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San Diego’s Philip Rivers is easily the class of the division. It doesn’t matter who who is throwing too. Vincent Jackson holds out and only plays four games? Ho hum. Rivers throws for 4710 yards. Antonio Gates has nine touchdowns in the first eight games and then misses six of the next eight games? Big deal. Rivers throws 30 TDs (13 INT). Rivers remains a top tier QB1.
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Kansas City got 3116 yards and 27 TDs (7 INTs) from Matt Cassel and added the 6’4″ Jonathan Baldwin to his arsenal. He should take some of the pressure Dwayne Bowe, who exploded for 1162 yards and 15 TDs last year. Bowe had just one touchdown in the last five games while averaging 55.4 yards. The Chiefs also added Rodney Hudson to help their offensive line. Cassel is a solid QB2 going into the 2011 season.
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John Elway is on board with Tim Tebow as the Broncos’ quarterback. Tebow will have his ups and downs, but should be a solid QB2 thanks to his ability to run the football. He had six rushing touchdowns last year. New coach John Fox has Kyle Orton on top of the depth chart, but he could be traded once the lockout is lifted. If he beats out Tebow, he will also be a solid QB2. I just assume at some point Tebow would get a chance to start.
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Then there is the Raiders. Jason Campbell is the starter, but he’s not much of a fantasy option. He topped 240 yards just twice.  He had one or fewer touchdown passes in ten of the 13 games he played in. I would look elsewhere for my backup fantasy quarterback.
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Also check out:

 


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We already discussed that Cam Newton and Kevin Kolb would be good options to fill the Vikings’ void at quarterback. There is another option, Kyle Orton, that could be an even more perfect solution. That is, of course, if the Broncos are willing to part with the veteran signal caller and completely give the keys to Tim Tebow.
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Orton makes sense because unlike Newton and Kolb, he has shown that he can successfully compete at the NFL level. The fact that he’s had success on two different teams just reinforces his ability. In his past three seasons Orton has thrown 59 touchdown passes to just 33 interceptions. He’s completed 59.9 percent of his passes and averaged nearly 3500 yards per year.
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The Vikings are built to win now.  Having a quarterback that knows how to read NFL defenses, knows the preparation it takes each week, and commands the respect of the locker room and in the huddle is a requirement if you’re going to make a run at the playoffs.
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You don’t have to worry about rookie mistakes or immaturity. You don’t have to worry about a big contract going to his head. Plus, having played in Chicago, Orton already has a great feel for the NFC North. He won’t be intimidated when he goes into Lambeau. He is comfortable playing in Soldier Field. He won’t be afraid to go into Ford Field…wait, nobody is so scratch that one. What I’m trying to say he’s been there and he’s done that.
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Acquiring Orton won’t take nearly the bounty it would to get Kolb. You would still be able to use the 12th pick in the draft to help your team now. It makes too much sense not to do it. He’ll be just 29 next November so he has plenty of football ahead of him.
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There are two problems that could prevent a deal. For starters, the collective bargaining agreement has to be figured out. The longer it goes on, the less likely any deals will get done. I’m convinced there is too much money at stake for any game action to be missed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it drags out a while.
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The other issue is whether the Broncos would be willing to part ways. If Josh McDaniels were still around, I would say it would be fairly likely they would move him. Tebow is McDaniels’ project, and it’s hard to say if the new regime will be supporters. There are already grumblings that this isn’t the case. If the Broncos opt to take a quarterback in the 2011 NFL Draft, then Orton will become expendable.
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A lot will happen before the Vikings decide what direction they will go at quarterback next year. The one that makes the most sense to me, and the one I support is trading for Kyle Orton.
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What do you think the Vikings should do a quarterback for next year?
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This article is also featured at NFLTouchdown.com, where I am the lead Vikings writer.

Written by Eric Stashin of www.rotoprofessor.com

 

 

Kyle Orton could have been considered a 2009 surprise, posting solid numbers after being acquired from the Bears in the trade sending Jay Cutler out of Denver.  Having only spent one year as a starter prior to the trade, it was hard to imagine what we were going to see, but he certainly delivered.

 

Orton completed over 62 percent of his passes, going for 3,802 yards (11th in the league) and 21 TD.  Additionally, he only threw 12 INT, ninth fewest among QB with at least 300 attempts.

 

The problem, as we enter 2010, is wondering where the production on the outside will come from with Brandon Marshall now calling Miami home.  Nearly one-third of the yards Orton threw for went to Marshall, nearly half the TDs.

 

Not only that, but Tony Sheffler, who could have emerged as a big-time go to target at TE, is now in Detroit, just adding to the lack of receiving threats.

 

Demaryious Thomas, drafted to replace Marshall, has been hampered by a foot injury, and no one really knows what to expect from him.

