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The Top 5 Disappointments at QB


Although we so-called fantasy football experts do our best to make our preseason player predictions as accurate as possible, there is always a handful of players at each position that disappoint us unexpectetedly. Here is my list of the Top 5 biggest disappointments at the quarterback position from the first half of 2010. Fantasy points (FP) were calculated by awarding one point for each 20 yards passing, four points for each touchdown pass, minus one point for each interception, one point for every 10 rushing yards and six points for every rushing touchdown.

QUARTERBACKS – BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS


1. Brett Favre | Minnesota Vikings

WK

OPP

CMP

ATT

YD

TD

INT

RSH

YD

TD

FP

1

NO

15

27

171

1

1

0

0

0

11.5

2

MIA

22

36

225

0

3

0

0

0

8.2

3

DET

23

34

201

1

2

2

-2

0

11.8

5

NYJ

14

34

264

3

1

4

1

0

24.3

6

DAL

14

19

118

1

0

1

0

0

9.9

7

GB

16

29

212

1

3

0

0

0

11.6

8

NE

22

32

259

0

1

0

0

0

11.9

9

ARI

36

47

446

2

2

2

1

0

28.4

10

CHI

18

31

170

1

3

2

-1

0

9.4

TOTAL

180

289

2,066

10

16

11

-1

0

127.0

From Week 1 through Week 10, Favre notched just one 300-yard passing game and has thrown for at least 260 yards and multiple scores in just two contests. He averaged 229.5 passing yards, 1.1 touchdown passes, 1.6 interceptions and 14.1 fantasy points per start. At this point in 2009, Favre had thrown for 2,269 yards and 17 touchdowns with just three interceptions to amass 178.45 fantasy points (19.8 per game). He also notched three 300-yard games and tossed multiple touchdown passes in five outings.

What has gone wrong? Very few fantasy owners had expected Favre to start 2010 as strongly as he did 2009 while facing a tougher schedule without go-to guy Sidney Rice (hip surgery), but the future Hall-of-Famer’s fantasy QB22 production (through Week 10) was much lower than expected. No. 4 obviously has been hampered by lingering ankle and shoulder injuries, and the Minnesota offensive line has had its share of struggles. Favre has looked surprisingly lost without Rice, and, before the arrival of now-former Viking Randy Moss (Titans), Percy Harvin had been double-teamed frequently. In addition, Favre’s chemistry with Bernard Berrian has been weak at best as usual (with the exception of the Week 9 Arizona game), which left Visanthe Shianoce as the 20-year veteran’s top target. However, Shiancoe, like Harvin, has been attracting extra attention from opposing defenses when he hasn’t been staying in to help the struggling offensive line with blocking.

2. Matt Schaub | Houston Texans

WK

OPP

CMP

ATT

YD

TD

INT

RSH

YD

TD

FP

1

IND

9

17

107

1

1

3

-3

0

8.0

2

WAS

38

52

497

3

1

1

2

0

35.6

3

DAL

23

32

241

1

2

0

0

0

14.0

4

OAK

16

29

192

2

0

3

1

0

17.5

5

NYG

16

34

196

0

1

1

-1

0

8.7

6

KC

25

33

305

2

0

1

3

0

23.5

8

IND

22

38

201

1

1

1

1

0

13.1

9

SD

21

32

266

0

1

2

1

0

12.4

10

HOU

22

32

314

2

0

3

14

0

25.1

TOTAL

192

299

2,319

12

7

15

18

0

157.9

From Week 1 through Week 10, Schaub notched three 300-yard games. The seventh-year pro tossed multiple touchdown passes in four contests, but threw one or fewer touchdown passes in five outings, which obviously has frustrated his owners. Schaub averaged 257.7 passing yards, 1.33 touchdown passes, 0.77 interceptions and 17.5 fantasy points per game. At this point last season, Schaub had amassed 2,653 passing yards, 17 touchdown passes and nine interceptions to compile 191.65 fantasy points (21.3 per contest).

