Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fantasy Football Roundtable - Overvalued Fantasy QBs in 2010

Fantasy Football Roundtable
Hosted By FantasyFootballTrader.Com  March 30, 2010

This week's question: Among the expected top-10 fantasy QBs for 2010, which player do you feel might be overvalued on draftday?...'

Derek of FantasyFootballManiaxs.Com says:

The name I am going to throw out there that many people might not be talking about right now: New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

Brady has finished in the top 10 among fantasy quarterbacks every year since 2002, excluding 2008, when he was lost to injury for the season in the opener. Last year he had an amazing season with 4,398 yards passing, 28 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a QB rating of 96.2, which earned him the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. He ranked eighth in fantasy scoring by quarterbacks.

There are a variety of issues in New England.

We are used to seeing this team as an elite one, but by the end of last year, they looked done. WR Randy Moss was not right the second half of the season. Moss had just 25 receptions for 373 yards and six touchdowns in his final seven games, three of those touchdowns coming against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars secondary. Compare that to the first nine games of the season, when he had 58 receptions for 891 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. In the playoff loss to Baltimore, Moss had just five receptions for 48 yards and no touchdowns.

He followed that up by saying that this year is probably his last one in New England. That is a pretty early point in the offseason to make that proclamation.

Moss is a player that has proven he does not give full effort when he does not feel appreciated or wanted. He is slowly looking like the player that left Oakland for a fourth-round pick instead of the one with 23 touchdown receptions in 2007. Even if his attitude was not in question, at 33 years old he is starting to leave the prime years of his career, which is terrible news for New England, especially if he is not going to play or work hard.

The Patriots really need Moss to step it up this year. WR Wes Welker tore his ACL in the final regular season game at Houston. It is uncertain if he will be ready for the season opener, and how close to 100 percent will he be even if he is able to play?

TE Ben Watson signed with the Cleveland Browns. That leaves WR Julian Edelman as the next leading receiver / tight end with 37 receptions for 359 yards and one touchdown.

If Moss is not going to play hard and Welker is not healthy, there is not a lot to be scared of on the current roster. The Patriots have many journeymen that they rotate into the lineup. The reason why that strategy is working is that teams have no answer for Moss and Welker, which gives the Patriots' runners and other receivers a lot of room to operate. Without these two players at their best, teams are going to find it a lot easier to stop the run and guard these other players.

Just how important is Moss to this offense?

In the games where Moss had at least 100 yards receiving or scored at least one touchdown, Brady threw for 304.4 yards per game and had 22 touchdown passes to just six interceptions. The Patriots were 8-2 in those games.

In the games where Moss failed to reach at least one of those totals, Brady averaged just 225.7 yards passing per game and had six touchdown passes to seven interceptions. The Patriots were 2-4 in those games.

If Moss is going to pull the same stunts that he pulled in Oakland and play at cruising speed in 2009, the Patriots do not have enough weapons for Brady to have a successful NFL or fantasy season.

We still have Brady ranked sixth in our seasonal rankings, as he has been too good for too long to bet against, but I would be lying if I did not say that I am nervous about how the 2009 season ended for New England. Whether he falls out of the top 15 remains to be seen. The 15th-ranked quarterback in fantasy last year was Jacksonville Jaguars QB David Garrard, who finished with 3,597 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

It would seem difficult to believe Brady would have that type of season. However, if Moss does not play hard, it is going to be hard for Moss to repeat his No. 2 ranking, which will negatively affect Brady. How much he's negatively impacted is a big question Fantasy Owners will be asking themselves come draft time.

Brady and Moss are two players I would keep my eye on to decline in 2010. New England does not look like the sure bet they did for the better part of a decade, and their offensive weapons do not look as appealing in fantasy football as they did from 2007 to 2009.

Ryan of LestersLegends.Com says:

Ben Roethlisberger threw for 4328 yards with 26 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. It was his first time topping 4000 yards. It's not that I don't think he's capable of putting up big numbers, but I feel Pittsburgh will run more in 2010. Oh, and did I forget to mention that Big Ben could miss some time if Roger Goodell sees his latest accusation as conduct detrimental to the league.
Russ of FantasyFootballStarters.Com says:

Every year there are players at every position who finish in the top 10 of the final fantasy football rankings only to drop off of it the following season. Identifying which of those players are the most likely to do so is one of the jobs we, as fantasy football experts, try to do.

Using the high performance decimal point scoring system from my friends at Antsports.com, where each touchdown pass was worth 4 points and each interception -1, the top 10 fantasy football QB's from 2009 were (in order) Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, Tony Romo, Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning.

Which one of these quarterbacks from this list is most likely to not finish top 10 in the 2010 fantasy football rankings when it's all said and done? To me, it's Ben Roethlisberger.

I liked Roethlisberger heading into last year, but looking ahead to 2010 I see a lot of potential for a letdown. Even if you take out his off-field issues going on right now, there was word after the 2009 season was over that the team wanted to scale back on its reliance throwing the football and get back to much more balanced attack. In 2009, the Steelers posted their highest pass ratio (56%) in the last 30 years, and probably their entire history. It led to Roethlisberger having great fantasy numbers, but it didn't translate into enough victories for Pittsburgh to make the NFL playoffs.

There's also the fact that Roethlisberger continues to get knocked around a lot. I don't think any quarterback been sacked more than Roethlisberger (189) in the last 4 seasons combined. He's managed to only miss 3 games in that span, but that's a lot of punishment, and sooner or later those injuries he plays thru will become more of a concern if the high sack totals continue.

Finally, there's the current sexual assault allegation. Regardless of how it plays out, it will hang over his, and the organization's, head. It could be a distraction even if it gets settled months before the season begins.

