letdowns at the QB position. You can still draft them, but be sure to have a decent backup plan.

Second Tier
These aren’t the flashy picks that you can walk away from your draft with your head held high because you got one of the game’s best gunslingers. That’s not to say you can’t be proud of you team because you opted to wait until you got better value for your QB slot. In most leagues the QBs will score the most points. That’s just the way it is. What’s more important than actual points though is point differential. If you get a QB that averages 18 points per week, he’s only 2 points per week worse than a 20 point guy. Now if by choosing that 18 point QB (instead of the 20 point QB) you get a Running Back that averages 12 points (instead of an 8 point RB you’d get if you opted for the 20 point QB) then you’d be ahead two points per week. Before I have to break into long division, let’s steer away from the mathematics and move onto who the Second Tier QBs are.

Matt Hasselbeck – Matt reminds me a lot of Trent Green from a few years ago. He puts up solid numbers every year, but is never considered a “must-have” QB. He’s averaged nearly 24 TD passes per year to 13 INTs the past five years. He’s also averaged over 3400 yards during that stretch. His best year came last year when he tossed nearly 4000 yards and 28 TDs (both career highs). With Shaun Alexander out of the picture, I can see Seattle remaining a pass first team.

Marc Bulger – Last year Bulger was a Big Dog. This year he becomes on of the best QB values. The Rams were just a mess last year. Injuries to Bulger and Steven Jackson kept St. Louis from ever getting in a rhythm. I can see them bouncing back in a big way. The beauty of picking Bulger is, even if he misses, you won’t be in that bad of shape. I’d probably try and grab another second tier or the best of the third tier QBs shortly after selecting Bulger just to be safe.

Donovan McNabb – McNabb has Big Dog talent, but annual health concerns make drafting the former Syracuse star a risky proposition. He’s only played in 75% (48 of 64) of the Eagles’ game the past four seasons and 68.75% (33 of 48 ) the past three. As big of a name as he’s been in fantasy circles, he’s never reached the 4000 yard plateau and has only suprassed 25 TDs once. Personally, I’m not high on him.

David Garrard – He grew up right before our eyes last year. That run vs. Pittsburgh was an instant classic. He showed great poise last year and an ability to avoid the big mistake. If you’re in a league that penalizes for INTs, David’s whopping 3 didn’t cause much of a dent in your tally.

Eli Manning – A guy who’s far too familiar with INTs is Eli Manning. He’s thrown 55 in his past three seasons (18.3 per year). However, he’s also tossed 71 TDs (23.7 per) in that span while averaging close to 3450 yards per year. Oh, and he won that little game they call the Super Bowl. Manning should be much more relaxed next year now that he’s A) stepped out of his brother’s shadow and B) given himself some breathing room from New York fans and media.

Philip Rivers – I didn’t like the way Rivers mocked and ridiculed Jay Cutler last year, but he has produced back-to-back solid seasons. He’s averaged 3270 yards, 21.5 TDs, and 12 INTs while completing over 60% of his passes. He has some great weapons in LT and Antonio Gates, and having a whole offseason to work with Chris Chambers should pay dividends.

Jay Cutler – Speaking of Cutler, he has the potential of having a pretty solid year for the Broncos. The departure of Javon Walker won’t be too hard to overcome because of the limited role he played last year. A few things will need to fall in place for Cutler to be counted on for your fantasy team. Brandon Marshall will need to be healthy (mentally and physically) first and foremost. Second, he’ll need to get some production out of Darrell Jackson, Keary Colbert, and Brandon Stokley.

Serviceable QBs
These are guys who you can plug and play when the matchups fit, use in deep leagues, make good backup QBs or second starter in 2 QB leagues, or guys to roll with if you waited until well into your draft to pick a QB.

Matt Leinart/Kurt Warner – This one is tricky because Matt is the guy that will be given every chance to be the starter, but Warner (3417 yards, 27 TDs) was highly effective last year. With Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald as starters, either of these QBs are worth having. Problem is you may have to own both.

Jake Delhomme – When you have a target like Steve Smith, you have potential. When you add D.J. Hackett and Muhsin Muhammad to mix, things get even more exciting. If his elbow holds up (and the rest of his body) he can easily make the leap to the Second Tier level (if not even the Big Dog level). Perhaps no QB has a wider spectrum between highs and lows.

Vince Young – Entering his third season, VY has to start living up to the hype. He regressed last year, mainly because he didn’t have any weapons to work with. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t have the weapons to be a consistent fantasy starter, but I think he’s a good enough football player that he’ll show glimpses of greatness this year.

