All but those who hate Brady for kicking the crap out of them every year are saddened to learn that the best QB in the NFL is out for the season with a knee injury. Many of you fantasy players out there are struggling to decide what to do if Brady was your top fantasy QB. Well, I immediately picked up Brady’s backup in New England, Matt Cassel, in most of my fantasy leagues.
Why would I take a flyer on a backup QB who has virtually no playing time in his career in the NFL, or college for that matter? While he is not my primary QB, I picked him up on my teams where I had a roster spot to spare just in case. I made that choice based on five things, and after hearing what I had to say … you might take a chance with Matt Cassel also.
1. Coach Bill Belichick
The simple fact of the matter is, Belichick is one of the best coaches in NFL history. Now some may disagree with that because of last season’s cheating scandels, but they would be biased against Belichick anyway. People give too much credit to stealing another team’s signals, and most of the complaints come from people who’ve never played football. While there is no doubt that a team has an advantage knowing the other team’s signals … it isn’t very difficult to find them out on a regular basis.
I can’t count how many times I’ve been watching football while the network broadcasting the game showed the full signals being called in from the sidelines. Whoever plays that team the next week already has a leg up on their opponent.
Besides, there is no proof that this has been a perennial issue with Belichick throughout his career. He wins, and he has a way of bringing in players that no one wanted, and making them stars.
2. The talent around him
Matt Cassel easily steps into an inexperienced QB’s dream as far as talent is concerned. He has a great running game to lean on, one of the best offensive lines, a great defense, a hall of fame coach, and one of the top recieving corps in the NFL. Even if Matt Cassel is an average at best QB, the great talent around him will help him shine.
3. His college career
For those of you who don’t know, Matt Cassel was the perennial backup at USC behind Carson Palmer, and Matt Leinart. Since he was just a backup in college, why would I list this as an asset in picking him up in your fantasy league? Simple, he went to USC. If there is one thing Pete Carrol does great it’s turn out outstanding QB’s. You must also factor in that USC’s football program is probably the most NFL ready program a college player can get. So yes Cassel was a backup, but he was a backup to two Heisman QB’s … not bad.
4. He played well in week 1
Week 1 is all we really have to go on Matt Cassel’s skills as an NFL QB. No, preseason does NOT count. If you want more regular season stats to look at, you really have to go back to 2005 when he threw 24 passes and had an 89.4 rating which isn’t bad. Since turning pro Cassel has an 85.8 QB rating.
In week 1 Cassel stepped in for the injured Tom Brady, and won the game by throwing a touchdown, completing over 72% of his passes, and racking up a 116 QB rating. Yes, it’s only one game, but he found the one thing he needed to find in order to succeed as Brady’s replacement … he found Randy Moss. Which brings me to …
5. Randy Moss, Randy Moss, Randy Moss
What is “The Freak” best known for in his NFL career? Making bad QB’s look good … ala Daunte Culpepper. Culpepper is quite possibly the most overrated QB in recent memory. He always was overrated, but Moss made him look great. Once Moss left the Vikings, so did Culpepper’s touchdown passes, completion percentage, and QB rating. Culpepper never recovered, and is now out of the league.
For Cassel to succeed in New England he will need to utilize his great receivers lead by Moss, and he did just that in week 1 by hitting Moss for a touchdown. Bottom line is Cassel knows Moss will make it easier for him. So even if Cassel isn’t another Tom Brady waiting to be discovered he is surrounded by one hell of a supporting cast, and all he has to do is get the ball anywhere near Moss up high and wait for Moss to make him look good.
There’s your five reasons to get Matt Cassel in your fantasy leagues right now. Best of all, he’s probably available. While I don’t recommend that he be your top fantasy QB right now, he has tremendous upside. So stick with your current backup, but get Cassel just in case he does turn the corner and become a fantasy stud.