I’m obsessed with Derek Anderson

I’ve been meaning to check in on a recent site poll subject, Brown QB Derek Anderson, and the results of that poll. The question was: will Anderson deliver the goods in 2008? And by “the goods” I mean basically something close to what he gave us last year, and close to expectations in 2008.

The results were positive for Anderson’s chances – but not overwhelmingly positive. Of almost 550 voters, 65% said yes, with 35% voting no.

I do have a problem with people who just assume Brady Quinn is the “future” and will get his chance because of that. It’s all about winning games in the NFL, and there’s no way the Browns would have been 10-6 last year with Quinn running the show. Quinn would not have put up the big numbers Anderson put up, either. On the other hand, if Anderson does regress, and if the team is losing, then there will be a lot of pressure to make a switch. Anderson’s new contract is basically set up so he has to show them he’s the real deal again in 2008, or else they can cut ties with him relatively easily.

I’m so enamored – or obsessed – with Anderson because he’s such a huge key to fantasy drafts this year. People are a little worried about him, so he’s not going that high. I mean, in the past, if a young QB accounted for 32 TDs in a season, he’d be a high pick the following year, but that’s not really the case with Anderson, who you can get in the 7th round most times in a 10 or 12-team league.  

The recent injury situation with Joe Jurevicius is not good, and I must say the vibes right now are on the negative side because of it. Hopefully, he’ll be able to play and help the team this year. You can’t expect much, but if he can help them from the #3 spot, that would be a big bonus. If not, then there’s one more reason to be concerned with Anderson.

But while I can certainly see the downside with DA, I still have to lean toward the favorable side.  

For one, he has had a full off-season as the main guy to work on his flaws. I guess we can’t assume he’s developed better touch on his passes and that he’s going to improve his decision-making, but he’s certainly focused on those two areas, his biggest downfalls. At the very least, he’s definitely more comfortable in the system and with the personnel with a full year in as the starter. Keep in mind, not only was he just a guy fighting for the job this time last year, he wasn’t even guaranteed a roster spot. I’ve learned that it’s dangerous to just assume a young player will improve with time, since it makes sense he will, but it’s entirely possible that will be the case with Anderson.

I still always go back to the O-Line. People who are down on Anderson can’t have it both ways with the OLs. They can’t focus on a bad line with one player and ignore a great one with another, and Anderson’s line is terrific. When he was lighting it up, he was standing untouched like a statue and making some big-time throws. He has all the physical tools to take advantage of an eternity to throw the ball.

I also always go back to the elite receivers, Edwards and Winslow. These are two high-end players, and a QBs’ best friend.

And while I’m not counting on him for much, the fact remains Donte Stallworth is a perfect fit for their offense as his game relates to Anderson’s skills and those of Edwards and Winslow.

I’m worried about Anderson having to throw it too much, but their secondary should be horrible, so that will be the case. I have confidence in OC Rob Chudzinski, though, so right now I’d proclaim the fact that Anderson’s Browns will be in a lot of shootouts as a positive for fantasy.  

Which brings me to a final point on Anderson: his running game. I’m sure many readers remember my affinity for Bear QB Rex Grossman last year. The guy had sexy upside, no doubt, and he was being drafted in the 14th round, which was an appeal, to say the least. But if you remember, I always added one caveat: All bets are off if his running game fails him.

Not only did Grossman’s running game fail him miserably, his offensive line went from being one of the stronger units in the entire NFL to literally one of the worst. Grossman’s good enough to toss 30 TD passes in a season when everything is going right, but he’s bad enough to look helpless when everything is going badly.  

Anderson’s better, but the same principle applies: his key this year is Jamal Lewis, and we’ve said this before. Lewis is the key to the entire Brown offense because it’s a power running scheme and everything works off of that. It’s almost not important if he’s running it wildly effective; he just has to be running it because there will be a commitment to the run no matter what.

So here is the prediction: If Jamal Lewis is healthy most of the season, Anderson will be more than fine and will, in fact, go down as a strong value in 2008.

Category: Fantasy Football


12 Responses

  1. bjchapin1 says:

    Does this mean you think Jamal is worthy of a 3rd round pick (where his ADP seems to be right now)? He was running pretty well last year and that is a great OL; if Anderson has a good year (esp with his weapons) does it work both ways and make a Jamal a fairly underrated back this year?

  2. jbeau says:

    Cautiously optimistic about Anderson. Sucks that he lost old reliable, but he still has good weapons. Not gonna jump for him, but will certainly snatch him up if he is available around round 6 or 7. Especially since I draft my QBs later than sooner.

  3. bigdnsa says:

    Not bad for a first year starter.
    Heck, he could be the next Joe Montana (Tom Brady aside)

    Some criticize his TD to INT ratio, but if you look at Montana’s in his first year as the starter in 1981, his ratio was 19/12 or 1.58/1
    In 1980, when he took over the starting job it was 15/9 or 1.67/1
    Anderson’s last year was 29/19 or 1.53/1, LOWER than Montana’s. And Anderson is one tough defensive division as far as passing schedules go too.
    I say don’t dis him.
    Take the value and get Quinn too!! The only downside to this is that you need to have 3 QB’s on your team. (one for a bye week)

  4. bigdnsa says:

    OK, what I meant to say was that his ratio was slightly lower (meaning it isn’t quite as good), but it’s still not that bad. And he will only get better with more play, and an added receiver in Stallworth.

  5. FMEC says:

    The anti-DA is pointing to his regression in the 2nd half of last year, where his TDs went down/ints went up, and Y/A went from 8.2 to 6.2. Defenses started figuring him out and his completion percentage is still 55%. But just like what you said, that was his first year starting, and it’s easy to assume that he’s still growing as an NFL QB and his accuracy will only get better. The situation is setup nicely for him with his weapons, OL, and running game. The main question is if he’s an ELITE or a pretty good QB to take advantage of his situation, or was he a one-year wonder.

