Which incoming rookie quarterback will make the biggest fantasy impact in 2014?
Johnny Fantasy Football
This could change potentially depending on where each of these young signal-callers lands, but the leading candidate to have an impact fantasy season is very clearly Johnny Manziel. Running quarterbacks can rack up fantasy points faster than their counterparts, especially early in their careers. Let's not forget there was a period during the 2011 season where starting Tim Tebow in fantasy wasn't a joke. If Manziel gets drafted by a team that needs him to start immediately, he'll be worth scooping up as a No. 2 quarterback with upside.
Start the Carr
It won't be the most popular selection, but Derek Carr could open some eyes during the season. Because he hasn't had quite the same level of hype as Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater, Carr should have a chance to develop without the same intense level of scrutiny. More importantly, he played -- and excelled -- in both a pro style and spread offense over the course of his college career, so he will be ready for anything an NFL offensive coordinator throws his direction. The good news is that most of the teams in need of a quarterback already have some quality pass-catchers on the roster. Combine that with Carr's skill set (he's more athletic than he gets credit for) and he has the makings of a deep fantasy sleeper.
Crossing the Bridgewater
This question is certainly a noodle scratcher to say the least, especially when we don't quite know where these guys are going to go. The NFL Draft isn't as predictable as, say, the plot of "Safe House." Did we not know the bad guy was going to be Brendan Gleeson? I mean, anybody who seems like the good guy ain't. And anybody who might be the baddie (like Vera Farmiga) won't be.
So I'm going to use Bucky Brooks' two-round mock draft right here and in this situation I would say it's Teddy Bridgewater. He would certainly get the chance to start if this were to happen. And then there is the business of throwing the ball to Josh Gordon, Sammy Watkins (who Bucky has the Browns drafting at No. 4) and Gary Barnidge. Oh wait, I meant Jordan Cameron. But since Gary was kind enough to let me tag along at WrestleMania, I told him I would mention him a bunch this year.
So I guess my answer truly is the Browns quarterback as long as Watkins goes to the team at No. 4.
Johnny's the Manziel
The two best candidates are the ones who are going to go in the top of the first round, because we know for sure they're going to play right away -- Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles. I like Manziel to make the biggest dent because of his legs, but not solely for the "he can score points by running with the football" perspective of it, though that is an advantage. Bortles is going to stay in the pocket more, and as a rookie QB, he's going to make mistakes that turn into interceptions -- a lot of them. Manziel under fire can just tuck it and run for 15 yards. That ability he has is going to cut down on his interceptions in a huge way.
Let's say Manziel has just one play like that a game; instead of an INT he runs for 15 yards. Over the course of a 16-game season, that's an extra 56 fantasy points. What does an extra 56 points mean overall? If Ryan Tannehill had an extra 56 points a year ago, instead of being the QB with the 16th most points, he'd rank fourth. Ben Roethlisberger would jump from 14th to third. So it's a very big deal.