In 2007, Carson Palmer was the 9th best fantasy QB in the land. The year before, #4. In 2005, No. 1, the Big Cheese, the King of all QBs, the standard against which all other fantasy passers were measured.
It was all peaches and cream, until Palmer injured his elbow in Week 5 last year, essentially costing him the rest of the season.
And just like that, Palmer has become an afterthought in fantasy circles. He fell to the end of the 7th round of Sporting News' Expert Mock Draft, and there's very little buzz surrounding him heading into the season. It doesn't help that his favorite WR, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, is now in Seattle, and his other favorite weapon, Chad Ochocinco, is a nut job.
But don't be surprised to see Palmer return to his elite form this year. By all accounts, his elbow is completely healed and he has been throwing extremely well all offseason. Laveranues Coles has stepped into the starting lineup and is quickly developing a rapport with his new QB. Ocho is behaving himself, and saying all the right things about having a banner year. And don't forget the explosive, but troubled, Chris Henry, who is arguably the most dangerous #3 WR in the business. If he can stay on the right side of the law, the Bengals could have the most potent WR corps this side of Arizona.
Despite a solid draft, Cinci is unlikely to turn around their pitiful defense in one year, so Palmer will likely be airing it out all four quarters. If you decide to pass on Brees, Peyton, Brady and Romo in your draft, Palmer offers outstanding upside in the middle rounds.