Matt Schaub – There are things Schaub has going for him. It’s his second year as a starter so everything shouldn’t feel as new with him. He has one of the best targets to throw to in Andre Johnson (who will hopefully stay healthy this year). The reason he’s not ranked higher, though, is because capable backup Sage Rosenfels is waiting in the wings. If he gets off to a slow start, the Texans won’t hesitate to cook with Sage.

Aaron Rodgers – This is mainly on potential than anything else. He’s a starting QB (so long as Brett Favre doesn’t butt his way in) of a team with great offensive weapons. He’ll have to show he can handle the pressure of replacing a legend, which is a tall order. Additionally, he’ll have to stay healthy.

Jon Kitna – With Mike Martz bringing his pass-happy ways to San Francisco, Jon Kitna sees his value take a dip. He most likely won’t be chucking the ball 40-50 times a game this year. If he doesn’t get in as many attempts, all of the sudden he’s just a mediocre fantasy QB. If the Lions’ season goes sour, there’s a good chance Drew Stanton can get a turn. I was high on Kitna last year, and this year I couldn’t be more opposite.

Scrap Pile
I know scrap pile may seem a little harsh, but when you consider we already profiled 20 QBs, you catch my drift. These guys will be used on bye weeks and when injuries strike. I’m sure a few of them will turn out to be decent plays. Some will likely lose their starting job. That’s the nature of the beast when you deal with the shallow end of the QB pool.

Jason Campbell – I actually don’t mind Jason Campbell. If he weren’t coming off a knee injury I would probably put him in the Serviceable QB group. He made decent strides in his second year. I would just like to see him throw more TDs.

Jeff Garcia – Garcia is a decent play in leagues that penalize for INTs since he seldom throws to the wrong color jersey. He’s not going to give you a huge week, but he’s a decent fill-in when your starter is on bye. He’s in the scrap pile because Tampa has a few decent QBs on hand in case they want to go a different direction.

Tarvaris Jackson – With the acquisition of Benard Berrian, the development of Sidney Rice, the double-headed monster in the backfield, and a little experience gained, and T-Jack has some potential to break out of the scrap pile. He needs to gain confidence and consistency.

Alex Smith – Smith was a pick of mine to breakout last year. He made me look foolish. My expectations are justifiably lower this year. However, he does have Mike Martz to help him along, as well as newly acquired Bryant Johnson and Isaac Bruce. Perhaps this is the year Vernon Davis lives up to his hype as well.

JaMarcus Russell – They will probably be passing a lot since they will be behind in most games. He’s got that going for him. As long as Javon Walker can get home for some beauty rest instead of curbside butt whoopings, he’s got a legitimate weapon. He’s still very inexperienced though, and there will be plenty of bumps along the way. I can see him leading the league in INTs.

Chad Pennington/Kellen Clemens – Let’s face it. Neither of these QBs excite you. For good reason. They do have a pair of quality WRs, but I can see split duty out of these two. That’s a situation I’ll steer clear of.

Trent Edwards/J.P. Losman – Trent is penciled in as the starter, but I’m not sure Buffalo has witnessed the last of Mr. Losman. Neither is going to wow you with statistics, but they may be useful for a game or two this year.

Brodie Croyle/Damon Huard – I ‘d like to see Brodie Croyle take the job and run with it. He’s got some weapons in Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe. Still, I know I wouldn’t trust him.

Rex Grossman – Yuck. Marty Booker is back. Oh boy. They lost their best deep threat. They are going to need Devin Hester to step up his game if Rexy is going to even be relevant in fantasy circles. Avoid this like the plague.

Kyle Boller/Troy Smith/Joe Flacco – I actually could see all three getting starts this year. Boller get the starting nod and loses it by Week 4. Troy Smith takes over and mans the post until Week 10. The rookie Joe Flacco finishes the season off to get him experience for next season. That’s how it plays out in my head.

Josh McCown/John Beck/Chad Henne – I can see the same scenario go down in Miami. McCown early. Beck gets another shot and misses, Henne finishes with eyes towards the future.

Chris Redman/Joey Harrington/Matt Ryan – The question is when, not if, the Matt Ryan era will begin. I don’t know why, but I’d like to see Joey have a decent little go of things. I’ve had a soft spot for him for whatever reason. I think he got a bad shake in Detroit, and was ruined. That said, the sooner they get to Ryan the better.

With training camp approaching, I figured what better time to take a look at the QBs around the league. 

We profiled the Big DogsSecond Tier QBs, and the Serviceable QBs, now it’s time to look at the rest of the signal callers.  I know scrap pile may seem a little harsh, but when you consider we already profiled 20 QBs, you catch my drift.  These guys will be used on bye weeks and when injuries strike.  I’m sure a few of them will turn out to be decent plays.  Some will likely lose their starting job.  That’s the nature of the beast when you deal with the shallow end of the QB pool.

