BOSTON (CBS) – Ladies and gentlemen, come one, come all, it’s the NFL Quarterback shuffle!
First, it’s Rex Grossman being named the starter inWashington. Up next, David Garrard Jaguars jerseys are put on clearance throughout the city, as their long-time starter gets unceremoniously dumped. And, finally, saving the best for last, Peyton Manning gets put on the shelf for who knows how long…
Welcome to fantasy football, isn’t it fun?
In all seriousness, the question you have to ask yourself is how much will these moves affect my fantasy lineup? The moves aren’t shocking, but that doesn’t mean it won’t affect your team. So, let’s take a look at them, one at a time.
Rex Grossman: Grossman isn’t as bad of a quarterback as people say he is…well, at least in fantasy. The problem with Grossman is that in reality he makes awful mistakes and turns the ball over in crucial times. But, he’ll throw for some yards and find his receivers most of the time. I actually don’t mind Santana Moss as a 3rd fantasy receiver and believe that Tim Hightower will score some points as a check down option. Not like that will make Redskins fans sleep any easier…
David Garrard: This was eventually coming. With the Jags selecting Blaine Gabbert as a top ten pick you figured Garrard’s time was coming. But that it came this early makes it a little more interesting. Now granted, Garrard’s banged up and has been for a while. But, if you’re the Jaguars, are you really cool with starting Luke McCown? Or rushing your young franchise player before he’s ready?
As for fantasy, it doesn’t affect much in the passing game. Garrard isn’t a top quarterback and Jacksonville has always loved to run. But, Maurice Jones-Drew’s value does drop… if defenses focused on Jones-Drew before, with Garrard under center, what do you think they’ll do now with McCown or Gabbert? Yeah, not good.
Peyton Manning: First, he’s hurting, but should be back by week one. Then, he’s going to take it slow, who knows. Soon after that, he’s probably not going to start week one and the Colts sign Kerry Collins. Eventually, Manning’s taken off the PUP list and practices, with hopes of playing in the first week. Unfortunately, the practices cause Manning to experience discomfort. That leads to the Colts telling everyone that Manning will NOT start game one. And, if that’s not enough, now there’s a report coming out of Indianapolis that he’s out for the year. Got all that? I hope so, because I am not writing it all over again.
The fact of the matter is this; Peyton Manning’s fantasy value hasn’t been lower, probably since his rookie year. Last year Manning started the season slowly and I expected the same this time around. Now with this injury causing more trouble than expected, along with him aging, I expect even more problems. And that’s if he even plays! Think about it, how long will he be out? If he returns by game four, it’s still going to take some time to get back into game shape and shake the rust off. Can you really afford to pin your hopes on someone that might not be starter worthy until week eight?
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Now as for the rest of the team, we don’t know how bad it’ll affect them until we see Kerry Collins take a snap. But, in all honesty, you probably don’t feel so well. Yes, Collins has thrown for over 40,000 yards in the NFL, but the fact is, Manning is theIndianapolis offense. He makes the calls at the line of scrimmage and makes that unit click. Just watch any Colts game over the past decade and the 1,000 replays, per game, of Manning barking out calls while the color commentator waxes poetic.
Even Reggie Wayne came out a week or so ago saying that the team was basically screwed. Ok, maybe he didn’t use that exact verbiage, but we all understood what he meant. With Manning out, the Colts offensive production will dip. If the Colts offensive production dips, so does the fantasy value of everyone on the team. And, if you’re one of the unfortunate souls that drafted Manning a couple of weeks ago and didn’t grab a solid backup, you have work to do, young grasshopper. There shouldn’t be much confidence that Manning will be riding in on his white horse any time soon.
– You can follow Nick Cattles on Twitter: @NickCattles