Who Do You Draft in Fantasy Football: Tim Tebow vs. Mark Sanchez
The New York Jets grabbed headlines this offseason by acquiring Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos, and immediately created a quarterback controversy despite the fact incumbent starter Mark Sanchez is coming off of his best statistical season in 2011.
The Jets have already said Tebow will be used in a variety of ways, even on special teams, and he looks likely to see the field in specialized situations in new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s system. If Sanchez struggles, fans and media will certainly be calling for Tebow to become the full-time starting quarterback. Under that circumstance, fantasy football owners can find Tebow to be an appealing option due to his running ability even if his passing numbers leave something to be desired.
Sanchez set career-highs in passing yards (3,474), touchdowns (26) and completion percentage (56.7 percent) ast season and also added six rushing touchdowns. But he has never had a backup that was a legitimate threat to his starting job in his three NFL seasons, so it’s fair to wonder how his performance will be affected during training camp, the preseason and more importantly early in the season. Tebow is likely to see the field fairly regularly no matter what and will be waiting in the wings to take his job if he struggles. Sanchez did throw 18 interceptions as well in 2011, but it can be assumed his passing numbers and turnovers will both come down in Sparano’s offense.
From a fantasy perspective, Tebow is hard to rely on unless he takes the starting job from Sanchez. At that point, he would automatically be worthy of a roster spot and a weekly spot in starting lineups in most leagues. Until that point, Tebow is not worth anything more than a late-round flier in very deep leagues while we wait to see what his ultimate role is in the Jets’ offense. All in all, he has a fair amount of upside considering what type of investment would be required on draft day.
Sanchez’s fantasy value is definitely on a downward slide with what has happened this offseason, with a conservative offense coming and the prospect of losing significant snaps and perhaps eventually the starting job to Tebow. That said, he worked out with wide receiver Santonio Holmes prior to OTAs after a tumultuous 2011 between the two players, which has to be a positive sign and the Jets have a group of young (and unproven) skill position players that could add some explosiveness to the offense. There is some clear downside for fantasy football owners here, but I think Sanchez makes for a nice buy low opportunity as a low-end QB2 in most leagues as his fantasy value has nowhere to go but up if he solidifies his hold on the starting job early in the season and relegates Tebow to his specialized role.
The best move for fantasy owners, outside of leagues with 12 or more teams or very deep rosters, may be to avoid the Jets’ quarterback situation entirely until Sanchez or Tebow clearly takes hold of the starting job and then be ready to pounce on the waiver wire at that point. Both players have significant downside potential under the current circumstances, but if I have to use a draft pick on one I choose Sanchez.