Fantasy spin: Young signs with Bills

Posted May 12, 2012 @ 3:07 a.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

I have always been a fan of Bills head coach Chan Gailey. Anyone who could maximize Kordell Stewart's potential and keep an aging Cowboys team playoff-competitive is someone who isn’t afraid to take on any challenge.

Gailey has had mixed results so far in Buffalo but has also been lacking a key piece to the puzzle — consistent play from the QB position. Starter Ryan Fitzpatrick is mobile yet lacks a deep arm and makes mistakes over and over.

Enter Vince Young, who, according to the team and media reports, will compete for the backup job. I agree, but all bets are off when the season begins.

Fitzpatrick can be one of the league’s best backups but hasn’t proven he can be a consistent starter. In 2011 he posted eight games with one touchdown or fewer, and in 2010 in 14 games, he had seven games with one TD or fewer. Whether it's fantasy or NFL, those are not numbers that will keep a head coach employed long term or Fitzpatrick as a starting quarterback, if he doesn’t show improvement. With a reputation as a boom-or-bust player he has six games with three-plus touchdowns in that span, including three with four TDs.

Young’s attributes are strong legs and a strong arm, and Gailey — as he did with Stewart — can teach him to play within himself and reduce his mistakes. Young has reason to want to see the field: He signed a one-year contract for $2 million and could earn another $1 million with incentives.

Not without talent, Young has two Pro Bowl selections — 2006 and 2009 — as well as NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. During that rookie campaign, his legs carried many fantasy owners to weekly victory. Although he threw for 2,199 yards and 12 TDs, his legs amassed an impressive 552 yards and seven TDs.

Bills GM Buddy Nix commented that Young brings unique physical abilities. I translate that to mean his legs and his ability to keep a play alive. More importantly, at 6-5 and 230 pounds, he’s tough to bring down. Current backups Tyler Thigpen and Brad Smith — like Fitzpatrick — offer the mobility Gailey likes in his quarterbacks. Notice a trend?

Realize the team did not hire David Lee as their QB coach without reason. He brings the Wildcat formation to the Bills after helping popularize it with the Dolphins from 2008-10. I expect to see V.Y. on the field — at times with Fitzpatrick — playing quarterback in those formations. However, as a gadget player he won’t see enough touches to have fantasy value.  

How do I see it? V.Y. will compete for the No. 2 position and should win it, but if Fitzpatrick plays to form — inconsistent — we know what will happen. Regardless of what anyone will have you believe, fans create controversy 99 percent of the time, with the other one percent being inept coaches playing musical chairs with the quarterback position.

This could become a nightmare scenario for fantasy owners if Fitzpatrick stumbles. Fitzpatrick is not an above-average fantasy quarterback but a No. 2, so my advice is to ignore both players on draft day. Once the season begins, look for V.Y. on the waiver wire once calamity ensues, as he can be fantasy gold with his legs.

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