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Scouting Notebook: QBs from the fringe

Michael Salfino
Yahoo Sports

An outbreak of waiver-wire quarterbacks suddenly turning into fantasy killers highlights our Week 10 Scouting Notebook.

Jon Kitna(notes) just demolished the Giants – 327 yards on 13 completions. That's old-school AFL. And he lost another long one when Dez Bryant(notes) bobbled a catch while his shoulder skidded out of bounds. Kitna has been pretty good if you back out his picks that were deflected by his own receivers (at least three by my count). All the major Cowboys are back on the board.

Matt Cassel(notes) was loving garbage time, typically not the fantasy factor we fear. We remember all the times we're beat by meaningless touchdowns but never bother to register the many more times we are not. In truth, prevent defenses generally work and most teams give up when it's hopeless. But Todd Haley's approach to calling plays was indistinguishable from what a Cassel or Dwayne Bowe(notes) owner would have done if given a headset.

Man, Troy Smith(notes) is good. That Rams defense is not a joke, either. How the heck could he have been rotting on the bench while the Niners kept trotting out that abomination Alex Smith? Just because (Alex) Smith was No. 1 overall pick? Teams have no idea how to draft quarterbacks so, at a certain point, they have to stop factoring that into their depth charts. NFL quarterback is the most unique of jobs – no training prepares you for it and thus none is especially relevant to how you'll perform. When stuck, teams need to give everyone on the roster a chance because they often get lucky.

Perhaps the next team to stumble upon a quarterback will be Miami, where Tyler Thigpen(notes) now takes the reigns. Had Thigpen been a high draft pick, the Chiefs never would have let him go. In 2008, Thigpen was better for them than Sam Bradford(notes) this year for the Rams.

The Randy Moss(notes) apologists will trot out the same old tired excuses about why he's still good, but I am reality based in my fantasy forecasting and I haven't seen any evidence of any elite skills from Moss all year. Plus two teams have basically cut him (the Patriots would have gotten that same third-round pick if they simply let him walk as a free agent after the season).

Drafting C.J. Spiller(notes) while having the position handled by the capable Fred Jackson(notes) was a terrible move by the Bills. Spiller is a luxury item for a team talent impoverished. It's like going out and buying a BMW while your kids are home starving.

But the dumbest draft pick/signing ever lined up against the Bills. Real drafts are no different than fantasy drafts. The name of the game is surplus value. How can a defensive tackle ever earn the franchise quarterback money Detroit paid Ndamukong Suh(notes)? Good luck, Detroit, once the salary cap comes back.

Last week, Joe Flacco(notes) had the better-in-reality-than-fantasy game and this week it was vice versa. Matt Ryan(notes) badly outclassed him, consistently moving the ball against a better pass defense (the Falcons entered this week's action 30th in YPA).

Roddy White(notes) did commit offensive pass interference on the game-winning play, no doubt. But elite receivers have been getting away with that push off since Michael Irvin. If White was Harry Douglas(notes) on the play, it's an offensive penalty.

Jay Cutler(notes) was sacked once in 35 attempts and has been well protected now for two weeks. Unlike last week though, Cutler was able to generate points in the passing game.

Shonn Greene(notes) got a lot of carries but you have to consider that the Jets ran 89 plays, an incredibly high number. The Browns ran 56. So consider the percentage of Jets touches for Greene, not the total.

Mark Sanchez(notes) has been very sweet two weeks in a row and will make it three next week at home against the inept Texans secondary (weather permitting).

Carson Palmer(notes) seems like he's close to being good again save for a few horrible plays every week, but can't you say that about all bad quarterbacks?

When you look at our fantasy stat power rankings, you could easily predict the big days by David Garrard(notes) and Matt Schaub(notes) against those opposing slapstick secondaries. But it was nice to see Maurice Jones-Drew(notes), the NFL's biggest fantasy football ambassador, have the kind of afternoon so commonplace in prior years.

Do you think Brandon Marshall(notes) is glad he forced his way out of Denver now? The Dolphins grossly overpaid for Marshall, as it's just not that hard to find an elite talent at that position.

The Seahawks-Cardinals were two garbage teams playing a garbage game. I don't know how anything that happened there will translate versus a real opponent. My guess: not very well.

A tight end who scores three TDs in a game is an automatic waiver-wire pickup. But I wouldn't expect consistent production from Rob Gronkowski(notes) given that Aaron Hernandez(notes) typically will be the move receiver with Gronkowski often blocking most weeks. The Patriots on Sunday night wanted ancient Alge Crumpler(notes) to be a third tackle so as to better protect Tom Brady(notes) (zero sacks).

Michael Salfino writes for the Wall Street Journal and is a regular contributor to Yahoo! Sports.

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