Brett Favre (center) :: AP
For the most part I stayed out of this offseason's "will-he-or-won't-he" free-for-all because I've been pretty clear over the last four years where I stand on Brett Favre as a fantasy quarterback. Old No. 4 has held the American public hostage with constant see-saw rumors of retirement and comeback since retiring for the first time from the Packers last year, but officially jumped the fantasy shark in 2005 when he threw 20 touchdowns and 29 picks.
Sure he had a renaissance in 2007, his final year with Green Bay, but that was still just one good year out of the last four total, or to put it mildly, he's been consistently inconsistent. It's universally understood that Eli Manning is a good quarterback, but certainly not the man you want at the top of your fantasy unit. However since the start of the 2005 season, Eli (not even Peyton) has thrown four more touchdowns than Favre (92 to 88) while throwing 19 fewer interceptions (65 to 84). The two rank one-two in interceptions among all quarterbacks in that span.
The idea that Favre will be a boon to the rest of the Vikings is also highly unlikely. Of all the Jets last season, the most improved with Favre around was Thomas Jones, who benefitted more from opposing defenses' respect for the former MVP's ability to improvise, and therefore reluctance to stack the line against Jones. A threat like that can only increase the value of Adrian Peterson, but already the No. 1 player, how much higher can he be ranked?
What about the other Vikings?
Wideout Bernard Berrian would've been as well off with Sage Rosenfels (who had no problem finding Andre Johnson with the Texans) as with Favre, whose "breakout" receiver with the Jets, Jerricho Cotchery, actually caught nine fewer passes for 282 less yards than he had in '07 (while playing with Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens throwing to him).
All-purpose offensive weapon Percy Harvin is bound to make rookie mistakes, and therefore feel the wrath of Favre, who has made a habit of berating his teammates on the field. With a delicate psyche, Harvin may not be able to handle the potential freeze-out that usually accompanies a Favre chew-out, and could be in for a rockier season than it first appeared.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe has a shot at a breakout season, however it all depends on which Favre shows up. In 2007, nine of Favre's 28 touchdowns went to tight ends Donald Lee (six) and Bubba Franks (three). Without them, his 28 TD/15 INT split would've been 19/15 and fit much more in line with Favre's recent showing. Last season Dustin Keller was Favre's pet project on the Jets and all he had to show for it were three touchdowns and 535 yards. Shaincoe had seven touchdowns while playing with Tarvaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte. You'd think he'd be better with the all-time leading passer on his team. But odds are, it won't be so.
Looking for some outlandish predictions? Well here you go:
1. Jeff Garcia will start at least four (if not a majority of) games for the Raiders. Despite a good preseason opener, drafting JaMarcus Russell is crazy.
2. Speaking of starting: I've said this before, and I'll say it again, Brett Ratliff is in the mix to quarterback the Browns. An Eric Mangini favorite, he has a lot more cache with his coach than most other third quarterbacks in the league.
3. There is no chance that Chris Brown becomes a significant fantasy player as a goalline back for the Texans this season. There's little chance that he can stay healthy throughout the preseason, let alone a 17-week grind.
4. Carson Palmer's comeback will be a better story when all is said and done than Tom Brady's. Palmer was also a top three QB as recently as 2007 and he's a bargain whereas Brady is being drafted as a premium player.
5. Now that Garrett Hartley is suspended for four games, the ageless wonder, John Carney, as the top scorer on the league's top scoring team, shoots to the top of the kicker rankings for at least four weeks.
My Current Top 5 Offensive Rookies
1. Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB, Cardinals
2. Knowshown Moreno, RB, Broncos
3. Ramses Barden, WR, Giants
4. Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
5. Donald Brown, RB, Colts
It's nice to see all-time postseason wins leader John Smoltz hook on with the seemingly playoff-bound Cardinals. It would've been a shame for Smoltz's career to end on a note as sour as his Sunday Night outing in New York a couple of weeks ago and it would be good for the game for the future Hall of Famer to go out on top.
Next week marks the return of the regular "Inside Fantasy Football" column in Sports Illustrated. For in-depth fantasy player recommendations and to get a jump on the waiver wire for the upcoming week's games, pick up a copy next week and every week throughout the fantasy football season.
And if you want more updates like these, especially once the season kicks off, follow me on Twitter at @SI_DavidSabino.