Fantasy Football 2012: Choose Your Quarterback—Jay Cutler vs. Carson Palmer
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Today's installment of "Choose Your Quarterback" pits Oakland's Carson Palmer against Chicago's Jay Cutler—the No. 14 and No. 15 passers in my most recent listing of Top 25 quarterbacks.
(A new Top 25 will be released sometime this month, probably next week.)
Here's a week-by-week fantasy breakdown of Cutler vs. Palmer...just in case you're torn on which one to draft sometime in Round 7 or Round 8:
Week 1—Cutler (vs. Indianapolis) over Palmer (vs. San Diego)
Week 2—Cutler (@ Green Bay) over Palmer (@ Miami)
Week 3—Cutler (vs. St. Louis) over Palmer (vs. Pittsburgh)
Week 4—Palmer (@ Denver) over Cutler (@ Dallas)
Week 5—Cutler (@ Jacksonville) over Palmer (BYE)
Week 6—Palmer (@ Atlanta) over Cutler (BYE)
Week 7—Palmer (vs. Jacksonville) over Cutler (vs. Detroit)
Week 8—Cutler (vs. Carolina) over Palmer (@ Kansas City)
Week 9—Palmer (vs. Tampa Bay) over Cutler (@ Tennessee)
Week 10—Cutler (vs. Houston) over Palmer (@ Baltimore)
Week 11—Palmer (vs. New Orleans) over Cutler (@ San Francisco)
Week 12—Palmer (@ Cincinnati) over Cutler (vs. Minnesota)
Week 13—Cutler (vs. Seattle) over Palmer (vs. Cleveland)
Week 14—Cutler (@ Minnesota) over Palmer (vs. Denver)
Week 15—Palmer (vs. Kansas City) over Cutler (vs. Green Bay)
Week 16—Palmer (@ Oakland) over Cutler (@ Arizona)
Week 17—Cutler (@ Detroit) over Palmer (@ San Diego)
Cutler edges Palmer, 9-8
- Without getting knee-deep into the research, I'd say that Cutler has the easier schedule of the two quarterbacks. You can't put a value on getting four golden chances at the Colts, Rams and Vikings (twice)—with all four games (three home, one away) likely occurring amid favorable weather conditions.
- We're splitting hairs with the matchups from Weeks 4, 7, 9, 10, 12 and 14, which reiterates just how close Cutler and Palmer will likely be in the August drafts.
- On paper, Cutler has the better Week 12 matchup (vs. Minnesota) over Palmer. But we should not underestimate the feelings of bitterness, revenge, redemption—however you want to label it—that Palmer will have upon setting foot into Paul Brown Stadium, a place he had promised to never re-enter when "retiring" from the NFL and the Bengals two years ago. Sure, the Cincinnati defense will probably want blood that day as well; but Palmer will get his 300 yards or three TDs, one way or the other.
- I like both quarterbacks' chances of eclipsing the attainable marks of 3,850 yards passing and 26 touchdowns. Admittedly, it's an ultra-conservative estimate. Both passers have the capacity for 4,300 yards and 29 touchdowns—in a career-defining campaign.
- Palmer acquitted himself nicely last year with the Raiders (2,753 passing yards and 13 TDs in nine starts), despite little practice time or intimate knowledge of his receivers. The main source of our optimism lies with burgeoning talents like Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore, along with Palmer's annual knack for eclipsing the 60 percent passing mark. A stable mid-round pick for owners who platoon QBs.
- Good/bad news for both quarterbacks: Neither one has a distinct advantage for the fantasy-playoff period of Weeks 13-16.
- I'm willing to bet that Cutler throws for 300 yards against Carolina in Week 8. Palmer's seasonal best day will come against the Falcons in Week 6, especially if the Raiders fall behind early.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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