Faceoffs: Thoughts on Marshall, Big Ben and Santonio

Editor's note: Senior Fantasy Writers Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg agree on most things, but several factors stemming from two blockbuster trades involving Santonio Holmes and Brandon Marshall have the guys not seeing eye-to-eye. Is Ben Roethlisberger still a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback without Santonio Holmes? Is Holmes' new quarterback, Mark Sanchez, better or worse than Miami's Chad Henne now that Henne has Marshall in his corner? And where does Marshall rank among the Fantasy receivers? The fellas weigh in.

Did Brandon Marshall gain or lose Fantasy value by going to Miami?
Dave Richard Jamey Eisenberg
Dave Richard I've felt for a long time that Marshall is an elite talent. I defy you to find significant differences in his game and the likes of Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Reggie Wayne as far as on-the-field ability goes. I couldn't care less about him being a loose cannon off the field -- I don't lose Fantasy points for that. What I do care about is a receiver who has put together three consecutive 100-plus catch seasons with a young and trigger-happy Jay Cutler under center for two years and lesser-armed Kyle Orton for one year. Sure, the change of scenery and change of offensive theory might scare some Fantasy owners, but the Dolphins didn't add Marshall to block for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. They'll have to justify giving the Broncos two second-round picks and giving Marshall a contract extension, so that will mean a lot of work for Marshall. Simply put, he's too talented a player with a team that must utilize him if they hope to compete in the AFC East. He's easily a Top 10 Fantasy receiver, if not a Top 5. Jamey Eisenberg I love the Dolphins trade to get Marshall because it addresses a position of need and makes Chad Henne a much better quarterback. But Marshall loses value leaving Denver for Miami. The Dolphins offense is not going to allow Marshall to catch 102 passes for 1,237 yards and eight touchdowns, which is what he averaged the past three years. Miami is a run-first team, and keep in mind the Dolphins often line up Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams at quarterback in the Wildcat package. No Dolphins receiver caught more than three touchdowns last year, and none had more than 800 yards. Marshall will definitely eclipse those marks and remain an elite Fantasy option, but his stats will take a hit with this transaction. And let's not forget that Marshall also could be useless for two games when he lines up against Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis -- even though those matchups will be fun to watch. Marshall told me in February he was "going for the throne" as the No. 1 wide receiver in 2010, but I don't see that happening now that he's with the Dolphins. He'll be lucky to finish as a Top 10 option after this trade.
Barring a suspension, is Ben Roethlisberger a starting Fantasy quarterback?
Dave Richard Jamey Eisenberg
Dave Richard I admitted in my blog this week that Jamey was right about the Steelers -- signs point to them getting back to their run-the-ball ways. But I don't think they'll totally go backward, meaning that Roethlisberger will have chances to put up solid stats. Before last season the Steelers seemed to lean on the run outside of the 20-yard line and then throw the ball in the red zone. I could see them doing something like that again in 2010. I also could see them making good use of Mike Wallace, who excelled last season as a deep-ball receiver and was one of two huge surprises. Even without Holmes, the Steelers have enough weapons around Roethlisberger to keep his numbers solid, and I'm not ruling out the idea of them drafting another receiver. Finally, Roethlisberger will be plenty motivated to play well and silence his critics after another tumultuous offseason. He faced these same critics last offseason and did subsequently very well. Expect it again -- he's a low-end No. 1 Fantasy quarterback. Jamey Eisenberg Roethlisberger is still going to have his moments as a starting Fantasy quarterback this year, but he's not a No. 1 option anymore. Not with the Steelers missing the playoffs last year. Not with Santonio Holmes no longer in Pittsburgh. And not with Roethlisberger having all these problems off the field, which is cutting into his preparation time. Roethlisberger has two years with 20 or more touchdowns, which was last season and 2007. In four other years he's averaged 17 touchdowns, and the Steelers are typically more successful when they aren't throwing the ball all over the place. The Steelers will return to their identity of running the ball, and that makes Rashard Mendenhall an elite Fantasy running back this year. As for Roethlisberger, his stats will take a hit, and you should view him as a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback. I would rather take my chances with the upside of Kevin Kolb or even the motivated Donovan McNabb. They both have a better outlook than Roethlisberger.
