Today's installment of "Choose Your Quarterback" pits Cleveland's Brandon Weeden against Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert—the No. 30 and No. 31 passers in my rankings of the 32 presumed starting quarterbacks.
(That countdown will remain fluid throughout training camp and preseason play.)
Here's a week-by-week fantasy breakdown of Gabbert vs. Weeden...just in case you're torn on which quarterback offers better value in Round 14 or 15:
Week 1—Gabbert (@ Minnesota) over Weeden (vs. Philadelphia)
Week 2—Gabbert (vs. Houston) over Weeden (@ Cincinnati)
Week 3—Gabbert (@ Indianapolis) over Weeden (vs. Buffalo)
Week 4—Weeden (@ Baltimore) over Gabbert (vs. Cincinnati)
Week 5—Weeden (@ N.Y. Giants) over Gabbert (vs. Chicago)
Week 6—Weeden (vs. Cincinnati) over Gabbert (BYE)
Week 7—Weeden (@ Indianapolis) over Gabbert (@ Oakland)
Week 8—Gabbert (@ Green Bay) over Weeden (vs. San Diego)
Week 9—Gabbert (vs. Detroit) over Weeden (vs. Baltimore)
Week 10—Gabbert (vs. Indianapolis) over Weeden (BYE)
Week 11—Weeden (@ Dallas) over Gabbert (@ Houston)
Week 12—Gabbert (vs. Tennessee) over Weeden (vs. Pittsburgh)
Week 13—Weeden (@ Oakland) over Gabbert (@ Buffalo)
Week 14—Weeden (vs. Kansas City) over Gabbert (vs. N.Y. Jets)
Week 15—Gabbert (@ Miami) over Weeden (vs. Washington)
Week 16—Weeden (@ Denver) over Gabbert (@ New England)
Week 17—Gabbert (@ Tennessee) over Weeden (@ Pittsburgh)
Gabbert edges Weeden, 9-8
- We're splitting hairs with the matchups from Weeks 2, 4, 8, 11, 13 and 16, which reiterates just how close Gabbert (2,214 yards passing, 12 TDs last year) and Weeden could be in the August drafts. Of course, their selections may hinge more on bye-week availability than on actual talent.
- The over/under for both Weeden and Gabbert reaching the QB-elite fantasy thresholds of 275 total yards and/or three touchdowns should be 4.5 games.
- Weeden amassed 9,004 yards passing and 71 touchdowns in two stellar seasons as Oklahoma State's QB (2010/11), and he posted a remarkable completion rate of 70 percent. But he still missed out on starter's reps for seven football seasons (2002-08) and failed to capitalize on the athletic-prime ages of 18-25 (from a football standpoint).
- The list of successful quarterbacks who floundered as NFL rookies is too long to mention. But when seeking a roundabout comparison to Gabbert, look no further than Hall of Famer John Elway. In 1983, Elway threw for 1,163 yards, seven TDs and 14 interceptions in 11 games while leading a cast of modest playmakers that included tailbacks Sammy Winder/Nathan Poole and receivers Steve Watson/Rick Upchurch/Clint Sampson. Consequently, if fantasy football magazines had been in full circulation nearly 30 years ago, I'm sure Elway would have been ranked in the bottom half of fantasy QBs in the summer of 1984—primarily based of off a sluggish first year.
- To clarify, I'm not bestowing Elway-esque greatness on Gabbert for this season or his career at large. But I'm willing to cut the kid a break from last year's ennui—especially with the upgrades at receiver (Laurent Robinson, Justin Blackmon, Lee Evans) and head coach (Mike Mularkey).
- Neither Weeden nor Gabbert garners a 27 or higher number, among QBs, with Mock Draft Central's Average Draft Position (ADP) rankings. Simply put, they'll have to flourish in September before earning any sustained fantasy respect for 2012.
- None of the contests are empirical blowouts, but Weeden should enjoy a fantasy advantage three times from Weeks 13-16, universally known as the fantasy playoff period. That carries as much weight to Gabbert "winning" the 17-week competition—perhaps more.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.