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QB Alex Smith

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Outlook: Smith's struggles early in his career were notoriously blamed on the constant change in offensive philosophy in San Francisco. Well his first year in Andy Reid's system proved to be no problem at all. Smith set career highs with over 3300 passing yards, 431 rushing yards, and 23 touchdowns in 2014. From weeks 12-16 (Smith's final five games) the 30 year old ranked third amongst quarterbacks in fantasy points. He topped that off with one of the best games of his career in the playoffs. Against the Colts in the Wild Card round he completed 30/46 attempts for 378 yards and 4 touchdowns. Over his past three seasons he's completed 62.7% of his passes with better than a 3-1 touchdown to interception ratio. In 2014 Smith will have a second year in the offense with what should be a similar supporting cast. He lost Dexter McCluster to free agency but the team hopes to have tight end Travis Kelce back from knee injuries that cost him his rookie year. The offense should continue to focus on the short timing routes that Smith excels at. This system showcases Smith's talents better than any other but also limits big play ability, especially with the Chiefs lack of playmakers in the receiving corps.


QB Johnny Manziel

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Outlook: Johnny Manziel was drafted to be this team's starter sooner rather than later. Despite veteran Brian Hoyer winning the job for Week 1, Manziel should have this job at some point in 2014. Manziel's playmaking abilities have been gracing our TV screens over the past two years, particularly in highlight packages leading up the NFL Draft. Manziel is a dynamic athlete who could immediately burst onto the rushing quarterback scene. If he's intelligent enough to keep his body intact, there's no reason to think Manziel could fall significantly short of Robert Griffin III's rookie season. In fact, Manziel's offense will be directed by Kyle Shanahan, who was the coordinator in Washington for Griffin as well. Cleveland is lacking a deep threat wide receiver with Josh Gordon's season-long suspension, but Manziel's ability to make plays outside the pocket - both rushing and passing - could make this a viable offense and could make his weapons better.


QB Josh McCown

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Outlook: Josh McCown was one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL in 2013 after taking over for an injured Jay Cutler in Chicago. Over the final nine games of the season McCown's passer rating of 109 was second to only Nick Foles, higher than Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees. It was a career year for the previous journeyman McCown and he earned a new contract and chance to start in Tampa Bay. With similarly-sized targets Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, McCown has a close reproduction of the weapons he flourished with in Chicago. At his best, McCown is a fearless downfield thrower, which fits well with Jackson and Evans.


QB EJ Manuel

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Outlook: Last year was every bit as rough as some predicted it would be for EJ Manuel as he had to deal with injury on top of the difficulty he had getting used to an NFL playbook. According to the Buffalo News, Head coach Doug Marrone feels he is much more acclimated to the offense and with new weapons in Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams joining Marqiuse Goodwin and Robert Woods, there are no more excuses. Even if he takes the leap forward that the Bills are praying for, Manuel is a backup quarterback for fantasy purposes. He has upside to be more, but there is too much risk at this early point to expect more.


QB Jake Locker

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Outlook: Optimism with Jake Locker hinges on his health. The 25-year-old has started just 18 games over the past two seasons and he wasn't always fully healthy when he was on the field last year. Before suffering his first setback last season, Locker was playing well within the Titans offense. That play wasn't leading to big numbers, but his potential was apparent. New head coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn't brought in anyone who should immediately replace Locker, so his presence should only help the quarterback when he is healthy. Combine that with Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright's development at the receiver position and Locker could have a productive season. Of course, he needs to stay healthy which seems unlikely at this stage.


Projections

David Dodds's projections

PlayerCMPATTYDTDINTRSHYDTDRECYDTDFPT
Alex Smith324.0530.0340823.011.061.02712.00.000.0325.5
Jake Locker290.0505.0332321.016.053.03452.00.000.0306.6
Josh McCown263.0460.0322019.014.027.01191.00.000.0264.9
Johnny Manziel230.0400.0256016.015.062.03263.00.000.0244.6
EJ Manuel244.0425.0272016.013.051.01942.00.000.0237.4

Chris Smith's projections

PlayerCMPATTYDTDINTRSHYDTDRECYDTDFPT

Bob Henry's projections

PlayerCMPATTYDTDINTRSHYDTDRECYDTDFPT
Alex Smith333.0540.0367022.08.055.02701.00.000.0332.5
Jake Locker242.0400.0285016.09.045.03103.00.000.0269.5
EJ Manuel238.0390.0266016.013.065.02602.00.000.0241.0
Josh McCown239.0395.0294016.012.030.01501.00.000.0240.0
Johnny Manziel238.0410.0272014.016.056.02953.00.000.0235.5

Jason Wood's projections

PlayerCMPATTYDTDINTRSHYDTDRECYDTDFPT
Alex Smith340.0555.0360522.09.065.02802.00.000.0334.2
Josh McCown282.0490.0328018.016.030.01252.00.000.0264.5
Jake Locker260.0450.0295018.018.045.02852.00.000.0260.0
EJ Manuel257.0455.0287515.013.085.03203.00.000.0257.8
Johnny Manziel202.0358.0235015.016.080.04404.00.000.0243.5

Maurile Tremblay's projections

PlayerCMPATTYDTDINTRSHYDTDRECYDTDFPT
Alex Smith336.0547.0367923.013.057.02981.00.000.0331.8
Josh McCown296.0480.0363322.012.026.01161.00.000.0307.2
Jake Locker292.0490.0331819.016.060.03662.00.000.0296.5
EJ Manuel295.0490.0335018.015.079.02773.00.000.0291.2
Johnny Manziel224.0366.0250116.012.054.03542.00.000.0244.4