In many a 16-team league or more, Byron Leftwich was the last drafted starting QB. I myself took him in the last round of the Cafe/Fleaflicker Challenge, a 16-team league. That qualifies him for fantasy football sleeper status. He looked great in limited play last year for the Steelers, and I was positive it would land him a starting job somewhere this offseason. He ultimately had to compete for the job, but he came out the victor. For extended discussion on fantasy football Week 2 sleepers, jump here.
Leftwich might have some knocks against him, but they are outweighed by his positives. The Tampa Bay secondary looked just awful against the Cowboys, routinely leaving guys uncovered and generally making Tony Romo’s job way too easy. If this is the status quo for the season, the Buccaneers won’t be able to simply rely on the running game — Leftwich is going to have to make plays in the passing game as well.
On Sunday, he showed he could do that. Leftwich completed 25 of 41 passes (a 61% completion rate) for 276 yards, 1 TD, and no INTs against the Cowboys, numbers that were one TD away from being fantastic. With the running game humming (they averaged 5.6 yards per carry), the field was opened up for Leftwich to do his work. He consistently found the open man, with 10 different players making at least one catch and no one going over five catches. His yards-per-attempt average was very low, but this is a result of not having Antonio Bryant at 100%. When Bryant is ready to help stretch the field, Leftwich could be even better.
With Bryant, Kellen Winslow and good pass-catching back Derrick Ward in tow, Leftwich is surrounded by a cast of characters that should help him succeed. And with the pass defense holier than Swiss cheese, Leftwich is definitely going to get the opportunity to pass often. He might not be a top-ten QB, but he deserves to be on someone’s bench this season. Against Buffalo this week, with the Bills letting Tom Brady complete 12 passes to two different receivers? He makes for a solid spot start, especially if you’ve been affected by the McNabb injury.
R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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