So who’s excited for the second Thursday Night game of the season? Ya, it shouldn’t exactly be as entertaining as that 42-38 Packers v Saints game to start off the year… but you know that as a Charger fan, I’m rooting for my Bolts to finally put it together. But there are a couple other things I want to talk about before we get to that.
When thinking about a topic for today, I realized that I haven’t really talked about one of the biggest stories of the whole season so far, Timmy Terrific. I’ve picked a few of his games, but I haven’t discussed his real impact on the NFL and Fantasy Football. So I thought I’d take today and talk about Tebow, along with 3 or 4 other new QB’s that have entered the league mid-season and what, if any, fantasy value they have.
- TIM TEBOW: After entering the league week 5, Tebow has had 4 games (with one week off on bye) with double digit fantasy points, including his half game against the Chargers. Let me just say what I feel about running QB’s before hitting Tebow specifically… The thing about them is that they are the epitome of players that have more fantasy than real life value. Now first you have to understand the difference between running, and mobile. Steve Young was mobile, Aaron Rodgers is mobile, Big Ben is a little mobile… but they are not RUNNING QB’s, most of their touchdowns are still based on passing. When you talk about running QB’s you bring up the names of Vick, Vince Young, Tim Tebow, and Cam Newton. Running QB’s have inherently more fantasy value because rushing TD’s are worth more fantasy points than passing TD’s. In most leagues, a passing TD is worth 4 points, and a Rushing/Receiving TD is worth 6. That means that a running QB is afforded the equivalent of 1 interception (-2 pts) for every rushing TD, while still being equal to a passing QB’s touchdowns. Put another way, in terms of yards… a rushing TD is worth 50 more passing yards (25 yards per point) than an actual passing TD. For example: If Tebow passes for 200 yards with 2 rushing TD’s… that would be EQUAL to Tom Brady passing for 300 yards with 2 passing TD’s, both very likely scenarios. The other thing, is that even if they don’t necessarily score while running, yard while running are worth more as well. In passing, it takes 25 yards to equal 1 fantasy point. But while running it takes only 10. And how many times do you see Vick or Tebow scramble for that rogue first down on 2nd and 10? That’s a point all day long, as opposed to about half a point when Brady throws for it. Now, to get to Tebow specifically. The way fantasy is set up, covers for a lot of Tebow’s flaws. He doesn’t pass a lot, but rushing yards count more. He throws interceptions, but as long as he gets his rushing TD’s it doesn’t matter. So let me just say that in real life, I wouldn’t want Tebow on my team, but he does have fantasy value. In every game (even the terrible one against the Lions) Timmy got his double digits. If nothing else, he is a great injury or bye week replacement. The word is BUY.
- CARSON PALMER: He had a nice game last week, at lease fantasy-wise. Yes, he threw 3 picks, and lost the game for the Raiders. But he also had 3 TD’s and threw for 330 yards. He doesn’t have the rushing cushion that Tebow has, so his mistakes get magnified. But remember that the Raiders have a lot of young talented skill position players: Denarious Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Jacoby Ford at WR and Darren McFadden and Michael Bush at RB. So in that regard, ever since the trade was made, I’ve felt like Palmer had a real shot to be successful, and could make a real fantasy impact. At this point there’s really only 1 bad half, and 1 mediocre game to judge on… but you just have to look at Palmer’s body of work, as well as the pieces he has around him and go off of potential. Similar to Tebow, I don’t know that I would have him start on any of my fantasy teams (given that there aren’t any injury issues), but I wouldn’t say he’s as much of safe bet as the advantages of a running QB. There are two advantages that Palmer has over other backup QB’s, both have to do with the division he plays in. As an AFC West follower myself, I can tell you as well as anyone that practically every year it’s a tight race to see who makes the play-offs. This means that most QB’s will be playing all the way through 16 games, and putting up nice numbers during fantasy play off time (a topic I’ll cover in greater detail in the coming weeks). And secondly, following only the NFC West, the AFC West is arguably the weakest division. That means that Palmer will have to face tough teams less often, and will have more opportunities to shine against the less than potent Chargers, Broncos, and Chiefs defenses. The word is a very small BUY for Palmer, but only if your options are limited.
- And lastly I want to talk about the two rookie QB’s that have been handed the starting jobs on their respective teams mid-season, and those are Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. I’m lumping them together because in a lot of ways I think their situations are very similar. They’re both on less than average teams (the Jags and Vikings respectively), they themselves are pretty nice budding QB talents, and they both have a solid run game backing them up. Gabbert is leading Ponder in overall fantasy points by around 10, though he has played 4 more games. Ponder has entered the double digit range twice in 3 games, where as Gabbert has only done so once in 7 games. Ponder has around a 50% completion percentage, and Gabbert is at about 45%. They’re both about equal in TD’s, INT’s, and Longest Plays… So, all in all these two players seem like they’re still just getting going in this league. I would probably take Ponder in a tight spot above Gabbert, but as far as this season goes I don’t know if they’re entirely worth the pick up. I would say the word on these two is STAY. “They are who we thought they were”, paraphrasing of course. They’re nice rookies who should have some nice seasons coming up.
And that brings us to Thursday night. Can I just say that the commercial that the NFL network has circulating has me more excited for the game, than the real potential of how it’s going to turn out. Have you seen it readers? The one with the surfer Charger fans, and punk skateboarding Raider fans riding into their homes to watch the game? I thought that was pretty cool. I wish I could find a link for you guys… but I just can’t seem to get it. Anyway, in reality the game is looking to be between two teams who are currently struggling a little bit, with first place in the AFC West on the line. The teams are both on a short rest/study week which is likely to hurt the Raiders more than the Chargers, seeing as how they’re still working on incorporating a new QB into their system. I’ve already talked a bit about the various Raiders skill players and their fantasy impacts, so lets briefly cover the Chargers a little bit. The popular topic with the Chargers this week is that Philip Rivers is seriously struggling. And as a Charger fan, I think the trouble goes a little deeper, possibly up to the level of the play calling ability of Norv Turner. But none of that really matters in the fantasy arena. As much as Rivers has been catching heat recently, he’s still putting up pretty nice fantasy numbers. He’s only had 2 single digit games, and is the 11th ranked fantasy QB. He’s an absolute starter in pretty much any line up unless you lucked out with picking someone like Stafford or Cam as a back up. In the run game, San Diego has the 13th and 17th ranked RB’s with Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert. Matthews is listed as probable for tomorrows game with a groin injury, though his time could very likely be split with Tolbert who tends to get goal line opportunities anyway. If I had to pick between the two, I’d probably go with Tolbert this week, but Matthews’ owners should be fine next week when Ryan gets a long week of rest after this Thursday game. I’ve already written a couple times about Antonio Gates… basically saying that I’m not a huge buyer with that nagging foot/leg injury that he’s been dealing with for some time now. He seems just as likely to get 0 points as he is to get 10-15. In the receiving core, the only real WR of value on the team is Vincent Jackson, who is the 6th ranked fantasy WR. The thing with Jackson though is that, like Gates, he seems just as likely to have a terrible game as a great one. He’s a little too unstable for me, but if you have him on your team, he’s probably worth the start.
For the game I’m picking the Chargers, I think the Raiders are still figuring things out, and Rivers and the rest of the team are likely going to come out with something to prove. I’ll get to the rest of my picks later in the week, but for now, that’s what I got.
This has been Sports Stock Radio. I am Jake your Fantasy Sports Broker. Thanks for reading.