Monday, September 12, 2005
FFL: QB Notebook
By Scott Engel ESPN Fantasy Games
Every week, we take an in-depth look at the three major fantasy football skill positions. On Mondays, we discuss quarterbacks. Look for running backs Wednesdays and wide receivers Fridays.It's not easy being Green Bay
On Monday, it became official that Brett Favre will lose his top receiver for the season. Javon Walker is out for the year with a torn ACL. This news came in the wake of Favre delivering a very disappointing performance at Detroit, one in which he did not throw a TD pass and was intercepted twice.
The three points the Packers scored were the lowest output in the Favre era, and without his top big-play target, Favre could be in for a very up-and-down year. Donald Driver is more effective as a No. 2 receiver, and Robert Ferguson, who will now start as the No. 2 WR, has never been dependable and disappears for long stretches. No. 3 receiver Antonio Chatman is fast and elusive, but he is unproven and small (5-9, 185).
Favre might struggle to approach the 30-TD mark as he deals with less-than-ideal scenarios at wide receiver and on the offensive line, where the team is also undergoing changes. Favre's timing and accuracy were issues Sunday, as well, even before Walker was hurt. He might not get consistent support from RB Ahman Green, either. If you have Favre on your fantasy team, make sure you have a solid backup because Favre will no longer be regarded as a regular fantasy starter if the offense continues to sputter without Walker.
Changes in Washington?
Redskins QB Patrick Ramsey left Sunday's game with a neck strain, and Mark Brunell replaced him and led the team on three scoring drives en route to a 9-7 win over the Bears. There are now questions about who will start in Week 2 at Dallas, and the uncertainty might not be linked just to the injury.
Ramsey claimed he was healthy enough to return later in the game, and there were rumblings before the game that Ramsey could be pulled at any time for Brunell, who performed better during the preseason. Last year, Brunell was a target of fan unrest, and this year, many Redskins followers are now calling for Ramsey to be benched. Ramsey didn't help his case Sunday by throwing an interception on his second pass of the game and getting sacked twice.
Brunell might get another chance to start for Washington, and he can be effective enough to help Santana Moss continue to produce good numbers. But Brunell had a 63.9 passer rating last season and his best days are behind him. He might be more efficient than Ramsey, but both QBs are very shaky choices as reserve fantasy QBs.
The Wright move?
Ravens QB Kyle Boller is not expected to play in Week 2 at Tennessee, and it is unclear when he will be able to return from a hyperextended right toe. Anthony Wright, who replaced Boller in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Colts, will start against the Titans.
Wright completed 19 of 31 attempts for 214 yards, one TD and two interceptions Sunday. Although he doesn't have the pedigree of being a first-round pick like Boller, Wright has a strong arm and can deliver the ball with more consistent accuracy and zip than Boller does. But his decision-making skills have always been a shortcoming, and he isn't a dependable fantasy reserve.
Wright did throw nine TD passes in seven games in 2003, though, and had a four-TD game against Seattle. He can add a spark Boller seems to lack to the passing game, and Wright could ensure that Derrick Mason and Todd Heap post quality totals while he is in at QB. The Baltimore offense actually could be more productive statistically with Wright at the helm.
Jets QB Chad Pennington put on such an awful performance at Kansas City that only desperate fantasy owners might start him as he faces Miami in Week 2. Pennington fumbled six times, losing two, and threw an interception.
You must credit an improved Kansas City pass-rush and secondary for keeping Pennington off balance, but he also clearly suffered from some mechanical issues. Pennington, whose shoulder concerns and offseason surgery have been well-chronicled, was not able to deliver his passes with the proper accuracy or timing on many occasions when he did have time to throw. It could be a result of a shoulder issues, but defensive pressure and the need to work past his shoulder problems with more regular-season reps also could be factors in his poor play.
Pennington's Week 2 matchup against the Dolphins could be very telling about what to expect from him for a while. He will be facing the Jets' top division rival in the home opener, and surely will be very eager to put his terrible opener behind him. If Pennington doesn't show any signs of improvement against the Dolphins, his owners should leave him on the bench until further notice. Jay Fiedler, Pennington's backup, could keep the offense playing at a respectable level if he is needed to start at some point.
Drew good as new?
In his Cowboys debut, Drew Bledsoe looked much like the player he was a decade ago when he last played for Bill Parcells. A surprisingly smooth Bledsoe threw for three TD passes against the Chargers.
There has been talk of Bledsoe getting more time to throw with Dallas than he did with Buffalo, giving him more time to locate open receivers. But Bledsoe did have some good moments with the Bills, too. He had a three-TD outing against the Rams in 2004, and threw four TD passes against the Dolphins. So Bledsoe still has not shown he is capable of anything more than the occasional outstanding performance at this point of his career.
Each week in this space, we'll recommend the best adds, drops and trading options.
Get rid of Joey Harrington now if you can. He had a good overall stat line in Week 1, throwing two TD passes and no interceptions, but didn't really challenge a bad Packers defense. ... Eli Manning might still be available in some leagues. He's throwing with impressive zip and accuracy on many of his passes, and he's emerging as a fine fantasy backup. ... In leagues of 14 teams or more, Tim Rattay can be a quality backup. ... As detailed above, Patrick Ramsey could be in trouble regardless of his injury status, so cut him if you still have him. ... Kurt Warner attempted 46 passes in Week 1, yet he threw just one TD pass. Get ready to cut him loose if he has another mediocre statistical outing. ... Trent Green did not throw a TD pass in the opener, so it might be a good time to pry him away from another owner before he starts to produce better numbers, which seems inevitable despite the Chiefs' having a great running game. Green has always played well while getting outstanding RB play during his Kansas City tenure.