Saturday, July 23, 2011

Free Agency Could Destroy Or Revive Your Fantasy Quarterback - My Fantasy Football 2011 Primer, Pt. 1

***Update: 8/1: I've made some notes below on certain players based on the first week of NFL training camp action:

One thing is certain about the NFL lockout:  once it IS over, the critical early days following will cause even more hand-wringing and potential outrage from fans than the lockout EVER did.  Your starting (or should be starting) quarterback could easily be traded or released the day after the lockout is over, and that's something that should throw fear into the heart of every fantasy football manager.

The only thing that is certain is that it will happen quickly.  Don't be surprised for a domino effect to take place, much like the way it did in the first round of this year's draft when three quarterbacks where taken in the first ten picks. This resulted in many other qbs picked up far earlier than they should have been.

None of the quarterbacks listed below should be your #1 quarterback when the season starts.  Backup, yes, but you should not select them until their destination is known and even then do it in the later rounds of your draft.  Where they play will have everything to do with whether they will be the unexpected fantasy pick-up of the year or be dropped by week two.

Let's look at the starting-quality QBs who may be on the move shortly:
  • Kyle Orton - Re-signing Orton will take more money than the Broncos are willing to pay, considering their future is with Tim Tebow.  Anybody who thinks otherwise about Tebow didn't see the way the team and the city responded to Tebow during his three starts at the end of the season.  Orton won't be content to stay as a backup, and Brady Quinn may turn out to be the choice there.  Orton can produce in the right system with good weapons, and if he ends up with a team like Arizona, his numbers should be pretty good this year. ***Update: Not ending up in Arizona, but still possible to go to Miami. 
  • Kevin Kolb - Not since Matt Schaub's final year in Atlanta has an unproven backup created so much interest.  When I say unproven, I am referring to last year when he played average in the seven games he played.  Michael Vick clearly outshone him when he was on the field, and the very fact that the Eagles are expected to trade Kolb should show a level of uncertainty about his abilities. Be wary of whoever he joins.  Kolb will need weapons around him to be effective. ***Went to Arizona
  • Donovan McNabb - Possibly the biggest free agent prize. His treatment by the Washington coaching staff last year was disrespectful and immature.  If you think differently, see how the Redskins do this year with either Rex Grossman or John Beck under center.  McNabb's career arc should allow him a second successful stint with another team.  His best chance would be with Arizona, as there is no rookie superstar waiting to oust him.  If he ends up in Carolina, Minnesota, or Tennessee, he could conceivably play himself into the permanent starter position and relegate the rookie QB to a role not that unlike the one that Kevin Kolb had last year with Michael Vick's emergence.***Went to Minnesota and things look pretty good there right now. 
  • Carson Palmer - It's quite clear that he will never play for the Bengals again, but has he been keeping in football shape?  It would be a massive error by Cincinnati if they didn't choose to trade him.  He would be worth quite a lot on the open market with his level of experience and talent.  His best years could be ahead of him in the right system.  Then again, the Bengals might simply spite him by refusing a trade, thereby forcing him to retire.*** Crazy Browns owner not gonna trade him
  • Matt Hasselback - Has had trouble with staying injury-free these past few years, and is no longer the superstar quarterback he was when he was leading Seattle to the playoffs. However, he can still be highly effective in the right system.  Many teams look for him to go to a place that just drafted a rookie franchise QB (Tennessee, Minnesota) and need a mentor.  Both teams have a strong running game, and a decent enough defense that a solid veteran QB could lead them to the playoffs for the next few years while the young franchise QB waits on the bench.***Went to Tennessee
Whoever lands in Minnesota and Arizona has the best chance for a breakout fantasy year, as both of these teams have the kind of weapons to ensure excellent stats.  I worry about Tennessee because of the coaching regime change, and the fact that Chris Johnson is another year older and no one runs like he does for very long.    

My Fantasy Football Primer will be a season-long analysis of the fantasy aspect of football.  I hope to be able to provide some interesting and insightful analysis to help you with your fantasy team all season.  Let me know  in the comments if there's an area of discussion that I need to address.

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