Top 40 Fantasy Football Quarterbacks: Nos. 36-40
*These rankings are based on ESPN's standard scoring league format. They are ESPN's rankings, not my own. The analysis is mine.
40. Chad Henne, Miami Dolphins
Projected Stats: 75-of-141, 844 yards, 3 TDs, 6 INTs, 35 points
Several sources, including Pro Football Weekly and ESPN say Henne should take over as the Dolphins' starting signal-caller by this time next year. This prediction makes sense.
The Dolphins signed Pennington last offseason as a temporary fix for their messy quarterback situation. It's likely that he also mentored then-rookie Henne in '08. But Pennington's skills—most notably accuracy—don't fit particularly well in an explosive offense like the Wildcat.
Henne, on the other hand, has a powerful arm and Pennington's poised pocket presence. If he has improved his accuracy, then he should indeed succeed Pennington as the Dolphins' starter soon. Chances of that are good—Miami's quarterbacks coach, David Lee, coached in colleged for 25 years before taking his first NFL gig. Lee knows what he's doing with young players.
If nothing else, monitor Pennington's health and/or performance and Henne's availability in your league.
39. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota Vikings
Projected Stats: 62-of-111, 717 yards, 4 TDs, 6 INTs, 20 rushes for 101 yards, 42 points
Even after three years in the pros, the athletic Jackson is not a hot commodity in fantasy football. About all he can do is scramble. But with one of the league's top running games to lean on, Jackson won't be the one running.
Jackson isn't worth drafting or picking up unless it's an emergency and the Vikings are playing a team with a weak pass defense in the week you need a quick fix for.
38. Matt Leinart, Arizona Cardinals
Projected Stats: 47-of-84, 519 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 24 points
In spite of the increase in starter Kurt Warner's chance of injury due to age (he's 38), Leinart doesn't have much of a chance to get playing time in 2009. And you can't produce if you're not on the field.
Stay away from Leinart.
37. Kellen Clemens, New York Jets
Projected Stats: 82-of-161, 1014 yards, 4 TDs, 6 INTs, 50 points
While the Jets haven't publicly said so, first-round pick Mark Sanchez is widely expected to start in the regular season. Clemens' chance appears to have come and gone.
Pass on Clemens even if Sanchez gets hurt.
36. Tyler Thigpen, Kansas City Chiefs
Projected Stats: 44-of-77, 474 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs, 13 rushes for 82 yards and 1 TD, 38 points
With his $63 million contract to prove it, Matt Cassel is undoubtedly the starter in KC. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who coached the Cardinals' offense in 2008, should give Cassel every chance to succeed. Thigpen shouldn't get much playing time.
It couldn't hurt to keep an eye on Thigpen's availability if Cassel bombs. But the chances of Thigpen replacing Cassel before about late November are slim, and almost none.
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