When I combine the situation Roethlisberger is facing with the probability of the team throwing the football less, and the potential for injury if the sack totals don't come down, I see Roethlisberger as being the most likely quarterback to really struggle to finish in the top 10 of the 2010 fantasy football rankings.

Dave of RotoPicks.Com says:

I’m taking Ben Roethlisberger as my top 10 QB that will struggle to repeat for a number of reasons.

The first, and most important, reason is that Pittsburgh is looking at a 2010 schedule that is not conducive to top tier fantasy QB production. The Steelers will play 9 games this year against defenses ranked in the top 10 in passing yards allowed from 2009, including games vs. Buffalo, Carolina, and the Jets who all ranked in the top 5. With the emergence of Mike Zimmer’s defense in Cincinnati, the AFC North is becoming a much stronger division. Now add in games vs. the AFC East (Jets, New England, Miami and Buffalo) and NFC South (Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans and Tampa Bay) and you’re looking at a rough road ahead (Pittsburgh also has games against Oakland and Tennessee). I can assure you that Ben will not be looking forward to seeing defensive standouts like Darrelle Revis, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jairus Byrd, etc. on the opposing sideline week after week.

Another important point is that Pittsburgh’s O-line has been just short of terrible over the last few seasons and I haven’t seen any indication that they are addressing this glairing need. Hopefully, they’ll go that way early in the draft, but if not, we can expect Roethlisberger to take a pounding again this season. Since 2006, no QB has been sacked more than Roethlisberger (50 sacks in 2009, 46 in 2008, 47 in 2007, and 46 in 2006). Those hits will start showing effects at some point and I’m thinking that the Steelers will revert back to a run-first approach in 2010 to help keep Ben off his back.

Finally, for those of you that don’t know me, I am an absolute stat-monger. The way I see it is that Ben’s 2009 totals were way too high for his average level of performance. Over his first 5 seasons, Ben averaged roughly 3,000 yards and 20 passing TDs on 380 passing attempts per season. Last year he put up over 4,300 yards and 26 passing TDs on over 500 attempts. In statistics there’s a term called regression toward the mean that basically says that within a sample of data, an extreme value will be followed up by one that is closer to the sample average. I’m expecting Ben’s 2010 stats to be closer to his career average of 3,200 yards and 21 TDs, which should land him somewhere in the high teens when the final QB totals are tallied at the end of 2010.

And of course, there is still a real possibility that Roethlisberger might face some penalty from the league for his off the field issues. If (and this is a big if) Ben is handed a suspension for “X” number of games, his fantasy production is guaranteed to suffer.

Jake of JunkYardJake.Com says:

Judging from the very early rankings, the top couple QBs who will likely be selected in the first few rounds of fantasy drafts this upcoming season are usual suspects Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, likely to be followed up by new fantasy darling Aaron Rodgers. Tom Brady is likely to be the #4 QB based on 2010 fantasy rankings, and he might be the player who will represent a marginal disappointment.

It's never wise to bet against such an accomplished player like Brady, and he will probably go on to have his customary solid season. However, there are a number of factors that may prevent him from matching his 2009 performance of 4,300 passing yards and 28 TDs. Two such factors that should be considered are his aging offensive line and inconsistent running game, and I think his receiving corps and schedule could also pose some problems.

In terms of receivers, notwithstanding any improvements that the Patriots will generate from the upcoming draft or additional free agent signings, the New England receiving corps going into 2010 looks inferior to the group they went into the 2009 season with. Of course, the biggest question mark is Wes Welker, who will be trying to make it back from ACL surgery performed in late January. A reasonable timetable for his return might be October or November, and while the Patriots did sign David Patten, it's hard to imagine replacing Welker's unique quick-cutting and impeccable route-running abilities. Then there is the venerable Randy Moss, who once again delivered a strong season with 1,264 receiving yards and 13 TDs in 2009. However, Moss is now 33 years old, and it's safe to say that the explosive speed and play-making ability he exhibited in his younger days is probably long gone, and this limits the vertical dimension of the Patriots passing attack. At tight-end, New England parted ways with Ben Watson and it's looking like recent signee Alge Crumpler might be his 2010 replacement. While Watson never fulfilled his expected potential, he did offer better speed in comparison to the 33 year-old Alge Crumpler, and it's difficult to see how this change will transpire as much of an improvement for the Patriots passing game.

The fairly challenging New England schedule could represent another obstacle for Tom Brady and Patriots passing game in 2010. In terms of division play, the AFC East is expected to be extremely competitive once again, with the Patriots having to contend with last season’s top two pass defenses, Buffalo and New York, in four total meetings. These two teams combined to hold opposing QBs to only 168 pass yards and .7 passing TDs per game in 2009. When you factor in two other games against the improving Miami Dolphins defense, plus home games against the 2009 top-10 pass defenses of Green Bay, Baltimore and Cincinnati, the chance of merely average stats by Tom Brady in about half his games looks possible.

While Tom Brady is simply too good to ignore if he happens to fall into the 3rd or 4th round of your draft in 2010, I think he should be considered as only another solid 2nd tier fantasy option in 2010, and it may be wise to resist the temptation to draft him anywhere near his 2009 average position of late 1st to early 2nd round.

Rick of FantasyFootballTrader.com says:

Most of you will think I'm off my rocker for pegging 2009's yardage leader (4,770 to be exact) as the top 10 fantasy QB least likely to repeat. Allow me to clarify that I don't actually believe Matt Schaub's inaugural landing inside fantasy's top 5 elite last year was a fluke. As an owner of Schaub in one of my Dynasty leagues, I can earnestly say I'd love nothing more than to be wrong on this one.