  6. PackFan says:

    Jurevicius was almost a tight end-sized target at 6’5 and 230 lbs, but Stallworth at 6’0 is six years younger, and probably a bit more mobile. If he can replicate the 3 catches per game / 12 yds per catch that Jurevicius averaged, he and Winslow should be able to draw some of the attention away from Braylon Edwards. Winslow caught a lot of balls last year, and definitely has to be accounted for. His knees have to hold up though (always thought this would be a nice team for Shockey to go to).

    Lewis is only going to be 29 years old, and if he can enter the season healthy, with Jason Wright giving him a breather now and then, he should be OK again this year behind a pretty good O-line. When your rookie tackle makes the Pro Bowl .. that’s a sign that things are looking up.

    The thing that might concern me about the Browns is their schedule, opening with the Cowboys and Steelers at home, and then facing the Ravens, Bengals, Giants, Redskins and Jags. I suppose every team thinks their schedule is tough … but Browns haven’t quite made it over the hump yet as a playoff team, so I think it’s especially important for them to get off to a good start.

    I tend to draft my QB later rather than earlier also … if Anderson was available in Round 7 I’d consider that a steal.

  7. John Hansen says:

    JJ was behind Stallworth all the way, so it’s more about not having a nice #3 for Anderson if he can’t play.

    Lewis should be worth a 3rd round pick. I’m probably not going to take him but I am usually more aggressive and go for more juice.

  8. Stork says:

    Boy I wonder how patient the Browns will be if Anderson struggles. This is a franchise that benched and then traded its’ starter in 2007 after a bad half of football in its’ first game. The Browns have had six different QBs lead them in passing the past six seasons!

    Another interesting stat on Derek Anderson from 2007, among the QBs I checked on STATS Inc. Anderson has the highest percentage of “Poor Throws” and by a wide margin. http://hosted.stats.com/fb/playerstats.asp…389&team=05

    This info meshes well with YPA. So the higher the YPA I’d expect to see more “poor throws”.

    Here is how Anderson compares with some of the other top ranked QBs

    NFL Leaders: Passing Yds/Attempt (Thru Dec. 30, 2007)
    (14 Att/Game)

    Rank Player Team YPA (Poor Throw %)
    1 Tom Brady NE 8.31 (12.6%)
    2 Tony Romo Dal 8.10 (14.6%)
    3 Peyton Manning Ind 7.84 (11.7%)
    4 Ben Roethlisberger Pit 7.81 (15.1%)
    5 Brett Favre GB 7.77 (11.6%)
    6 Matt Schaub Hou 7.75 (11.8%)
    7 David Garrard Jac 7.72 (12.6%)
    8 Kurt Warner Ari 7.58 (11.5%)
    9 Jay Cutler Den 7.49 (14.1%)
    10 Jeff Garcia TB 7.46 (12.5%)
    11 Jon Kitna Det 7.25 (14.6%)
    12 Derek Anderson Cle 7.19 (17.6%)
    13 Carson Palmer Cin 7.18 (14.8%)
    14 Matt Hasselbeck Sea 7.06 (14.2%)
    15 Donovan McNabb Phi 7.03 (13.7%)
    16 Sage Rosenfels Hou 7.02 (9.6%)
    17 Brian Griese Chi 6.88 (11.5%)
    18 Philip Rivers SD 6.85 (15.0%)
    19 Damon Huard KC 6.80 (13.3%)
    20 Chad Pennington NYJ 6.79 (9.6%)

    Poor throws can be caused by a number of things I suppose…poor pass protection, poor route running by WRs…but both of these areas are strengths of the Browns.

    I think the expectations in Cleveland this year are off the charts. The Browns traded their future (2008 draft picks & Leigh Bodden) for the here and now (D-linemen). There will be tremendous pressure on Crennel and DA to live up to these new expectations coming off a 10-6 season…and they have a brutal schedule (Dallas and Pittsburgh at home to open the season).

  9. tpwaller says:

    I look at Derek Anderson like I view Tony Romo. Is Tony Romo that great a QB? Probably not, but TO sure makes him look good. (this is coming from a Cowboys fan who has Romo on his keeper team).

    Derek Anderson has Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow and Stallworth. Those guys can make a QB look good.

    I’m not a big Brady Quinn fan and there was probably a good reason he slipped in the draft.

    He put up some sick numbers last season. How many fluke QBs pass for 29 TD’s in a season? probably not too many. If he has good value, I think he’s worth drafting after you get some good RBs and WRs.

    I worry about their schedule. DAL, PIT, BAL, NYG, WAS, JAC, DEN, BUF, IND, TENN, PHI, ouch!

  10. jbeau says:

    Poor throw percentage?? Pretty useless stat in my opinion.

  11. Stork says:

    Yes jbeau poor throws mean little to QBs.

  12. spudballscott says:

    I added DA to my roster last year and his TD production as my #2 definitely assisted my path to the championship. Sure his INTs rose later in the season, but that was practically inevitable given his strong start — settling down to earth was predictable.

    Will defenses adjust to him this year? Sure. If he’s got the juice, Anderson will adjust as well and the improvements around him will aid that cause for the offense. That’s not a one-way street.

    Yes, the schedule’s much tougher, but he’s now got last year under his belt. He has the talent to rise to the challenge in ’08 and I expect he will as long as the team doesn’t collapse around him for whatever reason. He’s proven to have significant upside already, which is more than can be said for a list of other QBs left after the top-tier studs are gone.

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