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Mystery Man

If I told you there was a quarterback who averaged over 275 passing yards over the last ten games and threw at least one touchdown in all but two of those games, would you be interested?

If I told you that he did all that without any prior practice with his wide receivers and teammates would that impress you any more?

If I told you this quarterback has four wide receivers in the top 100 wide receiver rankings and is currently being drafted in the QB22-QB27 range would you think there is some value to be had?

The player I’m talking about is none other than Carson Palmer.

After finally having enough of Cincinnati, Carson Palmer went head-to-head with Mike Brown and refused to play another down for the Bengals, even if it meant having to retire and leave millions behind. Brown had said multiple times that Palmer could retire, but he would not give in to his demands. All that changed when Jason Campbell went down in week six. The relationship between Mike Brown and then Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson paved the way for a blockbuster trade. The Raiders gave a 2012 first round pick and what turned out to be a second round pick in 2013 for Palmer.

The intention was not for Palmer to play before the team’s bye in week eight. Unfortunately for him though, Kyle Boller was the guy starting the game in week seven. So, after only a couple of practices and a couple of days off the couch, he entered the game in relief of the always ineffective Boller – it wasn’t pretty unless you were a Chiefs fan. Palmer threw three interceptions that day and just 116 passing yards. Of course, everyone overreacted and destroyed the Raiders for making the trade. Truth be told, Palmer has never played with the type of speed the Raiders are built on. Chad Ochocinco, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Jordan Shipley – none of them have the speed of Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Jacoby Ford. Only the late Chris Henry had “Raiders speed.” Expecting Palmer to step in day one and be the 2007 version was ridiculous and unfair.

The knock on Palmer is the fact he threw 16 interceptions in nine and a half games last season with three coming in the first two games each and another stinker in week 14 against the Packers where he threw four more. Palmer has always had a habit of throwing picks, that isn’t anything new. At least he’s not afraid to give his wide receivers a chance to make plays.

He also threw for more than 300 yards five times (week ten was actually 299, yards but I’m trying to make a point here) including a 417 yard effort in week 17 against the Chargers.

Considering the Raiders’ wide receiving corps was only truly at full strength with Palmer once (the week 17 game he threw for 417 yards), it’s all the more impressive to me. Moore, Heyward-Bey, and Ford all flashed with Palmer under center. This group of young receivers has the potential to be one of the very best in the league. Moore is electric and entering just his second year. The much debated skills of Heyward-Bey finally showed up last year in his third season and Jacoby Ford, if he can stay healthy, has shown the ability to be a gamechanger with the ball in his hands. Now you add fifth round rookie Juron Criner who has shown up to play in training camp and you can argue that Palmer has the strongest group of pass catchers he’s ever had.

Oh yeah, did I mention the Raiders have a guy named Darren McFadden to keep defenses honest? There is no arguing that RunDMC is the most talented running back Palmer has played with in the pros. When on the field, the guy is lightning in a bottle – a true threat to take to ball to the house with every touch. McFadden and Palmer will benefit from each other in ways the other has never experienced. McFadden will see wide open running lanes and Palmer will see safeties eyeing McFadden instead of Heyward-Bey and Moore streaking down the field.

If you ignore the week seven game against Kansas City that he entered halfway through and you compare his rest of the year stats of week nine through week 17 against the field, you will see that Palmer actually finished as the QB10. That’s right between Eli Manning (23.2*) and Mike Vick (19.5*) with a 20.4 point per game* average. Given the circumstances, that impresses me.

Palmer is coming off the board anywhere from the QB22 to QB27 range. In a 12 team league, that is a low end QB2 or completely undrafted. Guys like Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Sam Bradford, and Matt Schaub are all being drafted in front of Palmer and in my opinion none of these guys offer the ceiling of Carson Palmer.

I’m not suggesting you build your team around Palmer but he is the perfect guy to pair with a quarterback that carries an injury risk like Mikael Vick, Matthew Stafford, or Ben Roethlisberger. If you draft one of the big name rookies, Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III, or if you miss out on the top tier quarterbacks and end up with Flacco, Dalton, Bradford, or Schaub, I strongly urge you to get a guy like Palmer. Teams that draft Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham in the first round usually fall victim to this scenario unless they really neglect the wide receiver and running back position. Running backs are so scarce this season that I see a lot of people turning the clocks back to the old strategy of going RB-RB-RB with their first three picks. That scenario too brings guys like Palmer into play.

