As we approach the midway point of the NFL season, panic is starting to set in. Teams sitting at or below .500 are beginning to size up the competition as they eye playoff spots. Many teams are left contemplating difficult personnel decisions as they reach the “point of no return”. If you carry the same starting QB past the halfway point of the season, there’s often no going back. That’s your guy, and the coaching staff usually sticks with him. Pulling the plug late is what happens when a coach is looking to make his QB the scapegoat for a failed season.
This leads us to today’s watch list, where a couple starting QBs are in very tenuous positions as they approach that point of no return. It’s worth keeping an eye on their backups, because if a switch is going to be made it will happen in the next few weeks.
Nick Foles (QB – PHI) owned in 0% of ESPN leauges/ 1% of Yahoo leagues: The pressure surrounding Michael Vick and Andy Reid is mounting. If Philadelphia keeps losing football games and keeps turning the ball over, a change could be in the cards. Vick (eight interceptions, five fumbles) has been front and center in the Eagles’ turnover problems – making Foles the most popular man in town. Foles impressed in the preseason, so if you own Vick you may want to play it safe, add Foles now.
Tarvaris Jackson (QB – BUF) owned in 0% of ESPN leagues / 0% of Yahoo leagues: If Vick is on the hot seat, then Ryan Fitzpatrick is on the very warm seat right next to him. Fitz has been absolutely atrocious this season, throwing eight interceptions over six games and connecting on just 57.9 percent of his passes. Jackson battled for the starting position in Seattle before the season and lost, although some felt he was the most impressive Seahawks QB at the time.
Mike Goodson (RB – OAK) owned in 3% of ESPN leagues/ 9% of Yahoo leagues: Goodson opened some eyes by ripping off more than 90 yards from scrimmage last week against the Falcons. Darren McFadden needs some help in the Oakland backfield, and Goodson is the type of back who could fill the void left by Michael Bush at the goal-line.
Delone Carter (RB – IND) owned in 3% of ESPN leagues / 1% of Yahoo leagues: With Vick Ballard averaging a very pedestrian 2.3 yards per carry on 29 carries this season, Carter has the opportunity to snag the starting job for the next few weeks with Donald Brown on the shelf. This should also serve as an audition to see who will back up Brown once he returns.
Chris Givens (WR – STL) owned in 1% of ESPN leagues / 5% of Yahoo leagues: Danny Amendola is out for at least another month, meaning there are plenty of opportunities available for St. Louis’ wide receivers. Givens, a rookie out of Wake Forest with tremendous speed, has been given the starting assignment opposite Brandon Gibson. Over the last three weeks he has catches of 65, 52, and 51 yards as he continues to build a rapport with Sam Bradford. His big play ability and average hands make him a better option in standard scoring leagues over PPR.
Earl Bennett (WR – CHI) owned in 1% of ESPN leagues / 3% of Yahoo leagues: The loss of Alshon Jeffrey for four-to-six weeks has opened up a starting job for Bennett, and he may serve as a better complement to Brandon Marshall. Bennett can work over the middle of the field, and he’s a better possession receiver than Jeffrey, who ran a lot of the same deep routes as Marshall.