And there's a good chance I will be wrong. Hell, I'll go a step further and even say that I should be wrong. Schaub has arguably the most gifted WR in the league at his disposal, a returning TE in Owen Daniels who was pacing all others before succombing to a knee injury in week 8, an O-Line that allowed Schaub to only absorb a 5th ranked 25 sacks and an "OLE!" defense to ensure the Texans' offense often needs to score in bunches to hang with their opponent. What's not to like here?

Well...plenty actually. I don't think we can simply bury the fact that 2009 was the first year in Schaub's six year's in the league that he started more than 11 games. And...he played through a shoulder injury to do that! Yes, his sacks taken are encouraging and I do believe the Texans' O-line is on the upswing buuut.

Also, one gets the feeling that Schaub is more...how do I put this, at the mercy of Andre Johnson's health than Drew Brees is to Colston or Manning is to Wayne or Brady is to Moss. And the reason for that is apparent. Brees has gone weeks without Colston and not missed a beat. When Welker went down last year, some schmoe named Edelman stepped right in and it was status quo. Heck, in the playoffs last year, defenses took a chance by doubling Wayne and Clark and saying you're NOT beating us with these two! To that, Manning said "fine", and made Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie the #1 and #2 playoff leading WR's.

But with Schaub & Johnson it feels different doesn't it? Johnson had a league high 171 targets last year and even the Texans' SECOND most targeted player Kevin Walter had a measly 70 targets. Something tells me that if anything ever happened to A.J. it could be devastating to Schaub - unlike the league's other top passers.

Again, I am NOT forecasting any of the above to happen - just acknowledging that Schaub's perch among the top 6-7 QB's is much less stable than the other elite passers.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fantasy Football Roundtable - Matthew Stafford vs. Mark Sanchez

Fantasy Football Roundtable
Hosted By FantasyFootballTrader.Com  March 20, 2010

This week's question: Call your shot...the better fantasy career between 2nd year quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez based on what we think we know?...'

Ryan of LestersLegends.Com says:

I'm going to go with the #1 pick Matthew Stafford for a number of reasons. First of all, he already has a premier wide receiver in Calvin Johnson. Megatron is a physical specimen that will only get better. He also has talented second-year tight end Brandon Pettigrew that will grow with him. Having two young, talented pieces in place is a great start.

Mark Sanchez started to get with tight end Dustin Keller in the playoffs, but his options are limited. Plus, the Jets don't need Sanchez to have a big game to win. The Lions, on the other hand, don't have a good defense. If they are going to win, it's going to be a shootout. The Jets are built on defense and their running game. It's unlikely that they are going to change it any time soon. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I also favor Stafford as a long-term fantasy quarterback because he plays in a dome. While Sanchez has to deal with the elements, Stafford is at ease in climate-controlled Ford Field. Nothing derails a fantasy championship like a late-season nor'easter.

Dave of RotoPicks.Com says:

I really enjoyed looking into this comparison, because on the surface these 2nd-year QBs are so similar. Both have quality weapons in the passing game with great WR tandems (Cotchery/Edwards and Johnson/Burleson) and emerging TEs (Keller and Pettigrew). Even their 2009 stats were comparable in almost all aspects. But the one thing that did stand out is that Stafford reached nearly the same fantasy production as Sanchez in 5 fewer games last season.

To me the question of who has the better fantasy career comes down to only one thing, opportunity. The fact is that the Jets bread and butter is a ball-control offense where a strong running game is complimented by a physical defense. In this system, Sanchez will likely get few opportunities to shine.

Stafford plays in an extremely tough division, facing the Bears, Packers and Vikings twice a year. In all likelihood, the Lions will be playing from behind a lot during the course of the year. This and the Lions question marks at RB (at least in 2010) should make for a consistent aerial attack.

Simply put, Stafford will have more opportunity to post bigger fantasy numbers over the course of his career. In my opinion, the stats that make the best case for this so far are passing attempts and completions. While both QBs regular season stats were almost identical in these categories, Sanchez had a season high of only 34 attempts per game and only turned in 20 or more completions once during his 15 regular season starts (both in week 8 vs. the Dolphins). Stafford, on the other hand, aired it out a season high 51 times (in week 10 vs. the Vikings) and had 20 or more completions in 6 of his 10 starts. Stafford’s per game averages in completions and passing attempts (20.1 completions, 37.7 attempts) put him well ahead of Sanchez (13.1 completions, 24.3 attempts) in my fantasy rankings. Watching Stafford throw for over 400 yards and 5 TDs in week 11 last season gives him a little boost too.

Derek of FantasyFootballManiaxs.Com says:

Stafford was the 26th-ranked fantasy quarterback, and Sanchez was the 25th-ranked fantasy quarterback. They were both poor fantasy starts for almost all of the 2009 season.

Sanchez plays on the more competitive team, but that does not translate into a lot of throws. When the Jets went on their winning streak at the end of the season, Sanchez had fewer than 20 attempts in four of his last five regular season starts and had 68 attempts in three playoff starts, or an average of about 23 pass attempts per game. The Jets had the first-ranked scoring defense, first-ranked yardage defense and led the NFL in both rushing attempts and rushing yards. They finished 32nd in passing attempts, which really hurt Sanchez’s fantasy value.

Stafford, on the other hand, had over 35 pass attempts in seven of his 10 games and over 40 attempts in four games. Because his defense was dead last in the NFL in both points allowed and yards allowed, rarely did he play with a lead. Despite playing in five fewer games, he had more touchdowns than Sanchez, but he also had the same number of interceptions trying to bring his team back from the dead.