 

That leaves a number of question marks surrounding what’s left.  Can Eddie Royal rediscover his rookie form?  Can Jabar Gaffney, who showed signs last season, emerge as a number one WR?  Can Brandon Lloyd, a perpetual disappointment, provide any type of offense?

 

Knowshown Moreno, if healthy, could emerge as the biggest threat coming out of the backfield, but that’s not going to provide Orton with many downfield opportunities.  If their leading receiver turns out to be a running back, just how can we expect him to accumulate a ton of numbers?

 

The best example of a RB who turned in a monster receiving season is Reggie Bush in 2006 and 2007.  In 2006 he had 88 catches for just 742 yards (8.4 yards/reception).  In 2007, it was 73 catches for 417 yards (5.7 yards/reception).  That’s not a lot of bang for your competions.

 

While Orton showed he had potential last season, the loss of Marshall is going to have a major effect on him.  He’s a low-end QB2 in my mind, and better suited to be a reserve in two-quarterback formats.

 

What are your thoughts?  Am I being too harsh on Orton and the Broncos receiving corps?  Can he turn out to be fantasy viable?

 

Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s 2010 rankings:

 

 

You can also check out my Week 1 Rankings:
Week 1 QB Rankings
Week 1 RB Rankings
Week 1 WR Rankings
Week 1 TE Rankings
Week 1 K Rankings
Week 1 DEF Rankings
Week 1 IDP Rankings

To say Josh McDaniels has taken an unconventional approach with the Broncos would be an understatement. In successive years he has shipped out one of the most physically gifted QBs (Jay Cutler) and WRs (Brandon Marshall). He has also staked his reputation on Tim Tebow, who has varying opinions as to how well his game will translate to the next level. There are some fantasy options, but it’s a far cry from the glory days with Shanahan. At least at this point.

 

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:   Moderately Difficult
The Broncos take on the Cardinals, who have consistency issues on defense, in Arizona, the Raiders in Oakland, and the Texans at home. In years past, this may have been a breeze, but Oakland’s defense is improved and the Texans could have one of the better units in the league with all of their young talent.

 

Five Star Fantasy Options
None

 

Four Star Fantasy Options
Knowshon Moreno – Knowshon failed to top 100 yards in any game last year, but he did manage two multiple TD games. He also added 28 catches for 213 yards and a pair of scores. It wasn’t an overwhelming rookie season, but he did manage 1160 total yards and 9 total TDs. He should have a more prominent role in the offense this year.

 


Three Star Fantasy Options
Broncos Defense/Special Teams – The Broncos have some nice match-ups starting with a pair of games against the Chiefs and Raiders. They also take on the Jags, Seahawks, and Rams. Plus, one of their tilts with the Chargers is in Week 17, which renders it meaningless in most fantasy circles.

 

Two Star Fantasy Options
Kyle Orton – I have him as a two star, but that’s really give or take a star. First he has to hold off Brady Quinn. Then he has to play well enough to pick up some wins. If the team struggles I don’t see a long leash for Orton. They will want to see what they have in Quinn. I don’t think Tebow will take too many snaps as the primary QB. He’ll likely get some time running the Wildcat offense.

 

Correll Buckhalter – Buckhalter will take on more of a secondary role with the Broncos given his age and injury history. He still has something to offer, but Moreno is clearly the more explosive back.

 

Demaryius Thomas, Eddie Royal, and Jabar Gaffney – I can see all of these guys havin 50-60 catches, but nobody will stand out from the crowd consistently. Their aggregate numbers will be OK, but will be hard to rely on week-to-week.

 

One Star Fantasy Options
Brady Quinn – Quinn should see the playing field at some point. Depending on how he plays, he can shoot up the ranks. Orton is steady with limited upside. Quinn offers more physically. It just a matter of whether he gets the opportunity and if he’s mentally prepared.

 

Brandon Stokley and Eric Decker – I’m not as high on this pair of WRs, but they could factor in the mix at times as well.

 

Daniel Graham – He’s more or a blocking TE than anything else, but could see some looks in the red zone now that Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler are gone.

 

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

A couple of big name NFL players have new homes. LaDainian Tomlinson left sunny San Diego for the Big Apple as he signed on to backup Shonn Greene of the New York Jets. I thought he would be a good fit with the Vikings, where he could justify to himself that he’s backing up an elite running back. Clearly LT knows where he’s at in his career. Otherwise he could not have accepted being second fiddle to a back with Greene’s credentials. 

Personally I think he misjudged the ability of the Jets. They made a great run last year, but I think will be hard-pressed to return to the playoffs in 2010. You can basically pencil in New England, Indianapolis, and San Diego. Baltimore, Pittsburgh (depending on Big Ben’s availability), Cincinnati, Houston, and Tennessee will be challenging the Jets for the remaining playoff spots. Assuming Brett Favre returns, I think the Vikings are in a better position to win it all. LT will likely have a bigger role with the Jets. Perhaps that swayed his decision.  