Who is the better No. 2 Fantasy quarterback: Chad Henne or Mark Sanchez?
Dave Richard Jamey Eisenberg
Dave Richard If Kyle Orton can have a career year (3,802 yards, 21 touchdowns) with Marshall, then surely Henne can be expected to do well. Look, in order for a quarterback to post great stats he must have quality players around him. I've already talked about Marshall's ability, and Henne will be the only passer in the league to take advantage of him in the lineup. Both Henne and Sanchez have great O-lines and great running games to complement them, but Henne has the stronger arm. And while the Dolphins' offense hasn't been pass-oriented before, it doesn't mean they won't be: Offensive coordinator Dan Henning has helped produce career-best numbers for Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad, and also was responsible for excellent seasons for guys ranging from Keyshawn Johnson and Ricky Sanders to Anthony Miller and Quinn Early. Does Henning utilize the run? History has shown that he definitely does, but history also proves that he's versatile enough to take advantage of his great receivers. I'd think Marshall qualifies, and that should mean good things for Henne, who is a terrific sleeper and solid No. 2 Fantasy quarterback. Jamey Eisenberg Henne and Sanchez have a similar outlook this year. Both are No. 2 Fantasy quarterbacks who got significant upgrades in their receiving corps, but both also play on run-first teams. And even though Marshall is the best receiver for either team, Sanchez has more talent around him. You'd rather have the quarterback throwing the ball to Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller than the one throwing to Marshall, Davone Bess, Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Fasano. Let's face it, neither quarterback is expected to become a starting Fantasy option this year, but if you're looking for who has more upside with a late-round pick, it's Sanchez. At least he doesn't have to face Revis for two games, and that could be enough of a deciding factor to take Sanchez over Henne. The one thing we can all agree on is both of these quarterbacks are better off than Kyle Orton. Poor guy has to deal with Brady Quinn and loses Marshall. Talk about a bad offseason.
Who is the better No. 3 Fantasy receiver: Santonio Holmes or Mike Wallace?
Dave Richard Jamey Eisenberg
Dave Richard I like Mike Wallace but I like him better as a slot receiver who doesn't draw much coverage because Santonio Holmes is streaking down the other side of the field. That scenario from 2009 is history and now it's expected that Wallace will step into Holmes' role as the split end in the Steelers' offense. That's going to mean more receptions than the 39 he had last season but it also means increased coverage and thus fewer yards per catch than the 19.6 he had a year ago. Holmes, meanwhile, moves to being the most appealing option for Mark Sanchez whereas he wasn't always as attractive in Pittsburgh. He's a lot like Wallace in that he can make plays deep but he's got an edge on the second-year receiver as far as doing the short and intermediate work. Neither guy will set the world on fire, but I'll take Holmes' experience and leading role in the Jets' offense over Wallace adjusting to being an every-down player in his second season. Jamey Eisenberg Wallace steps into the starting role vacated by Holmes, and he should see a significant portion of the 138 targets Holmes had last year even with the Steelers throwing the ball less. Wallace, who had one more touchdown than Holmes last year, led the NFL with 19.4 yards per catch, and his speed will complement Hines Ward and Heath Miller running underneath routes. Holmes will miss four games to start the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy and will share the field with Edwards, Cotchery and Keller upon his return. I'd rather have Wallace for 16 games than Holmes for 12 with the way each offense is going to look. Again, both teams plan to run the ball as much as possible, but the Steelers are definitely more pass-oriented than the Jets. That will favor Wallace, who gets a significant boost in value following Holmes being traded to New York.

Do you agree with Dave or Jamey? Send your thoughts or questions to DMFantasyFootball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Attn: Fantasy Faceoff in the subject field. Include your full name, hometown and state.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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