Matt Leinart won’t start the crucial third preseason game for the Cardinals, being replaced by Derek Anderson.
While it’s just a preseason game, this week is highly regarded around the league as the regular season dress rehearsal.
It’s not much of a stress to assume Leinart has worn the patience of his coaches down and has now lost the starting quarterback job permanently. In fact, speculation has already started that Leinart could be traded or released by opening day.
We don’t know for sure what will happen next, but this surprise decision changes a few player values in the desert.
Matt Leinart, QB, ARI
Leinart’s maturity has been questioned since he arrived in Arizona as the 10th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
His play hasn’t helped him much, either. For his career, he has a completion rate of just over 57 percent, 14 touchdown passes, and 20 interceptions in parts of four different seasons combined.
The last straw for Leinart was likely the lack of urgency he’s shown with the offense this preseason. His tendency to check down on passing plays has left a once dynamic and explosive offense looking like the 2009 Browns.
You could make a case to keep Leinart on your dynasty roster, but I could make a stronger case for you to release him.
Derek Anderson, QB, ARI
Speaking of the 2009 Browns, Derek Anderson may just have a chance at a rebirth in Arizona.
His 2007 season in Cleveland remains the high water mark in his career. His 3,787 yards, and 29 touchdown passes vaulted him into fantasy darling that season.
Unfortunately, Anderson’s career has hit some snags since that magical season. His last two seasons have produced just 12 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions.
Anderson has a very strong arm and will likely give the Cardinals offense a little more explosion, but he’s battled accuracy issues since his days at Oregon State. He’s very likely not the quarterback of the future in Arizona.
Unless he has a complete meltdown in their game this week, expect Anderson to start the season as the Cardinals starter. He’d be a high-end No. 3 quarterback to start in fantasy leagues.
Expecting more than that initially would be a mistake.
John Skelton, QB, ARI
Skelton has been disappointing so far in Cardinals camp. If the Cardinals truly jettison Leinart, his value will still move up by default.
Many expected Skelton to develop a little more quickly this offseason, but his learning curve is great since he didn’t come from a major college.
There’s no doubt he has great measurables. At 6’5” and 258 pounds, this small school product from Fordham has the frame and skill set for the Cardinals to take a chance on. He was incredibly productive at the collegiate level, throwing for nearly 4,000 yards last season.
Skelton merits a pickup in deep dynasty leagues as a player who could conceivably be put into action before he’s truly ready. Maybe he surprises.
Max Hall, QB, ARI
I actually like Hall better than Skelton at this point.
He played some good competition while at the helm of BYU and finished the last two seasons with 68 touchdowns, and 28 interceptions, while throwing for over 7,300 yards.
In last year’s Las Vegas Bowl, he beat Anderson’s alma mater in Oregon State by a score of 44-20 by throwing for three touchdown passes and no interceptions. He’s a little short at 6’1″, but that’s splitting hairs. There’s no doubt he can perform under the lights of the college stage, we’ll just need to see if he can play at the next level. All indications so far say he has a chance.
Hall entered Monday night’s game for the Cardinals and promptly threw for 101 yards and a score. More importantly, he passed the eye test.
If I had to choose one player to take a flyer on in a dynasty league, I’d choose Hall over Skelton.
The landscape is changing quickly in Arizona. The fans surely wish Kurt Warner could have given them one more season, because this is quickly turning into a mess.
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