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Eye on 2008: JaMarcus Russell, Troy Smith, Chad Pennington

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There are a couple of starting quarterbacks this week that are very interesting from a fantasy football perspective.  Not for what they can bring to your team this season, but for what these late-season starts may mean for their future fantasy value.

JaMarcus Russell, Oakland - Raiders Coach Lane Kiffin originally said that Russell would play this week against the Jaguars, but wouldn't start.  Then he amended that to say that Russell might start.  The Raiders are torn between wanting to get Russell some experience (and proving that he wasn't a bust draft pick) and the fear that he may be so overwhelmed that it will set back his development.  The Jaguars have a ferocious defense so this doesn't seem like the best time to start a rookie, but these are the Raiders so who know what will happen.  If he does start, keep an eye on how he does.

Chad Pennington, NY Jets - The Jets have promised (threatened?) to turn the team over to Kellen Clemens for what seems like years and now that it's happened nobody's happy about it.   Despite totals of four touchdowns, ten interceptions and a QB rating of 59.0 in nine games this season, Clemens is still considered the starter.   Pennington takes over this week only because Clemens is injured.  Can Pennington convince his coaching staff that he should be the starter next year?  Probably not.  Pennington might be playing for an off-season trade.  

Troy Smith, Baltimore - Steve McNair's time in Baltimore is finished and if you play fantasy football you should be familiar with what you get from Kyle Boller.  The Ravens drafted Smith to see what he could do and they're giving him the chance.  A lot of NFL Mock Drafts show the Ravens taking a quarterback with their first round pick so this is an audition for Mr. Smith.  With a few good performances he very well may be the starting quarterback for the Ravens next season.   If he bombs, we may be seeing Brian Brohm wearing the purple and black in 2008.