Jimmy Clausen to Panthers: Fantasy Spin
Now, most of the time people wouldn't be considering a second-round quarterback in their fantasy football drafts, but Clausen, again, is said to be talented enough to have been a top five pick. Not only that, he enters a really nice situation in Carolina, with a veteran team. If he wins the starting job -- and Matt Moore is the only thing standing in his way -- he'll be throwing to Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad while having the spectacular rushing duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams taking attention off him.
So does that mean Clausen's a great fantasy football pick for 2010?
First of all, there's no guarantee Clausen wins the job initially. Moore is never going to be Peyton Manning, but the Panthers have won six of Moore's eight career starts (including a 4-1 mark in '09). He limits the mistakes in the passing game, only throwing two picks in 138 attempts last season, and allows the running game to control the tempo. And his 98.5 passer rating last season wasn't anything to forget.
If Clausen did win the job, it's very likely he'd be asked in his rookie campaign to do what Moore did. The risks will be limited and the team is still a running one. Williams and Stewart will again combine for well over 400 carries, meaning Clausen would be held to 400-450 passing attempts. There might be a few games where Clausen finds Smith behind the secondary two to three times, but those won't be very predictable and it will be hard to advise him over a more proven option on a weekly basis.
Basically, unless you are playing in formats where you can use three quarterbacks in your starting lineups, it's not worth drafting either Moore or Clausen.
Now, as far as dynasty formats, I believe deeply in Clausen's ability to transform into a nice pro passer. He'll be able to learn under a strong coaching staff and from his solid veteran wideouts. I like Clausen as a deep keeper and he's a definite choice in dynasty leagues. Take him after Sam Bradford but before Tim Tebow in dynasty rookie drafts. There's a good chance he's a low-end QB1 in a few years.