Scrap Pile
Jason Campbell
- I actually don’t mind Jason Campbell.  If he weren’t coming off a knee injury I would probably put him in the Serviceable QB group.  He made decent strides in his second year.  I would just like to see him throw more TDs.

Jeff Garcia – Garcia is a decent play in leagues that penalize for INTs since he seldom throws to the wrong color jersey.  He’s not going to give you a huge week, but he’s a decent fill-in when your starter is on bye.  He’s in the scrap pile because Tampa has a few decent QBs on hand in case they want to go a different direction.

Tarvaris Jackson – With the acquisition of Benard Berrian, the development of Sidney Rice, the double-headed monster in the backfield, and a little experience gained, and T-Jack has some potential to break out of the scrap pile.  He needs to gain confidence and consistency. 

Alex Smith – Smith was a pick of mine to breakout last year.  He made me look foolish.  My expectations are justifiably lower this year.  However, he does have Mike Martz to help him along, as well as newly acquired Bryant Johnson and Isaac Bruce.  Perhaps this is the year Vernon Davis lives up to his hype as well. 

JaMarcus Russell – They will probably be passing a lot since they will be behind in most games.  He’s got that going for him.  As long as Javon Walker can get home for some beauty rest instead of curbside butt whoopings, he’s got a legitimate weapon.  He’s still very inexperienced though, and there will be plenty of bumps along the way.  I can see him leading the league in INTs.

Chad Pennington/Kellen Clemens – Let’s face it.  Neither of these QBs excite you.  For good reason.  They do have a pair of quality WRs, but I can see split duty out of these two.  That’s a situation I’ll steer clear of.

Trent Edwards/J.P. Losman – Trent is penciled in as the starter, but I’m not sure Buffalo has witnessed the last of Mr. Losman.  Neither is going to wow you with statistics, but they may be useful for a game or two this year.

Brodie Croyle/Damon Huard – I ‘d like to see Brodie Croyle take the job and run with it.  He’s got some weapons in Tony Gonzalez and Dwayne Bowe.  Still, I know I wouldn’t trust him.

Rex Grossman – Yuck.  Marty Booker is back.  Oh boy.  They lost their best deep threat.  They are going to need Devin Hester to step up his game if Rexy is going to even be relevant in fantasy circles.  Avoid this like the plague.

Kyle Boller/Troy Smith/Joe Flacco – I actually could see all three getting starts this year.  Boller get the starting nod and loses it by Week 4.  Troy Smith takes over and mans the post until Week 10.  The rookie Joe Flacco finishes the season off to get him experience for next season.  That’s how it plays out in my head.

Josh McCown/John Beck/Chad Henne – I can see the same scenario go down in Miami.  McCown early.  Beck gets another shot and misses, Henne finishes with eyes towards the future. 

Chris Redman/Joey Harrington/Matt Ryan – The question is when, not if, the Matt Ryan era will begin.  I don’t know why, but I’d like to see Joey have a decent little go of things.  I’ve had a soft spot for him for whatever reason.  I think he got a bad shake in Detroit, and was ruined.    That said, the sooner they get to Ryan the better. 

With training camp approaching, I figured what better time to take a look at the QBs around the league. 

We profiled the Big Dogs and Second Tier QBs, now it’s time to look at the guys who you can plug and play when the matchups fit, use in deep leagues, make good backup QBs or second starter in 2 QB leagues, or guys to roll with if you waited until well into your draft to pick a QB.

Serviceable QBs
Matt Leinart/Kurt Warner
- This one is tricky because Matt is the guy that will be given every chance to be the starter, but Warner (3417 yards, 27 TDs) was highly effective last year.  With Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald as starters, either of these QBs are worth having.  Problem is you may have to own both.

Jake Delhomme – When you have a target like Steve Smith, you have potential.  When you add D.J. Hackett and Muhsin Muhammad to mix, things get even more exciting.  If his elbow holds up (and the rest of his body) he can easily make the leap to the Second Tier level (if not even the Big Dog level).  Perhaps no QB has a wider spectrum between highs and lows.

Vince Young – Entering his third season, VY has to start living up to the hype.  He regressed last year, mainly because he didn’t have any weapons to work with.  Unfortunately, he still doesn’t have the weapons to be a consistent fantasy starter, but I think he’s a good enough football player that he’ll show glimpses of greatness this year.

