Every off-season, teams switch up QBs in hopes of finding that special Field General who will lead them to victory. The majority of this activity is found in the backup QB spot as teams want to secure a quality QB who is experienced enough, and has the talent, to step in for his team in case the true starting QB is hurt. Of course, this does not apply in Chicago even after it costs them dearly every season. This off-season was no different as a large number of teams switched back-up QBs and a few brought in new starters. Switching starters is not happening as frequently as it used to since more QBs are coming out of college and are NFL-ready immediately. Let’s take a quick look at the merry-go-round and how it impacts us as fantasy football players.
Carson Palmer (AZ) – Spoiler Alert! Carson will be featured as my QB Sleeper of the year. I love this move for the Cardinals and for Palmer. Arizona has wasted solid defensive efforts since Kurt Warner left by not having anything resembling a quality QB under center. Of course, they have been unable to keep a starting RB healthy during this time to help the QB in the passing game, but it really hasn’t mattered. In 2013, they have added Rashard Mendenhall’s bum knee to Ryan Williams’ pair of bum knees and cut Beanie Wells. Wisely, they drafted Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington so they should have someone healthy enough to provide a mix for Palmer. My excitement for Palmer comes from the receiving corp. I have thought the treatment of Larry Fitzgerald has been criminal since Warner departed, but he will run the field like he was back in Pitt this year. On the other side of the field, Andre Roberts has proven to be a valuable contributor but I see Michael Floyd having a coming-out party this year, which will help Fitz quite a bit. Palmer will throw for over 4500 yards and 30+ TDs this year.
Alex Smith (KC) – My excitement for this position has ended. “Game Manager” Alex Smith is a weak QB2. KC likes to run the ball and is weak at WR. Dwayne Bowe is very nice and should bounce back to his 2010-11 numbers, but they have no one else to throw to. Dexter McCluster is an exciting player, but his excitement does not add any to Smith’s for me.
Kevin Kolb (BUF) – This one is a toss-up. If you get a strong QB1, you could take a late flier on Kolb as a late QB2 or QB3 if you have the space. E.J. Manuel is the future starting QB for Buffalo, but Kolb’s contract virtually guarantees first shot this year. Palmer has many more weapons, but Kolb has many more than Smith. Stevie Johnson should be at full strength and ready to put up big numbers again. Rookie Robert Woods could surprise. I loved his game at USC, though ignored due to the excellence of Marquis Lee. Hell, Kolb could exceed Alex Smith’s numbers by just dumping the ball off to C.J. Spiller.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (TENN) – Fitzpatrick had a short, nice run at Buffalo but couldn’t continue after receiving an insanely big contract. Tennessee was wise to grab him as Jake Locker seems a bit brittle. Should Locker go down, Fitzpatrick could put up nice numbers. Locker is a QB2 though and it is rare that one grabs a backup to a QB2 unless you are in a really, really deep league. With Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt as wideouts, either/both QBs should do surprisingly well this year.
Drew Stanton (AZ) – The Cardinals figured that they would overhaul the QB position. Hell, Stanton would have been much better than a few of the bums under center the past few years. Since I love Palmer this year, I would add Stanton if I drafted Palmer.
Bruce Gradkowski (PITT) – Since Big Ben gets pummeled every year and misses a few games, the Steelers finally did the smart thing and cut loose Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich. Granted, Gradkowski won’t scare any opposing defensive coordinators, but he is a definite step up. I would consider adding him as a QB3 if I drafted Roethlisberger and have a deep league.
Matt Hasselbeck (IND) – Hasselbeck is definitely on the downside of his career and QBs in Indy rarely leave the field. But, you have to like what is going on in Indy and their wideouts. I would consider adding him as a QB3 if I drafted Luck and have a deep league.
Luke McCown (NO) – Drew Brees makes the Saints’ passing game what it is. A reasonable backup may be able to produce half of what Brees does. After 7 seasons in the league, McCown has 22 games and 2000 yards to his name. I would back Brees up with any starter outside of the Jets before adding McCown.
Chase Daniel (KC) – Another overhaul. I like Daniel a lot but I hate anyone under center in KC.
Matt Cassel (MINN) – I wouldn’t want Christian Ponder so I can’t recommend Cassel. Minny’s WRs are worse than KC’s.