Of all the quarterbacks being drafted in the 16-30 range, Carson Palmer has the best chance, in my opinion, to crack the top ten this season. Barring injury, I cannot see how he won’t crack 4,000 yards passing and at least 25 touchdowns. Unfortunately, I can’t convince myself he won’t throw 15+ interceptions either, but you have to take the good with the bad. Simply put, he’s a great guy to have if you’re a competing dynasty team or need a veteran to pull you through while you groom a young stud like Luck or Griffin.

 *Points were based off a scoring system of 1 point for 20 yards passing, 1 point for 10 yards rushing, 6 points for all touchdowns, and -2 for all turnovers.

 Hit me up on Twitter @OlingerIDPGuru.

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Danton Goulet
9 years ago

Interesting article and I cannot argue with the stats. But after Palmer burned me for a couple years in Cincinnati there is no way I am going after him unless its a last resort.

9 years ago

I am not buying he has never been same since injury

9 years ago

Eric – Well done. I made a similar argument in an article a long time ago (and also got similar skepticism). I’m with you that Palmer is a nice “sleeper” gamble especially if you have a stud like Brees or Brady. I’d much rather own him than guys like Dalton or Flacco who I think have basically zero upside.

Scott
9 years ago

I’d take a shot with him as a QB2. However, there are a lot of Raider homers that might take him earlier than I ever would, so he probably won’t be on any of my redraft teams. As a dynasty asset, I think he is again a QB2, or a prime trade target if your QB1 goes down.

Larry Gilman
9 years ago

While I like Palmer as a QB2 to pair with one of the young QB’s. I’d take Flacco, Bradford and especially Dalton over him.

I think people who see Dalton with no upside may be missing the boat. The kid threw for 3k yards as a rookie, even with a lockout. With the Bengals current players and the ones they brought in, as well as their OC, it looks like they’re moving towards a pass first offense.

Reply to  Eric Olinger
9 years ago

Dalton vs Palmer depends on the state of your dynasty team. If you have a team that is competitive now, and need a veteran QB2 as a back-up, then Palmer makes a lot of sense. But, if your team is not competitive yet, then Palmer would just take up a roster spot for a QB like Dalton, who might develop into a solid fantasy option. I suppose Palmer could be rostered on a rebuild, and flipped if a starter on another team goes down. But, any QB who has a young, elite stud like AJ Green has a legitimate shot at becoming a starting QB for a dynasty team.

Aaron
9 years ago

Agree 100%. Am targeting Palmer to back up Stafford (even though they have the same bye week). Think how much better his young receivers are also going to be after having an offseason with a real QB.

Shawn
Reply to  Aaron
9 years ago

Sorry Aaron. I meant to hit “thumbs up”, but my fat Greek sausauge fingers got in the way. Good post buddy.

Cpiritual27
9 years ago

Call me crazy, but I thought the Raiders were better off with Campbell. I understand they had a shot in that division last year, but I think they would’ve been better off not making the trade, and re-signing Campbell this past offseason…

Reply to  Cpiritual27
9 years ago

Negative votes? How can you argue that Campbell + 2012 1st rounder + 2013 2nd rounder isn’t better than Carson Palmer, who’s a league average QB at best?

xchrisntiffx
9 years ago

Rudi Johnson was as talented as McFadden to me.

lic217
Reply to  xchrisntiffx
9 years ago

In fantasy maybe he was as productive in some ways, but in talent its not close. Dmac could be the most talented rb in the league (hes top 5 for me).

bbwayne
9 years ago

I totally agree with this article and have been targeting him where I can. He is running the zone scheme play action offense that as been the staple of Houston for years. His production will be very similar to Schaub’s. 25tds should be the ceiling but approaching 5000 yds is a real possibility.

Great write up. Dalton better then Palmer? Please. Once Gruden leaves for the next HC job, the Bengals will become the Bungles of old. Mike “Cheap Ass” Brown will run away the top talent.

Shawn
9 years ago

My brother and I have had tremendous success in our league since 1995. We’ve won it 10 or11 times. I say this because I think our philosophy needs to change and I am hesitant given our success. We did this with a clear RB driven philosophy. Shaun Alexander, Faulk, S. Jax, etc. over the years. Now we have Rice and CJ.

This article got me thinking about our philosophy. What do you all think? Is it time to switch to a QB/WR (it’s a PPR league) driven philosophy?

