The NFC East has three established quarterbacks and one messy situation.
Michael Vick is the number one fantasy quarterback in the division. He’s a bit of a risk in part because of injuries and in part because he’s never had a season like last year. He has the tools to succeed and the weapons around him to flourish, but we won’t know if he still has the drive to be a better quarterback. He’s easily a top tier QB1, but he has more risk than the likes of Rodgers, Brees, Brady, and Manning. Kevin Kolb is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league. He could find himself traded, possibly to Arizona. He makes a decent QB2 if he’s a starter.
Tony Romo put up big numbers when he is healthy. Dez Bryant is immature, but he gives Romo another quality weapon. He’s averaged 2699.5 yards and 1.9 touchdown passes per game over the past four years (51 games). His lack of playoff success keeps him from the Brady, Peyton, and Brees discussions, but he is possibly the best value among fantasy quarterbacks because of it.
Eli Manning reached 4000 yards for the second straight season. Not bad for a team that historically likes to run the football. His career high of 31 touchdowns gives him an average of 29 over the past two years and 25 over the past six. He really formed a nice rapport with Hakeem Nicks and remains a solid QB1 if you want to address other needs or a high-end QB2.

Then there is Washington. Donovan McNabb is as good as gone, which marks the second straight season he’s been sent packing. I don’t know if he’s a starting caliber quarterback anymore. Even if he finds a new gig, his fantasy days are most likely behind him. Rex Grossman could be brought back, but it appears John Beck could get a chance to show what he can do. This is a situation to avoid. Not only are the QB options mediocre at best, but they are running thin in the playmaker department.

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Boser’s Tweetbeat – Sifting through the hashtags to bring you the hottest trending Twitter topics in the Fantasy Football industry.
By Ryan Boser
A Kick in the Teeth?
The NFL’s decision to move kickoffs up from the 30 to the 35-yard line has been widely criticized by coaches, players, and fans alike. Touchbacks are boring, and more importantly, they deprive us of fantasy scoring opportunities. Last season roughly 16 percent of kickoffs resulted in touchbacks — that number is expected to double in 2011. Furthermore, it’s been speculated that there will be an emphasis on kickoff height, giving coverage units extra time to swarm. So how exactly will this rule change affect fantasy football? Well, unless your league awards points for return yards, the impact will be minimal. The odds of that pleasantly unexpected six-pointer from guys like Percy Harvin or Jacoby Ford just took a hit, but you shouldn’t be banking on those perks anyways.

The Quarterback Shuffle

Now that the Super Bowl buzz has subsided, Michael Vick has reclaimed his throne from Aaron Rodgers as the No. 1 2011 fantasy quarterback. What’s more interesting is the range at which he’s been drafted. In nearly 40 expert mocks run by the fine folks at FantasyFootballWhiz.com and ProFootballFocus.com, he’s been selected everywhere from No. 1 to No. 26. I can’t recall a more polarizing fantasy prospect. I find myself trending towards the low end of the spectrum — outstanding quarterback value can be found in rounds 4-6.

Trade Winds

Now that Andy Reid is reportedly willing to listen to trade offers for backup quarterback Kevin Kolb, we can safely begin to discuss his fantasy impact as a starter. Where? Take your pick — his name has been tied to speculation in Tennessee, Carolina, San Francisco, Minnesota, Cleveland, Seattle, Cincinnati, and Arizona. Of the eight teams mentioned, no player stands to gain more than Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The addition of a quarterback who can put a ball in his general vicinity would likely propel his fantasy draft stock back to where it belongs — among the top three wide receivers.
Gold Rush
The fantasy stock of San Francisco’s passing game has seen an uptick since the hiring of Jim Harbaugh in January. For now, we have to assume Alex Smith will return as quarterback, although that could obviously change depending on how April’s draft plays out. In particular, tight end Vernon Davis’ and wide receiver Michael Crabtree’s ADPs are pointing up. Davis belongs in the top five at his position, regardless of coach or quarterback, but I’m still leery of Crabtree. He’s shown us very little at the NFL level, and his size/speed combination is nothing special. In 27 career games, he’s topped 81 yards just twice, and he’s only scored eight times. Moreover, he’s caught just 55% of his targets (103/187), and averaged a mundane 13.3 yards per catch. Does that seem like mid-round value to you?
Ryan Boser is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA), and regularly contributes writing and commentary to numerous media outlets. Ryan’s own website, Out of My League, covers both fantasy football and the Minnesota sports landscape.

