Can Campbell help fantasy players?
Fool the Oakland Raiders once, shame on them. Fool them twice, shame on them. Fool them three times, shame on them. But you can't fool them a fourth time, apparently. Or JaMarcus Russell won't be given a chance to fool them a fourth time, at least.
On Saturday, the Raiders dealt a 2012 fourth-round draft pick to the Redskins in exchange for Jason Campbell, who was deposed by Donovan McNabb earlier this month (and who already agreed to an extension into '11 with the Raiders). Don't believe any talk about quarterback competition or training camp decisions. Campbell is the new starting quarterback for the Raiders. Former No. 1 overall selection (from 2007) Russell is officially on the outs. He's probably not even the team's backup, as Bruce Gradkowski has the maturity that better suits him for a No. 2 role.
Campbell got better with the Redskins in '09. He posted the best completion percentage of his career (64.5), and also submitted his best yardage (3,618) and touchdown pass (20) totals. It was a pretty decent season. But he also threw 15 interceptions and ran for his life behind a crummy offensive line, and seemed to make enough mistakes in big situations that he couldn't satisfy the new administration in D.C. Frankly, I'm on the fence about Campbell. He has the big vertical arm the Raiders like. He's learned a whole lot of different offensive systems and terminologies in his football career (get ready for an onslaught of stories about that again), so he's no dummy. And by all accounts he's a likable leader in the locker room and huddle. I have no question in the world that he's a vast improvement over what the Raiders had.
But is he a fantasy option? In a league with more and more solid options at quarterback (a whopping 10 players passed for 4,000 yards or more in '09), you certainly can't consider Campbell a fantasy starter. Is he a viable backup? I guess so. But so are (in no particular order) Chad Henne, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan, Vince Young, Kevin Kolb and McNabb himself. Can I promise you Campbell will be better or more reliable than any of those guys (none of whom is top-10 in my current quarterback rankings) on a weekly basis? No, I can't.
Listen, this makes the Raiders a decent team. Quarterback play has been the most glaring thing wrong with them for a couple of seasons. Young receivers like Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy and, yes, even Darrius Heyward-Bey become far more interesting players with someone who can complete more than 60 percent of his throws (heck, more than 50 percent of his throws) tossing them the ball. Zach Miller looks better today, too. I do think Campbell can be a top-20 fantasy signal-caller, and will rank him as such. He'll complete some bombs and lead his new franchise to some wins. But when I think about his performance in the clutch for the Redskins all these years, I still see a lot of questionable decisions, a lot of picks, and a lot of fantasy frustration.
Christopher Harris is a fantasy analyst for ESPN.com. He is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writing Association award winner. You can ask him questions at www.facebook.com/writerboy.
2010 Fantasy Football Offseason
ESPN.comkeeps you connected to fantasy football all offseason long with updated rankings, mock drafts and analysis of all the important moves.
NFL Draft• Day 1: Ryan Mathews the big winner
• Day 2: Toby Gerhart now a handcuff
• Day 3: Rounds 4-7 can yield sleepers
• Matthew Berry's Top 150, updated June 4
• Christopher Harris' Top 200, updated May 11
• Fantasy Staff Top 200, updated April 30
• Christopher Harris' Top 200, updated April 19
• Matthew Berry's Top 100, April 8
Analysis from Christopher Harris
• Don't expect much from T.O. in Cincinnati
• Vincent Jackson no longer a top 25 receiver
• Jason Campbell is still bland in Oakland
• LenDale White, Leon Washington in Seattle
• Brandon Marshall deal to Miami boosts Henne
• Santonio Holmes' value falls with trade to Jets
• Donovan McNabb's stock drops with Redskins
• Willie Parker joins Redskins veteran RBBC
• Browns wheeling and dealing potential options
• LDT signing with Jets muddies Greene's value
• Larry Johnson still irrelevant with Redskins
• Derrick Mason's re-signing helps Flacco
• Antonio Bryant decent fit with Bengals
• Thomas Jones loses lots of value with Chiefs
• Reggie Brown intriguing with Tampa Bay
• Boldin trade doesn't do much for his value
• Taylor, Burleson open free-agency season
• NFL scouting combine fantasy review