Fantasy Focus: QBs
If there has to be a battle for the quarterback position, odds are the quarterbacks on the team are not going to be very relevant in fantasy, but regardless, they are worth watching because there is a possibility that somebody may break out and deliver some value. Furthermore, some of these quarterbacks will be able to benefit from good receivers and tight ends and may affect the value of those players. Here are some of the more interesting quarterback battles brewing this preseason.
Fantasy Updates at the QB position.
Candidates: EJ Manuel, Matt Cassel, Tyrod Taylor
Let's start with the team making the most noise in offseason sporting news: the Bills. Man, this is a wide-open battle. Tyrod Taylor had been seen as the wildcard candidate in this QB competition, but started the second preseason game for the Bills and went 7-10 for 65 yards passing with 4 carries and 41 yards rushing vs. the Browns. EJ Manuel played the second half of that game and went 9-14 with 111 passing yards and a touchdown. Manuel was announced as the starter in Saturday’s game vs. the Steelers, however, and as the third preseason game is often considered the dress rehearsal for the starters, this may indicate where coach Rex Ryan is leaning. Ryan, however, has said that he will not make a decision until Week 1. Manuel lost the job after four games last season due to accuracy issues, but the 2013 1st round pick may be able to win back the job entering 2015. Matt Cassel has not done much to impress in camp, and although Tyrod Taylor has impressed this preseason, he has only thrown 35 passes in four seasons in his career. The field is still completely wide-open, but assuming it comes down to Taylor and Manuel, expect Manuel to get the first crack at nailing down the starting QB job this season.
Candidates: Marcus Mariota, Zach Mettenberger
This QB situation is not a battle right now, but it’s always worth keeping tabs on a rookie quarterback’s development. Mariota will enter the season as the starting quarterback, but could be prone to struggles if his preseason success does not translate. How Mariota does in the last few weeks of the preseason will give us a better indication of how the rookie quarterback might shape up. Zach Mettenberger, however, is doing a good job this preseason and may shorten Mariota’s leash if he continues to post good numbers. In the first two games the Titans have played this preseason, Mettenberger has completed 15 out of 20 passes for 220 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 INT, giving him a passer rating of 122.9. Mariota, for comparison, has gone 12-16 with 153 yards, 1 INT, and a passer rating of 78.4. While the Titans may trade Mettenberger, the LSU product may still have a shot of reclaiming the starting job if Mariota falters. Stay tuned to ASL fantasy news for updates.
Washington Football Team
Candidates: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy
Yes, coach Jay Gruden has expressed his support for RGIII and said there is no competition for the QB job as of now. But in first-team action in the preseason matchup vs. Detroit, Griffin suffered three sacks on eight dropbacks while fumbling the ball twice on sixteen snaps before leaving the game with a concussion. This preseason, Griffin has gone 6-13 with 44 yards and a 54.6 passer rating. His backups Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy have put up passer ratings of 118.3 and 131.6, respectively. Griffin has been cleared to play in Saturday’s preseason matchup, but as concussions tend to linger and because Washington has been an organization in perpetual chaos, it would be worth monitoring the situation. After all, Griffin has missed ten games in the last two seasons and has thrown 18 picks in that span vs. only 20 touchdowns and has given up 11 fumbles. It would be difficult for an organization to stick with one quarterback if he puts up those numbers without winning many games. If RGIII does not improve or continues to suffer injuries, he may find himself out of the starting job.