Both players have some nice weapons. The best weapon is WR Calvin Johnson, who plays in Detroit. The long and athletic receiver gives Stafford a go-to guy that makes big plays in the passing game. The Lions also signed Seattle WR Nate Burleson to a free agent contract, and if rookie TE Brandon Pettigrew and RB Kevin Smith can return from injury, the Lions have a chance to surround Stafford with weapons.

Sanchez has an excellent running game, led by second-year RB Shonn Greene (Thomas Jones has been released), but he has the always drop-prone WR Braylon Edwards as his main target. TE Dustin Keller has shown promise in his first two years, and WR Jerricho Cotchery is a good possession receiver.

Johnson gives Stafford a significant advantage in the passing game. If the Jets can find some weapons in the draft, I would have more enthusiasm when it comes to Sanchez in 2010.

Finally, Sanchez is two years older than the 22-year-old Stafford, which gives him a slight advantage in maturity and development. That will probably only make a difference for another year or so. Stafford has the advantage in intangibles, and he has a rocket arm most quarterbacks can only dream about having.

My verdict is that you probably do not want either one of them. Most quarterbacks do not become fantasy viable until their third season, and neither quarterback is in an ideal situation. Stafford is stuck on a terrible team and needs a stronger supporting cast. Sanchez is stuck on a team that plays defense and runs the ball. We have Stafford ranked #20 in our seasonal rankings and #16 in our dynasty rankings - with Sanchez #25 in our seasonal rankings and #18 in our dynasty rankings. They are both second quarterbacks that need to be paired with a superior starter.

The above was an excerpt from Derek's full article at FFManiax.

Jeff of DynastyKings.Com says:

This one is a no-brainer.

Matthew Stafford is by far the better fantasy option. Long term he has the most potential to be a fantasy QB1 with all the weapons at his disposal - Calvin Johnson, Brandon Pettigrew, Kevin Smith and now Nate Burleson. All that team needs is protection for their passer and they have a nice young core to build a solid offense around for the long haul.

As for Sanchez, I do like him but Braylon Edwards is no Calvin Johnson. The Jets are built for "old school football", meaning that they will try and win 23-16 or 16-13 type games with a strong ground game and even better defense. That's Rex Ryan (and for the most part, Buddy Ryan) football - that's what they know how to do, and they do it well. Thomas Jones may be gone, but Shonn Greene is now the guy for 2010 and for years to come. Leon Washington is still a Jet (and they'll fight to keep him there despite the modest RFA tender) and New York is likely to continue to add solid RBs for depth. The offensive line is one of the best in the league and they love to run the ball 35-40 times a week.

So when you get right down to it, Detroit has far more going for it than the Jets for fantasy offense - better climate (dome vs. the outdoors of the Garden State), better receivers, an offense and coaching staff that lend themselves to throwing more and even a weaker defense for the Lions, which will only add to Stafford's numbers. Both in the near term and the long haul, I'd much rather have Stafford.

Russ of FantasyFootballStarters.Com says:

I liked both quarterbacks coming out of college. As I stated in my NFL rookie reports of each both are about the same size and have very similar skill sets. Their final stats for 2009 were almost identical:

Stafford: 201-377-20, 2,267 yards, 13 TD's, 108 rushing yards, 2 rushing TD's

Sanchez: 196-364-20, 2,444 yards, 12 TD's, 106 rushing yards, 3 rushing TD's

But where Sanchez accomplished his in 15 games, Stafford got his in only 10. The situations they're both in are totally different. Sanchez was asked to manage games in 2009 and not throw a bunch while Stafford, because the Lions were usually behind by a lot in games had to throw a lot more. Stafford also has one of the elite young WR's in the game with Calvin Johnson while Sanchez gets to throw to drop prone Braylon Edwards. Sure, personnel and coaching staffs will inevitably change in the future, but I think Stafford is in the better situation for the purposes of fantasy football rankings and projections. Stafford has more of a gunslinger attitude and his coaches are more apt to let him air it out with their suspect rushing attack and porous defense than the Jets are with Sanchez. They don't need Sanchez to since they have a strong rushing attack with Shonn Greene and a dominant defense.

Sanchez is likely to have more NFL success, especially in the next couple of years, but as we learned from Troy Aikman and Jeff George back in the 1990's, there's a big difference between being a successful NFL QB and a successful fantasy football quarterback. You don't need to be one to be the other. Providing the Lions offensive line gets better at protecting him so he doesn't get knocked around and become injury prone, Stafford is my choice over Sanchez for fantasy football in dynasty leagues.

Jim of FanaticFantasyFootball.Com says:

I could see Matthew Stafford having the better fantasy career except for one thing. He plays for the Lions. He was beat up in his first season, playing in only 10 games. Detroit must improve their offensive line for Stafford to be a more consistent fantasy football point producer. He had one more passing touchdown than Sanchez, but when looked at closer, five of Stafford’s touchdowns came in one game against the Cleveland Browns. Add to the five games he missed, two more games without a touchdown pass and he totaled 7 games without a TD pass. You only play 16, maybe 17, fantasy football weeks. Although Stafford has one of the best wide receivers in the NFL to throw to, Calvin Johnson, it doesn't help much if you're on the bench with injuries. Johnson's stats suffered greatly in 2009 (#24 among all wide receivers after being #3 in 2008). Will Detroit be able to run the ball in 2010 to help take some of the pressure off Stafford? If they don't, Matthew will have to run for his life again in 2010.

