Following up on my review of backup running backs, I'm want to talk about backup quarterbacks and their fantasy value. Now I'm not talking about what happens if Jim "The Corgi" Sorgi or Matt Cassel take over due to an injured starter. I'm talking about guys that could start this year without anybody getting injured. There are more than a few QBs out there on a short leash, so it's worth your time to get to know them.
Cleveland Browns - Charlie Frye is developing into a decent NFL quarterback and he should start 2007 with several offensive weapons (Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, Jamal Lewis) to work with. Too bad that won't matter much because it's TIME FOR BRADY QUINN!! QUUUUUIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!! <said in William Shatner's "Khan" Voice>
As if there wasn't enough pressure on Frye, now he has to put up with that. So unless Frye gets off to a very hot start the Browns will likely replace him with rookie Brady Quinn. And considering the Browns' first five games include Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore and New England, it looks like it will be time for The Mighty Quinn sooner rather than later. (Am I the first one to come up with that nickname? Excuse me, which way to the Trademark Office?) This would be bad news for the fantasy values of Lewis, Edwards and the rest of the offense.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Byron Leftwich is back, healthy and ready to lead the Jaguars. Yeah, well, we've heard that before. Leftwich has a career QB rating of 80.5, while his backup, David Garrard, is only slightly behind at 78.9, including a 2006 rating of...80.5. Is there really that much for the Jaguars to lose if they bench Leftwich and install Garrard as the starter? And doesn't Garrard at least have the potential to break out given a full season? The odds that Leftwich gets replaced go way, way up if they trade for free agent Daunte Culpepper as has been rumored.
Kansas City Chiefs - With Trent Green gone, the NFL.com website shows rookie Brodie Croyle as the starting quarterback. Now I realize that all he has to do is hand off to Larry Johnson 45 times a game (uh, LJ's coming back right?) and maybe toss a short pass to Tony Gonzalez so there should be no problem with him doing that. But if things start to get ugly for the Chiefs, the calls to bring in Damon Huard will get louder and louder. Huard kicked ass last season, finishing with 1878 passing yards, 11 TD, 1 INT and a completion rate of 60.7%. Yow! If you draft Brodie Croyle expecting him to be the starter for the entire season, I think you're taking quite a risk
Oakland Raiders -- Journeyman QB Josh McCown may be the starter right now, but how many losses will it take before Al Davis calls down from the owner's box and orders JaMarcus Russell into the game? My guess is it will happen for the Week 9 home game against Houston after Vince Young picks apart the Raiders the week before. But it's going to happen, so fantasy players should be prepared for it. McCown may even be a usable option in very large leagues, but if you put him on your team just understand he likely won't be there for long.