- Christopher Harris, Fantasy
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It looks like Brett Favre will no longer be a Packer.
Unless everything changes. Again. For the hundredth time.
At the moment, though, Favre and the Packers' brass seem to have come to one agreement: Too many bridges have been burned between the two parties, and Ryan Grant, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Donald Lee will have to rely on someone other than Favre (presumably Aaron Rodgers) to uphold their impressive fantasy values. Favre would still like to be traded to either Minnesota or Chicago, but the Packers won't accede.
So where does that leave Favre's fantasy value? What if you're holding your fantasy football draft tonight? What should you do with the gray-bearded one?
At this point, it seems as though there are two likely alternatives: Favre gets traded to the Buccaneers or the Jets. In either scenario, on paper at least, he won't have the offensive weaponry he did in Green Bay, and clearly his comfort factor will decrease. But we have to remember that despite his age (he turns 39 in October), Favre is coming off a 4,155-yard passing season (third-highest of his 16-year career) in which he threw 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions (tied for his lowest pick total in 11 seasons). He may still have a lot of downside as an erratic gunslinger, and a new team could very well bring that out in him as he tries to "do too much," but as a starting NFL quarterback, Favre is a fantasy factor.
If Favre goes to Tampa, he reunites with a former quarterbacks coach, Jon Gruden. While Gruden's offensive scheme is more of a "traditional" West Coast offense (compared to the more deep-threat-oriented flavor Green Bay has run of late), Favre would be relatively familiar with the Bucs' terminology and play-calling. He'd have Joey Galloway as his deep threat and top receiver, with kind of a mess still sorting itself out in the rest of the receiving corps. He'd have an excellent run-blocking offensive line that sometimes struggled to protect the passer last year, though new center Jeff Faine could help that a bit. In Tampa Bay, Favre would probably be on the borderline as a fantasy starter -- somewhere in the 12-14 range among quarterbacks -- mainly because of the uncertainty surrounding the move. He'd clearly have quite a bit of upside.
With the Jets, Favre would have to get acclimated quickly to a different sort of playbook: Brian Schottenheimer is cut from his dad's more conservative cloth. Now, that's not to say the Jets would immediately make Favre give up his swashbuckling license; the only reason you'd trade for No. 4 would be to "make a run" at a title, and Favre is still a good improviser. But a transition to the Jets probably wouldn't be as smooth as a transition to the Bucs. However, with the additions of Alan Faneca and Damien Woody (Faneca more than Woody, of course), the New York offensive line has a chance to be vastly improved. Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery represent an established set of aerial targets, and Thomas Jones figures to rebound from a mediocre '07. In New York, Favre also would deserve to be on the borderline of fantasy starter-hood: maybe in the 13-15 range, with that same prodigious upside.
Christopher Harris is a fantasy baseball, football and racing analyst for ESPN.com. He is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writing Association award winner across all three of those sports. You can e-mail him here.
Christopher Harris examines how a trade to either the Jets or the Bucs would impact Brett Favre.