Monday Brunch: Tim Tebow and the new Broncos offense

Scott Pianowski

Okay, we're one start into the Tim Tebow(notes) era. He certainly played better than I expected, and I see the idea of potentially using him next week against Houston. Rushing quarterbacks are huge in fantasy football, obviously – it's simple algebra, kids – and the Texans defense gives it away, by air and by ground.

But I refuse to pretend that Tebow's expected Week 16 start is good news for the rest of the Denver offense. It's not. If you've got other investments in the Broncos offense, you pine for the good old days of Kyle Orton(notes) and Josh McDaniels.

Tebow only attempted 16 passes in Sunday's defeat at Oakland, completing eight. The 33-yard score to Brandon Lloyd(notes) was a pretty throw, and Lloyd got out of dodge with a respectable day (4 catches, 79 yards, 1 TD). But everyone else in the Denver offense came up small in Week 15.

Knowshon Moreno(notes) (4-5 rushing, 1-1 receiving) was knocked out early, so it's hard to say where his day was headed. That said, the Raiders didn't have any trouble stopping the Denver running backs. Moreno, Correll Buckhalter(notes) and Lance Bell combined for a paltry 28 yards on 25 carries. How much easier is it to defend the Broncos now that the inexperienced Tebow is under center?

Lloyd's day was fine but no one else in the Denver passing game went anywhere with Tebow. Jabar Gaffney(notes) had one grab for 32 yards. Eddie Royal(notes) posted a bagel. At times Gaffney and Royal were worth a look-see in deeper PPR formats this year, but I'm not interested in Week 16 – matchup be damned. Maybe some coach or scheme will be able to turn Tebow into an average (or better) passer down the road, but I'm not expecting much the rest of this season.

The Packers didn't get a victory at New England and the final minute was a disorganized mess, but we have to tip the cap to Matt Flynn(notes) for posting a strong line (24-for-37, 251 yards, 3 TDs, 1 pick). His performance says something about the value of a full practice week; while Flynn was utterly horrendous the previous Sunday against Detroit, it's never fair to judge a backup QB by what he does in a surprise relief appearance. Give someone first-team reps for three days and a marked improvement generally follows.

At what point do we start comparing Mike McCarthy to Andy Reid? Both men are sharp with their offensive plans and valuable designers from Monday to Saturday, but something odd happens to them when they're forced to make game-day strategic maneuvers. Green Bay's been terrible in close games over the last few years, and that's in large part due to McCarthy's struggles with in-game management.

I'm not confident that John Skelton(notes) will ever be a quality pro, but at least he's starting to get something going with Larry Fitzgerald(notes) (9-125 at Carolina). Give Fitzgerald the benefit of the doubt on Christmas night against that spotty Dallas secondary.

New England got its Week 15 win despite a meager 19:12 in Time of Possession – the Packers had 73 offensive snaps against 40 for the Patriots. Green Bay's surprise onside kick at the beginning of the game played into this, along with New England's defensive touchdown. If you were facing New England skill players in your fantasy semifinal, this game flow was a gift from the gods.

The Tampa Bay rushing defense continues to be the gift that keeps on giving – Ryan Torain(notes) and Maurice Morris(notes) looked like a couple of All-Pros over the last two games. Seattle's offense is hard to trust, especially on the road, but we have to look into the possibility of Marshawn Lynch(notes) and Justin Forsett(notes) running to daylight in Week 16.

Young quarterbacks favor their tight ends because it's a safe way to play. Old quarterbacks favor their tight ends because they can't throw deep and outside of the numbers with any consistency. The latter point explains why Jason Witten(notes) has gone ballistic with Jon Kitna(notes) in Dallas.

David Buehler(notes) is another Dallas player going off of late, getting a piece of the Jason Garrett offense (the team has 193 points in six games, with Buehler scoring 59). Buehler's missed four field goals over that span and some of his makes have been ugly, but it's all about opportunity and team context at the kicker position, so let's not worry too much. He's a strong play at Arizona next week, and he might be free in some shallow leagues.

Just one season, I want to see what Calvin Johnson(notes) can do playing with an elite quarterback. His 2010 production is ridiculous when you consider that it's come tied to Matthew Stafford(notes), Shaun Hill(notes) and Drew Stanton(notes) – don't look for any of those chaps in the Pro Bowl.

Cedric Benson(notes) has collected 19 touches or more in nine straight games, no matter that the Bengals are 1-8 over that span. Fantasy floor is a beautiful thing. I don't foresee Benson doing a lot against the Chargers this Sunday, but it won't be for a lack of opportunity.

Death, taxes, and the Eagles can't cover opposing tight ends. Get Visanthe Shiancoe(notes) on your Week 16 sleeper list.

The longer you play with a lead in your fantasy game (or season), the more stressful it is. Defending takes a lot out of you. It's more fun to be the chaser.

Festivus is almost upon us. I've got some Brett Favre(notes) grievances to air out.


Image courtesy Associated Press