Mark Sanchez was more consistent, had a better running game to support him, and had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL protecting him. He should take a positive step forward this year after having a good year that saw him get some playoff experience. Not so fast my friend! Have we forgotten Matt Ryan, QB Atlanta Falcons? Matt was the #16 quarterback in 2008 with 290 fantasy points. In 2009 he took a step back, dropping to #19 with 254 fantasy points. Although that might not sound like a big drop it placed him in the company of both Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.

So what is my take on the two quarterbacks? I think Stafford is the better quarterback but I think Sanchez is on a better team, giving him more of a chance to succeed as the better fantasy quarterback option. I still see both as no more than a #2 quarterback for the 2010 season.

Jake of JunkYardJake.Com says:

It’s probably not the majority opinion, but if given the choice between Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez in terms of future fantasy production, I would give a slight edge to Mark Sanchez. Clearly both quarterbacks demonstrated their abilities during the 2009 season and both quarterbacks no doubt have the requisite intelligence to blossom into fine players. I prefer Sanchez just marginally over Stafford because he seems to demonstrate a precocious ability to read defenses, anticipate the pass rush, and create positive plays when his primary options are covered. Overall, Sanchez just seems to be the more instinctive player.

As mentioned, choosing Sanchez over Matthew Stafford is probably the minority opinion. When rating the rookie QBs on pure physical skill alone, Matthew Stafford is arguably the superior option. Stafford has exceptional arm strength, a good release and impressive accuracy. Although we did not see him run much this past season, Stafford also has good speed for his size, and should evolve into a decent running threat if his offensive scheme allows him to. Sanchez has also shows good velocity on his throws, and is probably on par with Stafford in terms of accuracy, but Stafford gets the slight edge in this department.

In terms of the cerebral part of the game, Stafford has already shown potential, and if you go by Wonderlic score alone, he even has the edge here. Both Stafford and Sanchez scored well on this pre-draft test, but Stafford scored a 38 compared to Sanchez’s mark of 28.

Both Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez should end up having successful careers in the NFL, and although Stafford has the higher upside in terms of pure physical talent, it is commonly known that the ability to effortlessly hurl a ball 50 yards down the field is only one factor that portends success as an NFL quarterback. Mark Sanchez just seems to be the slightly more intuitive player, and I give him the slight edge based on this intangible.

Rick of FantasyFootballTrader.com says:

I'm with Pasquino above. The guy to have in this conversation is Matt Stafford and it's not very close at all. There's as large a gap between Matt (10th) and Mark (20th) in my Dynasty Rankings as you'll probably see from any source in the industry. As others alluded to above, Matt Stafford is simply in the superior system to breed stats for the foreseeable future.

Setting NFL quarterbacking skills aside, the systems these two find themselves in are polar opposites of each other. Merely pointing out the fact that Sanchez attempted the fewest passes in the league last year is a laughable understatement. The Jets 393 pass attempts were 48 fewer than even the second fewest Buffalo Bills (441). There's no other team that bottled up it's QB (and had greater success in doing so) than the Jets.

With a young, talented O-line paired with second year battering ram Shonn Green...and then you factor in one of league's top 3 best shutdown defenses? Hell, forget about arm strength, accuracy, leadership or any other positive QB traits at this point. Give me the guy that's going to complete a forward pass once in awhile.

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Player Spotlights - Luke Hochevar and Chris Coghlan

Luke Hochevar and Chris Coghlan March 20, 2010

Live Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts, Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings, Player Trade Calculator, Fantasy Forums and more ! at FantasyBaseballXtreme.Com

SP Luke Hochevar,Royals, - Luke Hochevar’s professional career has indeed gotten off to a tumultuous start, not unlike the chaotic process that brought him into the big leagues in the first place. Originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2002, Hochevar declined this option to pitch for the University of Tennessee instead. He went on to have a very successful college career, culminating in 2005 with a 15-3 record, an ERA of 2.26, Whip of 1.13 and 154 strikeouts in 139 innings. He was then selected by the Dodgers once again in the 2005 amateur draft, but couldn’t reach an agreement. Finally, in 2006, the Royals made him the #1 selection and he began his professional career at the age of 22. Now 26, Hochevar has turned into somewhat of an enigma, with an accumulated 5.88 ERA, 1.47 WHIP over three major league seasons. Also surprising is how his K per rate has fallen from over 8 during his minor league seasons, to 5.8 at the major-league level. Hochevar has pretty good stuff, with a fastball that can reach the mid-90’s, a hard slider and a good curve. On the basis of upside potential, he’s worth a flier in the final rounds of fantasy drafts this year.
OF/2B Chris Coghlan, Marlins, - After getting the call in early May 2009 it took a little while for the 24 year-old Chris Coghlan to make an impression for the Marlins. He had a rough May, batting an anemic .212 in that month. By the All-Star break, he was hitting just .245, with 2 HRs and 4 SBs, and many fantasy teams had given up hope at that point. For those with patience, Coghlan went on to show significant improvement after the break, proceeding to hit .372, with 7 HRs and adding another 4 SBs in the second half of the 2009 season. He earned the NL rookie of the year award for his efforts, and now enters the 2010 season as the starting left-fielder for Florida. Coghlan’s minor league history suggests that we probably shouldn’t expect much improvement over his 2009 BA and HR numbers, but he does seem to have untapped 20 SB potential that failed to emerge last year. With his ADP still hovering around the 18th round area, Coghlan makes a solid player to add as your 4th or 5th fantasy outfielder in 2010.

Player Spotlights By Junkyard Jake JunkyardJake.Com 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fantasy Football Roundtable - Matt Leinart

Fantasy Football Roundtable
Hosted By FantasyFootballTrader.Com  March 16, 2010

This week's question: Given what we know (or think we know) about about Matt Leinart, what are your expectations for the Arizona Cardinals in 2010?...'

