Fantasy Football 2011: Matthew Stafford and Mid-Tier Quarterbacks to Target
Once you get past the big names of Brees, Rodgers, Manning, Brady, and Vick, it is time to look for second-tier QBs that can hopefully outperform or keep pace with the big names.
My strategy is to always pass on big-name quarterbacks, bolster my RBs and WRs first, and then fill in the quarterback position in the middle rounds.
Here are a few names I will be keeping my eyes on.
Jay Culter, Chicago Bears
Everyone thinks that Cutler quit on his team in the playoffs last year, and whether this is true or not, Cutler has devoted himself to the Bears and is working harder than ever coming into 2011.
He has speedy wide receivers, including Johnny Knox, Roy Williams, and Devin Hester, to go along with a steady tight end in Matt Spaeth.
Combine this with the pass-catching abilities out of the backfield of Matt Forte and newly acquired Marion Barber, and the Bears offense is starting to take shape.
You can also never forget the one thing that gives Cutler the potential to have huge numbers: playing in the Mike Martz offense. This scheme has produced some of the most prolific aerial numbers ever seen, and if Cutler can cut down on his interceptions, he has the potential for a big year.
Matt Schaub, Houston Texans
Matt Schaub was everyone’s hot quarterback going into 2010, and although he underperformed, I think he has a big year in place.
The Texans defense may have improved through the draft, but they still have some time before they can be a force to be reckoned with.
If the Texans want to win, most of their contests will be shootouts, which means big numbers for Schaub and the offense.
Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos
Nothing will light a bigger fire under a QB than the “quarterback controversy” going on in Denver.
Kyle Orton is clearly the superior signal caller, and even though he may say all the right things to the media, I think everyone knows that all the talk is only making him want to prove himself on the field.
The team around him is not filled with All-Stars, but he is a proven quarterback who is looking to prove his worth once again in the NFL and put this controversy to rest once and for all.
Expect a hot start that continues throughout the season.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
Mark Sanchez is ready to play a larger role in the Jets offense this year. With another year under his belt, Sanchez will be asked to take more responsibility and go out and win games for the Jets instead of just managing them.
Sanchez is also aided by the Jets re-signing of Santonio Holmes, as well as the addition of Plaxico Burress.
In a smaller move, the Jets also signed Derrick Mason, who will be a safety net for the offense and able to bail Sanchez out of a lot of sticky situations.
Combine this with Dustin Keller and a Shonn Green-and-LT backfield, and the future is bright for young Mr. Sanchez and the Jets offense.
Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs
After his big year filling in for Tom Brady, Cassel is yet to repeat his performance in Kansas City.
But like many players on this list, he has another year of experience in his system and has become more comfortable with his supporting cast and the offense as a whole.
He has found a go-to receiver in Dwayne Bowe and is looking to lead the Chiefs back to the playoffs in 2011.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
The feel-good quarterback on the feel-good team, this year is Stafford’s chance to show he belongs on the same level as other top gunslingers.
With a target like Calvin Johnson in the red zone and as a deep threat, you have to like Stafford’s chances to put up big numbers.
The only thing that has stopped Stafford before has been his health. If he can stay injury free this year, I see a breakout brewing in the Motor City.