Monday, July 27, 2009

QB battles to ignore

Of the many developments NFL observers will be dissecting during August training camps, starting QB battles should be among the least interesting to fantasy enthusiasts. The reason is fairly simple: If the guys aren't locks to start for their own team, what are the chances they will provide a lift to your fantasy squad?

The only real interest we have in these competitions is in how the result will affect the team's receiving corps.

Here's where the action is likely to be the most intense over the next few weeks:

Cleveland: 2007 shooting star/2008 bust Derek Anderson vs. golden (dome) boy Brady Quinn. Why you should care: Neither passer will likely merit a fantasy roster spot, but Anderson's stronger, more-accurate-downfield arm would enhance Braylon Edwards's value (assuming he doesn't drop his passes). Quinn is a dink-and-dunk QB, who will probably have more success unloading the ball to pass-catching RB Jerome Harrison than his wideouts.

New York Jets: Mediocre veteran Kellen Clemens vs. Rookie Mark Sanchez. Why you should care: Frankly, I don't know. Clemens should never get anywhere near a fantasy roster, and Sanchez is highly unlikely to replicate Matt Ryan's rookie stats. Neither QB offers much reason to get excited about Jerricho Cotchery or any other receiver in a Jets uniform.

Detroit: Lost-Without-Moss Daunte Culpepper vs. Great White Hope Matthew Stafford. Why you should care: One word: Megatron. Either way, to be honest, Calvin Johnson is a beast and should be a top 3 fantasy WR. If he can soar with the likes of Jon Kitna, Dan Orlovsky, Drew Stanton and Culpepper in '08, he can play with anybody. As for the QBs, we know Culpepper is well past holding any consistent fantasy value. Stafford is somewhat intriguing, but only as a possible mid-season benchwarmer should he show some early promise. But really, probably not till 2010.

San Francisco: Shaun Hill vs. Alex Smith. Why you should care: Only Hill has demonstrated anything close to occassional fantasy value, but the organization wants Smith to succeed most, given their investment in him as the #1 overall pick in '05. You're really desperate if you're drafting either player in August. Of the 49ers WRs, Michael Crabtree offers the most fantasy upside, but -- per a previous posting -- even he is unlikely to shine much as a rookie, especially if his holdout drags on.

Minnesota: Sage Rosenfels vs. Tarvaris Jackson vs. Brett Favre? Why you should care: This one matters quite a bit, actually. Of course, Favre is the wild card. If he un-retires, the job is his. That probably improves Bernard Berrian's draft stock, but I strongly suggest avoiding the QB and his unhealthy TD:INT ratio. I actually like Rosenfels' chances to be a quality fantasy backup should Favre stay in Mississippi. Though he is mistake-prone, he's shown flashes of high production, and clearly has more upside than Jackson.

Tampa Bay: Luke McCown vs. Byron Leftwich. Why you should care: You shouldn't. Antonio Bryant will not be worth the draft pick you'll have to use to get him, and neither QB offers any kind of consistent fantasy value. Kellen Winslow should be OK with either.

Oakland: JaMarcus Russell vs. Jeff Garcia. Why you should care: This is Russell's job to lose, and he could very well lose it. The second-year player with the #1 pick pedigree showed some signs of "getting it" late last season, but it's his lack of leadership/maturity that has people speculating that he may not be NFL QB material. Garcia is a proven leader who still has something left in the tank. Neither QB should be drafted, but whomever emerges with the job could prove to be a decent free agent pick-up if he starts clicking with his young and speedy WR corps.

Miami: Chad Pennington vs. Chad Henne. Why you should care: This really isn't about who starts Week 1, but how long before Henne takes over. And that all depends on whether Pennington has the Dolphins winning early or not. Either way, there's very little to get excited about in this passing game.

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