Tebow, Palmer offer stopgap value in wake of quarterback injuries
Tim Tebow blew up this column.
After watching Tebow pull yet another productive fantasy game together after looking completely incompetent for three straight quarters, the original opening to this column, which eviscerated Tebow, Mark Sanchez, and the Jets' and Broncos' offenses, just wouldn't hold up anymore. Sanchez's play remained putrid, but I couldn't rip Tebow again after a dramatic come-from-behind performance. It still seems impossible that he could continue to be a fantasy weapon with his legs, but it's time I give him the respect he has earned. Maybe, just maybe, he can be a useful fantasy player for the rest of the season.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not vaulting him up my rankings. I'm just giving him a bump up to about 13 or 14. I can't place him any higher as long as he remains an essential non-threat as a passer, but the guy has proved to be a legitimate, reliable weapon on the ground, and that has him in the starting mix at the back end.
Sanchez, on the other hand, didn't have any late-game heroics to save his horrid night. The loss of Shonn Greene didn't help, but Sanchez missed plenty of receivers against a Denver defense that had given up 7.8 YPA in its first nine games. His total lack of consistency combined with the average weapons at his disposal make Sanchez a quarterback to pass on the rest of the season, especially now with bye weeks behind us after Week 11.
There remains much quarterback play to appreciate the rest of the season, not to mention a little turmoil at the position. Aaron Rodgers is having a quarterback season for the ages, and may just come away with every single-season record except Dan Marino's 5,084 yards, which Drew Brees is on pace to break. Just in case you somehow forgot we've been having a historic passing season, as a whole.
On the major-injury front, season-ending injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Cassel cost us one top-10 quarterback, another top-14 quarterback, and two of the NFL's six starting quarterbacks named Matt (Stafford, Ryan, Hasselbeck, Moore). Luckily, it replaced Schaub with Matt Leinart, keeping us at five Matts. Aaron Rodgers better watch his back for Matt Flynn. I wouldn't want to fight this Matt thing.
On the nagging-injury front, Michael Vick is banged up again, this time with broken ribs. Ben Roethlisberger and Matthew Stafford are dealing with thumb and index finger injuries, respectively, clouding their immediate futures just a bit.
Basically, now is a perfect time to take stock of the entire position. There are seven quarterbacks who I'm starting every week, no matter what, unless I somehow own two of them. They are, in order: Rodgers, Brees, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Cam Newton and Roethlisberger.
Philip Rivers and Stafford are right on the cusp of that group, but Rivers' inconsistency keeps him out while Stafford's finger woes and declining performance have him on the outside looking in. I do still feel fine about Rivers the rest of the way, and while I wouldn't mind a good backup if I were starting Stafford regularly, he remains a solid play.
All that taken together means I'm talking mainly to Schaub and Ryan Fitzpatrick owners, but also to Vick and Cassel owners. If you've been playing Tebow these last few weeks, you might be in this group, too. If you've been counting on any of the above, be it individually or in some combination, you can still find what you need to patch the holes. Here are a few options.
To all the readers, here's wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving. I'll see you in two weeks.