Ryan of LestersLegends.Com says:

I may be one of the only people that actually like the party boy. He has the talent and the pedigree. Maturity has been his main issue. He felt he was entitled to the job because he was a top draft pick. He didn't work hard.

Now with the future Hall of Famer out of the picture, Leinart has the opportunity to seize the gig. He has had several years to study under one of the best, not only in his ability, but in the way he prepared for games. I'll give Leinart the benefit of the doubt that he learned from that experience.

He has great weapons, with or without Anquan Boldin. The Cardinals should have an improved rushing attack with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower. He won't be required to throw as often as Warner did.

Though he failed to throw a TD this year, he did complete a career high 66.2% of his passes. I won't say he looked totally comfortable when he spelled Kurt Warner against the Saints, but he managed to complete 7 of 10 passes for 61 yards.

I certainly wouldn't want him as a fantasy starter, but he's a nice low risk/high reward backup option. Before I draft him though, I want to see him take the OTAs and training camp seriously. If he shows me he's serious, I'll be serious about him. If not, I'll contact Jeff Gillooly as a Larry Fitzgerald owner.

Dave of RotoPicks.Com says:

I don’t think anyone can argue that the Cardinals hopes for 2010 took an enormous hit when Kurt Warner announced his retirement this off-season. From what I’ve seen of Matt Leinart, I’m sure he could become a middle of the road starting QB (maybe holding a fantasy value somewhere between Kyle Orton and Jason Campbell), but I doubt his ability to run a efficient passing offense. I’m expecting the Cardinals to bring in a few QBs this off-season and open up the competition to see who emerges.

Along with the QB position, there is uncertainty across the Cardinals roster. It’s very possible that Anquan Boldin will be wearing a different jersey next season, which will hurt whoever lands the starting QB job. The Cardinals have a couple of quality young WRs in Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, but I don’t think either of them can fill Boldin’s shoes on their own. Couple Arizona’s changes at QB and WR with the pending release of LB Karlos Dansby and S Antrel Rolle and we’ll be looking at a much different Cardinals squad in 2010.

As far as my overall expectations for the Cardinals go, I don’t think its all doom and gloom for the club. I think the Cardinals have enough pieces in place to have a good showing next season and finish the year as the second best team in the NFC West. But unless they make some huge off-season moves or re-sign a few of their key players I don’t think they’ll have a chance of beating out San Francisco for the division title.

Derek of FantasyFootballManiaxs.Com says:

Matt Leinart has a lot of weapons in Arizona. He has arguably the most talented receiver in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald, who had 1,092 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns last season. I would be surprised if fellow star WR Anquan Boldin is back in 2010, but Leinart would still have Steve Breaston and Early Doucet, two talented receivers that could put up bigger numbers with more playing time. He also has running backs Chris Wells and Tim Hightower, who combined for 1,391 yards rushing, 571 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns.

He has enough running back talent to have success with play action passing and enough receivers that he can find open targets. The Cardinals have a very quarterback friendly situation and it is surprising that he lost his job in the first place; a more prepared quarterback would not have had the struggles Leinart has experienced. A big question with him has been his work ethic and it has shown since he arrived in 2006. If his work ethic does not improve in 2010, the Cardinals will not win the division with him at quarterback.

The Cardinals are in danger of losing the division to a San Francisco 49ers team that beat them twice in 2009 and trailed them only by two games in the final standings. The 49ers have a young improving team and they have the 13th and 17th picks in the draft, a luxury the Cardinals do not have. Warner threw 26 touchdown passes in 2009 and if Leinart has only between 15-20 that could be 40 to 60 less points, which is a big deal seeing they had a scoring differential of only 3.1 points per game last year.

They have also released S Antrel Rolle, who promptly signed with the Giants and lost LB Karlos Dansby in free agency to the Miami Dolphins. Those are a lot of losses for one year and I think the Cardinals will probably take a step back in 2010 as they recover from some of their player personnel losses; guys who played a big role in their rise to Super Bowl contender.

The above was an excerpt from Derek's full article at FFManiax.

Please note the above was an excerpt from Derek's full article at FFManiax.

Matt of RapidDraft.Com says:

Despite what many folks will say, there’s really not a whole lot that we know about the way Matt Leinart will perform in 2010.

Just think about it: The only season in which he got a real stretch to work as the starting quarterback was in 2006, when he was a rookie who held out through a large portion of his first training camp. Leinart started 11 games that season and finished with a respectable 56.7 percent completion rate and 11-12 touchdown-interception ratio. (Much better numbers than the Sanchize -- albeit with better receivers.)

Since then, Leinart has gotten little time to develop on the field and spent those reps not only with Kurt Warner staring directly over his shoulder, but often warming up with the bullpen and getting his boy God to whisper in the coaches’ ears. Now, by all accounts, Leinart hasn’t gotten more playing time because he hasn’t bowled his coaches over, but the fact remains that it’s been four years since we got a good look at him in NFL games.

On the other hand, here’s what we do know. The high-powered Arizona pass offense won’t be nearly as efficient this year. How can it be? The biggest thing going for Kurt Warner (besides his story and, of course, Jesus) is that he has been one of the most accurate passers in the league over at least the past decade. That will likely mean that even if Larry Fitzgerald (and whoever starts across from him) catches as many passes as we’re used to, he’ll have a hard time matching yardage and touchdown numbers.

