Sell High on Carson Palmer?

5 November 2015

Carson Palmer
Carson Palmer is averaging 298.3 yards per game, is completing 64.6 percent of his passes and has a 110.2 passer rating thanks to a 20:6 touchdown to interception ratio. He resides in a pack with Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Andy Dalton as the best fantasy quarterbacks that aren’t married to Gisele. He’ll turn 36 just after Christmas. Should you move on?
If the bounty is right, I say yes. Not because of his age, but that and injury history do play a role. It would be foolish to ignore those factors completely, but you are better off securing a decent QB2 to protect against injury than to trade him without getting fair value. If you do get a good offer I suggest you take it because of his upcoming schedule.
Coming out of this week’s bye Palmer faces Seattle for the first of two times (Week 17 as well). They have allowed 186.4 yards per game and just six passing scores in eight games. In Week 11 he faces the Bengals. Cincy has allowed 258.4 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game. He gets a nice matchup against San Francisco (280 yards, 1.6 touchdowns per game), but finishes with a tough run of St. Louis (230 yards, 0.7 touchdowns), Minnesota (229.3 yards, 1.3 touchdowns), Philadelphia (250.6 yards, 1.4 touchdowns), Green Bay (251.3 yards, 1.0 touchdowns) and Seattle.
There are 12 teams with at least 20 sacks on the season. In Palmer’s remaining eight games he’ll face one of those teams in five of his games. Six of the eight games are against teams in the top half of the league in sacks and all eight are in the top two-thirds of the league in sacks. Bottom line is Palmer should see a lot of pressure in his remaining games.
Palmer shouldn’t have to deal with any bad weather games other than possibly a road game in Philadelphia in Week 15. It’s hard to ignore his schedule though.
Again, don’t just give him away, but if the offer is right, take it.
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10.  Cincinnati Bengals
Palmer sounds pretty intent on sitting out the 2011 NFL season unless the Bengals trade him. Mike Brown isn’t likely to cave to his demands. Unless one of these proud gentlemen have a change of heart, he will not wear the orange and black stripes.
9.  Oakland Raiders
Palmer would probably be an upgrade over Jason Campbell, but it’s not enough of an upgrade to part ways with the compensation that Cincinnati would be looking for.
8.  Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings need to bring in a veteran so they don’t have to rush Christian Ponder into action. I don’t think the QB they bring in will be one that will demand to start for the whole year.
7.  Arizona Cardinals
While the Cardinals will likely deal for a quarterback, it appears that Kevin Kolb is their target.
6.  Buffalo Bills
The Bills seem content going with Ryan Fitzpatrick. They can’t afford to trade away their picks to go after a guy like Palmer anyway.
5.  San Francisco 49ers
The Niners will likely bring Alex Smith back. They drafted Colin Kaepernick. While Palmer would be an upgrade, he doesn’t make sense.
4.  Washington Redskins
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Redskins made a play. Rex Grossman isn’t gonna cut it, and John Beck is a long shot. The Skins feel compelled to give Beck a shot though.
3.  Seattle Seahawks
Pete Carroll is familiar with Carson Palmer so this isn’t a reach. The Seahawks seem content to bring Matt Hasselbeck though.
2.  Miami Dolphins
The fish need to upgrade their quarterback situation. Chad Henne isn’t cutting it. This could be the number one location for Palmer if he’s dealt.
1.  His couch
Carson Palmer has made it clear that he is not playing for the money. He has invested wisely and will retire if he has to. Mike Brown doesn’t want to set a precedent so we have a true stalemate. The closest Palmer gets to football is watching it on HDTV in his man cave.

