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The Apprentices

Does a rookie QB have fantasy value?

NO POSITION inpro football has seen more unfulfilled first-year potential than quarterback.So should you even bother with a rookie passer? To get a sense of what thisseason might hold for the three quarterbacks who were drafted in the firstround this year (the Broncos' Jay Cutler, the Cardinals' Matt Leinart and theTitans' Vince Young), we looked at the rookie-year performance of first-roundQBs over the past five seasons.

TELLINGNUMBERS

3 TDs for Bearstight ends through two games, matching their total for the entire 2005season.

6 Career 100-yardrushing games for the Falcons' Michael Vick, an NFL record forquarterbacks.

943 Careerreceptions by the Colts' MARVIN HARRISON, moving him past Art Monk for fifth onthe alltime list.

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

> CLEAR PATH Young has the easiest route to a full-time starting job,competing with a journeyman (Kerry Collins) and a player on the trading block(Billy Volek). His situation is similar to that of these first-rounders, whowere clearly better than the QBs they caddied for. The only passer to have asolid fantasy season was Roethlisberger, who made his first start in Week 3.

PLAYER, Team

ROOKIE YEAR

GAMES

STARTS

YARDS

TDS

INT

INCUMBENT

BEN ROETHLISBERGER, Steelers

2004

14

13

2,621

17

11

TOMMY MADDOX

DAVID CARR, Texans

2002

16

16

2,592

9

15

(EXPANSION TEAM)

JOEY HARRINGTON, Lions

2002

14

12

2,294

12

16

MIKE MCMAHON

PATRICK RAMSEY, Redskins

2002

9

5

1,539

9

8

DANNY WUERFFEL
SHANE MATTHEWS

ALEX SMITH, 49ers

2005

9

7

875

1

11

TIM RATTAY

MICHAEL VICK, Falcons

2001

8

2

785

2

3

CHRIS CHANDLER

REX GROSSMAN, Bears

2003

3

3

437

2

1

KORDELL STEWART

 

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

> HEIRAPPARENT Leinart and Cutler are backups to proven veterans who are hanging onto their jobs. (Leinart is understudy to Kurt Warner while Cutler is behindJake Plummer.) Both are just one big hit away from becoming the starter on ateam with an explosive offense. That makes them comparable to Manning andLeftwich, both of whom played significant roles as rookies.

PLAYER, Team

ROOKIE YEAR

GAMES

STARTS

YARDS

TDS

INT

INCUMBENT

BYRON LEFTWICH, Jaguars

2003

15

13

2,819

14

16

MARK BRUNELL

ELI MANNING, Giants

2004

9

7

1,043

6

9

KURT WARNER

> WATCHINGAND WAITING All three of the 2006 first-rounders could end up on this list ofhighly touted QBs who never got much of a (or any) chance to show their talentsas rookies. Relegating a future star such as Palmer to clipboard-toting dutymight be the right call for an NFL team, but it doesn't cut the mustard in thewin-now world of fantasy football.

PLAYER, Team

ROOKIE
YEAR

GAMES

STARTS

YARDS

TDS

INT

INCUMBENT

CARSON PALMER, Bengals

2003

0

0

0

0

0

JON KITNA

JASON CAMPBELL, Redskins

2005

0

0

0

0

0

MARK BRUNELL

J.P. LOSMAN, Bills

2004

4

0

32

0

1

DREW BLEDSOE

PHILIP RIVERS, Chargers

2004

2

0

33

1

0

DREW BREES

AARON RODGERS, Packers

2005

3

0

65

0

1

BRETT FAVRE

PHOTO

G. NEWMAN LOWRANCE/WIREIMAGE.COM (YOUNG)

BABY STEPS Young (10 of 23 in two games) is one of three rookie quarterbacks to see action thus far.

PHOTO

GENE LOWER/WIREIMAGE.COM (LEINART)

LEINART

PHOTO

BRAIN BAHR/GETTY IMAGES (CUTLER)

CUTLER

PHOTO

DON LARSON/WIREIMAGE.COM(HARRISON)