During fantasy drafts, with the exception of a few overbearing
talents like Peyton Manning, Daunte Culpepper and Mike
Vick, fantasy owners tend to wait until the middle rounds
to select their starting quarterback. This happens because
owners like to focus on the running back and wideout positions
since every year there are a few new tossers like Jon Kitna
that emerge to do serious fantasy damage despite nonexistent
For most of the fantasy schedule, it is simply important
for a fantasy quarterback to keep up with his peers.
He can be an average passer who does fairly well week in
out. The other positions, running backs and receivers
in particular, determine who actually wins each week with
some individual standout performances.
In the playoffs however, the importance of the quarterback
position becomes paramount. Owners must start a hot
quarterback at that time, because this is when a strong performance
may not clinch the win, but a poor one will most likely
doom a team.
Successful owners key in on flame-throwing quarterbacks
on a roll. It is not ok to continue to start a guy
just because he has posted solid statistics throughout
season. A perfect example of this would be Kerry
Collins, who is
second in the league in passing yards with 3,048,
but has struggled of late behind a beat-up line and without
services of star tight end Jeremy Shockey.
Here are a few guys to start in your fantasy playoffs,
and another few to bench if you have one of the
scorchers on your squad:
Jon Kitna – This Bengal has shed his former stripes
and become a consistent and strong fantasy player. He is
leading an offense of talent (Chad Johnson) and depth (Rudi
Johnson) in a string of victories. Kitna is spreading the
ball to Johnson, Peter Warrick and rookie Kelley Washington.
He has a hot hand, and owners should not hesitate to use
him. The team doesn’t bungle the close games anymore.
Matt Hasselbeck – Hasselbeck is at it again, catching
fire in the second half of the season. He was in sync with
Darrell Jackson for much of the year, but now that Koren
Robinson and Bobby Engram are also making strides, it means
Hasselbeck is a QB to crave come playoff time. This team
can score quickly and often.
Anthony Wright – Wright has given the Baltimore
offense a shot in the arm. His defense gives him a shot
at great field position every game. Anthony has upped the
production of Marcus Robinson, and he has Travis Taylor
and Todd Heap to lean on too. Wright probably won’t
help the team continue to post 40+ point efforts, but he
is hot enough right now to keep in your starting lineup.
Quincy Carter – Quincy was making a move this year
in the fantasy rankings until he had a few games in the
middle where he seemed to regress. With the Cowboys’ running
game taking a back seat in recent weeks, it is again Carter
who is making plays happen. He has a great trio of receivers
in Joey Galloway, Terry Glenn and Antonio Bryant, so he
can complete a big play at any time.
Tom Brady – There is no number-one wideout for the
Patriots, so Brady has become terrific at spreading around
the opportunities. The recent additions of Dedric Ward
and J.J. Stokes are just two more targets at the right
time. TE Daniel Graham is improving weekly, and the team
is bound to get Troy Brown back at some point. Tom tied
for the league lead in touchdown passes last year, and
he is starting to add them up more quickly.
Marc Bulger – With Marshall Faulk back, Bulger is
losing passing scores to the premier runner. This is a
simple case of scoring design. Bulger will still throw
for touchdowns, but not at the same rate as before.
Brad Johnson – The Bucs are not going to the playoffs
this year, and the loss of Keyshawn is affecting the offense.
It’s great that Charles Lee is making the most of
his chance to shine, but it isn’t translating into
stupendous statistics for Brad, who was a top-three fantasy
quarterback earlier in the year. Time to look elsewhere
for the yards.
Trent Green – Kansas City is still rolling along,
but Green has been struggling to connect with anyone other
than Tony Gonzalez in recent weeks. Holmes, much like Faulk,
is nabbing a high percentage of the scores, and unlike
Faulk, Holmes runs in almost all of his touchdowns.
Steve McNair – Steve is still a true gamer, but
he has fallen off his midseason touchdown pace. He has
also currently battling a minor injury. There are better
fantasy options right now than Steve, who nonetheless remains
an MVP candidate.
Joe Levit, based in Boston, writes for www.cnnsi.com and www.thehuddle.com.
He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a devoted Detroit
Lions fan. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.