Forecasting Tim Tebow's Potential Impact on Fantasy Football in 2012

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIIOctober 2, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 30:  Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets stands on the sidelines during a preseason game against the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field on August 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

With each embarrassing display of offense (and accompanying tallies in the loss column of the NFL standings), the question of whether the New York Jets will finally acquiesce to growing chants for Tim Tebow’s presence in the starting lineup grows louder.

From a fantasy football prospective, owners unhappy with their own quarterback situations are likely rooting for Tebow’s box score numbers to look a little more roster-worthy.

Tebow was a dynamic fantasy player last season, as he electrified the nation with Tebowing and Tebow Time on NFL fields.

In a year where all sorts of quarterbacks are turning in respectable fantasy performances (see: Kevin Kolb and Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals in Week 4), where would Tebow fit into the fantasy quarterbacking landscape?

His redeeming quality in fantasy football last year was his consistency, mainly driven by the fact that Tebow’s numbers come primarily from rushing.

From Week 5 through 16, Tebow never failed to score less than 12 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. That was in part because he had committed two total turnovers from Week 5 to Week 12.

However, he fumbled in each of his last five regular-season contests in 2011.

He also threw five interceptions from Week 14 to 17 (four games).

In order to utilize Tebow’s past numbers in projecting how he’d fit in a new offensive scheme one year later (after everyone became aware of his presence), some big assumptions would have to be made.

The first is that he would cut down on those turnovers. The second, of course, is that he would come up with numbers similar to what he produced last season in Denver.

Those are both major stretches.

The Jets’ offensive line has been nationally panned leading into the 2012 season. The 2011 O-line for the Broncos was not.

With Peyton Manning now leading the charge in Denver, we now see that Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are legitimate NFL receivers (Yes, I know Manning makes everyone look better).

The Jets don’t have a true No. 1 guy and their receiving corps is dealing with injuries. Will Brinson of reports that New York fears the worst for Santonio Holmes’ season prospects.

Rookie Stephen Hill, a second-round pick and physical specimen who attended Calvin Johnson and Thomas’ alma mater (Georgia Tech), sat out the team’s last appearance against the San Francisco 49ers.

That could be another reason to bring in Tebow. Mark Sanchez is running out of guys to throw to, and Tebow doesn’t have to throw to make an impact on a game.

Expectations for Tebow’s aerial production, therefore, must remain limited.

In 2011, he was able to manufacture fantasy points with his arm as well as his legs, depending on the week. Generally, you’re looking for him to get double-digit rushing attempts (six times last season, with a high of 22 carries at San Diego in Week 12).

You’re also interested in Tebow’s rushing touchdown potential: six ground scores in 2011.

Yet, he’s thrown for two touchdowns three times and topped 200 passing yards twice.

From a full-game perspective, Tebow averaged 17 fantasy points per game in ESPN standard scoring from Week 5 to Week 16 in 2011.

His lowest output was 12 points (twice). His highest was 26, and he topped 20 fantasy points three times.

Over 16 games, that fantasy scoring average would have placed Tebow seventh among quarterbacks in scoring for the year.

That’s easily fantasy starter territory.

However, a lot of guys have started off this season hot from a fantasy perspective.

Tebow’s average would tie him with one Aaron Rodgers (of Green Bay Packers fame) through four games.

But by Rodgers’ standards, this is a down year so far.

The two of them are (or would be, in Tebow’s case) on pace for 11th among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring for 2012.

In all likelihood, they would be 12th if Ben Roethlisberger had played in Week 4. Roethlisberger’s Pittsburgh Steelers were on a bye, yet he trails Rodgers by just three fantasy points this season.

Rodgers averaged 25.7 fantasy points per game in 2011, so projecting that he would ascend the depths of fringe fantasy starter territory is not a bold assessment.

Tebow, on the other hand, doesn’t have that sort of upside.

He should definitely be claimed from waivers in fantasy leagues if the Jets plug him into their starting lineup and let him run his offense, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he should be your fantasy starting quarterback.



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