The Apprentices

Does a rookie QB have fantasy value?
September 24, 2006

NO POSITION inpro football has seen more unfulfilled first-year potential than quarterback.So should you even bother with a rookie passer? To get a sense of what thisseason might hold for the three quarterbacks who were drafted in the firstround this year (the Broncos' Jay Cutler, the Cardinals' Matt Leinart and theTitans' Vince Young), we looked at the rookie-year performance of first-roundQBs over the past five seasons.

TELLINGNUMBERS

3 TDs for Bearstight ends through two games, matching their total for the entire 2005season.

6 Career 100-yardrushing games for the Falcons' Michael Vick, an NFL record forquarterbacks.

943 Careerreceptions by the Colts' MARVIN HARRISON, moving him past Art Monk for fifth onthe alltime list.

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

> CLEAR PATH Young has the easiest route to a full-time starting job,competing with a journeyman (Kerry Collins) and a player on the trading block(Billy Volek). His situation is similar to that of these first-rounders, whowere clearly better than the QBs they caddied for. The only passer to have asolid fantasy season was Roethlisberger, who made his first start in Week 3.

PLAYER, Team ROOKIE YEAR GAMES STARTS YARDS TDS INT INCUMBENT
BEN ROETHLISBERGER, Steelers 2004 14 13 2,621 17 11 TOMMY MADDOX
DAVID CARR, Texans 2002 16 16 2,592 9 15 (EXPANSION TEAM)
JOEY HARRINGTON, Lions 2002 14 12 2,294 12 16 MIKE MCMAHON
PATRICK RAMSEY, Redskins 2002 9 5 1,539 9 8 DANNY WUERFFEL
SHANE MATTHEWS
ALEX SMITH, 49ers 2005 9 7 875 1 11 TIM RATTAY
MICHAEL VICK, Falcons 2001 8 2 785 2 3 CHRIS CHANDLER
REX GROSSMAN, Bears 2003 3 3 437 2 1 KORDELL STEWART

 

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

> HEIRAPPARENT Leinart and Cutler are backups to proven veterans who are hanging onto their jobs. (Leinart is understudy to Kurt Warner while Cutler is behindJake Plummer.) Both are just one big hit away from becoming the starter on ateam with an explosive offense. That makes them comparable to Manning andLeftwich, both of whom played significant roles as rookies.

PLAYER, Team ROOKIE YEAR GAMES STARTS YARDS TDS INT INCUMBENT
BYRON LEFTWICH, Jaguars 2003 15 13 2,819 14 16 MARK BRUNELL
ELI MANNING, Giants 2004 9 7 1,043 6 9 KURT WARNER


> WATCHINGAND WAITING All three of the 2006 first-rounders could end up on this list ofhighly touted QBs who never got much of a (or any) chance to show their talentsas rookies. Relegating a future star such as Palmer to clipboard-toting dutymight be the right call for an NFL team, but it doesn't cut the mustard in thewin-now world of fantasy football.

PLAYER, Team ROOKIE
YEAR
GAMES STARTS YARDS TDS INT INCUMBENT
CARSON PALMER, Bengals 2003 0 0 0 0 0 JON KITNA
JASON CAMPBELL, Redskins 2005 0 0 0 0 0 MARK BRUNELL
J.P. LOSMAN, Bills 2004 4 0 32 0 1 DREW BLEDSOE
PHILIP RIVERS, Chargers 2004 2 0 33 1 0 DREW BREES
AARON RODGERS, Packers 2005 3 0 65 0 1 BRETT FAVRE


PHOTOG. NEWMAN LOWRANCE/WIREIMAGE.COM (YOUNG)BABY STEPS Young (10 of 23 in two games) is one of three rookie quarterbacks to see action thus far. PHOTOGENE LOWER/WIREIMAGE.COM (LEINART)LEINART PHOTO BRAIN BAHR/GETTY IMAGES (CUTLER)CUTLER PHOTO DON LARSON/WIREIMAGE.COM(HARRISON)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)