Many fantasy owners are planning to avoid New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez this fantasy season. With fan favorite Tim Tebow waiting for a chance to get snaps as the team's starter, it is feasible that Sanchez could end up on the sideline at some point if he and the Jets struggle. A look at the team's early schedule is not very encouraging either, with the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans among the first five opponents.
However, I believe Sanchez is still worth a roster spot in certain leagues and that he may still be able to turn things around and become a quality NFL quarterback. In a 12-team dynasty league, for example, if I had one or two other reliable quarterbacks, I would be willing to hold on to Sanchez for one more year.
Aside from the fact that working with Tebow and fighting for his job could inspire better performances from Sanchez, there is also no guarantee that we have seen his full upside yet. In 2007, fantasy owners might have believed they had seen Eli Manning play his best football after three seasons too. Of course, he is now playing better and has surpassed 4,000 passing yards the past three seasons.
Comparing Sanchez's career so far to Eli Manning's first three seasons is fair. Sanchez has the edge in most statistical categories, although Manning did not play in seven games during his rookie year. Therefore, a look at years two and three is probably better.
In the 2005-06 seasons, Manning averaged 3,503 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. His team's record was 19-13 with him at quarterback. Sanchez has averaged 3,382 yards, 22 scores and 16 interceptions, while also leading his team to a 19-13 record.
Sanchez could still have upside as a fantasy option. Quarterbacks often improve with age. He is currently 25 years old, and there is no reason to think Sanchez will not be a better football player when he is 28. Manning, who is 31, just had his best year and is now nearing elite fantasy status.
If I owned Sanchez, I would look at my options and evaluate the true potential of the player instead of simply buying into the hype of Tim Tebow's presence.
Mike Patton is a co-host on the Deep Sleeper Fantasy Football Podcast. He has been a fantasy enthusiast since 1997 and has won championships in baseball, football, basketball, hockey and pick 'em leagues.
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- Mark Sanchez
- Tim Tebow
- Eli Manning