Want to know how bad quarterback play is in the NFL? There are serious discussions going on at this moment in your fantasy league about Matt McGloin.
Yes, that Matt McGloin. The one who wasn't drafted. The dude who didn't complete 55 percent of his passes in college until his senior season. The guy who made one blond-haired writer give up on humanity multiple times during his time as a faithful Penn State student.
More damningly, yes, I mean the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. McGloin has started each of the past two weeks for Oakland for the injured Terrelle Pryor and was surprisingly solid in each contest. The red-headed righty has thrown for four touchdowns against only one interception, and for the season, McGloin is averaging just under seven yards per attempt.
In an era when Geno Smith puts up single-digit QBRs on a weekly basis and something called Scott Tolzien exists, that's not bad quarterbackin'. Or, at least it was good enough for Raiders head coach Dennis Allen to name McGloin the team's starter for the team's Thanksgiving clash against the Dallas Cowboys.
“Yeah, I thought Matt played well,” Allen said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “And for him to lead us back when we needed a touchdown, he got us the touchdown we needed to give us the lead. We just couldn’t hold it defensively.”
This is important from a fantasy perspective for one reason: The Cowboys' pass defense is dreadful. Like...historically dreadful. As in, Dallas has already allowed four quarterbacks to throw for more than 400 yards this season. Heading into Week 13, the Cowboys are allowing 21.4 points per game to opposing quarterbacks, the most in football.
For comparison, remember the WOAT Saints defense from last season? The Cowboys are allowing more fantasy points to quarterbacks than that sorry unit. Monte Kiffin's secondary is a mess on top of a calamity inside the world's worst sundae.
Anyone who's watched the Cowboys this season knows that. The real question here: Is Dallas bad enough to make McGloin a viable fantasy option?
The answer, of course, very much depends on the depth of your league. In standard 10- or 12-team formats, I'd like to thank you for clicking on this article. But please kindly leave before I throw a shoe at your computer. Under no circumstances should McGloin be on your roster, let alone getting consideration for a starting spot. And if your lineup is so bereft of talent that McGloin is a viable option, well, I wish you better luck drafting next season.
With Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick still to play, McGloin is currently sitting No. 23 among fantasy quarterbacks in scoring this week. He's behind the likes of Kellen Clemens, Mike Glennon, Carson Palmer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Flynn and others who should all be available in your league. I'd likely take McGloin against Dallas ahead of Clemens, but the other four are better options.
Pryor was active for Week 12's contest, and Allen hasn't exactly been stern in sticking to a starting quarterback. While Pryor has struggled to consistently move the ball through the air, he's a running threat every time he touches the ball. Allen could have a quick hook if he thinks Dallas is unprepared for the dual-threat to come into the game.
Regardless, when the rankings come out for Week 13, McGloin will probably settle somewhere in the mid-20s. And that's exactly where he should be.
The history of undrafted quarterbacks in a similar position to McGloin isn't long, but it's pretty ugly (2013 draft positions for QBs not yet logged per Pro-Football-Reference). The only undrafted rookie to ever start three or more games in his rookie season and compile a season-long quarterback rating of better than 80 is Ed Rubbert, who happened to be a replacement player during the 1987 strike.
Mr. Rubbert went on to start exactly three games his entire career. He's now best known as being the inspiration for Keanu Reeves' character in The Replacements.
The most recent undrafted signal-caller to get at least three starts was Max Hall in 2010. I'm sure we all remember how the Max Hall era turned out. Or the Chad Hutchinson era. Or, even though he's a pretty decent backup now, how the Matt Moore era ended in Carolina.
Heck, you can get a larger sample size by limiting the data to only one start. None of it is good. We're looking at a clash of historical putridity here. It's the history of undrafted rookie quarterbacks versus the possibly historically bad Cowboys secondary.
Despite my blue and white heart, I'm more inclined to believe in the (kinda) professional secondary in Dallas than I am McGloin balling out.
But the reality of quarterback play in the NFL is that McGloin is at least worth consideration in 12-team, two-quarterback leagues. If you're patiently awaiting the return of Aaron Rodgers or have been hamstrung by fellow undraftee Case Keenum the past two weeks, maybe McGloin can be an option. I'd certainly rather have him than Smith or Brandon Weeden. If there's anything you take away from this, it's that you'd probably be better off with an empty spot than Brandon Weeden.
In standard leagues, though? McGloin's fantasy value is the same as always: He has none.
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