QBBWW Part 6: Two More QBs Join the Party

QBBWW Part 6: Two More QBs Join the Party

By Denny Carter (4for4 Contributor), last update Aug 23, 2013

C.D. Carter's picture

C.D. is a journalist and writer specializing in quarterback streaming. Carter's work has been featured in the New York Times Fifth Down blog, and he was nominated for the Fantasy Sports Writers Association's 2012 newcomer of the year award. He's the author of "How To Think Like a Fantasy Football Winner."

Follow Denny Carter on Twitter: @CDCarter13.

This QBBWW series, like any horror movie franchise worth its salt, has reached its sixth installment. Unlike those slasher flicks, I think this series has improved with age, as quarterback values come into better focus in the run-up to the NFL’s Opening Day.

Two signal callers well below the re-draft fantasy radar have shown they could have significant value for those ready and willing to employ a quarterback committee or use options off the waiver wire.

EJ Manuel and Brandon Weeden are officially part of the QBBWW Club, a not-so-exclusive group that seems to grow as the summer wears on.

There’s a slight problem with our newest members of the waiver wire club: their schedules don’t mesh well with other quarterbacks.


E.J. Manuel

Manuel, sadly for us, could miss some early regular season action after undergoing a procedure on his knee after his second preseason game, in which he once again looked sharp – much better than veteran journeyman Kevin Kolb.

Below are Manuel’s preseason stats through two games.





Passing TDs

Rush attempts

Rush yards

E.J. Manuel







There might be some cause to remain wary of these numbers, since Manuel faced off against the Vikings’ second team defense in his most recent preseason stint. Nevertheless, he looked confident, and the Buffalo coaching staff is openly rooting for him to take the team’s starting gig.

Even if Manuel misses a regular season game or two, he will eventually have the Bills’ quarterback job. It’s a matter of when, not if.

I spent quite a bit of time this month calculating how the Bills’ hyper-speed offensive pace – averaging 88.5 plays per game in two preseason contests – might impact Manuel’s fantasy value. That sort of pace would certainly raise the quarterback’s fantasy floor, as more plays means more opportunities, and more opportunities means Manuel doesn’t have to be the efficiency machine that Russell Wilson was in 2012, for example.

Manuel, if he performs like the average 2012 QB2 (quarterbacks who finished 12th-24th in fantasy scoring), could threaten top-12 quarterback status if Buffalo maintains something close to a 58-42 pass-run ratio. If the team goes more run heavy, he could still hang around the QB16 range.

That’s all we could ask for in a waiver wire play.

Now the downside: Manuel, according to 4for4’s QBBC Matrix – which shows which quarterback pairings match best – hardly fits with any other signal caller outside Tony Romo. If you’re drafting Romo, however, you’re probably not going to stream signal callers.

The Manuel-Jay Cutler combo is graded as a B in the Matrix, as is the Manuel-Philip Rivers pairing. It’s not exactly awe inspiring, to be sure.


Brandon Weeden

Weeden, after an offseason in which new offensive coordinator Norv Turner installed more shotgun-based pass packages for the second-year quarterback, has lit the preseason aflame, as seen below.






Passing TDs

Brandon Weeden






Weeden carved up the Lions’ secondary in the Browns second preseason match-up, a week after looking impressive against the Rams. He might take a fantasy hit from the absence of stud wide receiver Josh Gordon in the season’s first couple games, though his chemistry with tight end Jordan Cameron offers some hope that he can be fantasy viable in early September.

The Cleveland coaching staff has strived to make Weeden more comfortable in the pocket, and it’s paid dividends. Ten of his 13 passes against the Rams were out of the shotgun – which he used almost exclusively during his college career.

Weeden, who threw more interceptions than touchdowns in 2012, should benefit from the Turner vertical aerial attack that made Rivers a valuable fantasy commodity for so many years.

“Retooling a quarterback is Turner's cup of tea, and it looks like he's done a great job with Weeden's footwork,” wrote Gil Brandt, NFL.com senior analyst and former vice president for player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys. “The Browns are saddled with average receivers, but Weeden has worked well with his tight ends and running backs, showing great arm strength and ball-handling skills.”

Former NFL general manager and scout Ted Sundquist said in an Aug. 21 interview that Weeden’s composure has improved, and his stats reflect as much.

“In limited action Weeden hasn’t forced the ball or tried to make something happen as a result of the imposed pressure of having to prove he’s worthy of being the starter to Cleveland’s front office and coaching staff,” Sundquist said. “I see a confident and decisive player in the pocket. A lot of this comes from the maturity level that I think his age brings, a positive from my perspective."


The Bottom Line

I’m not sure Weeden or Manuel will be drafted in most 12-team leagues with average sized rosters. Manuel is being taken at the end of the 15th round, right after Philip Rivers, and Weeden is going un-drafted. Having viable QBBWW targets available late in your draft is essential to getting the most value out of a QBBWW approach.

Weeden, like Manuel, doesn't have many stellar grades in 4for4's QBBC Matrix. He scores a B grade when paired with Carson Palmer, and a respectable A- with Ryan Tannehill. Beyond that, Weeden's Matrix pairings are pretty depressing.

Both quarterbacks are worth monitoring, as I think it’s become clear that neither will take on the game manager role that we try to avoid in a viable QBBWW system.

Buffalo’s silly-fast offensive pace makes Manuel the only potential top-12 quarterback in this pairing, so if you’re going to take a late-round flier on one of these guys, make it Manuel.

Watch for Weeden’s fantasy usefulness to peak between Weeks 5-8, by far and away the softest part of his schedule, according to 4for4’s SOS Hot Spots Reports. Beware Weeden’s late-season slate; he faces a murderer’s row of defenses, including four “very strong” defenses over his final seven contests.

Manuel’s Week 14-17 schedule, conversely, is a relative cakewalk. He has three “weak” or “very weak” defensive opponents during that season-ending span, making him a prime target for a QBBWW fantasy playoff run.  


C.D. Carter will be writing a weekly QBBWW column at 4for4 this season, designed to guide you through a QBBWW approach, with top options off the wire each week. 


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