New York's Mark Sanchez is the Real Deal, but Is He a Good Fantasy QB Option?

Kyle WinslowCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 27:  Mark Sanchez #6 of The New York Jets passes against The Tennessee Titans during their game on September 27, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Mark Sanchez is off to a great start in real life, leading the Jets to a 3-0 start against pretty good competition, but what is his fantasy value?

So far, Sanchez has totaled four passing TDs, one rushing TD, and over 600 yards passing with two picks.  These are better numbers than last season's two breakout rookie QBs put up.  Joe Flacco had 450 yards, one TD and two picks through his first three performances in 2008, and Matt Ryan put up 511 yards, two TDs and Two picks in his first three games. 

Both quarterbacks ended up having decent fantasy seasons, finishing the year just a few points behind Eli Manning and a few points ahead of Ben Roethlisberger in standard leagues. With bye weeks coming up and injuries to several quarterbacks, many fantasy owners may be searching for a little help at QB. 

So is Sanchez somebody you should feel comfortable starting as a bye-week replacement? As always in fantasy football, it depends on the matchup.

He has more fantasy points right now than Carson Palmer, Brett Favre, and David Garrard, and the stellar Jets defense is giving him plenty of opportunities to run the offense. However, according to Colts President Bill Polian, you might want to avoid starting Sanchez in his second set of matchups against division rivals.

"Sanchez is doing a good job," Polian said on his weekly radio show. "It's important to remember that with every rookie quarterback, particularly in the division, rookie quarterbacks are like rookie pitchers, 'The first time around, they're terrific, but the next time around, everybody gets a book on them.' You learn how to adjust to them and the things they do. It doesn't go as smoothly the second time around."

"That was true of Peyton. I'm sure it will be true of Sanchez. He's going to have his ups and downs. He's a good player and clearly a very charismatic one, but just like Flacco did last year and just like Matt Ryan did last year, he'll have his ups and downs."

Last season, Matt Ryan had one TD and three interceptions in his second round of division games.  Flacco fared a little better, with four TDs and two interceptions, but that includes games against the Bengals and Browns, both of whom had horrible defenses last year.

It appears that, with the Jets' great defense and decent running game, Sanchez is a good backup QB, and he's worthy of a roster spot in any 12-team league. I would even be comfortable starting him over lower end QBs when the Jets play weaker defenses.

However, I would be leery of having Sanchez as my only backup QB if my starter's bye week fell on one of the Jets second round of divisional games, because the AFC East defenses are no slouches.