Friday, February 29, 2008

Derek Anderson Resigns With Cleveland - Fantasy Future Looks Bright

The first day of the NFL free agent period has been extremely active with many players changing locations or re-upping with their current squads. Notable movers and shakers thus far include the Jets who traded MLB Jonathon Vilma to New Orleans and acquired DT Kris Jenkins from Carolina as well as the Raiders made Tommy Kelly the highest paid DT in NFL history (yikes).

Depsite all the activity, only one move thus far has fantasy implications and that is the Cleveland Browns agreeing to terms with QB Derek Anderson. 2008 was a breakout season for Anderson who began the year as the backup to Charlie Frye. Andserson made his first start in week 2, throwing for 328 yards and 5 TDs in a win over the Bengals and never looked back. He would go on to throw for 3,787 yards, 29 TDs and 19 INTs and make the Pro Bowl as a replacement for the injured Tom Brady.

2008 Fantasy Impact

Anderson showed discernable skill in leading the Browns in 2007 and I don't think his excellent offensive output was a fluke. His first half numbers were certainly better than his second half; however, Anderson performed admirably in his final 8 games, facing a tougher schedule and new adjustments from defensive coordinators.

With Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow and Jamal Lewis all returning in 2008, Anderson will have plenty of playmakers at his disposal as well as a strong offensive line headed by Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach. It hasn't been this good to be the Browns starting QB since the days when Bernie Kosar was behind center and Ozzie Newsome and Reggie Langhorne were catching passes.

Anderson is the unquestioned starter in Cleveland entering the season and won't have to look over his shoulder at Brady Quinn unless his play is especially poor. He should enjoy another fine season, producing strong numbers in passing yards and TDs. INTs are a little bit of a problem for Anderson and could continue to be as defenses adjust; however, his potential offensive output should offset that concern.
Anderson ranks somewhere around the backend or just outside the top 10 fantasy QBs and is an excellent option once the elite QBs have been taken off the board.

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