The Vikings have the 12th pick in the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft. While many NFL Draft purists put trading away draft picks right up there with treason, I’m from the camp that says the Vikings should go big and make the move for Kevin Kolb. But, it’s the 12th pick in the draft, you can’t trade that away. I say why not. Look at the past twenty picks from the 12th slot:
2010:  Ryan Mathews
2009:  Knowshon Moreno
2008:  Ryan Clady
2007:  Marshawn Lynch
2006:   Haloti Ngata
2005:  Shawne Merriman
2004:  Jonathan Vilma
2003:  Jimmy Kennedy
2002:  Wendell Bryant
2001:  Damione Lewis
2000:  Shaun Ellis
1999:  Cade McNown
1998:  Keith Brooking
1997:  Warrick Dunn
1996:  Regan Upshaw
1995:  Warren Sapp
1994:  Aaron Glenn
1993:  Patrick Bates
1992:  Marco Coleman
1991:   Alvin Harper
Some decent names, but aside from Warren Sapp, who slid because of character issues, the 12th pick has not been a player that changed the course of a franchise. Kevin Kolb has that potential.
Kolb was drafted in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft.  He was the third quarterback taken in what could easily be the worst QB crop in NFL Draft history. Epic bust JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn were the top two taken. The Eagles received some criticism for taking Kolb when they had McNabb, but isn’t that the same song that was sung in Green Bay when the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers? I’m not saying Kolb has a chance to be anywhere near the quarterback that Rodgers is, but he would give them stability at the most important position in football.
Kolb has spent four years learning the game from Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. He will be more NFL ready than someone in the draft. Bill Musgrave, the Vikings new Offensive Coordinator, has worked favorably with young quarterbacks in recent years. He was Matt Schaub’s O.C. at Virginia before helping Matt Ryan become one of the game’s best young quarterbacks with the Falcons.
While Kolb is older than the options in the NFL Draft, he’ll be just 27 when the season kicks off. He was plenty of good years in front of him. Whoever you would take in the draft would likely need a few years to be ready to play at this level. Think of this as a way of speeding up time.
Kolb had two strong performances filling in for McNabb in 2009. The Eagles had enough confidence in him that they let Donovan McNabb walk. He did enough in the offseason to hold off Michael Vick, who was gearing up to have a near MVP season.
While 2010 was a disappointment for Kolb, as he lost his job to Vick, he did salvage his reputation by turning in a near flawless performance against Atlanta in Week 6. He had a couple more bumpy starts, but I do believe the foundation has been set for Kolb. All he needs is an opportunity.
The Vikings, like the Eagles, have good young talent at the skill position. They also have some aging veterans on both sides of the ball. The window to win is now. Sure, they can wait and develop a quarterback, but when he’s ready, the rest of the team may not be.
The Eagles may be looking for too much compensation for Kolb. While I would be willing to part with the 12th pick, I wouldn’t agree to a second draft pick. Not when you would have to pay him handsomely. Not when there are still questions as to whether he can fully succeed at the position.

This article is also featured at NFLTouchdown.com, where I am the lead Vikings writer.

