Ed Barkowitz: Count your blessings if you have a stud fantasy QB

Posted: December 24, 2010

LOVE SONGS constantly tell us that we don't know what we have till we lose it all.

The same can be said for an Internet connection, a car starting on a cold morning and fantasy football quarterbacks. You don't know how good you have it until you have to dial customer service. Have you tried unplugging it and plugging it back in?

Unfortunately, similar tactics don't work with fantasy quarterbacks. When they're not playing, the only thing you can call on is your backup. And this season, you better have a good one.

Among the 32 NFL teams, only 12 QBs have started every game. There are the studs (Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers), adequates (Eli Manning, Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub), matchup manipulators (Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman) and no-thanks (Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez).

Everywhere else, QBs have been getting smeared.

A quick peek down South Broad Street on Sunday will reveal how important a reliable backup quarterback is in real football and in fantasy. When Kevin Kolb went down, Andy Reid pulled Michael Vick out of his hat. When Brett Favre went down, the Vikings went with Tarvaris Jackson. When Jackson got hurt, they turned to Joe Webb.

"I'm sure that [the Vikings have] the same mentality that we would," Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "We [would] expect Webb to play as good, or better. It's that simple."

And my fiancée might expect the Hope Diamond to be hanging in her stocking. But the reality is that a season of promise can deteriorate as quickly as it takes Aaron Rodgers to suffer an ill-timed concussion or Matt Cassel's appendix to flare up. If the Eagles didn't have Michael Vick, think they'd be 10-4?

"The next guy steps up," Mornhinweg said, "and [does] whatever it takes to win the next ballgame."

By the Daily News' count, 59 quarterbacks have started an NFL game this season. Webb, if he gets the expected nod on Sunday, will be No. 60. Brian St. Pierre, Brodie Croyle, Charlie Batch, Chad Pennington and Rusty Smith are just a few of the legends who started.

Can't wait until the 18-game schedule and GMs start scrambling for Jeff Garcia's cell number sometime in October.

MUSICAL QBs

The 59 quarterbacks who've started at least one game this year:

Kevin Kolb, Eagles

Michael Vick, Eagles

Derek Anderson, Arizona

Brodie Croyle, Kansas City

Max Hall, Arizona

Chad Henne, Miami

John Skelton, Arizona

Chad Pennington, Miami

Matt Ryan, Atlanta

Tyler Thigpen, Miami

Joe Flacco, Baltimore

Brett Favre, Minnesota

Trent Edwards, Buffalo

Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo

Tom Brady, New England

Jimmy Clausen, Carolina

Drew Brees, New Orleans

Matt Moore, Carolina

Eli Manning, NY Giants

Brian St. Pierre, Carolina

Mark Sanchez, NY Jets

Todd Collins, Chicago

Jason Campbell, Oakland

Jay Cutler, Chicago

Bruce Gradkowski, Oakland

Carson Palmer, Cincinnati.

Jake Delhomme, Cleveland

Colt McCoy, Cleveland

Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh

Seneca Wallace, Cleveland

Dennie Dixon, Pittsburgh

Jon Kitna, Dallas

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh

Tony Romo, Dallas

Philip Rivers, San Diego

Kyle Orton, Denver

Alex Smith, San Francisco

Tim Tebow, Denver

Troy Smith, San Francisco

Shaun Hill, Detroit

Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle

Matthew Stafford, Detroit

Charlie Whitehurst, Seattle

Drew Stanton, Detroit

Sam Bradford, St. Louis

Matt Flynn, Green Bay

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay

Kerry Collins, Tennessee

Matt Schaub, Houston

Rusty Smith, Tennessee

Peyton Manning, Indianapolis

Vince Young, Tennessee

Todd Bouman, Jacksonville

Rex Grossman, Washington

David Garrard, Jacksonville

Donovan McNabb, Washington

Matt Cassel, Kansas City

SOMETHING'S AFOOT

Somebody please tell Mr. & Mrs. Rex Ryan to turn the page. This is not the fantasy report they were expecting.

POSITION WATCH

Quarterback: Jon Kitna has thrown 11 touchdowns and four picks in his last six games for Dallas. Arizona, Kitna's opponent tomorrow night, has had a run of inferior quarterbacks lately and held Troy Smith, Sam Bradford, Kyle Orton and Jimmy Clausen to two TD passes and five interceptions over the last four games. If you don't have one of the horses mentioned above, keep playing Kitna . . . Tennessee's Kerry Collins needs 94 passing yards to become the 12th player to reach 40,000.

Running back: Four guys are within rushing leader Arian Foster's 1,342 yards for Houston. Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew is one away from his second consecutive season of 300 carries and is only 21 yards behind Foster. Jamaal Charles, of KC, is making a late-season push to be a fantasy first-rounder in 2011 and is 42 yards back . . . The 49ers' Brian Westbrook is a sneaky play this week at St. Louis. Backfield mate Anthony Dixon has an ankle injury, and 5-9 San Fran, amazingly alive in the NFC West, is starting Troy Smith.

Wide receiver: Put Jets receiver Santonio Holmes (turf toe), and his bad matchup at Chicago, on the bench . . . Use Santana Moss and his appealing matchup at Jacksonville as a low-2/high-3 receiver. Moss was targeted 13 times last week by Redskins QB Rex Grossman . . . Seattle is at Tampa Bay in the inaugural Mike Williams Bowl. Seattle's Mike Williams, a former first-round bust in Detroit, has 60 catches, 720 yards and one TD. Tampa Bay rookie Mike Williams, a fourth-round pick out of Syracuse, has 58-880-8.

FANTASY ISLAND

Didja vote yet?

There is still time to vote for this year's Fannie Awards. Three participants will be randomly selected to win a Daily News fantasy football T-shirt. Send a fax to 215-854-5524 or e-mail to FantasyFootball@phillynews.com. Votes must be received by Wednesday and results will be announced next Friday. One entry per customer, please. The nominees:

Most Valuable Player

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

Arian Foster, RB, Texans

Michael Vick, QB, Eagles

Least Valuable Player

Brett Favre, QB, Vikings

Shonn Greene, RB, Jets

Randy Moss, WR, Pats/Vikings/Titans

The Best ...

Quarterback

Tom Brady, Patriots

Drew Brees, Saints

Michael Vick, Eagles

Running Back

Arian Foster, Texans

Peyton Hillis, Browns

Michael Turner, Falcons

Wide Receiver

Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs

Brandon Lloyd, Broncos

Roddy White, Falcons

Sleeper

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants

Mike Williams, WR, Bucs

The Worst ...

Quarterback

Brett Favre, Vikings

Donovan McNabb, Redskins

Matt Schaub, Texans

Running Back

Shonn Greene, Jets

Ryan Mathews, Chargers

Beanie Wells, Cardinals

Wide Receiver

Michael Crabtree, 49ers

Brandon Marshall, Dolphins

Randy Moss, Pats/Vikings/Titans

Injury

Ryan Grant, RB, Packers

Kevin Kolb, QB, Eagles

Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys

Ed Barkowitz, who is sweating out 2-week championships in a pair of leagues, has been writing about fantasy football in the Daily News since 2001.

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