By Harold Studer
Follow me on Twitter @hstuder36
With training camps opening in a couple weeks, we are quickly approaching the beginning of the season once again. Along with training camps come the position battles and injuries everyone wants to keep an eye on, but for a few teams what looms at the forefront of these camps, are the quarterback controversies. I figured why wait till training camp begins, let’s explore three teams whose choice of QBs could also have an impact on their other offensive weapons.
Sanchez/ Lynch/ Siemian – I would say just by looking at the names, you would assume to know who the starter will be in Denver this season. Listening and following reports from the Broncos during the offseason would probably make you question those assumptions though. With Manning retiring and Osweiler leaving for “greener” pastures in Houston, Sanchez was brought in as the obvious veteran and clear cut starter, so you would think. Reports have been circulating continuously about 2015 seventh round pick Trevor Siemian pushing Sanchez for the job. Lynch seems to fallen by the wayside as a bon a fide project, and has given way to the battle at hand. The question here is whether Siemian is really that good, or has Sanchez gotten really that bad? Assuming Von Miller resigns and the defense seemingly primed to repeat their success from a year ago, does it really matter which one starts? We’ve already seen last year that Kubiak can and will make QB changes if need be. I would lean towards Sanchez being the starter, but prepare for a season that may resemble last year’s QB carousel in Denver. I’d expect similar numbers to last year from all specialty players in that offense.
San Francisco 49ers
Gabbert/ Kaepernick – A Chip Kelly offense with a QB controversy? Who saw that coming? This situation doesn’t seem to be as back and forth as the situation in Denver is currently, but let’s remember Kelly’s previous tenure in Philadelphia. So far throughout the offseason all signs point to Gabbert. A former first round pick who started early in his career by getting beat up down in Jacksonville, Gabbert may now be maturing into a feasible starting level QB. Kaepernick seems to have fallen out of grace with the organization. After the beginning of the offseason started with speculation of him leaving and then talk of him being the preferred QB for Kelly’s style of offense, no one really has an idea of what his status could end up being. This battle should shake out during camp, but predicting the Niner offense doesn’t do much, the QB situation could be one that changes throughout the season. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess San Francisco will be behind more often than not, therefore the only fantasy targets in that offense this season are Torrey Smith and Carlos Hyde, because someone needs to catch passes, and the expectations should be tempered for the time being.
Bradford/ Wentz/ Daniels – Chip Kelly leaves, and the front office starts destroying any remnants and reminders of their failed experiment. One of the few pieces to remain is Sam Bradford. Pederson gets hired, and brings Chase Daniels with him from KC. The Eagles then draft a highly regarded QB early in the first round, followed then with Bradford refusing to show up. How could this not make a list about QB controversies? Regardless of the Eagle’s endless soap opera this offseason, what would you say if I was to tell you that Sam Bradford would finish the 2016 fantasy season with 3500 yards, 20 TDs, and 7 INTs? So, these stats might not look like much when it comes to fantasy, but what would they mean if I said they are actually the stats recorded by Alex Smith last year? Doug Pederson’s QB from Kansas City is the bench mark of consistency and efficiency. I don’t consider it unreasonable to think that whichever QB in Philly that ultimately wins out could become the “Alex Smith of the NFC East.” That being said, when comparing these three QBs to Smith, none completely embody his attributes. Each QB actually seems to portray a different characteristic that could win them the competition. Daniels comes into Philly with experience in Pederson’s system and could easily be argued to be the safest option to transition the team because of this knowledge. Bradford has to learn a new system again but has more game time and ability than Daniels. Wentz although lacking the experience and knowledge has the youth and athletic ability. That doesn’t present a clear picture for this season, but going forward I’d assume Bradford starts purely based on his game experience and Daniels comes in to play game manager if Bradford crashes and burns. I think Pederson will want to transfer over to the KC style offense that he is accustomed to making good fantasy prospects out of Ryan Mathews and Jordan Mathews. Eventually, because of his athletic ability, Wentz could emerge as the perfect QB to run a KC styled offense making him a fantasy option in the future.