What has gone wrong? Heading into 2010, the expectations were high for Schaub as a Top 5 fantasy quarterback, and with good reason. Last year in Houston’s pass-happy system, he had compiled more attempts, completions and passing yards than any NFL quarterback, and Schaub finally managed to dodge the injury bug for the first time in three years, starting all 16 regular-season games. Despite what some Schaub owners may think, his 2010 numbers are not terrible, but the consistently strong week-to-week passing performances from last season have not carried over. Is the emergence of Arian Foster to blame? Not entirely. Granted, the Texans have tried to feature a more balanced offense with Foster when they can, but think about this: At this point in 2009, Schaub had put it up just 30 more times (329 attempts) or 3.3 more attempts per outing. Sure, Owen Daniels is still hampered by his bum knee (ACL), but Schaub was successful during the second half of 2009 without him. Andre Johnson also has been banged up, but he has not missed any significant time. Here is what I think is behind the struggles of Schaub and the Houston passing attack: the absence of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The Texans’ passing game has been far less effective against a much tougher schedule (hint, hint) than last year without Shanahan calling the shots.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2010: You should expect more up-and-down fantasy performances from Schaub based on the mixture of tough and weak matchups remaining on Houston’s schedule and plan on using him as a matchup play. Granted, the Texans’ defense has been struggling – particularly the secondary – so there is some shootout potential in a handful of the Texans remaining contests. Barring an injury to Foster, he obviously will still be in the team’s offensive mix.

 

 3. Jay Cutler | Chicago Bears

WK

OPP

CMP

ATT

YD

TD

INT

RSH

YD

TD

FP

1

DET

23

35

372

2

1

5

22

0

27.8

2

DAL

21

29

277

3

0

5

3

0

26.1

3

GB

16

27

221

1

1

3

37

0

17.8

4

NYG

8

11

42

0

1

0

0

0

1.1

6

SEA

17

39

290

0

0

2

19

0

16.4

7

WAS

26

40

281

1

4

1

0

0

14.0

9

BUF

17

30

188

2

0

5

39

0

21.3

10

MIN

22

35

237

3

2

5

24

0

24.2

TOTAL

 

150

246

1,908

12

9

26

144

0

148.7

Cutler closed out Week 10 as the fantasy QB18. Although he tossed multiple touchdown passes in four outings, Cutler also threw one of fewer scoring strikes in four contests and notched just one 300-yard passing game. He has averaged 238.5 passing yards, 1.5 touchdown passes, 1.1 interceptions and 18.6 fantasy points per game.

What has gone wrong? Heading into the regular season, the marriage of new Chicago offensive coordinator Mike Martz – he is the conductor of the pass-happy “Greatest Show on Turf” offense – and the strong-armed Cutler looked like it was full of fantasy scoring potential, which is why some owners were more than happy to spend a high mid-round draft selection on the former Denver Bronco. Why not? Martz was a dynamic, aggressive and pass-happy playcaller from his days with the St. Louis Rams. Martz’s offensive coordinator stints with the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers also proved that his system could work with lesser talent. Although the Bears lacked elite talent at the skill positions – Matt Forte, Chester Taylor, Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Devin Abromashodu – they could easily funnel the offense through the Pro Bowler Cutler, and he would post Top 5 passer numbers – in theory.

Cutler started the season strong, rolling up 870 passing yards and six touchdown passes through the first three weeks. However, in Week 4, the New York Giants exposed Chicago’s dismal offensive line – “Big Blue” sacked Cutler nine times in that contest – which provided the rest of the Bears’ opponents with a blueprint for how to contain Cutler and Chicago’s passing attack. After sitting out Week 5 due to a concussion that he suffered in the Giants’ game, Cutler returned to the starting lineup in Week 6, but he struggled against aggressive, blitzing Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins defenses.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2010: Any monster passing games from Cutler between now and the end of the season will be rare. A majority of Chicago’s remaining matchups are unfavorable. The Bears also have tweaked their offensive approach to compensate for their pass protection problems to help keep Cutler upright. Earlier in the season, Martz, a huge proponent of the deep passing game, routinely had Cutler take five- and seven-step drops, and hold the football while his receivers ran deep routes. However, Chicago’s offensive line could not protect Cutler long enough for the wideouts to get open – which is why he was sacked so many times. The Bears have instead resorted to using a shorter, controlled passing attack with more emphasis on running the football. Not many had thought Martz would shy away from his beloved deep passing game, but he has made the adjustment. Don’t expect any changes in this approach. Cutler is a matchup play/backup fantasy quarterback for the rest of the season. 