For what it’s worth, in 14 games with Leinart as the starter or more-active passer, Fitzgerald has scored just five times. For his career, he has averaged about 10 touchdowns per 16 games played. Similarly, Anquan Boldin has caught just four touchdowns from Leinart in 15 games together, as opposed to a career average of about seven per 16 games.

We also know, however, that Leinart loves looking to his left (throwing) side and going to Fitzgerald. Fitz’s other numbers in Leinart games extrapolate to 93 catches and 1,230 yards over a 16-game season. Compare that with an average of 91 receptions and 1,229 yards for his career.

Now, Fitzgerald’s more recent stats look better than that after lower output early on, but that early portion of his career was also when the bulk of his exposure to Leinart came. Even if a full season with Leinart could mean seven or eight scores instead of 10 to 12, Fitzgerald should still catch 90 to 100 passes and get to or past 1,200 yards.

Boldin’s 16-game projection with Leinart, however, comes up 23 catches and 209 yards short of his career 16-game averages. That will be moot for him if he starts 2010 with another team but doesn’t bode particularly well for whoever would replace him.

The player who could be helped by the switch to Leinart, of course, is Chris Wells. Ken Whisenhunt has preached a desire to feature the run more, and it should be quite a bit easier to stick with the running game when the other option is relying heavily on the young lefty instead of Warner. Wells is due to begin this year as the starter and should easily surpass 250 carries if he can stay healthy.

Russ of FantasyFootballStarters.Com says:

For over 2 years, Leinart has been on the sidelines most of the time watching Kurt Warner execute the offensive system in Arizona. Everyone seems to forget that Leinart was actually the starter for 11 games as a rookie and has started 17 games over his 4 year career. He's still a young QB who hasn't been given enough starting time to develop into the player he can become. His stats haven't been great, but conversely they haven't been awful either. In his 17 career starts (and remember that for the first 5 games of 2007, Ken Whisenhunt used a dual QB attack with Leinart starting and Warner coming in for chunks of the game, often in red zone situations) Leinart's stat line reads 289-511 for 3,364 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.

Like I said, not great, but certainly not horrible either. And there's room for improvement as he acquires more playing experience.

Now, the Cardinals will tweak their offense to be more balanced in their attack. They have a power RB in Chris Wells. They have a solid complimentary RB in Tim Hightower. Even though they have traded WR Anquan Boldin, they still have Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and emerging Early Doucet. The weapons are in place for a game managing Leinart to succeed. Ken Whisenhunt had a strong rushing attack when he was the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh a few years ago, and while it's never translated into a featured rushing attack in Arizona, he also never really had a RB like Wells to rely on. I think you'll see the Cardinals become a lot more balanced offensively if Leinart takes over.

This situation kind of reminds some of the Packers situation 2 years ago with Aaron Rodgers taking over for Brett Favre. Little was known about how Rodgers would respond to having to take over for a legend in Green Bay. There were a lot of expectations and there was little history of Rodgers playing to gauge whether he'd step up and become a great NFL QB. There was so much concern in the organization that the Packers actually drafted TWO QB's that year (Brian Brohm in the second round and Matt Flynn in the seventh). Rodgers was under immense scrutiny and many predicted he would fail. His arm wasn't strong enough; his passes sailed; he wasn't a commanding presence in the huddle; etc. All of these things were said about Rodgers.

And all of them have been said, are being said, or will be said again about Leinart.

I was not one of those who predicted doom for Rodgers. And I'm not predicting doom for Leinart. Did I see how great Rodgers would turn out to be? No. But I certainly gave him a chance for it. Same chance I'm giving Leinart. I think Leinart can be one of the prime QB 2010 fantasy football sleepers.

Jim of FanaticFantasyFootball.Com says:

I looked back a few years to see what kind of stats some other quarterbacks put up in their first year after being the backup for extended time. David Garrard QB Jacksonville Jaguars, spent five years as the backup before his first full season in 2007. Garrard ranked #16 among fantasy QBs scoring 252 points. He completed 208 of 325 attempts, threw 18 touchdowns and was only intercepted 3 times.

The next player I looked at was Matt Schaub QB Houston Texans. After being a backup for three years and injured the better part of the next two years; Matt finally got his chance to start and play a full season in 2009. He didn’t disappoint his owners, as he finished as the #4 QB in 2009 with 372 completions, 544 attempts, 4467 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs, had much more success while running the New England Patriot offense but his stats with the Chiefs were respectable considering the team around him. He was 272/494 for 2924 yards with 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, compared to the year before (Patriots) where he posted 328/518 for 3693 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in what was actually his first full year after being a backup for three years.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, sat for three years behind Brett Favre in Green Bay. During his first year at the helm of Green Bay’s potent offense he posted super stats and followed that in 2009 with an even better year. We had rated Rodgers as the #1 QB in our 2009 Quarterback rankings.

Team wise, I think Texans Matt Schaub QB / Andre Johnson WR duo and Matt Leinart QB / Larry Fitzgerald WR duo are very similar situations. Anquan Boldin WR has been traded to the Baltimore Ravens, so I see Leinart’s numbers reading something like 260 completions, 433 attempts, 2860 yards, 16 touchdowns / 11 interceptions. He will have some games where he performs like a #1 quarterback but I see him more as a fantasy football backup in 2010. If he progresses this year and you can stash him on your team for spot duty then you might have a diamond in the rough for 2011.

The above was an excerpt from Jim's full article at FanaticFantasyFootball.

