Around Fantasyland: Quarterback updates

Posted May 22, 2012 @ 12:31 p.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

It's time to gear up for the upcoming NFL season. Sure it's only May, but once we reach mid-June, the fantasy juices begin to flow. Let’s start the week off and catch up with the offseason quarterback news in this edition of Fantasyland — specifically focusing on the upcoming battles and where they stand.

"Bounty-gate" is the least of the Saints’ worries
The Saints insist Drew Brees will be under contract and under center by mid-July, but Brees has said he’s “frustrated” with how the negotiations are processing. Brees has missed just one game in his six seasons in New Orleans and helped heal the city after Hurricane Katrina with a Super Bowl championship. Brees has yet to sign his franchise tender, but fantasy owners shouldn’t worry. He’s been with the club long enough not to need many reps. I expect both sides to come to agreement before camp. 

Dolphins QB battle could lean towards Tannehill
According to the team — specifically, owner Stephen Ross — rookie QB Ryan Tannehill will be brought along slowly with expectations of Matt Moore being the Week One starting quarterback. However, head coach Joe Philbin has said Tannehill will compete for the starting job and has the advantage of being familiar with offensive coordinator Mike Sherman’s playbook. Sherman was Tannehill's head coach at Texas A&M, and Tannehill has noted that about 80-85 percent of the offense is familiar to him. This team’s future is now with a new head coach and new offense (West Coast), so logic suggests it is a legitimate possibility that Tannehill can be the Week One starter. That said, either Moore or David Garrard are the favorites to battle for the starting job until Tannehill is ready. Regardless, none of the quarterbacks have fantasy value entering the season.

Cardinals QB battle is not a given for Kolb to win
Despite the team paying Kevin Kolb his $7 million option bonus, head coach Ken Whisenhunt says the starting quarterback — Kolb or John Skelton — will be based on training-camp performance and preseason play. However, GM Rod Graves suggested Kolb would be the favorite. Until we know who the starter is, there is no fantasy value here. The best recommendation is to consider taking one as a No. 3 fantasy quarterback with upside, as this could be a high-octane offense.

Titans QB battle favors Hasselbeck, but … 
While many observers believe Matt Hasselbeck will win the Titans’ QB battle, the team states it won’t make a quick decision and will let the battle wage through training camp. Fantasy owners in dynasty or keeper leagues should target Jake Locker regardless of whom wins the starting job. Locker has no fantasy value until the Titans are removed from playoff contention, because at that point there is no reason to keep him from taking the field. Right now, neither player has value in single-season leagues because of the fluidity at the QB position in Tennessee.

Will there be a QB battle in Jacksonville? 
Blaine Gabbert enters the season as the de facto starter. While there will not be an open competition, it's been reported that some inside the organization believe backup Chad Henne is the better player. It was revealed that Gabbert played with a toe injury for most of 2011 and players have come to his defense, with some suggesting we look for a big rebound in 2012. But that's still not quieting the talk about Gabbert resembling a deer in headlights and that Henne could win the starting job by the end of camp. With a new regime in Jacksonville teaching a new offense, neither player has value entering the season. Despite the offseason upgrades at receiver, this team will revolve around RB Maurice Jones-Drew this season.

The Browns' supposed QB Battle
The team insists the best player between rookie Brandon Weeden, Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace will start, but the coaches fully expect Weeden to win that battle. Barring a flop, Weeden will start. The real question is who wins the No. 2 job. But since we’re talking about the Browns, does it really matter? Right now the team maintains it has no plans to trade McCoy, and outside dynasty or keeper leagues, Weeden has no value in 2012. In fact, he has to prove he can overcome the “happy feet” knock on him at Oklahoma State when pressured.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in QB battle mix
Head coach Pete Carroll is lauding rookie Russell Wilson — first as a legitimate player for the backup position and now as being in the hunt to start. GM John Schneider sees likenesses to Drew Brees and Jeff Garcia, and there’s no doubt Wilson has the tools to overcome his size limitations — 5-11 and 204 pounds. I don’t view this as "coach speak" as much as the team gave Matt Flynn $8 million and would look ridiculous if he isn’t good enough to start. That and the fact the West Coast offense is an offense that takes quarterbacks a few years to become proficient at tells me Flynn should open as the starter.

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