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Carson Palmer sold his house. A few years ago that may have caused quite a commotion in the Bengals’ locker room, but I wonder if there is even a ripple.
First of all, there are bigger fish to fry. As the lockout drags on, players have to start worrying about themselves financially. While they were urged to save money last year, I’m sure not all of the players heeded that advice. As house and car payments continue to go out without money coming back in, Palmer’s situation is far from the minds of his “teammates”.
The Bengals front office prepared themselves with life after Palmer by drafting Andy Dalton, who will coincidentally have to battle Palmer’s brother for the starting gig. They found their Ochocino replacement in A.J. Green and Dalton is their quarterback of the future.
It’s not exactly like Carson Palmer was dominating statistically either. Sure he threw for nearly 4000 yard and 26 touchdowns last year, but he also tossed 20 picks. He only had 3094 yards and 21 TDs in 2009. Palmer was limited to four games in 2008. 2007 was much like last year. He had a nice yardage total (4131) with the same touchdown (26) and interception (20) totals. You have to go back to 2006 to get his elite production.
It’s not exactly like they are winning either. They had a nice run in 2009, but that  was mainly due to a opportunistic defense and a strong rushing attack led by Cedric Benson, who recently spoke out against the Bengals holding onto Palmer.
“Don’t lock a man down whom you know won’t be happy if he stays. He’s the quarterback. I looked up to him when he was there and I’m sure many of the other guys did. If he’s there and not happy he’s not going to give us his best, he’s not going to give us that extra time in the film room and weight room because he’s not happy. In a way we’ll all kind of suffer for that. … If he’s not happy in Cincinnati, he’s not going to have passion.”
While Benson’s views don’t reflect all of the Bengals players, I’m sure there are plenty that agree with his statement. They’ve moved on. Mike Brown should do the same. Nobody wins if Palmer sits the season out. The same way nobody wins if the lockout washes away the season.
Carson Palmer’s fantasy value is obviously on hold. Unless he has a complete change of heart, he has no value if Cincinnati doesn’t trade him. If he hooks up with Brandon Marshall in Miami, he could have a productive season, though I don’t know that he’ll ever have a year like 2005 or 2006 again.

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Big Ben
Like the AFC East this division is split between teams that have established quarterbacks and teams that are hopeful that their young quarterbacks will deliver.
Ben Roethlisberger may be better equipped to deal with the lockout than any quarterback in the league. After all he sat out the first four games last year and stepped in with a three-touchdown performance in his season debut. Despite playing in 12 games he finished with 3200 yards and 17 TDs (5 INTs). Big Ben knows the offense and knows his players. If the lockout drags on, the veteran Steelers could actually be at an advantage. Big Ben is a solid QB1 that you should to be get at a good value.
Joe Flacco had a solid season throwing for 3622 yard and 25 TDs (10 INTs). Unfortunately his number seem to decline at the end of the year. Last year he averaged 169.7 passing yards in Weeks 14-16 and 249 yards in the first 12 games. In 2009 he averaged 210 yards in Weeks 14-16 and 240.1 in the first 12 games. In fantasy championship week, typically week 16, he has averaged 134 yards the past two years. The Ravens added speedster Torrey Smith to help stretch the defenses. He should be a nice compliment to Anquan Boldin. Flacco remains a borderline QB1 and should put up solid numbers once again.
Colt McCoy is back with some experience under his belt. He didn’t light the world on fire, but he didn’t crash and burn either. He completed 60.8 percent of his passes, a number that should rise as he is well-suited for the West Coast Offense the Browns run. They could have added Julio Jones, but opted to trade out of the sixth pick in the draft. They did add Greg Little in the second round, who could end up being one of the best receivers in this class.
Finally we have the Cincinnati Bengals. Carson Palmer is as good as gone. Whether he is traded, retires, or just sits out the year is the question. Andy Dalton was taken in the second round and he has a good chance to open the season as the starter. Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens are also likely to be gone, but Jerome Simpson came on at the end of the year and they added A.J. Green in the draft. With Jordan Shipley and Jermaine Gresham, Dalton has a good chance to be a solid QB2 as a rookie.
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The Bengals have been relatively quiet this offseason. That’s a good thing because for them it usually means arrests. They did add Antonio Bryant to give Ochocinco some help. The Bengals look to have plenty of weapons (figuratively not literally) on the offensive side of the ball.

Fantasy Playoff Schedule
: Moderate
The Bengals have one cupcake match-up against the Browns sandwiched between tilts with Pittsburgh on the road and San Diego at home. While the Week 14 & 16 match-ups aren’t juicy, you’ll probably roll with most of your top guns.

Five Star Fantasy Options

Cedric Benson – Benson followed up his impressive end to the 2008 season with a 1251 yard, 6 TD 2009 campaign. With Larry Johnson moving on to Washington, there is no clear threat to his carries.

Chad Ochocinco – I should technically call him Chad Cero Revis after getting shut down by Revis not once, but twice to close out the year. That said, he returned to form with a 72-1047-9 season. With Antonio Bryant on board, Ocho should get a little more breathing room.

Four Star Fantasy Options
Carson Palmer – Palmer had a nice TD-INT ratio (21-13), completion percentage (60.5) and passer rating (83.6). What he lacked was passing yardage. There were 17 QBs who threw for more yards than his 3094. The addition of Bryant and rookie TE Jermaine Gresham should help. He remains a low-end QB1 or a high-end QB2.

