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Position Battles – Quarterback

By: — August 21, 2009 @ 8:23 am
Filed under: Forecast

There are a number of starting quarterback positions open across the league and their resolutions can have a significant fantasy football impact for the skill position players on their teams. In general, the quarterbacks that have to battle for a starting position are not potential starters for fantasy purposes and in most cases are unlikely to be worthy backups. However, there are always surprises at every position in fantasy football so there’s a chance one of these players could claim the job and put up solid numbers.

This list is in order of which battles are most likely to produce a decent starter for your fantasy team. The situation in Oakland where JaMarcus Russell is currently slated to start ahead of Jeff Garcia has been excluded because it seems clear that Russell will win the job, although the Raiders may have a quick hook if he doesn’t produce.

Detroit – Daunte Culpepper vs. Matthew Stafford

The winner of this battle gets to throw to the ultra talented Calvin Johnson and a revamped group of veteran receivers. Culpepper is familiar with new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan’s offense from their days together in Minnesota so he is likely to get the nod on opening day. However, it’s anybody’s guess as to how long he keeps it. If Stafford wins out, Johnson’s production is likely to suffer at least marginally.

Cleveland – Brady Quinn vs. Derek Anderson

Quinn seems destined to win this battle and relegate Anderson to the bench just two years after his 3,786 yard, 29 TD performance in 2007, a spectacular fall from grace. However, the Browns offense was horrible in 2008, failing to score an offensive touchdown during their last six games. With a receiving corps led by the enigmatic Braylon Edwards and featuring two rookies plus veteran retreads David Patten and Mike Furrey, a breakout campaign from either of these signal callers is unlikely in 2009. Quinn will likely wind up starting but hopefully not for your fantasy team.

San Francisco – Shaun Hill vs. Alex Smith

Hill put up surprisingly solid statistics in eight starts in 2008, posting 1,793 yards with 12 TD and 8 interceptions. He also had 115 yards rushing and a TD which padded his fantasy stats. However, new head coach Mike Singletary has clearly stated that he plans to increase the team’s reliance on the running game so whoever is starting will almost certainly not achieve fantasy starter status. It says here that a more mature Smith emerges to reclaim the job from Hill, however that opinion is in the minority at the moment. Either way, the team’s starter is fantasy backup material.

Tampa Bay – Josh McCown vs. Byron Leftwich vs. Josh Freeman

This is the fantasy backwater and if any of these guys ends up on your roster, you should be scouring the waiver wire or looking for a trade early in the season. McCown has been scattershot throughout his career, Leftwich has started eight games over the last three years and Freeman figures to need a year of seasoning before being given a shot at the starting gig. Although the team does possess excellent receiving talent in Antonio Bryant and Kellen Winslow, the overall situation in Tampa looks like one of two veteran retreads throwing to a pair of malcontents. Turn your head away so you don’t see the train wreck in Tampa.

New York Jets – Kellen Clemens vs. Mark Sanchez

The Jets have not named a starter yet but it will be a huge shock if Sanchez does not win this battle. Clemens may be a former 2nd round pick but he looks lost and unsure of himself in the pocket. Sanchez may struggle early but look for the Jets to accept the growing pains in hopes of getting a better return early. Realistically, new head coach Rex Ryan will have the Jets offense heavily focused on the run. Sanchez is a fantasy third stringer at best and Clemens isn’t worth owning even if he wins the job.

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