Kolb looks ready to produce

Posted Aug. 31, 2010 @ 5:12 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

This is the 51st in a series of opinionated fantasy football columns that will be posted daily in July and August, providing fantasy owners with some insights to consider as they prepare for their drafts. You can get an in-depth preview of the upcoming fantasy football season with the purchase of the Yahoo! Sports / Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Football Guide 2010, available now in newsstands and bookstores, or online at PFWstore.com.

I usually employ one of two strategies when drafting quarterbacks in fantasy football: either I select a blue-chipper (Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, etc.) very early or I take two passers in the middle rounds and hope one of them performs like a blue-chipper.

If using the second strategy, drafting at least one young, upside-laden passer is wise; if you're waiting to take your starting quarterback, taking two veterans with established form is safe, but unexciting, and you probably will be settling for middling results.

When looking for intriguing QB prospects, your list of targets should include the Eagles' Kevin Kolb. While he has a short résumé (two starts), he could be quite productive in his first full season as the starter. Here are three reasons to consider Kolb:

• He's working with a young, talented supporting cast that includes an elite deep threat (DeSean Jackson) and reliable tight end (Brent Celek). Jackson's speed stretches defenses and can cause matchup problems. The Eagles' other starting wideout, Jeremy Maclin, is far from slow, too, and comes off an impressive rookie season. Celek has emerged as one of the NFL's better tight ends and is a downfield threat in his own right. In short, Kolb isn't lacking for capable targets when he scans the field.

• He has had three years to master Andy Reid's offense. Growing pains should be scant for Kolb, given the length of his apprenticeship and the quality of the instruction he has received.

• We saw enough in Kolb's two starts last season to know he can be a productive fantasy starter. He threw for a combined 718 yards and four TDs in starts against New Orleans and Kansas City. Yes, he threw three picks against the Saints, but he threw none against the Chiefs one week later, and he also completed a higher percentage of his passes vs. Kansas City than he did against eventual Super Bowl-champion New Orleans.

Kolb's case is similar to that of Aaron Rodgers' two years ago. Rodgers, ranked 15th on PFW's draft board in 2008, threw for 4,038 yards and 28 TDs in his first season as a starter while also rushing for four TDs. Rodgers, like Kolb, had three seasons to watch and learn before taking over an offense.

Like Rodgers, Kolb could be positioned to surprise now that he has the starting job all to himself. Kolb also could have some hidden upside as a rusher, a la Rodgers — after all, Kolb rushed for 21 TDs in four seasons at the University of Houston.

No, Kolb doesn't have much of a track record. But his upside is exciting.

 

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