 

4. Kevin Kolb | Philadelphia Eagles

WK

OPP

CMP

ATT

YD

TD

INT

RSH

YD

TD

FP

1

GB

5

10

24

0

0

1

1

0

1.3

4

WAS

22

35

201

1

1

2

21

0

15.5

5

SF

21

31

253

1

0

3

17

0

18.3

6

ATL

23

29

326

3

1

2

1

0

27.4

7

TEN

26

48

231

1

2

3

18

0

15.3

TOTAL

97

153

1,035

6

4

11

58

0

77.8

What has gone wrong? The 24-year-old Kolb was one of the most popular offseason sleepers at the position. Why? In 2009, he had made two consecutive early-season starts in Donovan McNabb’s place, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for 325-plus yards and two scores in each of his first two regular-season starts. Tempted by Kolb’s perceived upside and the sleeper hype from a handful of fantasy football experts, the Eagles traded the aging Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins and handed the keys to their pass-happy offense to Kolb, which clearly tempted some fantasy owners to acquire him with a high mid-round draft selection.

However, any hopes of weekly 300-yard passing games from Kolb were dashed quickly. His Week 1 start against a blitzing Green Bay Packers defense was disastrous. Philadelphia’s offensive line struggled because of injuries and shaky play during that contest, and Kolb was knocked out with a concussion. This opened the door for you-know-who to start – yes, I’m talking about Michael Vick. Displaying his trademark scrambling ability and some completely unexpected proficiency as a passer, Vick easily stole the starting job from Kolb. Vick suffered a rib injury in Week 4, which opened the door for Kolb to make three more starts. However, in the mind of head coach Andy Reid, Kolb did not play well enough to supplant Vick as the starter.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2010: Kolb obviously will not see the field again as a starter unless Vick suffers another injury. Bottom line – the preseason expectations for Kolb were way too high and just plain unrealistic. By the way, Kolb’s contract is up after this season. Will he return? Stay tuned. 

 

5. Tom Brady | New England Patriots

WK

OPP

CMP

ATT

YD

TD

INT

RSH

YD

TD

FP

1

CIN

25

35

258

3

0

0

0

0

24.9

2

NYJ

20

36

248

2

2

0

0

0

18.4

3

BUF

21

27

252

3

0

4

6

0

25.2

4

MIA

19

24

153

1

0

5

6

0

12.2

6

BAL

27

44

292

1

2

2

1

0

16.7

7

SD

19

32

159

1

0

2

1

0

12.0

8

MIN

16

27

240

1

0

4

-3

0

15.7

9

CLE

19

36

224

2

0

1

1

0

19.3

10

PIT

30

43

350

3

0

1

3

1

35.8

TOTAL

196

304

2,176

17

4

19

15

1

180.2

What has gone wrong? Is it accurate to describe Brady as a disappointment? “Tom Terrific” has averaged 241.8 passing yards, 1.9 touchdown passes and 20 fantasy points per outing with just four interceptions in his first nine starts, which are very respectable numbers. He tossed at least one touchdown pass in every contest and threw for multiple scores in five games. On the other hand, when you consider that Brady was drafted as a Top 10 fantasy quarterback, but produced fantasy QB11 numbers before his stellar Week 10 outing, it’s accurate to slap the disappointment label on him. Through nine games started in 2009, Brady had compiled 2,739 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions to amass 206.9 fantasy points (22.9 per game).

We saw signs last season that the once-vaunted New England passing attack was headed on a downward trend. Brady had piled up big passing numbers against inferior opponents but struggled against tougher defenses. The Patriots struggled at times to get the ball to Randy Moss. In addition, the offensive game plans seemed stale and predictable, and halftime adjustments seemed few and far between. It turns out that New England has addressed its 2009 offensive shortcomings by transitioning from a pass-heavy offense to a more balanced one with a solid weekly emphasis on the run. Brady is now spreading his passes around more than he has during the last three years in a dink-and-dunk attack, throwing more frequently to his tight ends and running backs.

Did Moss’ departure have an effect on Brady’s production? Statistically, there does not seem to be a huge difference. With Moss in the lineup (Week 1 through Week 4), Brady averaged 227.8 passing yards, 2.3 touchdown passes and 0.5 interceptions per outing. Without Moss (Week 5 through Week 10), Brady averaged 253 passing yards, 1.6 touchdown passes and 0.4 picks per game.

Looking ahead to the second half of 2010: Expect more of the same from Brady: 200-something passing yards and one or two touchdown passes from him most weeks – even though his schedule looks challenging. Brady’s fantasy numbers are not going to power your fantasy team to a championship, but he will usually provide some valuable points each week. Before Moss joined the Patriots in 2007, Brady had a reputation in fantasy football circles as a quarterback who spread his passes around, compiling good, but rarely great fantasy numbers. We are seeing that version of Brady once again.

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