Is Matt Leinart Worth the Risk?
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Matt Leinart has had plenty of time to learn under Kurt Warner. His maturity level was not what it should have been initially, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially when you consider the weapons he has on offense in Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet, Beanie Wells, and Tim Hightower. I think the Cardinals are a more balanced offense this year, meaning Leinart won’t come close to Warner’s gaudy numbers, but he should do enough to make him a decent fantasy backup.
Leinart is, on average, the 26th quarterback to come off the board in fantasy drafts, according to Mock Draft Central. When I am assessing the risk associated with Leinart, it isn’t that ranking or his 204th overall ranking that I am concerned with. After all, that puts him as a QB3 or the last pick in the 17th round.
While I have a hard time imagining why somebody would prefer Josh Freeman, Matt Moore, or Byron Leftwich over Leinart (click here for my 2010 QB rankings), I am wondering if Leinart is a worth fantasy backup.
I believe his is, as indicated by my 21st ranking for Leinart. I will likely draft use him if I get Rodgers, Brees, Peyton, Brady, Romo, Schaub, or Rivers. Any QBs after those seven, I will want a higher end backup so I can play the match-up game. Guys like Favre, Cutler, Kolb, McNabb, Flacco, and Eli come with enough question marks that I would like to pair two of them or have a higher tier backup like Alex Smith, Matt Ryan, Big Ben, or Palmer.
Now that I have narrowed it down to seven QBs that I would consider using Leinart as my backup, I first need to match up their bye weeks. Rodgers (Week 10), Brees (10), Peyton (7), Brady (5), Romo (4), Schaub (7), and Rivers (10) are all eligible because they do not share a bye with Leinart (6).
So I know they don’t share a bye with Leinart, but who does Leinart play during the bye weeks? In Week 4 (Romo) Leinart faces the Chargers in San Diego. In Week 5 (Brady) Leinart faces the Saints at home. In Week 7 (Peyton, Schaub) Leinart faces the Seahawks in Seattle. In Week 10 (Rodgers, Brees, Rivers) Leinart faces Seattle at home.
None of the match-ups frighten me, or jump out as cakewalks, but I would give the edge to using Leinart to back up Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Philip Rivers.
In Week 8 Arizona faces Tampa Bay at home, making him a decent option if you have Matt Ryan, Jay Cutler, Eli Manning, Kevin Kolb, or Joe Flacco, who all are on bye that week.
Prediction: 3500 yards, 20 TDs, 18 INTs
What are you thoughts on Matt Leinart?
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