2010 NFL Injury Notes: Week 2

17 September 2010

Beanie Wells (knee) is headed to the dreaded game-time decision after being a limited participant in Arizona’s Friday practice. At this point I would make other plans for your roster. Tim Hightower can likely be used again.
Percy Harvin (hip) is also a likely game-time decision, but all signs point to Harvin playing against Miami. Plan on using Percy, but check his status before kickoff.
Kellen Winslow (knee) was listed as questionable for Tampa’s game against Carolina this week. Winslow has historically been able to play through pain so I would expect him to go. If you have a better option on your bench, I would use him, but I do expect Winslow to play.
As expected Kevin Kolb (concussion) won’t play against Detroit this week. Michael Vick should be a strong play.
Meanwhile, Matt Moore (concussion) was able to practice and will give it a go against Carolina. He wouldn’t be anywhere near my fantasy roster though.
Hakeem Nicks (ankle) is making life difficult for his fantasy owners. It would be hard not to play him after his three-TD performance to open the season, but he’s also a game-time decision. The Giants don’t play until Sunday night so you’ll have to hope there is news before the early games. If you have another WR on the Giants, Colts, Saints, or 49ers that you can plug in if he doesn’t play, then you can gamble on Nicks. If not, and you don’t hear any positive news from Nicks’ camp, I would play it safe and leave him on your bench.

No surprise here. Kevin Kolb will miss Sunday’s game against Detroit with a concussion. Michael Vick will start in his absence. Vick has a good chance to hang a solid fantasy number on the Lions with both his feet and his arm. If your starter has a tough match-up, Vick is a high risk, high reward play. If Vick plays well, look for the quarterback controversy to heat up.
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Written by Eric Stashin of www.rotoprofessor.com


Image courtesy of Icon SMI


LeSean McCoy showed enough in his rookie campaign to allow the Philadelphia Eagles to let oft injured veteran running back Brian Westbrook walk in the offseason.  Selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, McCoy now has a chance to put his skills on full display.


The question is, how good do you think he will be?  In abbreviated appearances (only 4 starts despite appearing in all 16 games) last season he managed to rush for 637 yards and 4 TD.  He averaged 4.1 yards per carry, a more then respectable number.


As has always been the Eagles nature, he was a great option in the passing game.  He had 40 receptions for 308 yards, showing the same type of ability as Westbrook did.  In their offense that uses a lot of screens, Westbrook accumulated as many as 90 catches in a season and was always a threat.


With Kevin Kolb manning the quarterback position, it’s quite possible that the focus on using the running backs increases.  Despite the ability Kolb showed last season, there’s a big difference starting week after week, as opposed to starting just one or two games (you can click here for my full thoughts on him).


He could easily feel the pressure.  The Eagles could easily script the plays in order to protect him, limiting the risks he’s forced to take.  That means more screens, more check downs to his running back or tight end.  That means more opportunities for McCoy to excel.


The offensive line, however, will need to hold up to allow him to run rampant.  The last time they stepped on the field, they allowed four sacks to the Dallas Cowboys, including a pair from DeMarcus Ware. continue reading »

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Kevin Kolb is the ninth QB (71st overall) going off the board in fantasy drafts according to Mock Draft Central. I’m pretty much on board with his rank (click to see my 2010 QB rankings), but I’m not sure if I’d have the guts to pull the trigger on him.


Not when you can get much better value with Brett Favre (10, 77), Eli Manning (11, 86), Matt Ryan (12, 87), Joe Flacco (13, 91), Donovan McNabb (14, 103), or Carson Palmer (15, 108). Sure Kevin Kolb could blow up this year, but he also comes with plenty of risk.


Aside from two impressive starts in Week 2 & 3 in which he ripped the Saints (391 yards, 2 TDs) and Chiefs (327 yards, 2 TDs),  Kolb is for the most part the great unknown. He is highly regarded for his accuracy, but he has to prove that he can remain accurate all season long against heavy pressure.


Kolb does have a ton of weapons at his disposal. Perhaps that is why everybody is so high on him. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are a solid 1-2 receiving punch. LeSean McCoy is very capable at catching the ball out of the backfield. Brent Celek is one of the top options at tight end.


That said, Kolb has big shoes to fill following Donovan McNabb’s departure, especially when they will square off twice this season. Philadelphia is not an easy place to play, so if he struggles things could get ugly in a hurry. With Michael Vick waiting in the wings, the Philly fans could start calling for a change. While that won’t necessarily cause Andy Reid to make a change, it would make for a tense situation. Not exactly how you want your first year’s starters season to go.


