Tim Tebow – Denver Broncos-
Following their third straight loss the Broncos decided to make the switch to Tebow at quarterback heading in to their week six bye. There is a lot to consider with the Broncos’ situation. John Fox is a traditional head coach who stubbornly prefers vets over younger players and was not in charge when the Broncos selected Tebow. John Elway secured his place in football lore as a typical drop back quarterback who would never be accused of being fleet of foot. Who knows what the coach and front office ultimately think about Tebow and his future in Denver, but here is what we know about Tebow and his ability to produce fantasy football numbers.
If the change in quarterback wasn’t enough the Broncos traded their best wideout Brandon Lloyd to the Rams. The Broncos are staking their offense on Tebow, some young receivers and the gimpy knees of Willis MaGahee. Can Tebow channel his natural leadership instincts and give the Broncos a shot at respectability this season? Tebow was already the team’s best goal line back and now he has the opportunity to add to those stats with passing yards. Tebow has had an extra week to prepare for a Dolphins defense that has been especially generous to opposing fantasy QBs. The Fins are allowing an average of nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns per game. Expect Tebow to register very respectable numbers in his 2011 starting debut. A good outing Sunday could be the traction that Tebow needs to generate some momentum. Tebow is a solid option this week and should be considered as a starter each week as long as he keeps the starting job.
Carson Palmer – Oakland Raiders-
The Bengals fell into the perfect trade scenario with Oakland after Jason Campbell’s injury in week six and parlayed the disgruntled Palmer into two future draft picks. Much will be made of Palmer’s long layoff and new environment, but he appears to be in good physical shape and has a long relationship with head coach Hue Jackson. You can’t discount being in “football shape” and how Palmer will respond when he gets hit a few times, so the chance of some early rust certainly exist. Palmer will step in and immediately be the starter this week as the Raiders face off with the Kansas City Chiefs. Under normal circumstances the matchup would be a great start for Palmer. But with such an abbreviated opportunity to get acclimated to a new playbook and team of receivers, Palmer will likely be limited this week. Expect the Raiders to grind the game out with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush while Palmer works off some the rust.
The Raiders have a Week 8 bye and Palmer should have ample time to get up to speed before hitting the field in a Week 9 matchup with the Broncos. With Darrius Heyward-Bey emerging as a credible threat and other capable wideouts like Denarius Moore, Palmer will be surrounded with as good a supporting cast as he has had in a long time. Palmer hasn’t put up consistent QB1 numbers for the last couple of years, but he has the potential to capitalize in a spot start with the right matchup and could experience a resurgence of sorts in the new setting. If one of your other QBs has lost his job, Palmer would be a good addition to your roster.
Christian Ponder – Minnesota Vikings-
The Vikings surprised everyone on draft day when they took Ponder with the number twelve pick and now with six weeks of the Donovan McNabb experiment under their belt they are giving Ponder the starting job. Ponder comes with less experience than the other QBs discussed and he faces a tough opening matchup with the Green Bay Packers. The Vikes have a great running game anchored by Adrian Peterson, but their offensive line has done very little this season to protect their quarterback so Ponder may have a hard time staying upright to try to distribute the ball to a sub-par receiving group.
I suggest passing on Ponder until he can prove that he can be a contributor. I don’t envision him contributing much this season, but keep him on your radar to monitor how he performs as it translates to his projections for next season.
John Beck-Washington Redskins –
Rex Grossman had been progressively getting worse as the season wore on before losing his starting job to Beck. Mike Shanahan was thought to be very high on Beck in the preseason before handing the starting job to Grossman. While Shanahan has a long history of driving fantasy owners crazy with his treatment of running backs, his willingness to utilize the hot hand means that opponents will have to respect the running game and consequently, Beck will have time to find the open receiver. Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney and Fred Davis are capable targets, so Beck could have the components to succeed at his disposal.
I’m not ready to suggest adding Beck yet. The Redskins will likely rely heavily on the running game in Week 7 against a porous Panthers defense, so Beck will be given time to adjust to the starting role. Keep an eye on him and how he plays Sunday and next week against the Bills before deciding to take the plunge.