Fantasy Football Week 9 Showdown: Matt Cassel versus Tim Tebow

This week I have found myself in the "Bye Week Blues."

As I have ridden Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Adrian Peterson to become the highest scoring team in my league (albeit in fourth place, because I'm the second most scored against, and in sixth in the playoffs because of terrible playoff structure.  I can't wait to not be in this league next year.) I now find myself in a terrible position.

With only five bench spots, (again, I can not WAIT to leave this league) I am forced to pretty much do the best with what I've got.  In a 14-team league, the pickings are slim, but I grabbed Matt Cassel on the waiver wire to compete with Tim Tebow for my start this week.

On the surface, the choice seems obvious.  Tebow is the most criticized quarterback in the league, and Cassel is riding a four-game winning streak.  But it's deeper than that.

Even if Tim is not fit to be an NFL quarterback, his fantasy prowess is undeniable.  In his two starts, he's averaged just over 20 points per game.  By using his legs and having a nose for the end zone, Tebow is a high-floor quarterback that should be counted on for 15 points.  Which is almost exactly what he scored against the Lions, in what can only be described as a terrible game for the former Gator.

Meanwhile, Cassel has more weapons thanks to the addition of Jonathan Baldwin, and is on what looks to be a better team that's on a hot streak.  Is it as simple as Cassel over Tebow?  

Let's take a look:

Touchdowns versus Interceptions:

Tebow - In five career starts, he has thrown seven touchdowns and run for three more.  That's an average of two touchdowns per game.  In the games in which Tebow did not start and had very limited play, he has six more.  That's thirteen touchdowns in nine games.  Meanwhile, he has four interceptions in his career.

In addition to that, Tebow has thrown for 1,066 yards and rushed for 386, for a total of 1,452 yards.  In the six games in which he saw more than just a few snaps, Tebow is averaging 60 yards rushing and 177 yards passing.

Cassel - In just taking a look at a similar sample size, his seven game season to date, Cassel has thrown nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.  He has not ran for a touchdown, no surprise since he is not a "mobile quarterback" that is expected to do so.  He has 45 yards rushing and 1,367 yards passing.  With rushing yards accounting for more points than passing yards, Tebows total yardage and touchdown numbers have made him more valuable over a similar sample size.

What have you done for me lately?

Tebow - This season, Tebow has played in roughly two and a half games.  He came in the game against San Diego in week five and the Broncos were down 26-10 in the fourth quarter.  Tebow rushed for a 12 yard touchdown and threw a 28 yard touchdown screen pass to Knowshon Moreno.  

In total, he was 4 for 10 for 79 yards, 1 TD/0 INT, 38 yards rushing and 1 TD.

In his first start of the season against Miami, Tebow was utterly useless for nearly the entire game, and then with time running down he threw a five yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas and then a three yard touchdown to Daniel Fells.  Tebow finished 13 of 27 for 161 yards, 2 TD/0 INT, 59 yards rushing.  Even by being terrible for 55 minutes, Tebow scored 25 fantasy points.

He was terrible again last week, saving himself by throwing a 14 yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker near the end of the game.  He was 18 of 39 for 172 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, 63 yards rushing.  Consider that in each of his starts, he's averaging six points on rushing alone, the equivalent of a touchdown. 

Cassel - The Chiefs are riding a four-game winning streak, so Cassel has been great right?

Yes and no.

Against the Colts, potentially the worst defense in the league, Cassel threw for 257 yards, 4 TD/0 INT.  In his other three games during the streak, Cassel has thrown for 227 yards per game, 2 TD/4 INT.  Those games came against Minnesota, Oakland, and San Diego.  The Vikings and Raiders are in the bottom third in the league in pass defense, while the Chargers are #4.  

Tebow has two total touchdowns in two of his two and a half games, while Cassel has two or more in two of seven games.  

Defensive Matchup:

Tebow - Jesus travels to Oakland this week to face a defense that's 27th in points allowed, 25th in total yards allowed, 25th against the pass, 12 TDs given up versus 7 INTs and given up 7 rushing TDs in 7 games.  

It would be nice to have seen the Raiders play Cam Newton or Michael Vick to get a similar skill set, but they have not.  

Cassel - Cassel gets to play at home against a dream pure QB matchup versus Miami.  The Dolphins are 23rd in points allowed, 23rd in total defense, 27th against the pass, given up 14 TDs versus 2 INTs.  

However, while the Dolphins gave up 516 total passing yards to New England, and 402 total against Eli Manning and the Giants, they've held every other passing opponent under 300.  Philip Rivers threw for 301 yards, 1 TD/0 INT.  (Less than 300 total because of a sack, that obviously doesn't matter in fantasy)  The other QBs they faced were Matt Schaub, Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez, and Tebow.

 

Conclusion -

Ultimately, I find this to be a pretty close call.  Cassel is the better quarterback, with the better matchup, and with Brandon Lloyd out of Denver and Baldwin now in Kansas City, the Chiefs have much better weapons.  But Cassel doesn't provide the high floor that Tebow does because he's been average or below average in five of seven games this year.  

The danger with Tebow is that he's not a good passer and for a quarterback, that's a scary proposition.  I also fear that Tebow would get pulled out of a blowout or could throw three interceptions or fumble.  

 

I don't want this to come off as a "self-serving post" of a guy who doesn't know what to do on his bye week, but I had to breakdown the matchups and figured I might share my findings.  Feel free to ask any questions of your own "Tebow versus..." or "Cassel versus..." or just air your grievances against #OccupyTebow if you'd like.  Consider this an open forum to hate or praise Tim Tebow.

As of right now, I'm starting Cassel, but I'm torn.

Follow me on twitter @casetines

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