Fantasy Football Q&A: Week 13

Be sure to check out Week 12’s Fantasy Fallout and our Waiver Wire Watch for Week 13. Still have questions? Fire away, but be sure to tell me about your league’s roster requirements and whether or not you’re in a PPR league.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Should Sanchez start for Jets as a rookie?

Even though it appears he’s stating more of his opinion rather than actual fact, Michael Lombardi of the National Football Post writes that Mark Sanchez is going to start for the Jets next season. He notes that Sanchez can be a game manager and can certainly handle the offense, although he also notes that the Jets will likely rely on their defense early in the season in order to allow the rookie to gain confidence.

Before the 2008 season, I wrote how the Falcons should start Matt Ryan because he was the most NFL-ready quarterback in last year’s draft. I also noted that since Atlanta’s roster was so young, he should take his lumps with the rest of his inexperienced teammates and they could grow together. (Of course, while I was right on that projection, I was also the idiot that said the Falcons should have drafted Glenn Dorsey with the third overall pick and then fill their quarterback need with Brian Brohm in the second round.)

When the notion of starting a rookie quarterback is brought up, most pundits and fans rattle of the list of signal callers that eventually succumbed to the pressure (David Carr, Joey Harrington, etc, etc), and therefore note how awful of an idea it is. But Ryan and Joe Flacco’s performances last year might have gone a long way in changing that mindset, and you can’t leave Ben Roethlisberger out of the discussion of quarterbacks that started as rookies and went on to have great success.

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Did the Lions pass on a linebacker because of Larry Foote?

Tom Kowalski of speculates that the reason why the Lions passed on a middle linebacker in last weekend’s draft was because they knew the Steelers would release Larry Foote shortly thereafter.

Let’s put a couple of factors together and see what we come up with — the Detroit Lions passed on a taking a middle linebacker in the first two rounds, Pittsburgh inside linebacker Larry Foote was just released in a widely anticipated move and Foote has not hidden his desire to return to Detroit and play for his hometown Lions.

Many Lions fans were surprised when the team passed on Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis and USC’s Rey Maualuga with the team’s No. 20 and No. 33 selections. It’s possible the Lions knew that Foote would be released soon and they might be in the running to sign him. Another factor why the Lions would pass on a rookie and try to get Foote — or another veteran — is the fact that defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has a well-documented disdain for starting a lot of rookies at the same time.

Foote, who will be 29 in June, has played seven years in the league and has started the last five seasons and hasn’t missed a game due to injury in the last six years. He’s also helped the Steelers win a couple of those Lombardi Trophy things.

Foote graduated from Pershing High School in Detroit and already expressed interest in playing in his home state earlier this offseason. If Mayhew did pass on a linebacker in the draft knowing that Foote would be available soon thereafter, it was a clever move on his part and it would certainly help answer some questions regarding the Lions draft.

If the Lions do sign Foote, then the selections of Bradon Pettigrew and Louis Delmas in the first two rounds look pretty solid – especially considering both players were the top-rated prospects at their respective positions.

Of course, if Foote signs with someone else, then this move will backfire horribly because Detroit would be left with Jordon Dizon as their starting middle linebacker. And given that Matt Millen drafted Dizon, chances are the young man doesn’t have much upside.

Anthony Stalter vs. Ted Thompson

Regular readers know that Anthony Stalter is our NFL guru and that I’m a huge Packer fan. And since Green Bay’s general manager, Ted Thompson, made one of the more questionable trades of the day — giving up a second round pick and two third round picks to move up and select USC linebacker Clay Matthews — we thought it would be interesting to have Anthony play general manager for those three picks and see if things would have turned out better had the Packers stood pat (and drafted on Anthony’s recommendations). So Anthony is going to pick players at 2.09, 3.09 and 3.19 (the three picks Thompson gave up for Matthews) and see if he can do any better.

Thompson has a reputation for being one of the best general managers in the league on draft day, but Anthony sure didn’t agree with how much the Packers gave up in order to land Matthews:

But to give up their second round pick and two third round selections was just too much – especially considering Matthews could be one of the more overrated prospects in this draft. Some believe that he’s more of a bodybuilder posing as a football player (i.e. he looks great in workouts but could fizzle once he gets onto the field) and his character has come into question after it was made public that he and fellow USC teammates started a Facebook group called, “White Nation,” in which they posted a picture of an African American baby in handcuffs and had a caption underneath that read, “arrest black babies before they become criminals.” He claims it was just a joke and maybe he will turn out to be a versatile pro. But the trade and selection were very un-Ted Thompson-like for draft day.

We’ll revisit this after each of the next three seasons (unless the winner becomes obvious before then) and see how the two strategies compare. In the interests of fairness, I asked Anthony to make his pick at 2.09 without thinking about who slipped to 3.09 or 3.19.

So, without further ado, Anthony’s picks…

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65 Observations about the 2009 NFL Draft

I’m going to channel my inner Peter King and dole out a crap load of quick-hit thoughts on last weekend’s NFL draft, which by the way, was one of the more unpredictable drafts I have ever witnessed.

Below are 65 observations from the 2009 NFL Draft. Why 65? I don’t know – don’t worry about it. Originally I came up with 62, but I know that some people freak out when things aren’t in round numbers, so I added three more. But the number 65 means nothing, so don’t waste time searching for its meaning.

Obviously these are all my opinions and feel free to debate them. But before you do, I already know that it supposedly takes three seasons to fully grade a draft and that no prospect is a sure thing. Again, I’m projecting here – so lighten up and let’s strike up some good debates.

1. Outside of the fact that he’s now a millionaire and could buy a small country, I kind of feel bad for Matthew Stafford. You know some halfwit fan or media member can’t wait to utter the comment, “For $72 million, he should have made that pass.” I hate the fact that money plays such a huge role in sports because when you get down to it, completing a pass, making a catch or kicking a field goal has nothing to do with how many zeros are on your paycheck.

2. I know I’m not saying anything new here, but the rookie salary structure is a joke. When teams don’t even want a top 5 pick anymore because of the financial burden that comes with it, there’s a huge problem.

3. The kid could turn out to be the next Ryan Leaf on the field, but Lion fans have to at least take comfort in the fact that Matthew Stafford is saying all the right things at this point. He did an interview with the NFL Network on Sunday and he talked about how he wants to be a starter right away, but also wants to learn and be patient in his development. From all accounts, he looks like he has a great head on his shoulders.

4. If Tyson Jackson turns out to be the next Richard Seymour like Chiefs’ GM Scott Pioli believes, then nobody is going to remember (or care) that he was taken with the third overall pick in a weak draft class.

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