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Andy Behrens

'The last time I started a real game at quarterback was my senior year in high school'

Andy Behrens
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Here's some background on Matt Cassel from a January piece in the Orange County Register, where the fantasy community so often turns for insight. Our headline is lifted from the article.

Cassel is today's most popular waiver add by a wide margin. That isn't too surprising, since he's about to take over the controls of an offense that gained 411.3 yards per game last season. He's clearly a necessary pick-up. Tom Brady will be placed on injured reserve, ending his season.

Cassel has caddied for many successful quarterbacks -- Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart at USC, Brady in the NFL -- but he hasn't really been in the spotlight on game-day since his senior year at Chatsworth High School. The geekier among you know Chatsworth as a baseball power that produced Mike Moustakas, Matt Dominguez and Justin Cassel, Matt's little brother. (This dude is also his brother; this dude is not).

There is much we don't know about Cassel. On Sunday, we learned only that he can win at home by single-digits against teams that aren't very good, and that also lose their starting quarterbacks. Still, you have to add Cassel, given the circumstances.

This Brady quote from the OC Register won't ease your mind...

"It's hard being a backup in our system because I never let anyone take any reps. I don't like seeing anyone do my job."

But these quotes from Bill Belichick might help...

"I have a lot of confidence in Matt ... Right now there are two (quarterbacks) on our roster ... He can manage the team, manage the game."

Perhaps that's all he'll be asked to do: manage. That would be a perfect waste of Randy Moss and Wes Welker, but maybe. AccuScore's assumptions and projections suggest that Cassel will have some fantasy value, but that his receivers will take a substantial hit, and that the Jets and Bills are suddenly involved in a dogfight in the AFC East. That seems about right.

Cassel will make an appearance in the experts' QB ranks next week, likely in the 15-20 range. That's where we put players if we want partial credit for good performances and zero blame for bad ones. If you're starting him in Week 2 against the Jets, you're hoping for 200 yards and one TD. Anything more than that is pure greed. New York allowed 17 fantasy points to Chad Pennington in Week 1.

New England, you might recall, was one of the rumored destinations for Pennington just four weeks ago. If they'd signed him, you'd probably be making a different waiver claim today. And no one would be asking for Daunte Culpepper to un-retire.


Photo via AP

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