2014 Free Agency Fantasy Football Recap: Quarterbacks

Greetings fantasy compadres! Most of this free agent information is old news (free agency started on March 11) and you might think that the early bird gets the worm. Au contraire! A lot of players have changed teams, and a lot of teams made interesting moves during the draft (and after the draft). If you missed it, we’ve already covered FA running backs and wide receivers.

Bothering to put a fantasy spin on free agency prior to the NFL draft is like getting married when you’re 20. You might think you’ve got everything figured out, but a lot will change and you’re better off waiting to see what happens. That said, let’s get to it.

If you passed out during Seattle’s manhandling of Denver and then went into a four month coma, don’t worry baby bird! I’ll nurse you back to health with some concise fantasy analysis and a chicken wing inspired hotness scale.

If I was a GM shopping this year’s FA quarterbacks, I’d wake up in a cold sweat looking like Glen Davis after a foul. The truth is, these guys are only relevant in 2-QB leagues, no “hot wings” here!  If you’re in a standard league and find yourself drafting McCown or Schaub, do me a favor: click “auto-draft,” gently close your laptop, and go whip up that new pinterest recipe you’ve been dying to try.  It’s okay, fantasy football isn’t for everybody.

Change Of Scenery

QB Josh McCown (Chicago to Tampa Bay, 2y/$10MM) – The coaching staff says McCown is the starter. For some reason they lack confidence in Mike Glennon, despite his respectable rookie campaign. McCown may seem tempting, but he’s a 34-year-old band-aid. Tampa will prefer to let the “muscle hamster” run loose with only moderate air support. Despite shiny new toys Mike Evans and ASJ, the Bucs’ starter (whomever it is) has a limited ceiling. Value: [medium] Assuming he beats out Glennon in camp, McCown is a low-end QB2. In other words, for standard leaguers, just pretend you’re driving past a car accident. It’s tempting to look, but don’t! … … You looked. I knew you would.

QB Charlie Whitehurst (San Diego to Tennessee, 2y/$8MM) – Whitehurst has only attempted 155 passes in his career as a backup QB. But, with Jake Locker being injury prone and the Titans essentially saying Locker is not their future, there is a real possibility Charlie could be starting some games for the Titans. Value: [medium] He won’t be on many draft boards, but in 2-QB leagues keep him on your radar in case Locker struggles with injuries or overall performance (which is likely).

QB Matt Schaub (Traded from Houston to Oakland) – The Texans send Schaub to Oakland and get a sixth round pick in return – replacing him with … Tom Savage? Meanwhile in Oakland, this could get messy because McGloin has shown potential, and rookie Derek Carr has promise. An injury or a few terrible games could really muck things up. Tread lightly! Value: [medium] If a Matt Schaub fan club exists, and you happen to be a member, you can pretty much name your price for his services. Don’t even bother in an 8 or 10 team league. You should use the waiver wire as your QB2, or take a flyer on someone like …

QB Michael Vick (Philadelphia to NY Jets, 1y/$5MM) – The Jets love quarterback controversies like this lady loves Thunder basketball. First Tebow and Sanchez. Now Smith, Vick and Boyd. They seem to be actively trying to divide their locker room and shake their young leader’s confidence. Or they’ve given up on Geno Smith in favor of a fragile QB who’s almost 34. I can imagine Geno’s reaction to the Vick signing: “Please tell me this is some kind of sick tasteless joke!” Meanwhile, Boyd is a long term project. Value: [medium] Last season the Eagles and Jets averaged 27.6 and 18.1 ppg respectively. Big downgrade for Vick. Though the Jets have made a concerted effort to improve their offense. If you draft a rock-solid QB1, drafting Vick as a lottery ticket might pay off.

ryan fitzpatrick

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (Tennessee to Houston, 2y/$7.5MM) – Despite the facts that Fitzpatrick is more experienced and statistically better, the Titans’ Ken Whisenhunt has a man-crush on Charlie Whitehurst and sent Fitzpatrick packing. Fitz ends up in Houston, where the Texans drafted a starting-caliber QB Tom Savage in the 4th round, who will be ready to start week 1 need some time to develop. Nobody should be happier about that draft decision than Fitzpatrick. Value: [medium] In standard leagues there’s nothing to see here, but in 2-QB leagues, Fitzpatrick is certified sleeper-grade.

Staying Put

QB Chad Henne (Jacksonville, 2y/$8MM) – The Jags have shown faith in him with a contract and by trading away Gabbert. While I was impressed to find that Henne had more pass yds/game last season than Russell Wilson and Cam Newton, his best WRs can’t stay on the field. And I’m not interested in a QB that throws more INTs than TDs (Joe and Eli, you guys were in this embarrassing subset of starting QBs last season). In fact, Henne has NEVER thrown more TDs than INTs in any of his 6 seasons! It will be interesting to see how long 3rd overall pick Blake Bortles stays on the bench. Value: [mild] Don’t even think about it. He will lose his starting gig before the season is over.

QB Matt Cassel (Minnesota, 2y/$10MM) – Praising Cassel for being a better QB than Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman feels an awful lot like congratulating my newborn daughter for a solid burp. He might start the first few games, but newly-drafted Bridgewater will be chomping at the bit. Value: [mild] Just walk away … Walk. Away.

See Ya Later, Alligator

QB Brandon Weeden and QB Jason Campbell (Cleveland, Cut) – I’ve used it before, but this is appropriate in regards to Cleveland’s illustrious list of starting quarterbacks. Weeden was signed by Dallas, but he’s just the backup behind Tony Romo. Brian Hoyer becomes the Browns’ starting QB temporarily – until he drops a couple Cleveland Steamers and management throws Johnny Football into the fire.

QB Mark Sanchez (NY Jets, Cut) – Mark, I hate to break it to you, but in 20 years when players are wearing Ironman-esque talking smart-helmets and I tell kids about football “back in my day,” I will tell them about your greatness pass on the story of your butt fumble and it will be their only knowledge of your career. Sanchez was signed by the Eagles but will clearly be handing Gatorade to Nick Foles.

QB  Josh Freeman (NY Giants, Cut) – Once considered a franchise QB, Josh Freeman’s fantasy relevance has fallen off a cliff in the last 12 months (some people were high on him heading into 2013). He was Eli Manning’s backup for a few weeks, but had trouble learning the playbook (really?). He might be done for good. At least you tried, Josh. At least you tried …

For the scoop on rookie QBs, check out our NFL draft coverage.