Photo Essays  


Published: March 8, 2017 at 07:19 p.m.
Updated: March 9, 2017 at 05:48 p.m.

Fantasy football history of free agent backup QBs

So, how often has a backup quarterback with limited starts under his belt gone to a different team as the starter and fallen flat on his face? The first name that comes to mind is Brock Osweiler, who "earned" a king's ransom based on a short resume during his time with the Denver Broncos. There have been some others, like Matt Flynn, who further represent the utter failure of these sorts of scenarios. In 2012, Flynn agreed to a three-year, $26 million deal to ultimately remain a backup with the Seattle Seahawks thanks to Russell Wilson. But Osweiler and Flynn aren't the lone examples.   Here's a look at some other quarterbacks who have gone from backup to high-paid starter and what those moves have meant in the world of fantasy football.

8 Photos Total

  • Scott Mitchell, Detroit Lions (1994) 8

    Ai Golub/Associated Press

    Scott Mitchell, Detroit Lions (1994)

    Mitchell played for the Miami Dolphins for three seasons (behind some dude named Dan Marino) before signing a three-year, $11 million contract with the Lions. While he did have one monster campaign (1995) from a fantasy perspective, Mitchell would average just 11 starts, 2,529 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions during his disappointing career in the Motor City.

  • Rob Johnson, Buffalo Bills (1998) 7

    G. Newman Lowrance/Associated Press

    Rob Johnson, Buffalo Bills (1998)

    Johnson spent three seasons behind Mark Brunell with the Jacksonville Jaguars and parlayed one great performance into a five-year, $25 million deal with the Bills. He would last four years with the team, averaging eight games, 1,200 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Johnson tossed a mere 27 touchdown passes overall, or just under a million dollars per score.

  • Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks (2001) 6

    Ai Golub/Associated Press

    Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks (2001)

    I'll include Hasselbeck, who was traded (not signed) to the Seahawks, because he was a backup in Green Bay behind Brett Favre to start his career. This move did work out, both on the field and from a fantasy perspective, as Hasselbeck posted several solid seasons in the stat sheets. In fact, he was a top-12 fantasy quarterback four times while in the Pacific Northwest.

  • A.J. Feeley, Miami Dolphins (2004) 5

    Luis Alvarez/Associated Press

    A.J. Feeley, Miami Dolphins (2004)

    Desperate for a quarterback, the Dolphins traded a second-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire Donovan McNabb's backup. Feeley played one season in South Florida, throwing 11 touchdowns with 15 interceptions in 11 games (eight starts), before he would end up back with the Eagles (2006-2007). Overall, Feeley was a total flop when he went from backup to starter.

  • Matt Schaub, Houston Texans (2007) 4

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Matt Schaub, Houston Texans (2007)

    Schaub spent three seasons behind Michael Vick with the Atlanta Falcons before being dealt to the Texans. While he did have two top-10 fantasy seasons at the position, Schaub averaged just 3,317 yards, 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his 90 games (88 starts) with the Texans overall. Still, Schaub is considered at least somewhat of a success story for backups. Kinda.

  • Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs (2009) 3

    Scott Boehm/Associated Press

    Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs (2009)

    Cassel looked solid in relief of Tom Brady in the 2008 campaign, which led to his being traded to the Chiefs the following season. He would start 47 games in KC over four years, but Cassel finished no better than 11th in fantasy points among quarterbacks in a single season. Overall, the USC product averaged just 2,387 passing yards and 15 touchdowns with the Chiefs.

  • Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals (2011) 2

    Paul Jasienski/Associated Press

    Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals (2011)

    Kolb started seven games over four seasons in Philadelphia before being traded to the Cardinals for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round pick. He would also sign a monstrous five-year deal for around $64 million, but Kolb finished his time in the desert with 17 touchdown passes in just 16 games (15 starts) and he never made a serious fantasy impact.

  • Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans (2016) 1

    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans (2016)

    As I mentioned, Osweiler is the current poster child for backups failing to produce as a starter. After seven career starts in four seasons with the Broncos, he signed a ridiculous four-year, $72 million deal with the Texans. Osweiler would go on to finish an awful 28th in fantasy points among quarterbacks while also neutering DeAndre Hopkins in the stat sheets.

Discuss ()