The Cut-N-Go is back to keep you up-to-date on all the NFL news that affects the upcoming fantasy football season.
Slow news day in the NFL. Brad Childress won't give Brett Favre a deadline to report to camp, Dez Bryant is still holding out for top-10 money (despite being drafted 24th overall), Reggie Bush has to cough up his Heisman, and JaMarcus Russell pleads NOT guilty for sippin' on some sizz-urp.
Wake me when you find the fantasy slant on those stories.
(flipping through hundreds of pages of research ...)
Ah, here's something worth getting into.
The Gaston Gazette is reporting that Matt Moore will open the season as the Panthers starting QB:
(Ouch. Low blow on Delhomme there, bub.)Despite what some national observers might think, this isn't really an open quarterback competition. Barring an injury or a mental meltdown of Jake Delhomme proportions, Moore will enter the season as the starter.
The Gazette then goes on to question whether Moore can actually keep the gig:
From a fantasy standpoint, Moore's future with the Panthers beyond this season isn't our concern. What we're trying to find out is how much value he'll provide in 2010.Moore has won six of eight career starts, but those have come with the Panthers out of playoff contention. This is a whole different deal and there will be more pressure on Moore to perform consistently on a weekly basis. We'll soon find out if he's up to the challenge – and if he's worthy of being called the team's quarterback of the future. Moore is under a one-year contract worth slightly more than $3 million, but stands to cash in with a big season.
I don't pretend to be a soothsayer and I don't play one on TV, but after watching Moore call signals for the Panthers last season and gathering info from a few scouting reports I could find, I'm of the opinion that Moore will provide plenty of value. In my opinion, only Matt Ryan will produce more bang for the buck at the position in 2010.
Here are five reasons why:
• The Panthers offensive line isn't the best pass-blocking unit, but Moore is mobile. No, he won't take off and rack up rushing yards, but he can extend plays with his legs. He was sacked just eight times in five starts last season.
• He's pretty smart. He won't force the issue and knows when to chuck the ball out of bounds. This can also work to his detriment, as he can get a little too conservative at times, but as he gets more comfortable with the playbook and nets more experience as a starter, he'll gain more confidence.
• Moore has a strong arm and throws a nice deep ball. Ask Steve Smith, he'll tell ya. In the four games Moore and Smith both started together last season, they hooked up on passes of 66, 45, 42, 42, and 41 yards. In those same four games, they combined for 19 receptions, 378 passing/receiving yards and three scores. That right there is chemistry. Or great communication. Or timing. Whatever you want to call it.
• The Panthers have one of the best running games in football. This will help keep defenses honest, which not only gives Moore time to make those deep throws, but should allow the Panthers to run an effective play-action passing game.
• He's better than Jake Delhomme.
One could argue that Moore's missing a legit No. 2 wideout, but if Dwayne Jarrett can finally turn his immense talent into production (see below), Moore could have another fine weapon at his disposal. If Jarrett doesn't step up, Moore still has two able pass-catchers in tight ends
Moore may not be the most accurate passer, but we don't count that in fantasy, now do we. As for Jimmy Clausen, let's just say that if Moore plays up to his abilities and stays healthy, we won't see Clausen for a while.
Projection: 3,250 passing yards, 22 TD, 14 INT
That's a great No. 2 in two-QB setups, and a nice little insurance policy should your starter go down.
And now, a few other fantasy football-related tidbits from around the league ...
• Good news on the Cedric Benson front. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis doesn't expect Benson to be suspended by the NFL for his arrest in an Austin, Texas bar last month. Benson was charged with assault in the case, but apparently, he was the one who got "sucker punched". We're not sure Benson's happy about Lewis putting his business out in the street like that, but it's good news for fantasy GMs who plan on buying shares in the Cincy RB. Benson will meet with Roger Goodell this Thursday.
• You can count one more team out of the T.O. sweepstakes. New Seattle HC Pete Carroll told 710ESPN Seattle on Monday night that, "we won't be able to do that this time around" (Carroll was an assistant coach with the 49ers when they drafted Owens back in 1996). Owens has already let it be known he won't play for Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, and Panthers linebacker Jon Beason recently put the kibosh on Owens to Carolina. Who's left? Pittsburgh? Only Drew Rosenhaus knows.
• Panthers beat writer Darin Gantt believes the starting flanker job is "Dwayne (Jarrett)'s until he coughs it up". With the capable Matt Moore a virtual lock to be the starting QB in Week 1, Steve Smith drawing opposing teams' top cover guy, and a running game that will force defenses to commit an extra man, Jarrett's got a great opportunity here to prove his worth. Don't hesitate to take him as a late-round flier. Moore can and will get him the ball.