Three Star Fantasy Options
Antonio Bryant – Bryant’s 2009 season was pretty much a lost cause thanks to injuries and Tampa Bay’s ineptitude. He gets a new lease on life with the Bengals and should be a solid WR3 this year.

Bengals Defense/Special Teams - I don’t think their defense will be as stout as last year, but they do have some favorable match-ups (Browns twice, Bucs, Bills). They also face the Pats, Ravens twice, Falcons, Dolphins, Colts, Steelers, Chargers, Jets, and Saints. In other words, don’t use them as your #1 fantasy defense.

Two Star Fantasy Options

Jermaine Gresham – It usually takes rookie TEs some time to adjust, but Gresham should be able to make an impact sooner rather than later. He has great size and will help Palmer attack the middle of the field, as well as providing a red zone target.

One Star Fantasy Options

Andre Caldwell – Caldwell is a decent slot receiver, and has some value in PPR leagues, but has very little upside.

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We’re kicking off a new series called the Fourth & 1 Debate in which one fantasy football writer posts a question to a panel of fantasy football writers from some of the top fantasy football sites.

Our friend Eric Stashin, the Rotoprofessor, kicked things off.  Click here to see the full article

Here’s my response:

While it is difficult to make any rash decisions after one game, the fact of the matter is that some players are to good to drop, but too bad to play.  Sometimes those players snap out of their funk.  Other times they just continue to struggle and when you finally do cut them, you missed out on all of the early season surprises.

One player I would consider cutting is Laveranues Coles.  In his debut with the Bengals he caught just one pass for 11 yards. He wasn’t facing the mighty Pittsburgh defense, rather the lowly Denver Broncos, who ranked 26th against the pass last year.  He was targeted just five times, and managed to drop three passes.  Chad Ochocinco was clearly Carso Palmer’s go-to-guy, and second-year WR Andre Caldwell looked good with 6 receptions.  Preseason superstar Chris Henry played a limited role because of a thigh injury, but his role should expand going forward.

Aside from having a lot of competition for touches, Coles is playing in a offense that could struggle to put points on the board.  Palmer is going to take some time to work off the rust.  At this point, I’m not that confident he’ll do it anytime soon.  With a bye and four games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the next eight weeks, there wouldn’t be many opportunities to even give Coles a shot.  At this point, I think it would be best to cut ties with Coles and pick up someone with more upside.

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Written by
Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

When ranking the Top 20 quarterbacks for 2009 (click here to view), Carson Palmer came in at #13. He was just outside being drafted as a starter in typical 12-team formats with injury concerns being the biggest reason why.

He was limited to just four games in 2008 thanks to an elbow injury, which he opted to rehab instead of undergoing Tommy John surgery to correct. Despite his claims that he’s recovered from the injury, the fact that there was no surgery to correct the problem has to be a concern.

If that wasn’t enough, he’s been limited to just 11 pass attempts this preseason thanks to a high-ankle sprain he suffered in the opening game. He claims he’s prepared. Coach Marvin Lewis claims he’s prepared. It really doesn’t matter what everyone says, until he steps onto the field and proves his health, there are going to be questions surrounding his ability.

I’m not talking about one game. I’m not talking about two games. It’s going to take a few weeks of good health and good play for him to convince me.

He hasn’t had time to work with the new players being worked into the offense like Laverneous Coles, something he should have had in the preseason. He hasn’t had an opportunity to work off any rust he had from such a long layoff.

Basically, he is one long list of questions without any convincing answers.

From 2005-2007 he was among the leagues best QBs, making him an ideal gamble. Anyone with 86 touchdowns and 45 interceptions with over 12,000 yards deserves that respect.

Still, the idea of rolling the dice on him over these first few weeks could be a crushing blow. Many owners are doing just that, however, thanks to his current ADP of 91.24, the twelfth QB coming off the board.

He’s going before:

  • Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Tennessee Week 1)
  • Matt Hasselbeck (vs. St. Louis Week 1)
  • Eli Manning (vs. Washington Week 1)

Palmer, meanwhile, takes on the Broncos. While he may ordinarily be the best option of this group, he’d probably be the last one I’d play this week. With the length of his layoff, you really can’t expect much from him this first game back.

My prediction for Week 1:

18-28, 178 yards, 1 TD, 1 Interception.

That’s an alright line, but it’s not going to win you anything. In two or three weeks, my projections for him would probably be significantly better, but you need to give him the time to adjust to the new players in the offense and the NFL game in general. It’s been way too long to expect huge things.

My suggestion would be to have him on your bench this week in one quarterback formats.

What about everyone else? What are you expecting from Palmer in Week 1?  Would you use him?

