McNabb to Redskins Analysis

The Eagles have traded QB Donovan McNabb for the 37th pick in the 2010 draft and a 4th-round pick in 2011 that could be upgraded to a 3rd-round pick.

Here’s my quick take on this move:

For the Eagles, the Kevin Kolb era begins now, so his value soars for those in keeper leagues. We had him at #20 in our recent keeper league ranking update, and now we’ll move him to around 12-13. Kolb may be drafted for 2010 as a fantasy backup, but a high-end one (or a low-end starter). Either way, that does present a solid value on the pass-happy Eagles. Kolb is still unproven, but the team is (obviously) comfortable with him, and they’ve seen him up close and personal for three full years. And there’s a lot to be said for how much better he performed in 2009 compared to previous appearances, when he actually had practice time preparing for his two starts. He’s a more accurate passer with better timing and anticipation, so while McNabb did throw a very good deep ball, which was good for DeSean Jackson, we can’t say the Eagle receivers should be downgraded due to this move. They may actually be better off, but it’s a little early in the Kolb era to upgrade them. For now, I’m okay saying Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Brent Celek are holding steady for ’10 and beyond. Kolb, who has solid arm strength, will be a very interesting fantasy pick in 2010 because he’s certainly capable of putting up top-12 numbers, given the nature of the offense and the quality of the skill players around him. I’m inclined to believe Kolb will have success and will finish with solid numbers, but it is a little risky to invest too heavily in him. He could certainly hit some rough patches as a first-year starter – but the Eagles are clearly confident in him right now, and I am, too. I’d be okay drafting him as my starter provided the value was appealing and I was able to back him up with another quality option in that 10-15 range at QB, such as Carson Palmer. Right now I’d guess Kolb will be drafted in the 7th or 8th round in a 10 or 12-team league, but that could vary from league-to-league.

"The Eagles are clearly confident in Kevin Kolb right now, and I am, too" - John Hansen

As for the Redskins, there are some questions to be answered, and right now the big one is this: Will McNabb get signed to a contract extension? I have to think that’s in place here because it wouldn’t make much sense for the Redskins to give up what they did for a 1-year rental player. If that’s the case, then Jason Campbell (who has yet to sign his RFA tender) will likely be on the move as well, which will affect the QB landscape in the league, for sure. I could see him in a Raider uniform, no question, since Campbell does throw a good deep ball and fits their offense well. The Raiders apparently expected to get McNabb, so they’re clearly looking for someone else. Buffalo, St. Louis, and San Francisco would also make sense (but not the Rams, obviously, if they’re set to take Sam Bradford #1 overall). An extension with McNabb would also put the Redskins out of the running for a QB with the 4th pick in this month’s draft. Most likely, they’ll address a huge need and take a LT like Russell Okung, Bryan Bulaga, or Trent Williams. If there is no extension, that does change things, so we’ll see. But I fully expect an extension for McNabb coming soon.

Although there will be chemistry issues with his receivers, McNabb should be considered an upgrade for the Redskin receivers. Like McNabb, Campbell wasn’t great in terms of his accuracy and anticipation, but at least McNabb plays with a quicker tempo, can extend more plays with his mobility and escapability, and he throws a better deep ball. He’s simply a better player overall. McNabb should be able to adjust to Mike Shanahan’s offense, since it is a West Coast system. The one player who could benefit most from the McNabb acquisition is WR Santana Moss. As we’ve seen over the last two years with Jackson in Philly, McNabb throws a good deep ball, and Moss is still a pretty effective vertical receiver. His skills are declining, but, if healthy, he could have another good year in him with McNabb in the fold. TE Chris Cooley’s value probably stays about the same, since McNabb has plenty of experience throwing to the TE and is a better overall QB, yet he’ll still likely throw numerous passes at Cooley’s feet. As for youngsters Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, it’s going to be hard for McNabb to get the best out of them right away, given his lack of chemistry with them, not to mention their deficiencies. He hasn’t shown much in his two years, but Thomas can run and he does have talent, so he could emerge with a better QB throwing him the ball. I’m going to take a wait-and-see approach with Thomas.

One other key point about McNabb on the Redskins: Under Shanahan, he will definitely have an active running game behind him, which should help. At this point in his career, he’s a player who could use some support in the form of a commitment to the running game. Of course, the stable of backs in Washington is comprised of three players on the downsides of their careers – so I’m not sure it will be an effective running game – but there will be a commitment. I would also be negligent if I didn’t point out that the OL is a major issue in Washington, and that’s definitely a potential problem for the aging McNabb as he adjusts to his new team.

So to summarize, I feel the values of the key Eagle skill players are holding steady after this move, and I’ll give a slight upgrade to the Redskin receivers, especially Santana Moss. And, of course, the fantasy community is about to welcome Kevin Kolb into the mix in a big way.

The only other angle to cover now at this early stage is which QB I’d rather have for 2010: Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb?

I’ll take Kolb – gladly.

Category: Fantasy Football

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8 Responses

  1. John Hansen says:

    Two things to add:

    1. The T.O. to Washington rumors are already starting, and I wouldn’t doubt it at all. That would kill the young WRs’ value, since it would be Moss and Owens starting.

    2. I didn’t mention Michael Vick because I don’t see him being a threat to Kolb’s starting job whatsoever. Vick should see the field as they expand the wildcat stuff, but Vick’s just the backup. I think Kolb would really have to struggle badly for Vick to overtake him.

  2. JBeau says:

    Wow, you really think TO to Washington would happen. I think it would be smart, cause Moss can still burn, and I don’t think Thomas or Kelly are very special. Not so sure Donovan could deal with TO again. But if he signs off on it, it makes sense. I just don’t see it happening.

    Surprised you didn’t bump up Cooley’s value any. Assuming he retains his starting job, I would think that Cooley would be quite active, especially if they don’t add another WR threat.

  3. Baller says:

    What about Fred Davis? Is he taking a back seat now that Cooley will return? If so, that’s a shame.

  4. John Hansen says:

    If Donovan signs off on it, I can see it happening, no questions.

    I would bump Cooley maybe a tad, but Fred Davis is still there, and McNabb’s accuracy issues are still there. As for Davis, I do like him but I’m not seeing a big role because he can’t block well enought. That’s a big factor for Shanahan – I guess unless you’re Shannon Sharpe.

  5. […] McNabb to Redskins Analysis [Fantasy Guru] […]

  6. LJP says:

    A little late to the party here but I’m surprised that none of the sites have been mentioning an upgrade for Celek due to the McNabb trade. Celek’s lines in the 2 games that Kolb started last year: Week 2 – 8 rec 104 yd, Week 3 – 8 rec 104 yd 1 TD. That’s some serious production from a TE. I know that you cannot simply extrapolate those stats over a full season for Celek with Kolb but these guys clearly have chemistry and Kolb seems to look for Celek often. I remember reading somewhere that these guys are great friends that room together on the road.

    It’s hard to expect much more from Celek after a 76 rec 971 yd 8 TD break-out season but I will go on the record and say that he finishes the year as a top 3 TE with 85+rec 1000+yd and 10TD; outperforming earlier drafted players like Witten, Vernon Davis, and Finley. Celek is the TE to grab in the early middle rounds this year.

  7. John Hansen says:

    Good point LJP but I also agree with your point that it’s hard to upgrade him from 76/971/8 he put in 2009. So for us to say he’s holding steady is a pretty strong endorsement for Kolb. We’re working on projections now (which take forever) and Celek may still come out over at least Davis and Finley.

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