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Faceoff: QB Most Hurt By Free Agency

August 12th

Clayton Gray: Is there a quarterback whose fantasy prospects were really hurt by free agency? If so, expound on what happened and how it decreases his 2011 outlook.

Dave Larkin: While this may be "cheating," I'm going to go outside the box a little bit and pick a guy who wasn't affected by free agency but by a trade that didn't happen. Fantasy (and real-life media) Darling Tim Tebow went from being a guy who shined brightly against bad defenses at the end of last year to a trendy sleeper pick as an upside QB2 in shallow leagues or even a potential #1 in deeper leagues (on teams who weren't owned by Merrill Hoge) due to the fact that it was assumed he'd add 5-7 rushing TDs on top of whatever he could do passing the rock. That status, however, was contingent upon the assumed trade of Kyle Orton to Miami (or Arizona, or Seattle) that never materialized.

If the Denver depth chart holds true, Tebow will likely only make his way on to fantasy rosters via the waiver wire if Denver starts the season poorly and decides to give him a shot later in the year. Tough break for his fantasy status.

Jeff Tefertiller: Jason Campbell has to be considered a "loser" with the loss of Zach Miller. But, the biggest loser has to be Joe Flacco. He lost Derrick Mason and Todd Heap, leaving only Anquan Boldin, a pair of rookie wide receivers, and two second-year tight ends in which to throw the ball. In addition, the loss of Willis McGahee cannot help Flacco. It will be difficult to depend on Flacco in the realm of fantasy football.

Jeff Haseley: I agree with Joe Flacco. He was on the verge of reaching that next level, but the Ravens dropped the ball, or mismanaged their decision making in failing to keep offensive mainstays Derrick Mason and Todd Heap. James Hardy anyone? I do think a complimentary WR will emerge in Baltimore, whether that's Torrey Smith, James Hardy or Tandon Doss, but the potential for Flacco takes a huge decline with the lack of talent after Anquan Boldin in the WR corps. Boldin will either struggle or flourish as the team's primary receiving threat. He's done it before with Arizona, which leads me to believe he could be a major target in Baltimore's offense this year.

Jason Wood: I agree with Jason Campbell and Joe Flacco, but there are other losers in this crazy offseason.

Another QB that may not seem as obvious is Matthew Stafford. Stafford has enormous expectations but has to stay healthy -- yet the Lions did next to nothing to improve a woeful offensive line.

Will Grant: You could almost say the same thing about Jay Cutler in Chicago Jason. Cutler was roasted by a ton of people at the end of last season for sitting out the second half of their playoff game against Green Bay. His reward was the departure of his all pro-center Olin Kruetz and his big safety valve TE Greg Olsen. To compensate, Chicago added a bunch of Dallas Castoffs in Roy Williams, Marion Barber and Sam Hurd. Now add in six division games against brutal defensive lines and it seems like Cutler is primed for a rough start this season.

Greg Russell: Joe Flacco is the obvious choice here after he lost two reliable targets of his in Derrick Mason and Todd Heap. The Ravens offense was kept ticking over by these veterans in the past few seasons. Now Anquan Boldin will assume a larger role and has reportedly been mentoring the younger receivers in training camp. Flacco has good physical tools and may be able to compensate for the losses the offense has had to endure, but call me skeptical that Tandon Doss, Torrey Smith and Ed Dickson can so easily pick up the slack.

Jeff Pasquino: I'll continue to beat the Flacco drum, but I have to say that if all the stars align then he might not be as bad off as some would think. He needs Dennis Pitta (and Ed Dickson) to replace Todd Heap and Tandon Doss to become a solid WR3, but the biggest thing he really needs is for Torrey Smith to develop very, very quickly. If he does, his speed and ability to go deep is something that has been missing for years in Baltimore and caused defenses to pack the first 10-15 yards from the line of scrimmage against Boldin and Derrick Mason the past two years. I do agree that these are a lot of "ifs", so I am agreeing with the group that Flacco stands to slide this year in fantasy value. I will say that long term his arrow might correct for 2012 and beyond and head up if the youth movement works out and these new receivers develop for next year.

Mark Wimer: I think Miami/Chad Henne lost out in free agency. The Dolphins' game of chicken with Denver ended with Kyle Orton staying put, and now they've got a weak veteran, Matt Moore, on the roster to try and push Henne. I don't see Moore putting up much of a fight, here, so Henne isn't likely to be replaced in the starting lineup. I'm pretty sure Henne knows that, too.

Even if Moore is inserted for a time, that scenario just makes for instability at the QB position and a loss of rapport between Henne and the other starters.

I don't see any upside to the current QB roster in Miami - expect more of 2010's results during 2011 in that town.