Rookie Quarterbacks 2011

Since Taylor DeChant and The Fantasy Flukie decided to do articles on rookie RBs and WRs, respectively, I thought it would be a good idea to focus in on the first-year quarterbacks. Right now, it appears that there are two that will start the season, but there is a possibility of three others making their debuts sometime this season. Sometimes these rookies can play a week or two and impact a fantasy championship. Just ask Tim Tebow owners from a year ago.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers– I am a huge Panthers fan and I disagree with Newton being the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. Unfortunately, I do not make these decisions and the Panthers are stuck with him. The way things are going it looks like Ron River is going to give Newton the nod in week 1. If not, he will get the job sometime this season. Newton will not be a starting fantasy quarterback. He will, however, manage the offense, and will be a viable running/passing quarterback if the Panthers let him loose. As I mentioned in a previous article, Newton will rely heavily on the tight end Greg Olsen, so that will be a solid combination for the Panthers.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals- In the preseason game between Carolina and Cincinnati, Andy Dalton out performed Cam Newton. Dalton threw for 130 yards and 1 touchdown, a 40-yard strike to AJ Green. He is going to be the starter for the Bengals, but it could take some time for him to excel. He will have a couple good games, so if you are in deeper leagues keep an eye on Dalton as the season progresses. He could be a viable bye-week option.

Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars– Gabbert was drafted by Jacksonville to put pressure on David Garrard to perform well. I do not think the Jaguars want to start Gabbert right away, but they might end up starting him down the road if Garrard does not perform well for them. Gabbert looks to be “the guy” for Jacksonville, but time will tell. I see Garrard struggling this year, which means Gabbert will get his shot. Like Dalton, watch him and use him in deeper leagues as a bye-week option only.

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans– This is one of two teams with an aging veteran that needs to make way for a rookie quarterback very soon. I do not know how long Matt Hasselbeck will be starting for the Titans, but if he keeps them above water, it could be a while before we see Locker. Locker has the talent to be a starting quarterback, but right now presents no fantasy value if the Titans choose to stick with Hasselbeck.

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings– Currently on the depth chart, Ponder is third. I think he can and should be the starter in Minnesota sometime this year. I am not sold on McNabb this year, and I was not last year. Ponder has upside but he has no weapons to throw to in Minnesota. If Ponder does get his shot this year, it will be minimal and may not have all that much of an impact. Look elsewhere, as you should regardless of who is QB in Minnesota. Ponder has value down the road, but not this year.


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