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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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
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