LT’s fantasy value clearly takes a hit. Barring injury, he won’t get as many touches in New York. Shonn Greene’s value shouldn’t change. He was getting the touches down the stretch when Thomas Jones was still with the team. Personally, I think Jones is better than LT at this stage of their careers.

In other news, the Broncos acquired Brady Quinn from the Browns for Peyton Hillis and some draft picks. Hillis is not a fantasy option in Cleveland. It appears his brief run two years ago will just be a blip on his fantasy radar. The real piece in this deal is Quinn. I’m not sure he could have found a better home. While Jay Cutler had to deal with John Elway comparisons, Quinn doesn’t come with the same expectations. The bar is set much lower. Besides, he’ll be happy to escape Cleveland where he was looked at as a hometown hero prior to his stint with the Browns.

It’s hard to say if you can count on Quinn this year. He’ll at least have the opportunity to beat out Kyle Orton. If he wins the starting gig, his value will be tied to the whereabouts of Brandon Marshall. If Marshall is dealt, his options could be limited. Thankfully you don’t have to make any decision on Quinn right now.

Big names have new homes, but nothing for fantasy players to get excited about.

RP4
Written by
Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

Eddie Royal return
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

In 2008, rookie Eddie Royal looked like a budding superstar.  He was the #2 wide receiver on his team, yet he was on the receiving end of 91 catches for 980 yards and 5 TD.  He was lucky enough to have a Pro Bowl quarterback at his disposal.  His reception total was the second most ever by a rookie (to Anquan Boldin’s 101).  Unfortunately, as we close in on the start of the 2009 season, everything has changed.

First of all, he’s now the main man on the outside for the Broncos, thanks to the antics of Brandon Marshall.  Will Marshall ultimately take the field this season as a member of the Broncos?  Unless something major changes, he certainly will, but in the his role could be limited thanks to his suspension during training camp and the wedge he’s driven between himself and the franchise.

Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler also had a falling out with the organization, leading to his trade to the Chicago Bears.  That leaves Kyle Orton to lead the offense, a certain downgrade.

Last season Orton completed just 34 passes of 20 yards or more, compared to Cutler’s 55.  He had 3 completions of 40 yards or more, compared to Cutler’s 7.  We’ll find out soon enough if it is the system, conditions or supporting cast, but you would be hard pressed to find someone who would consider Orton even close to the QB Cutler is.  Cutler has emerged as one of the elite, while Orton is anything but.

Now that we’ve covered the obvious, where exactly does that leave Royal?  Last season the Broncos put the ball in the air 620 times, third most in the NFL.  That allowed Marshall & Royal to combine for 195 receptions, but it is highly unlikely that the trend continues. 

With Knowshown Moreno brought in to improve a rushing offense that saw its leader have 343 yards, there should be a renewed focus on a ground attack.  Coupled with the regression in QB play, the strategy shouldn’t be a surprise.

Thanks to Marshall’s indiscretions, there’s one less receiver to target.  That’s good, because his receptions are going to go to someone.  It’s bad, because it is one less star for defenses to focus.  In turn Royal could see some double coverage this season, especially early in the season if Marshall does not take the field

While he was a second round draft choice, you also have to consider that his college career numbers at Virginia Tech were nowhere close to his professional success.  For his four-year career, he had just 119 receptions and 12 TDs.  Obviously, there’s no correlation, but you have to wonder if he will be able to repeat last season’s success, especially if Marshall is not a main focus of the offense and with Cutler no longer on the roster.

Let’s take a look at what I’d expect from him this season:

Receiving – 87 catches, 1,010 yards, 6 TD

Everything appears to be stacked against him from taking a huge next step forward this season.  That doesn’t mean that I would expect him to completely disappear into football obscurity, however.  He showed too much last season and should be able to post at least similar statistics, making him a low-end WR #2, but more of a great WR #3 in my book.  He was initially ranked as the #25 WR on our Top 25 list (click here to view), further cementing my view on him. 

What do you think of Royal for next season?  Do you think he’ll take a step forward?  Regress?  Post similar numbers?

Brandon Marshall catch
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Brandon Marshall, like Dwayne Bowe, is being sent a message as new Coach Josh McDaniels has Marshall listed on the second team on the Broncos’ depth chart.  Marshall has asked to be traded, had another run-in with the law, and has been unable to practice because of injury.  Not exactly the way to endear yourself to you new Coach. 

