The QB Dearth

August 18, 2006

This is a bit off-topic, but it’s something I put together this morning:

I had started an argument that the Bills erred in not finding a replacement for Jim Kelly sooner, and being left with Todd Collins.  But in researching my point, I looked and discovered a huge gap in QB talent in the mid-90s.  Following 1989, that saw Troy Aikman launch his career, you have:

1990:  Jeff George and Neil O’Donnell battle it out for the top of the class.  Andre Ware is a first rounder.  And Scott Mitchell and John Friez round out the best of this yera.  So O’Donnell is the only one who made the playoffs with the team that drafted him, but hardly was more than a serviceable backup for most of his career.

1991:  Dan McGuire and Todd Marinovich are the only first rounders.  There’s a certain Brett Favre in there, but the rest of the class is topped by Scott Zolak and Browning Nagle.  Nagle seems like the only non-Favre to even start a whole season.

1992:  Klinger and Maddox are first rounders.  The best QB in this draft is Brad Johnson.  After that, you have Maddox, Jeff Blake, and Ty Detmer.  Johnson got his team to the playoffs in ’96 and ’97, making him the best draft pick, so far, of the ’90s.

1993:  A talented draft, this one produced Drew Bledsoe, Trent Green, Elvis Grbac, and Mark Brunell.  Brunell was shipped out to Jacksonville in a couple of years.  Trent Green never managed a down with his draftee’d Chargers, and Elvis Grbac is the definitional journeyman.  Still, three current starters is pretty impressive, even if none are on anything better than their third team.

1994:  Health Schuler and Trent Dilfer are the only ones drafted before the 4th round.  Jim Miller and Gus Frerotte are the best I can do after that.  Ugly.

1995:  Steve McNair might be the best drafted QB of the era.  Kerry Collins has been serivceable, and even managed the playoffs for Carolina.  After that, it gets sketchier – Todd Collins is still in the league, Kordell Stewart has been exciting at times, that Rob Johnson is the best you can do after that is statement enough.

1996:  Tony Banks was the first QB taken, in the second round.  He was also the best – beating out, um, Bobby Hoying?  Danny Kannell?

1997:  Jim Drunkenmiller in the first.  Jake Plummer was a solid pick, but after that, Danny Wuerrfel and Koy Detmer are the best ’97 had to offer.

1998:  Finally, Peyton Manning comes out, the first unquestionable hall of famer since Aikman.  His classmates?  Ryan Leaf, Charlie Batch, and Brian Griese.  And a 6th round afterthought named Matt Hasselbeck.  Still about the best class yet.

1999:  The famed QB class of ’99.  McNabb and Culpepper, along with Aaron Brooks are passable.  Cade McNown, Tim Couch, and Akili Smith leave this one unsettled.

Only by 2000 does the tide begin to turn again, with Brady, Bulger, and Pennington.  But what happened in the 90s that caused this catastrophic run on QBs?  Favre is the only real star from 1990-1992, 1993 was a bumper crop of journeymen, and Steve McNair is the only legit QB until Peyton Manning.

Take a look at the passing leaders from 1997-2001, and this is reflected:  It remains full of old timers (Kelly, Moon, Marino, Young, Elway) before sliding into journeymen – Grbac, Beurlein, George, etc.)

1998-99 are the turning point.


Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts

August 17, 2006

I’ll admit is – I’m being self-serving here. He was my first pick, and I have a vested interest in his remaining somewhat profitable for the season. So this is what I’ve heard:

1.) Yahoo: The Associated Press reports Washington Redskins trainer Bubba Tyer was slightly more optimistic that RB Clinton Portis (shoulder), recovering from a partially dislocated shoulder, would play against the Minnesota Vikings in the season opener Monday, Sept. 11. “I think we’ve got a shot to get him back,” Tyer said.

2.) Fanball: Gibbs did not provide an exact timetable for Portis’ return, but as broadcast on the team’s official web site, he said they “hope he’ll be ready for the (season) opener (on September 11).”

3.) PFT: A league source tells us that the shoulder injury suffered by Redskins running back Clinton Portis is identical to the injury recently sustained by Bears running back Cedric Benson.

The question, as the source explained, is the amount of damage done to the shoulder during the time that the shoulder popped out of and back into joint.


Okay, I’ll start here: a dislocated shoulder hurts like hell. I mean, it’s what they used to do in ‘Nam, according to a vet history teacher of mine. So Portis’s timetable is optimistic, I think – I’m guess he’ll be only 50% week one, and will be slowed a few weeks. The kind of injury that keeps a guy off-peak without being out of the game. The worst kind of fantasy injury.

Ladell Betts is the primary backup option here – and we don’t know much on him. Footballoutsiders has him between Samkon Gado and Antowain Smith in ’05, and between Jamal Lewis and Onterrio Smith in ’04. For those not familiar with the DVOA metrics, it’s their per-play value chart. Now granted, the data set is pretty small for him those years as a backup, but it’s not encouraging.

So Betts will guarantee you a starter if Portis doesn’t come back – it’s not going to be a useful one. I wouldn’t use him as anything more than a 3rd RB until Portis returns. Avoid the REdskins backfield in week one.

Mission Statement

August 17, 2006

I’m not an expert.  I’m not here to provide you insightful tips on players that you couldn’t dare imagine.  I’m pretty uncertain as to whether “fantasy expert” is really a legtimate expression.  What I want to do is start crowdsourcing the whole fantasy football movement – aggregating news, of course, but also give people a chance to discuss their teams and strategies.  Get more than one line on a player.

And oh yeah, I hope to  be kinda funny sometimes.