Fantasy Files: Daunte Culpepper, 2000
In 1999 the Minnesota Vikings made Daunte Culpepper the 11th pick of the NFL Draft, one year after drafting Randy Moss.
Amongst the names of Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, and Cade McNown, Culpepper was largely overshadowed.
As a rookie Culpepper did not throw a pass. He was buried on the Vikings depth-chart behind Jeff George and Randall Cunningham, and the team was more concerned with winning a Super Bowl than developing young talent.
In the offseason the Vikings parted ways with their two QBs and it was now DC's time to shine.
Entering the 2000 season most fantasy publications had Culpepper ranked between the eighth and 18th player on the board. Not bad for a first-year starter but considering who he had around him—Culpepper was a no-brainer.
In fantasy football you can never be too quick to rule a player out because of who he is, especially not a quarterback. The system and players around the quarterback are at least 80 percent of his success.
Culpepper inherited an offense that included two of the top-10 receivers in the NFL (Chris Carter and Moss) and one of the league's top backs (Robert Smith). The Vikings were a high powered offense too, finishing 1999 third in total yards and fifth in scoring.
Not only was Culpepper a strong armed quarterback but he could also run. In his first game he off-set his 190 passing yards and one interception with 73 yards and three rushing touchdowns.
From there the train kept rolling for Culpepper. He posted five 300-yard games and threw for three touchdowns in seven games.
In 2000, Culpepper tied Peyton Manning with 33 touchdown passes and finished fourth in the league with 3,937 passing yards—ending the season as a top three quarterback.
Culpepper had a pair of 1,000 yard receivers in Moss and Carter and the Vikings finished fifth in points and total yardage.
The 2000 NFL season was especially special for me. I made the decision to make Culpepper my starter in a majority of my fantasy football leagues. My best team that year finished 68th out of over 500,000 teams on Yahoo!.
Last year we saw Aaron Rodgers have the same type of success that Culpepper did as a first year starter. Rodgers did have to wait a few seasons longer, but teamed with dangerous receiving threats he was able to eclipse the 4,000 yard mark.
After two seasons on the bench, in 2006 Philip Rivers took over for the San Diego Chargers becoming fantasy relevant with 3,388 yards and 22 touchdowns.
2009 does not seem to have any quarterbacks who will be starting with little-to-no experience however, two or all three of this year's first round quarterbacks could have the chance in 2010.
You can almost always draft QBs in this situation in the mid-to-later part of the draft with minimal risk. And don't forget to keep an eye on current Vikings QB Sage Rosenfels either.
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