Jake of JunkYardJake.Com says:

Originally selected by Cardinals as a #10 overall pick, Matt Leinart was largely regarded as the top QB prospect in a 2006 draft class that included Vince young and Jay Cutler. He went on to start to twelve games that season, and despite the typical rookie learning curve for NFL quarterbacks, he actually had flashes of very solid performance. Overall, Leinart finished 2006 with over 2,500 passing yards, 12 INTs, and 11 TDs, highlighted by a 405 passing yard day versus Minnesota. When you consider that the top two rookie QBs drafted in 2009, Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez, both threw 20 INTs as first-year staters, Leinart's rookie numbers look fairly good in comparison.

Indeed one of the attributes that scouts cited about Leinart when he came out of USC in 2006 was his experience in a pro-style offense. His ability to interpret defenses, read coverage and anticipate receiver routes were already quite advanced for a rookie QB. When you factor in his great size, impressive accuracy, strong leadership skills and efficient mechanics, it's easy to see why he was so highly touted back in 2006.

Fast forwarding to 2010, it is fairly likely that the Cardinals will attempt to deploy their running attack on a higher proportion of plays now that Kurt Warner is gone. Not to mention, standout receiver Anquan Boldin has been mentioned as trade bait, and the Cardinals seem willing to part with him for a 3rd round pick. Nonetheless, even in the event that Boldin leaves, Leinart will still have the dynamic Larry Fitzgerald along with solid #2 receiver Steve Breaston and dependable 3rd down back Tim Hightower. Clearly, he'll have all the help he needs to succeed in his first campaign as undisputed starter, and now with the luxuary of lowered expectations, and additional wisdom, Leinart could turn out to be a surprise fantasy contributor in 2010.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Player Spotlights - James Shields and Garrett Jones

James Shields and Garrett Jones March 16, 2010

Live Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts, Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings, Player Trade Calculator, Fantasy Forums and more ! at FantasyBaseballXtreme.Com

SP James Shields,Rays, - A very consistent fantasy option during the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Tampa Bay's James Shields fell victim to an uncharacteristically substandard second half in 2009, ending the year with a disappointing 4.14 ERA, and only 11 wins. While he started the 2009 season looking like the reliable pitcher we had become accustomed to, with 6 wins a 3.42 ERA and a Whip of 1.26 through the All-Star break, his 2nd half ERA 5.16 was an unpleasant surprise for fantasy owners. As a consequence, his fantasy value has taken a significant hit in 2010, with his ADP dropping from the 7th round in 2009 to about the 11th round in most recent 2010 drafts. Shields is never going to overwhelm hitters with his 90 MPH fastball, but it's his skill in combining this pitch with his excellent 80 MPH change-up and impressive control that makes him effective. Slated to be the Rays opening day starter, Shields seems undervalued and is a likely rebound candidate to target in fantasy drafts this year.
OF/1B Garrett Jones, Pirates, - Before his breakout season last year, 28 year old Garrett Jones seemed destined to languish as a career minor leaguer. Originally drafted by the Braves in 1999, Jones was shipped off to the Twins organization a few years later, and didn't begin to show his power potential until 2004 when he hit 30 HRs for Minnesota's AA affiliate that year. Still, up until last year, Jones had compiled just a .258 average during his time in the minors, and doubts remained about his ability to consistently handle major league pitching. After a trade to the Pirates in 2009, Jones received his first opportunity of significant playing time when the team traded Nyjer Morgan to the Nationals. He responded with 10 HRs and a .310 BA during the month of July, and finished the season with 21 HRs and a .293 average in 314 at-bats. It remains to be seen if Jones can follow through in 2010, and his .208 BA against left-handers last year is a concern, but he should represent a decent source of mixed-league power at a 15th round price.

Player Spotlights By Junkyard Jake JunkyardJake.Com 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Player Spotlights - David Aardsma and Kendry Morales

David Aardsma and Kendry Morales March 7, 2010

Live Fantasy Baseball Mock Drafts, Fantasy Baseball Player Rankings, Player Trade Calculator, Fantasy Forums and more ! at FantasyBaseballXtreme.Com

RP David Aardsma,Mariners, Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2003, David Aardsma progressed rapidly to the AAA, where he was being groomed as the clubs future closer. In 2004, he saved 11 games for AAA Fresno, but struggled with his control. That same year, he made it to the Giants, but continued to have trouble pitching strikes in his limited debut. From 2005-2008, Aardsma bounced between the minor and major league teams of 4 different organizations with erratic results. After seizing the closer assignment for Seattle in 2009, the 27 year old pitcher was finally able to produce a noteworthy season, with 28 saves, an ERA of 2.52 and a WHIP of 1.164. Aardsma has decent stuff, and his pitch selection/velocity is almost identical to Boston's Jonathan Papelbon. Both pitchers mix in a splitfinger fastball and slider while primarily relying on a 94-95 MPH fastball. Aardsma's 4.3 walks per nine innings wasn't awful in 2009, but the biggest potential liability associated with him remains the possible reemergence of control problems.
1B Kendry Morales, Angels, - It's safe to say the Angels look like geniuses after replacing the uber-expensive Mark Teixeira with farmhand Kendry Morales last year. That transition could not have worked out better, as Morales finished up his first season as the Angels new first-baseman with 34 HRs, 109 RBIs and an impressive .306 BA. Before 2009, Morales had exhibited 30 HR power in the minors, but it had never translated to expected performance when he was called up major league auditions during those years. Morales obviously quieted all doubts concerning his abilities last season, and looked especially good after the All-Star break, when he hit .330 with 19 HRs compared to .284 with 15 HRs in the first half. While there are always doubts and risk inherent with young players who generate sparkling fantasy numbers seemingly out of nowhere, when you consider his second half performance along with his minor league resume, Morales looks to be a legitimate rising star.

Player Spotlights By Junkyard Jake JunkyardJake.Com