I spent more than an hour watching Alex Smith practice and this was about all I saw that made me think he could maybe be a quality pro starting QB. Not too many highlights, and there was zero pressure.
Quarterback isn’t a position where players breakout every year, but it seems that with the evolution of the passing game, that has changed in recent years. Recent examples of this include Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub and Matt Cassel when he filled in for Tom Brady the first week of the season. Here are some quarterbacks that have the ability to breakout this year and take their games to the next level and possibly help your fantasy team in the process.
— Aaron Resnick, Playmaker Correspondent
Kevin Kolb, Philadelphia Eagles: The Donovan McNabb era has come to a close in Philadelphia and the torch has now been passed to Kolb. Kolb has been in the system for the past three years and showed lots of potential in his two starts last year. He also has plenty of weapons at his disposal. DeSean Jackson is coming off a Pro Bowl season to go along side with Jeremy Maclin who like Jackson is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
Kolb also has one of the league’s best receiving tight ends in Brent Celek, a sure handed third receiver Jason Avant and the shifty LeSean McCoy who is a very good receiver out of the backfield. With these weapons along with Andy Reid’s willingness to throw the ball, it wouldn’t be surprising if Kolb has over 4000 yards and 25 touchdowns while the Eagles compete in a tough NFC East.
Chad Henne, Miami Dolphins: With quarterbacks such as Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco both drafted before him in 2008, it isn’t surprising for him to get lost in the shuffle. However, Henne most likely will be mentioned with those players this time next year. In his 13 starts last year, he showed flashes of potential and Dolphins fans already thinking he is the best quarterback on the team since Dan Marino retired over ten years ago.
This offseason the team added one of the league’s top receivers in Brandon Marshall who should take Henne’s game to the next level. Marshall is arguably the best receiver in the league after the catch and Henne is very accurate in the short game. With his new go to guy in place, a strong running game and solid defense, it wouldn’t be surprising if Henne helps the Dolphins reach the playoffs in a strong AFC East.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: If you had to define Stafford’s rookie year in five minutes, go on Youtube and watch the NFL Films video of him leading the team to a win over the Browns while throwing the game winning touchdown pass with a separated shoulder. Even though it was a meaningless game that ended up being one of last year’s most entertaining, Stafford earned the respect of his teammates and showed why he is the future of the Lions franchise.
Stafford now has a year under his belt and has a strong supporting cast. The team signed Nate Burleson in the offseason and also acquired pass catching tight end Tony Scheffler in a trade. That doesn’t even include explosive rookie Jahvid Best, last year’s first round pick Brandon Pettigrew and one of the league’s most talented receivers Calvin Johnson.
The Lions aren’t going to be in the playoff hunt like the other quarterbacks mentioned, but they will be in lots of high scoring games which are a huge plus for fantasy football owners. Don’t be surprised if Stafford throws for over 4000 yards and 20 touchdowns this season.
Matt Moore, Carolina Panthers: Moore only started five games last season for the Panthers, but in those games the team went 4-1 and he threw eight touchdowns to only one interception. Now, Moore is expected to battle rookie Jimmy Clausen in training camp for the starting job. Moore doesn’t have the weapons at his disposal that other quarterbacks in his division does, but he has a powerful running game and an established receiver in Steve Smith who is the Panthers only established option. Don’t be surprised if Moore helps the Panthers make noise in a wide open NFC South.