I was a big believer in Ted Ginn Jr. in 2008.  I thought he had the chance to really be a breakout wide receiver, but he fell well short with just 56 catches, 790 yards and 2 TD.  As we prepare for the start of the 2009 campaign, I find myself back in the same quandary.  Could this be the year that Ginn emerges as a must start fantasy option?

He did take a step forward last season, improving from 34 catches and 420 yards in his rookie season, though it wasn’t enough for him to crack our Top 25 (click here to view).  Part of that can be credited to the presence of a steady quarterback in Chad Pennington, who was able to get him the ball consistently and allow him to make plays.

The touchdowns are a concern, with Anthony Fasano leading the way with seven.  A lot of that likely had to do with Pennington’s adjusting to the offense.  Part could be due to the offense itself.

Remember, this is the team that brought the Wildcat offense to the NFL.  Ronnie Brown saw some time behind center, though he only threw three passes.  Still, with him rushing for 10 TD, as well as Ricky Williams getting four, there weren’t that many opportunities to score via the air.

Ginn helped to offset that by getting two touchdowns on the ground.  I know, four TDs are not going to blow your socks off.  Still, with continued growth and Pennington settling in, I could easily see him adding a few more TDs this season.

The Dolphins face the Falcons, who boasted the 21st best passing defense in the league last season.  While they added DT Peria Jerry through the draft, that does little to improve the passing defense.  Ginn enters the season as the team’s #1 receiver and I easily could see him posting a solid game.

Last season he had a pair of seven catch games, but only once surpassing 100 yards.  I wouldn’t expect him to get there, at least not in Week 1.  As for what I would expect him to do:

Receiving – 5 receptions, 83 yards, 1 TD

Those are stats that I’d take on my team and are certainly usable.  Maybe I’m a little too optimistic, but I’d recommend having him in my line-up for Week 1.

What do you think?  Is Ginn a player that you think is worth using in Week 1?  Why or why not?

Photos courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

Pierre Thomas’s knee will cost him a juicy matchup against Detroit.  Be sure to bump Reggie Bush up a few notches, and Mike Bell, who was already in my Fantasy Fill-ins for the week, shows up on the radar.  An unlikely RB2 for the first week, but the situation is almost too good to be true. 

Look elsewhere for your WR3s as both Kevin Walter and Bernard Berrian on game-time-decisions.  Who wants to deal with that in the first week?  There are better plays this week that won’t give you an upset stomach.

It looks as if Brian Westbrook will play on Sunday.  If you’re planning on using him, make sure you have a replacement RB on speed dial.

It looks as if Marc Bulger and Kyle Orton are going to get the nod this week.  Say it with me…Whoopty Doo.  If you’re in dire straights role with Orton, but if you are using Bulger you might as well pencil in a L for the week.

In relevant QB news, Carson Palmer will get the start for the Bengals.  He makes a nice start against Denver despite missing the bulk of the preseason.

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Kansas City cut WR Amani Toomer, paving the way for Mark Bradley to start opposite of Dwayne Bowe.  With Matt Cassel hurting, this offense has a chance to be pretty dreadful this year.  Devard Darling is out for the year with a knee injury, and Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey got the boot.  This is a work in progress, but lower your expectations of Bowe, Cassel, and Larry Johnson.

Rookie holdouts seldom have a happy ending.  The contract typically isn’t much better than what originally offered.  The player falls way behind in learning the system, and often injures himself as he tries to rush to get up to speed.  That’s what happened with Cincinnati Tackle Andre Smith.  The first-rounder fractured his foot before the ink even dried on his contract.  He will miss a couple of weeks and could have a hard time getting on the field this season.  The Bengals did get some good news, though, when Carson Palmer returned to practice.

Laveranues Coles Bengals
Image from ESPN Photos

As long as Carson Palmer is healthy, he’s likely the best QB Coles has ever played with (at the time, relax Favre fans).  Though he throws a good deep ball, he also made a living hitting Housh on shorter routes.  Now that Housh is gone, Coles can fill that role. Plus, if Chad Ochocinco is truly back to form, Coles should find plenty of opening to do his thing.  He’s a good route runner with terrific hands and toughness.  I don’t know if he can match the TD total (7) from last year simply because Chris Henry is Palmer’s weapon of choice in close, but Coles should be a good value, especially in PPR leagues.

Coles will likely be selected in the 7th or 8th round of your fantasy draft, and should be good for 85 receptions for 1000 yards and 5 TDs.  I wouldn’t be enamored with his as my WR2, but he’s a solid WR3.

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