The Cardinals find themselves in the midst of an old-fashioned quarterback controversy as Derek Anderson was named the starter of the Cardinals’ third preseason game. The third preseason game is typically the game where the starters play for an extended period as a final tune-up for the season before resting in the fourth game.

 

Leinart who lost a QB battle to Kurt Leinart could once again be relegated to backup duty. It’s one thing to lose out to a former league MVP and possible Hall of Famer, but losing out to Derek Anderson would make the bust cries come in louder.

 

Leinart has had some success in the first two games completing a combined 10 of 13 passes (76.9 percent) for 77 yards. He has been sacked twice and hasn’t had a turnover. Anderson, who has a stronger arm, has completed 24 of 41 passes (58.5 percent) for 193 yards and 1 TD. Derek has been sacked once and has thrown two interceptions.

 

This should act as a wake-up call for Leinart. If he responds well, he could win his job back. Of course if Anderson delivers, he could take a firm grip on the starting gig. Either way, the Cardinals’ QB situation is beginning to stink. It’s probably one you should avoid in your fantasy drafts. Unfortunately it doesn’t help my confidence in Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and Early Doucet either.

A Tale of Two Divas

7 October 2009

It must be Wide Receiver Day in the NFL as a pair of disgruntled WRs are in the news.  First up is Diva Rookie Michael Crabtree.  San Francisco’s 3-1 start and 35-0 drubbing of St. Louis must have made Crabtree realize that the Niners were doing fine without him, and weren’t going to be the first one to blink.  Now that he has missed so much time, it is unlikely that Crabtree will make much of an impact, especially on a team that relies on the running game and defense.  It is good news to those fantasy owners who took a chance on him, and especially to those in dynasty leagues who intend to have him as part of their long-term plan.

In other news, Braylon Edwards punched his ticket out of Cleveland (pun intended).  He is heading to the Jets for Chansi Stuckey, Jason Trusnik, and a couple of draft picks.  Edwards fantasy value takes a jump as he’ll likely be more motivated escaping the misery of Cleveland.  Stuckey could see a slight bump in value, but the real bump should go to last week’s breakout player Mohamed Massaquoi, who had a great rapport with Derek Anderson last week in a loss to Cincinnati.

As far as the QBs go, Mark Sanchez takes a step forward by adding a big play threat, assuming his drops and attitude don’t get in the way.  I don’t see much change from Derek Anderson as Braylon’s heart wasn’t in it.  He didn’t even catch a pass last week.

Cleveland Browns Preview

31 August 2008

The Browns were the surprise team last year.  Now that they can’t sneak up on anybody, I’m interested to see how they will do.

Offensivley they were one of the best units last year.  Derek Anderson was an unbelievable find racking up nearly 3800 yards and 29 TDs.  He suffered a concussion this preseason, which hopefully won’t carry with him into the seasons.  If it does, Brady Quinn will be waiting in the wings.  From what he’s shown this preseason, he needs a little more time learning the position.  At Running Back Jamal Lewis had a surprising year as well.  He tallied over 1550 total yards and 11 TDs.  He was particularly effective down the stretch.  At Wide Receiver the Browns added Donte Stallworth to compliment Braylon Edwards.  At Tight End Kellen Winslow is one of the game’s best. Their Offensive Line is great, anchored by second-year Left Tackle Joe Thomas.   They are even well-stocked in their return game with Joshua Cribbs.

Defense is, and will continue to be, their weekness.  They did add Shaun Rogers, which should help.  LB D’Qwell Jackson (101 Tackles) and FS Sean Jones (96 Tackles, 5 INTs) are their biggest playmakers.  They had a few guys with 4 or 5 Sacks, but nobody who put real pressure on the Defense.  Hopefully Rogers can either provide that pressure or draw enough attention that somebody else will be able to.

I think they will be decent this year, but I don’t see a playoff berth in their cards.  The AFC is just too loaded.  8 or 9 Wins is what I expect.

Fantasy-wise the Browns are stacked.  I’m not a huge DA guy, but he did produce monster numbers at QB.  I cant’ justify taking him early, so he’d only make it to my team if he fell into my lap.  Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow are beasts in their respective positions.  Jamal Lewis should be productive again, and as long as he seems to be associated with a decline like the Edge, he’ll be a great value.  Donte Stallworth is worth snagging as a 4th or 5th WR.  Phil Dawson is a solid Kicker.  I wouldn’t reach for him, but if he’s there on your last pick, he’s worthy of a roster spot.

You’ve seen the Sleepers.  Now it’s time to explore the players who I feel will be disappointments to fantasy football owners.  I’ll start with the Quarterbacks.

Ben Roethlisberger – Will he have a good year?  Probably.  Will he have a great year?  Not likely.  I don’t put Big Ben on another 32 TD, 11 INT year.  Sorry.  He was 3rd in TD Passes last year and 14th in Passing Yards.  That bothers me a little.  Pittsburgh is traditionally a Run First team.  WIth the addition of Rashard Mendenhall to compliment Willie Parker, I think you’ll see a deeper running attack next year.  As for the flurry of TD passes?  I’m just not buying it.  He still should be a good QB next year, but don’t expect him in the Top 6 again.

David Garrard – I like Garrard a lot.  I really do.  I think he does what it takes to win in this league.  There will be owners taking him ahead of Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, and several others.  The problem is, Jacksonville is a Run First team as well.  He averaged 209 yards passing and 1.5 TDs per game last year.  What saved him was the low INT total (3).  Do I see another 6-1 TD:INT ration from Garrard again?  Nope.  Sure don’t.

Tom Brady – Brady will have another fantastic year, but if you are expecting even 4500 yards and 40 TDs you may come away disappointed.  A more realistic season for Brady would be 4200 yards & 36 TDs.  If you can live with that from a late-first/early-second round pick, then by all means take him.

Derek Anderson – I like Anderson, but I need to see proof that it wasn’t a fluke before I invest an early pick in him.  I know this.  He (or Cleveland) won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year.  They will be better equipped to deal with what’s coming.  Just looking at his splits is enough of a reason to raise some red flags for me.
Games 1-8:  91.7 rating, 2108 yards, 17 TD, 9 INT
Games 9-16:  73.7 rating, 1679 yards, 12 TD, 10 INT

How about his performance in the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16)?  He averaged 191 yards, 1.3 TDs, and 1.7 INTs.  Are those numbers that are going to bring you fantasy glory?  I didn’t think so.  What’s worse is they came against the Jets, Buffalo, and Cincinnati.  Not exactly your Powerhouses last year.  One contributing factor is the weather.  Cleveland is cold.  They get a lot of wind and snow.  Next year they play in Philly Week 15 and at home against Cincy Week 16.  You think they could have some weather to deal with?  Yeah, me too.

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.


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