"No one ever got fired for buying IBM."
That old IT saw seems to hold true in fantasy football. Picking the first round isn't that tough, but a few years ago, a choice between
There's no way to predict injury; I'm not Miss Cleo. What I can tell you is that risk really matters in the NFL and in winning your fantasy football league. If you want safe and secure, there are some guys like that, but you're either going to have to buy those blue chips in the first round or wait and get "good value" later. With others, you have to balance risk and reward. Which
Today we'll look at the quarterbacks. and as
Colts fans just gasped. Manning, who exemplifies the term "franchise quarterback" as much as anyone in the NFL, and who's on a consecutive games streak that could catch
The Texans think that Schaub to
Both have had some flukish injuries, but with Schaub, enough flukes become an indication. Someday, players will get tested at the combine and some gene matrix will tell you that durability is a recessive trait.
For now, Schaub's first injury-free season since 2006 has people excited. With an ADP of 45, Schaub is at the top of the second tier of QBs, with
An NFL coach told me this week that he thought the style change from
McNabb was known as a scrambler, but because of that, he made a conscious effort to stay in the pocket, and as he aged, he didn't have the speed he once did. Kolb, on the other hand, looks like a pocket passer, but Football Outsiders'
Kolb's a bit of a wild card when it comes to fantasy. He had an unbelievable first two starts when you realize the first was against a Saints D that ended up holding a trophy. Plus, he's significantly more accurate than McNabb at this stage. The risk is that his inexperience costs him some hits and he ends up watching ... umm ... who the heck is
The Redskins brought in McNabb after his Philly tenure ended, but is this one of those
McNabb appears to have kept most of the skills he has had over the past couple seasons, but durability has never really been a McNabb trait. As he ages, that's sure to decline.
If you think comparing McNabb to two all-time greats is a stretch, here's a fact: McNabb is 34 this year. Namath was 34 when he went to the Rams. At 34, Unitas took his Colts to an 11-1 record. McNabb's somewhere in between, but that range shows you the risk. Add in a line that's reconfigured and a core of skill players with even more question marks, and McNabb becomes someone that's likely too high on your draft board.
Everyone remembers the devastating knee injury Palmer suffered in the playoffs a few years back, but what about all the other dings he's taken? Palmer takes hits, largely because of line play, but also because he holds the ball just a tick long. He's got more weapons now than perhaps any time in his career, but the line ... well, it doesn't look much better right now.
The biggest issue is his elbow, which is still "hanging by a thread" and cost him much of the 2008 season. Palmer's choice of routes seemed to take his elbow into account, which kept him in the game, but didn't help his fantasy owners. I'm not sure the talent upgrade at WR is going to counteract the age-and-injury decline that Palmer's started.
No QB was hit more last year than Garrard. My pals at Football Outsiders were able to tell me that Garrard took 85 hits, which is above and beyond the insane 42 sacks. That is 19 more hits taken than the next closest and we've already talked about how risky Schaub (66 hits) is this season. If you believe
Garrard is big, built like a running back and often will accept contact to make a play. He'll run when necessary and has good vision in the field, but back in the pocket, not so much. He's had a lot of problems in front of him, but last year's line was healthier than the version he had in '08. With
There are a number of things that make figuring out Henne's draft position tough. Sure, he threw the ball a lot after taking over for
Henne will be in for "obvious passing downs" when speed rushers can pin their ears back. The Wildcat and its variants are still rare enough to make any point about them come with sample size issues, but the QB in the non-Wildcat situations seem to lose some goal line opportunities and take a few more hits on a play-by-play basis than "full time" QBs. It's a matter of play selection. Henne threw a lot of passes in his games last year, something that will change. While we don't know that Henne can stand up to a full season of hits, his line should be average or better. I loathe unknowns, so while I wouldn't take Henne, you shouldn't move him too far down on your draft board.
Favre finally saw Dr.
The ankle surgery that Favre had is a pretty minor procedure, though key for a QB. The timing of his return, which everyone always expected to come late in the pre-season might be shifted back even further.
Everyone understands that Roethlisberger is going to miss between four and six games to start the season. That will cost him points and a draft slot despite relatively consistent production in the second tier of QBs. Will it cause any problems with injury? It's tough to get a read on this since there have thankfully been few cases like this in the NFL. Most QBs coming back from missing the first month also missed training camp, and all of those were coming back from an injury.
He's allowed to practice, so there isn't a timing issue. There are some who think Roethlisberger is a good QB2 pick since fewer games equal fewer hits, but Roethlisberger takes hits and plays well, recovering from injuries quickly, so I think any effect here is small at best. There are some concerns about the line play in Pittsburgh this year, but most of the risks that Roethlisberger has are things the Steelers have to worry about, but your fantasy team doesn't. Durable and productive should outstrip likeability.
The injury to