Injury Risk: Quarterbacks High Pass Attempts


By Zack Cimini

Besides a couple of significant injuries fantasy teams have remained unscathed and healthy. Last year teams were scoring at record paces. That translated to huge fantasy points at quarterback. Going into 2010 fantasy drafts more owners started to realize the importance of securing a top notch fantasy quarterback. In years past the disparate difference between a tier one and tier two fantasy quarterback was not something that would demolish a fantasy team. Now the point difference can be substantial.

Defenses have had their ways early on this season. Part of that has to do with teams still getting into gear and not at optimal levels of consistency. That should begin to sway more in the direction of offenses getting a handle on things. What gets us worried is not the fact that defenses are doing a solid job on quarterbacks. It’s the rise in pass attempts that has us alarmed.

Quarterbacks are already getting drilled at a high clip. Extra hits are not needed to their daily Sunday routine. Yet there are some elite quarterbacks that are having to throw the football forty to fifty times a game. Fantasy owners are ecstatic about that now, but better have a backup plan in case of injury. We’ve profiled some quarterbacks that are going beyond the pass attempts we would like to see. Each extra drop back could be that one that puts a hole to your fantasy team.

Donovan McNabb-

McNabb may have one of the toughest situations of any quarterback. He has a nonexistent running game. Washington has no one behind Clinton Portis to try and provide a spark, and just cut Larry Johnson. At receiver, McNabb has athletes that primarily stretch the field. Joey Galloway and Santana Moss have been career deep ball threats. McNabb has to buy extra time in the pocket to wait for one of them to break open. Currently, McNabb has averaged thirty five pass attempts a game and it may rise. His age and history of injuries does not bode well. Most McNabb owners probably have a suitable fantasy backup. If not get your plan ready.

Brett Favre-

With Favre everyone has seen the rust. His theories of no training camp and preparation with high schoolers worked like a charm for years. Not in 2010. Favre has had that old man look after getting hit. He seems to be bracing himself for the ground, and is taking extra time to get himself up. It’s good to be cautious but the hits are going to keep coming. Last years numbers by Favre were off the scatter chart of his career patterns. Owners struck gold last season. This year it truly looks like he will have a tough time finishing the season. Even if he does finish, from a fantasy stand point the does not pose as a week to week starter.

Eli Manning-

A great running game is what broke Eli Manning from a questionable young quarterback to one that found a groove and growth rose with it. Manning is finding the hard way how life goes when one essential part of an offense is not there. Brandon Jacobs is capable of being a blocking fullback and short yardage guy these days, while Ahmad Bradshaw is a Darren Sproles type a few years ago. He can be relied on in certain games to carry the football but not every week. Manning has the receivers to overcome this but his health is going to be in extreme jeopardy on a week to week basis.

Matt Schaub-

The yardage amounts Schaub has thrown thus far is insane. Being alarmed with his pass attempts has to be a topic discusser amongst the Texans staff. Unlike the quarterbacks mentioned so far, Schaub has a running game he can depend on. Arian Foster broke out week one and two years ago Steve Slaton had a fabulous rookie season. The Texans can ill afford to lose Schaub for a short stint of games at any point this year if they want to challenge for a playoff spot. A differential of pass attempts from week two (52) and week one (17) might be a record. Expect the Texans to soften up the play call selection for the passing game and go back to week ones formula.

Tom Brady

The Patriots have never been a big running team. They had a year where Corey Dillon did some damage but for the most part they’ve lived and died with the pass. Where they usually make up for a poor running game is with the quick strike line of scrimmage dart pass, or the quick five yard route by Wes Welker. It’s worked for years. Trading away Laurence Maroney and seeing Kevin Faulk go down to a season ending injury only means an increase of pass attempts for Brady. He threw 35 pass attempts week one and 36 week two. What will his average creep up to over the next four weeks?


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