Fantasy impact of Collins’ retirement

BY foxsports • July 12, 2011

Although he submitted a respectable season in 2010 (1,823 yards, 14 touchdowns, 82.2 QB rating), Kerry Collins was not projected to be a factor on the fantasy scene for the upcoming NFL campaign. Granted, many anticipated Collins to be starting under center for the Titans’ opener, but the general consensus was first-round selection Jake Locker would eventually replace the two-time Pro Bowler as the team’s quarterback during the season.

Yet Collins’ recent retirement has left the Titans with a handful of novices to direct the Tennessee offensive attack, sending the franchise into a full-fledged panic. The former Nittany Lion’s exodus could have major repercussions on multiple fronts once the lockout is ended. Here is a fantasy analysis of each entity affected by Collins’ departure:

Jake Locker
Starting as a rookie quarterback is no walk in the park under normal circumstances. Trying to take the reins in an abbreviated training camp without the guidance of a seasoned veteran? Quite the arduous task indeed. Greenhorn gunslingers have encountered relative success in recent years, most notably Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. Locker’s 55.4 percent accuracy rate last season is cause for concern, as well as the lack of assistance in the Tennessee receiving corps (and that includes Kenny Britt, who could be facing disciplinary action for multiple off-the-field incidents). Cam Newton endures as the top-rated rookie arm, and Locker’s position rank still falls in the mid-20s. However, with an absence of viable quarterbacks on the current roster, Locker’s fantasy appeal just received a boost and could be worth the gamble in deeper leagues as a serviceable backup.

Free Agent Quarterbacks
Matt Hasselbeck needs to send Collins a box of cigars for upping the Seattle signal caller’s market value. Despite battling through injuries the past three seasons, Hasselbeck remains the most coveted quarterback in a weak free agent class. After Hasselbeck, who tossed for 3,001 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2010, the pickings are slim: Marc Bulger, Rex Grossman and Trent Edwards are some of the more “prominent” names available. Aside from Hasselbeck, who hasn’t been relevant in fantasy since 2007, this group holds little, if any, value in the fantasy forum.

Kolb, McNabb, Orton, Palmer
Kevin Kolb has been mentioned for months as one of the most sought-after quarterbacks available through trade. However, with Kolb forecasted as a long-term investment, it would be more apropos for Tennessee to seek support from McNabb, who appears to be on his way out in Washington. Although certainly not the player of yesteryear, McNabb can keep the Titans competitive while bridging the gap to the onset of the Locker Era. Same goes with Orton, who will probably be made available in order to provide Tim Tebow center stage. As with Palmer, that wish is probably a pipedream, as Cincinnati owner Mike Brown is unlikely to cave into his quarterback’s trade demands. If McNabb or Orton are installed as starters in Nashville, both could be sleepers worth a late-round selection. McNabb’s 15 interceptions may scare away some owners, but he will still toss for a reasonable amount of yards and is capable of producing 20 or more aerial scores.

Vince Young
The unexpected exodus of Collins has forced some to ponder if the Titans will rethink their stance on Young. However, that will not be the case, as multiple reports state Tennessee management still plans on jettisoning the prodigal Young from the team. Wait to see Young’s destination before evaluating his status.

Chris Johnson
With no discernable quarterback in sight, a growing fervor has begun to question Johnson’s merits as a top fantasy pick. While the lack of a serviceable field general may be disconcerting, it should not act as a determent to Johnson’s value. As Adrian Peterson illustrated last season, a capable QB is not imperative to one’s output. Don’t let the ambiguity under center effect your standing on Johnson come draft time.

This article was composed with help from FOXSports Tennessee writer John Manasso. Read more from Manasso here.