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Fantasy Impact of Donovan McNabb trade

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Old 04-14-2010, 03:17 PM   #1
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Post Fantasy Impact of Donovan McNabb trade

Could be an interesting discussion.

Footballguys - How the McNabb trade impacts Washington

Source: Sigmund Bloom - Footballguys.com

Donovan McNabb comes from a pass-happy offense in Philadelphia, and he joins a coach who is not afraid to let his offense tilt towards the pass when the personnel calls for it. Jay Cutler threw over 600 passes in Shanny's last year in Denver, and judging by the RB corps and difficulty this offensive line had opening holes for the running game last year, McNabb may do the same this year. Shanahan is an offensive guru and he routinely created top 5 scoring offenses with John Elway and top 10 scoring offenses with the likes of Brian Griese and Jake Plummer, so Washington should go from being one of the most morose offenses in the league to one of the most lively with Shanahan calling the shots and McNabb carrying them out. McNabb should remain the fantasy threat he has been in Philadelphia because of Shanahan's prowess and the pieces he has to work with in the passing game.

How McNabb impacts Washington's RBs: McNabb loved to throw to Brian Westbrook and he got LeSean McCoy involved in the passing game last year when Westbrook was out for an extended period. There is room for a 50+ catch RB in a McNabb-led offense. The problem is that no member of this backfield is skilled enough at being a receiver to fulfill that promise. Not to mention that while Portis, LJ, and Parker would have been a RB stable like none the league has seen before in 2006, they are one that no Redskins fan will want to see again after 2010. The running backs were already mired in a three-way horserace to avoid the glue factory, now they are likely to be marginalized by a more robust passing offense.

How McNabb impacts Washington's WRs: The Redskins took top talents Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas in the second round of the 2008 draft, and either or both could blossom with McNabb. Santana Moss should come alive with the best QB he's had in years. When McNabb keeps the play alive and looks downfield, Moss is the most experienced and probably still fastest WR in this group, and he should be the recipient of a few more bombs than in years past. He joins Donald Driver, Hines Ward, and Derrick Mason in the undervalued vet WR group. Kelly and Thomas are both worth late round flier picks, with Thomas being the more popular lottery ticket.

How McNabb impacts Washington's TEs: McNabb inherits two pass-catching TEs that are arguably more talented than Brent Celek and LJ Smith, whom McNabb made very relevant in fantasy leagues during his tenure in Philadelphia. Whatever hit Chris Cooley's numbers were going to take by Fred Davis's breakout in 2009 is now offset by a big improvement at QB, and Davis' red zone prowess should keep him in the range of the top fantasy backup TEs he occupied while Cooley was out last year, especially in non-PPR leagues.

Footballguys - How the McNabb trade impacts Philadelphia

Source: Jason Wood - Footballguys.com

The Philadelphia Eagles find themselves with a new starting quarterback for the first time in more than a decade, as 4th year Kevin Kolb takes over for the departed Donovan McNabb. While McNabb has been a fixture of the Andy Reid era, he's also not been the healthiest of QBs and, as a result, we've seen quite a few other QBs get playing time in Reid's offense. The good news is that the offense was reasonably productive with the likes of an aging Jeff Garcia and a journeyman like A.J. Feeley filling in. The even better news is that Kolb, in his two starts last year, was 55 of 85 (64.7%) for 718 yards, 4 TDs and 3 INTs.

Fantasy owners have to balance the fact that Kolb is a seasoned backup who knows the playbook and clearly has the confidence of the locker room against the uncertainty that comes with so little regular season playing experience. Last year's production was promising, but it's important to remember it came in a blowout loss to New Orleans and against a woeful Kansas City squad.

If things go according to plan, Kolb will complete a higher percentage of his passes than Donovan ever did (McNabb is a career 59% passer) which should lead to more sustained drives and, hopefully, better red zone efficiency. But there are risks. McNabb was unusually strong and mobile, allowing him to create big plays downfield at times when many QBs would?ve been sacked or hit hard. Whether Kolb is successful out of the gates really comes down to whether the rebuilt offensive line can protect. If the O-line is solid, Kolb should project as a 2nd tier fantasy QB (somewhere in the QB9-QB13 range in my first pass through of projections).

In terms of the impact to the Eagles? other skills positions, other than raising the variability of the outcomes, I don't see much logic in radically altering expectations. Remember that in the two games Kevin Kolb started in 2009, DeSean Jackson and TE Brent Celek each had 100 yards and a TD (in both games). Jackson is obviously the team's lead receiver and big play guy, that won't change. But given how much of his success last year was due to big downfield plays, one might expect some regression to the mean just on principle. Expect Jackson to average less per catch, but potentially add another 8-12 receptions. Brent Celek remains a starting caliber fantasy TE, particularly in PPR leagues, but he too might see a slight downtick in his numbers because of the continuing maturation of WR Jeremy Maclin and potential addition of 2nd year TE Cornelius Ingram. WR Jason Avant was re-signed and remains a productive option as a slot receiver/WR3.

Even though the QB change will garner most of the attention, the bigger question is what the running game is going to look like. The Eagles cut Brian Westbrook, re-signed FB Leonard Weaver to a huge deal (for a FB), and signed restricted free agent Mike Bell. It's hard to forecast a big season for LeSean McCoy under these circumstances. A RB-by-committee approach for a team that runs the ball only 40% of the time isn't usually a fantasy goldmine.

In conclusion, you have to SLIGHTLY reduce your expectations on draft day if only because of the risk factor in Kolb. Many believe he'll ultimately be a better offensive field general than McNabb, but history tells us that we can't count our Eaglets before they're hatched. Assuming Kolb does what we project him to do, the rest of the Eagles skill players remain viable and relatively close to where we would've ranked them with McNabb under center.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:24 PM   #2
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Re: Fantasy Impact of Donovan McNabb trade

Good analysis all around, IMO. Not much to add.

The only thing I'd say is that Moss should only be considered undervalued like the Wards and the Drivers if the Redskins are able to put out an improved offensive line. I don't think McNabb does Moss any good if he's under as much fire as Campbell was.
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