Decision Time: Henne v. Stafford
Luckily for the Giants, Eli only needed a few stitches and he'll now have a lighter preseason workload. For fantasy owners, this should be a good lesson in the importance of drafting a quality backup. I don't mean grabbing the likes of Sorgi, who only has 156 passing attempts in his six-year career. In fact, in most fantasy leagues, you only need to be familiar with 24 to 28 starting QBs (feel free to discard bottom feeders
Let's say you are heading into the late rounds of your draft and you still haven't grabbed a backup QB. Two options still available are Miami's
The easy decision would be to look at the bye weeks. If you already have Peyton or
But if that's not the case, the decision is a bit more complex since both young QBs have a lot in common. Both have less than a full season of experience behind center (Henne has 14 career starts; Stafford has 10). Both have a bona fide No. 1 receiving target (
Let's first take a look at Stafford. As a rookie in '09, he started the Lions' first four games, throwing for over 200 yards in three of them with three TDs and 6 INTs. He missed the next two games due to a knee injury and when he returned, it wasn't pretty -- he completed 14-of-33 passes in a loss to the lowly Rams in Week 8 and threw five interceptions a week later in a loss at Seattle.
Still, Stafford kept his head up even as his offensive line struggled to keep him upright. His highlight of the year came in Week 11 against Cleveland when he threw a game-winning score with no time remaining after separating his non-throwing shoulder on the previous play. His numbers that day were that of any elite quarterback -- 422 yards and five TDs.
After aggravating his shoulder in Week 13, Stafford sat out the remainder of the season, finishing with 2,267 passing yards, 13 TDs and 20 INTs. Despite some rookie mistakes and a few unlucky breaks, he earned the trust of his coaches, throwing at least 35 passes in seven of his 10 starts. Stafford certainly performed much better than previous No. 1 overall picks like
Going into '10, the Lions supplied Stafford with more weapons beyond Johnson. They signed veteran target
Henne is another young QB on the rise. Last year in his sophomore season, he took over for injured incumbent
On the downside, Henne finished '09 with more interceptions (14) than TDs (12). Miami also focused more on the ground game, rushing for the fourth most yards in the league while ranking 20th in passing. Henne only averaged 32.2 throwing attempts per game (17th in the league) compared to Stafford's league-high 37.7. However, with the addition of Marshall in '10, the Dolphins aerial attack should be more potent.
Looking forward to Week 16 this season, the typical time for fantasy football championships, the Lions will square off against the Dolphins in Miami. Assuming Stafford and Henne stay healthy and keep their jobs, it should be a great showcase of two budding QBs. For my money, I'd rather have Stafford on my fantasy squad. He's got the talent, the opportunity and an all-or-nothing mentality that I love.
Still, I couldn't help but look up Stafford's understudy this season. That would be former 49er
Hey, you never know.