Matt Schaub – There are things Schaub has going for him.  It’s his second year as a starter so everything shouldn’t feel as new with him.  He has one of the best targets to throw to in Andre Johnson (who will hopefully stay healthy this year).  The reason he’s not ranked higher, though, is because capable backup Sage Rosenfels is waiting in the wings.  If he gets off to a slow start, the Texans won’t hesitate to cook with Sage.

Aaron Rodgers - This is mainly on potential than anything else.  He’s a starting QB (so long as Brett Favre doesn’t butt his way in) of a team with great offensive weapons.  He’ll have to show he can handle the pressure of replacing a legend, which is a tall order.  Additionally, he’ll have to stay healthy. 

Jon Kitna – With Mike Martz bringing his pass-happy ways to San Francisco, Jon Kitna sees his value take a dip.  He most likely won’t be chucking the ball 40-50 times a game this year.  If he doesn’t get in as many attempts, all of the sudden he’s just a mediocre fantasy QB.  If the Lions’ season goes sour, there’s a good chance Drew Stanton can get a turn.  I was high on Kitna last year, and this year I couldn’t be more opposite.

With training camp approaching, I figured what better time to take a look at the QBs around the league. 

We profiled the Big Dogs, now it’s time to look at the guys who the other half of your league will be starting.

Second Tier
These aren’t the flashy picks that you can walk away from your draft with your head held high because you got one of the game’s best gunslingers.  That’s not to say you can’t be proud of you team because you opted to wait until you got better value for your QB slot.  In most leagues the QBs will score the most points.  That’s just the way it is.  What’s more important than actual points though is point differential.  If you get a QB that averages 18 points per week, he’s only 2 points per week worse than a 20 point guy.  Now if by choosing that 18 point QB (instead of the 20 point QB) you get a Running Back that averages 12 points (instead of an 8 point RB you’d get if you opted for the 20 point QB) then you’d be ahead two points per week.  Before I have to break into long division, let’s steer away from the mathematics and move onto who the Second Tier QBs are.

Matt Hasselbeck - Matt reminds me a lot of Trent Green from a few years ago.  He puts up solid numbers every year, but is never considered a “must-have” QB.  He’s averaged nearly 24 TD passes per year to 13 INTs the past five years.  He’s also averaged over 3400 yards during that stretch.  His best year came last year when he tossed nearly 4000 yards and 28 TDs (both career highs).  With Shaun Alexander out of the picture, I can see Seattle remaining a pass first team.

Marc Bulger – Last year Bulger was a Big Dog.  This year he becomes on of the best QB values.  The Rams were just a mess last year.  Injuries to Bulger and Steven Jackson kept St. Louis from ever getting in a rhythm.  I can see them bouncing back in a big way.  The beauty of picking Bulger is, even if he misses, you won’t be in that bad of shape.  I’d probably try and grab another second tier or the best of the third tier QBs shortly after selecting Bulger just to be safe. 

Donovan McNabb – McNabb has Big Dog talent, but annual health concerns make drafting the former Syracuse star a risky proposition.  He’s only played in 75% (48 of 64) of the Eagles’ game the past four seasons and 68.75% (33 of 48) the past three.  As big of a name as he’s been in fantasy circles, he’s never reached the 4000 yard plateau and has only suprassed 25 TDs once.  Personally, I’m not high on him.

David Garrard – He grew up right before our eyes last year.  That run vs. Pittsburgh was an instant classic.  He showed great poise last year and an ability to avoid the big mistake.  If you’re in a league that penalizes for INTs, David’s whopping 3 didn’t cause much of a dent in your tally.

Eli Manning – A guy who’s far too familiar with INTs is Eli Manning.  He’s thrown 55 in his past three seasons (18.3 per year).  However, he’s also tossed 71 TDs (23.7 per) in that span while averaging close to 3450 yards per year.  Oh, and he won that little game they call the Super Bowl.  Manning should be much more relaxed next year now that he’s A) stepped out of his brother’s shadow and B) given himself some breathing room from New York fans and media.

Philip Rivers – I didn’t like the way Rivers mocked and ridiculed Jay Cutler last year, but he has produced back-to-back solid seasons.  He’s averaged 3270 yards, 21.5 TDs, and 12 INTs while completing over 60% of his passes.  He has some great weapons in LT and Antonio Gates, and having a whole offseason to work with Chris Chambers should pay dividends.

Jay Cutler – Speaking of Cutler, he has the potential of having a pretty solid year for the Broncos.  The departure of Javon Walker won’t be too hard to overcome because of the limited role he played last year.  A few things will need to fall in place for Cutler to be counted on for your fantasy team.  Brandon Marshall will need to be healthy (mentally and physically) first and foremost.  Second, he’ll need to get some production out of Darrell Jackson, Keary Colbert, and Brandon Stokley.


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