Marshall had two monster games in his return from suspension last year (18 receptions for 166 yards against San Diego & 6 receptions for 155 yards vs. New Orleans).  He only topped 100 yards one more time the rest of the way.  Yet, he finished with 104 receptions for 1265 yards and 6 TDs.  That of course was with QB Jay Cutler, who forced his way out of Denver.  New QB Kyle Orton doesn’t have the arm strength of Cutler, but he has proven to be a winner.  It will be interesting to monitor both QBs to see how they do in their new homes.  The questions surrounding Marshall make it difficult to rely on him as your #1 WR.  That’s the risk you’ll likely have to take on him as he’s going in third round of fantasy drafts.  I expect him to have another stellar year, assuming he does not get suspended.  He should catch 95 passes for 1200 yards and 7 TDs.  All things considered though, I would lean towards a WR that wasn’t quite as risky.

Kyle Orton Broncos

Now we get to see what Orton has.  He was a standout at Purdue and finally has some weapons to work with in Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal.  He doesn’t take much of a step back with his Tight Ends as Daniel Graham and Tony Scheffler aren’t far off from Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark.  He is going to a more pass-happy Offense and should see an increase in production, though he’s clearly a backup fantasy QB.

He should get off to a solid start facing Cincinnati and Cleveland in the first two weeks.  He plays the Chiefs in Week 13.  Unfortunately his best matchups aren’t in bye weeks, with lessens his value as a backup fantasy QB.  His fantasy playoffs matchups are Indy, Oakland, and Philly, which are probably a moot point because if you’re relying on him as your #1 QB, you’re probably not in the fantasy playoffs.  I would probably try and pair him with Brees or Manning.  Brees has a bye in Week 5 and Orton faces New England.  Peyton has a bye in Week 6 and Orton faces San Diego.  Denver faces Baltimore when Tom Brady is on bye so I wouldn’t pair them up.  Orton will be a late round pick and I’m putting him on a 3300 yard, 18 TD season.

The Denver Broncos finally moved their petulant star Quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears.  Cutler’s feelings were hurt when he found out his new Coach, Josh McDaniels, attempted to acquire Matt Cassel, who he coached in New England last year. 

The Broncos actually got a pretty nice score for Cutler.  They picked up Kyle Orton, Chicago’s #18 pick and 3rd round pick this year, and a #1 next year.  Not bad considering how public and ugly this fiasco turned. 

Cutler tore it up last year throwing for 4526 yards, 25 TDs, and 18 INTs.  The numbers are a little bloated though because Denver’s awful Defense and lack of a ground game forced Cutler to throw a ton of passes.  Orton wasn’t quite as impressive with 2812 yards, 18 TDs, and 12 INTs. 

Cutler certainly doesn’t lack confidence.  He once claimed to have a better arm than John Elway.  It isn’t all about arm though Jay, as Elway was a true leader and a winner.  Jeff George had a big arm.  Where did that get him?  You need to have it going on upstairs.  Cutler didn’t show maturity in this ordeal.

So what is the fantasy impact of this deal.  For starters Jay Cutler takes a hit.  Devin Hester isn’t even Eddie Royal, let alone Brandon Marshall.  Matt Forte’s value could take a hit.  The Bears will pass more next year, and Cutler will likely lean less on his star RB in the passing game.  Eddie Royal and Brandon Marshall take a hit as well.  Orton is decent, but he’s no Cutler.  Marshall has more on his plate though as he just had hip surgery and is facing another suspension.  Both Cutler and Orton liked getting their Tight Ends involved so I don’t see much movement from Tony Scheffler and Greg Olsen.  I’d guess Scheffler’s value dips a touch and Olsen rises a bit.  Kyle Orton should increase a little going to a more pass-friendly environment. 

This was an interesting trade and I am glad the Cutler saga is finally over.

Well the Bears picked a starting QB for better or worse.  To be fair, Kyle Orton looked decent at times.  The Bears struck gold with rookie RB Matt Forte.  Devin Hester made strides at WR last year and Rashied Davis was decent, but they could use some help at WR.  My guess is they will draft an WR at some point or bring in a low-end WR a la Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd.  Greg Olsen is a major threat as a receiving Tight End, and forms a great TE pair with Desmond Clark. 

Defensively Mike Brown and Nick Roach are their key free agents.  Given Brown’s injury history, I don’t see him going anywhere, although the Bears may choose not to bring him back.

KFFL Free Agent Tracker:

Pos Player Name FA Status Previous Team Current Team
QB Rex Grossman UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
QB Kyle Orton Re-signed Chicago Bears Chicago Bears
RB Kevin Jones UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
WR Rudy Burgess Re-signed Chicago Bears Chicago Bears
WR Brandon Lloyd UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
OT Fred Miller UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
OT John St. Clair UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
OL Tyler Reed Re-signed Chicago Bears Chicago Bears
LB Darrell McClover UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
LB Nick Roach ERFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
SS Mike Brown UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
SS Josh Gattis ERFA Chicago Bears Free Agent
FS Brandon McGowan UFA Chicago Bears Free Agent

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