Backup options not real exciting for fantasy owners
Are you excited about Matt Leinhart?
Does Tyler Palko tantalize you?
I wouldn't be either. But if you are owners of Matt Schaub or Matt Cassel, you're likely looking for other options right now since both likely out for the season.
The Schaub owners stand to lose the most from this as he was having a much bigger impact this season than Cassel, ranking at the eighth-best QB vs. Cassel's 24th ranking.
Stepping in for Schaub, who suffered a Lisfranc injury to his foot, will be Matt Leinhart, who was last seen performing at 2011 Cassel levels in 2006, his rookie year in Arizona, eventually getting replaced by some old guy named Kurt Warner.
Since then Leinhart has fallen off depth charts and eventually teams, landing with the Texans. I listened an interview with Aaron Rodgers on Wednesday morning which got me to start thinking about Leinhart and the potential he now has.
Rodgers was drafted a year before Leinhart, falling until late in the first round before the Packers drafted him. Now he had Brett Favre in front of him. What it was good for was for Rodgers to watch and learn. Which he did for three years before Favre's first retirement came. Since then, he's been a hugely successful quarterback. He credited that to sitting and learning the game from a pro and studying more and more film as he got more acclimated to the NFL.
Leinhart is not a bad football player. There's a reason he was a successful college quarterback. He has the tools. While some guys can't make the jump to the next level, it might be a bit premature to put that label on Leinhart. For the last few years, he's sat behind Warner and Schaub, two guys who have spent a day or two behind veterans themselves earlier in their careers. Heck, Warner was behind the produce manager at Hy-Vee Supermarket earlier in his career. Like Rodgers, Leinhart had a future Hall of Famer to watch and learn from in Arizona and a pretty good quarterback to watch in Houston.
I think maturity, growth and the talent around him could allow him to succeed. The most important piece of that sentence: maturity. Of the top 11 quarterbacks, only one is a rookie (Cam Newton) and the rest are veteran QBs. I understand he had some pretty dang good receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, but he also didn't have a running back that held a candle to Arian Foster.
When he comes back to the field in two weeks (Houston is on a bye this weekend), he'll have Andre Johnson back and Foster to take the pressure off of him. I'm betting for some success for him, particularly as the season progresses. The pass defenses he'll face get progressively worse as the season goes on, including a week 17 matchup at the worst defense against fantasy quarterbacks: the Colts.
Palko, on the other hand, is about as exciting as reading a legal document. He certainly can be worse than Cassel and I doubt he'll be any better. Palko has a total of 13 passes thrown in the NFL in his five-year career. While he has some good weapons in Dwayne Bowe and John Baldwin, Jackie Battle doesn't scare defenses the way a Foster can.
Speaking of underperforming quarterbacks, Michael Vick is back on the injury list with two broken ribs, an expectation given his style of play. Vick didn't practice Wednesday and his status is not looking overly promising for the weekend, but he's one you'll want to pay attention as the week progresses. Mike Kafka, if he starts in place of Vick, is not a great option against the Giants. But then again, a less than 100 percent Vick isn't very promising when it comes to looking at production. We saw the effects of him playing with broken ribs last week.
In the running back department, Lance Ball is one of the hot pickups out there, and why not since Denver is showing it's going to run, run and when it's tired of that, it will try running some more. Willis McGahee looks like he's been cleared to return and with Knowshon Moreno out for the year, Ball could be a nice sleeper pickup because there will be enough balls to go around.
Speaking of looking for balls to go around, Kendall Hunter stands to pick up a few more. Frank Gore has been cleared to return to the 49ers. but coach Jim Harbaugh eluded to potential time share coming, which is becoming more and more common in the modern day NFL.
Vick wasn't the only hurt player in the Eagles game. And Jeremy Maclin also had two injuries but not two ribs. Try a hamstring injury and a seperated shoulder. If DeSean Jackson doesn't sleep through any more alarms, he stands to benefit with some more attention, as well as does Steve Smith and Jason Avant.
And in Browns news: Peyton Hillis is still hurt. I think he's going to be waiting awhile for that big contract. It's as likely as a Super Bowl title in Cleveland any time soon.