That, of course, is the pessimistic viewpoint. Some Eagles fans have grown tired of McNabb and are thirsty for change. This is a young team, so why not have a young QB try to lead them to the promise land?


If you are going to roll the dice and use Kolb as your number one fantasy QB, make sure you get a capable backup. It’s not that I expect him to fail, but there is that risk. Plus, his fantasy playoffs schedule (@DAL, @NYG, vs. MIN) is brutal.


Would you trust Kevin Kolb as your starting fantasy QB?

Perhaps no NFL team will look more different in 2010 than the Eagles. After all they one of the most familiar faces in franchise history when Donovan McNabb was dealt to the Redskins. Brian Westbrook, a staple in Philly’s offense for the past seven years is also gone. That said, the Eagles should, in theory, continue to hum right along as one of the league’s best offenses.


Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Difficult
I’m not going to say that you should bench the likes of Kevin Kolb, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Brent Celek, but you should know going into the year that the Birds face the Cowboys in Dallas (Week 14), the Giants in New Jersey (15), and the Vikings at home (16).


Five Star Fantasy Options
DeSean Jackson – Jackson certainly cannot be measured by his stature (5’10″, 175). His quickness is off-the-charts. He is working with a new QB, but one that he racked up 10 catches for 250 yards and 2 TDs with in Kolb’s two starts last year. Like Westbrook, he can scare you a little with injury concerns, but he can put up fantasy points in a hurry.


Four Star Fantasy Options
Kevin Kolb – While I appreciate the talent level Donovan McNabb possess, I do believe that the system and the players in that system play a big role in the success of a player. Brett Favre is an amazing talent, but when he left Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense didn’t miss a beat. Same with Joe Montana to Steve Young. Now I’m not saying Kolb is going to put up Steve Young or even Aaron Rodgers, but the pieces are in place for a real solid season.


LeSean McCoy – Everything I mentioned above regarding McNabb and Kolb, paste in Westbrook and McCoy. Actually McCoy has an easier hole to fill. He is replacing a talented RB that was basically missing in action all of last season anyway. Kolb has to replace a franchise QB. McCoy has the perfect skill set for this offense. Yardage will be the name of the game for McCoy. Mike Bell and Michael Vick will likely get the short yardage TDs for the Eagles.


Brent Celek – Celek caught 76 passes for 971 yards and 8 TDs. Like Jackson, he played great with Kolb under center. In Kolb’s two starts Celek had 8 catches for 104 yards each game with 1 TD. He’s a big target in the red zone, which could allow him to approach double-digit TDs.


Three Star Fantasy Options
Jeremy Maclin – Maclin had a solid rookie season catching 56 passes for 773 yards and 4 TDs. With Jackson and Celek garnering so much attention, Maclin could lead the team in receptions.


Eagles Defense/Special Teams – Their fantasy playoff schedule keeps me from giving them a four star rating. That and the fact that they face the Packers, Falcons, Titans, Colts, and Texans along with two match-ups each against the tough NFC East. You know Donovan McNabb will be gunning for them in Weeks 4 & 10.


Two Star Fantasy Options
Mike Bell – Bell will be used to get the tough yard, most notably near the goal line. He could also be used to close out games. Michael Vick’s potential to snipe short TDs could keep Bell from being a viable flex option.


One Star Fantasy Options
Michael Vick – Vick is a rare backup QB that could actually put up some numbers week-to-week thanks to the Wildcat. If Kolb gets injured or is overwhelmed by the role of starting QB, Vick could be called upon.


Charles Scott – The rookie RB out of LSU could also be used in short yardage situations, as well as to close out games. He will need an injury or ineffectiveness from McCoy or Bell to become a fantasy threat, but the potential is there.


Jason Avant – Avant will work the slot in three-receiver sets. He has great hands , but won’t get enough touches week-to-week to be a true fantasy threat. 329 of his 587 yards (56%) came in Weeks 2, 10, and 12. He didn’t top 45 yards in any other game.


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