Thanks so much for your insight. Best of luck to all!

sambo
9 years ago

of all qbs…..to pick Carson Palmer for a full blown article…i expect more from DLF. if youve watched Palmer in the past couple of seasons….u KNOW that he is awful and cannot be trusted

bbwayne
Reply to  sambo
9 years ago

Based on what? Because he lost you some FF games? The reason people were burnt by Palmer was because he had NO talent since his early days as a Bengal. That is why he said F it and “retired”.

Palmer is now in a good system for his skill set with much better WR depth then he ever had. Sleeping on Palmer with his ADP makes no sense. He’s not in Brady territory, but as the article suggested a great back up if a team is in rebuilding mode with any of the young QBs or an injury risk stud.

With talented WRs, Palmer is a 4500 yd 25td QB. His weakness is the INTs. Knock him down a little for -2 point INT leagues, but to say this article is not DLF worthy makes actually no sense.

sambo
Reply to  bbwayne
9 years ago

im basing it all on the tape…..since the elbow injury….Palmer plays like a qb that knows its over….not only does he not have confidence in himself,theres good reason for it. The arm is gone….the feet are jumpy….and hes a pussy to boot. Obviously im in the minority (which blows my mind) but i certainly wont forget to come back to this article at the end of the year and will take my lumps if im wrong but gun to head right now…i put him in same tier as christian ponder or whoever starts in mia or sea

Joe
9 years ago

Great article…

If you hang around long enough you seek it all again…Jim Plunket II

My money says Palmer ends the season somewhere between top seven and top ten QB

Ken Dogson
9 years ago

“Palmer has always had a habit of throwing picks, that isn’t anything new. At least he’s not afraid to give his wide receivers a chance to make plays.”

We should start calling this the Favre Defense.

VoiceofUnreason
Reply to  Eric Olinger
9 years ago

I’m guessing he means that making stupid pick 6’s isn’t giving his wrs a chance. It’s called making stupid decision. Favre had to be the hero all the time. I agree with someone above, Palmer has no confidence left. He’s a shadow of the qb he was before injury. He’s a below average qb imo. And the raiders wrs aren’t that good, I wouldn’t put one in the top 20 of a redraft league. He’s an okay qb2, maybe good for his draft position. I don’t see a lot of leagues won by qb2s though.

Brewii
9 years ago

I picked up Palmer as my QB2 in both of my dynasty leagues last year. Now you could say that that in itself said something about the sorry state of my QB situations, but now I’m glad I did. I agree with Eric in I feel he could/will be a top 12 QB this season with the supporting cast at WR that he has. That would give me a solid QB backing up Vick in one league and Stafford in the other.

??droppedballs??
9 years ago

i will be drafting palmer in about 0 leagues, not beleiving any of this, it was a nice article and i quess you give decent reasons for him, but im going to pass on him 10 times out of 10

sean mcguigan
9 years ago

Palmer blows arm strength gone looks scared, if you have to start him you will not win……

bobbyH
9 years ago

IMO a great QB2 with only upside with an offseason, OTA’s and training camp with his receivers this time. I understand people who were burned by him in the past being skeptical but he is an upside IMO.

Coach
9 years ago

I had Manning, Bradford and Fitzpatrick last year… traded James Starks and Fitzpatrick for Palmer and Carson started the superbowl for me. now that manning is back (but still untested) i have no reservations about starting Palmer again if I have to.

Sofa King Dynasty
9 years ago

The rook/fa draft is approaching in my dynasty league. I have Cam as my starter but I traded away my back up. Cutler and Palmer will both be in the draft and I think I can probably scoop one with either my late second or mid third. Does anyone have a strong opinion on which direction I should go? I like both of their situations this season.

9 years ago

Bro, Carson Palmer? Really? I had him. I used him out of desperation on a very very strong team with no QB. In a league giving me 1 pt for every 100 yards passing and 4 pts pass, 6 pts rush TD and -2 pts for a pick/fumble he was almost unusable.

As a matter of fact when he had that 5 int game in week 15 I found myself losing by 10 pts in my conf final.

Carson Palmer is DTM (Dead to me)

zach rader
9 years ago

I’m just excited to see week 12, Raiders vs Bengals. Should be quite the match-up!..

Jim K
9 years ago

I just traded for Palmer in my dynasty league as a backup to Vick. I love Palmer’s week 7 (Vick’s bye) match up against the Jags. I believe the same that having a full offseason to prepare with these receivers that he will be a top 12 fantasy QB.

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