In 2008-09, a little known seventh-round draft selection of the Minnesota Vikings out of Coastal Carolina saved the day for fantasy owners scrambling for help at the quarterback position. Two years later, and in new threads, this surprise fantasy darling may have a chance at once again being a savior for owners in need of a change atop their mythical quarterback depth chart.
Tyler Thigpen | QB | Miami | 1 percent Yahoo! ownership
Playing in 14 games in 2008-09, two of which came in relief of injured and ineffective quarterbacks Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen put together surprisingly useful fantasy statistics. In those 14 games he was able to compile 2,608 yards passing at just 6.2 yards an attempt, with an acceptable 18:12 touchdown-to-interception ratio. That ratio becomes much more impressive when looking at his numbers from Week 8, his first start after being relegated to backup duties following poor performances in Weeks 2 and 3, through Week 17, where he was able to throw 16 touchdowns to just eight interceptions. Just looking at Thigpen’s passing numbers doesn’t do his 2008-09 campaign justice, however, as he was also able to rack up 386 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
This season, Thigpen has been the third string quarterback on Miami’s depth chart backing up both Chad Henne and Chad Pennington. Pennington opened Miami’s Week 10 game against the Tennessee Titans as the starter, his first start of the season, but left after re-injuring his right shoulder two plays into the game. His shoulder injury is going to cost him the rest of the season, and could (and likely will) end his playing career. Chad Henne took back over the reigns of the ‘Phins, but he was also injured, hurting his knee in the third quarter. Monday’s reports indicate that Henne’s knee injury isn’t as severe as initially feared, and he has yet to be declared out for Thursday’s game. While the news that the injury isn’t season ending is good for the Dolphins, it seems highly unlikely he’ll be the starter with the quick turn around for a Thursday night game. Henne missing the contest on Thursday night would leave Thigpen atop the depth chart in a showdown with the Chicago Bears stingy pass defense, which is allowing just 6.0 yards an attempt, which is league best, and six touchdowns versus 14 interceptions.
With such a tough matchup and Henne possibly healthy enough to play going forward, why should owners consider rostering Thigpen? Well, for starters, Henne is coming off a game in which he was demoted to clipboard duties, not exactly a ringing endorsement from the coaching staff that they believe he’s the man to lead them to the playoffs. A strong performance from Thigpen may earn him another start for a team that’s 5-4 and in the thick of the playoff hunt. Also, looking ahead at the Dolphins schedule, they play some incredibly soft pass defenses that include: Oakland, who has allowed 16 touchdowns to just five interceptions, in Week 12; Cleveland, who is allowing 245.3 yards per game in addition to 17 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, in Week 13; Buffalo, who is allowing 206.8 yards per game and a pitiful 18:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio, in Week 15; and finally Detroit, who is allowing 222.8 yards per game passing and has allowed 13 touchdowns against nine interceptions, in Week 16. Those with a roster spot to work with, or in need of help at quarterback, should probably “employ” Tyler Thigpen and hope he is able to hold down the starter job for the remainder of the season.
Josh Shepardson is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Josh in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of B-Chad.
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!