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2-QB Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football: Austin Davis Who?

Playing in 2-QB fantasy football leagues means having to know about not only the back-up quarterbacks for NFL teams, but also third stringers.

St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis
St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis

Aug 24, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis (9) looks to pass the ball during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 27-26. Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

For some NFL teams, official depth charts don’t mean a thing.

Take the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans, for example.

Brandon Weeden goes down with an early season injury, and it’s not back-up Jason Campbell who gets the start, but rather third string Brian Hoyer who is thrust into the starting line-up.

The same thing happened in Houston, where third string Case Keenum leapfrogged back-up T.J. Yates on the depth chart, to fill in for an injured Matt Schaub in Week 7.

Playing in 2-QB fantasy football leagues means having to know about not only the back-up quarterbacks for NFL teams, but also third stringers, because you never know when a Keenum or Hoyer will be given a chance to start an NFL game, making them fantasy relevant in 2-QB leagues.

How many Matt Schaub owners in 2-QB leagues do you know picked up T.J. Yates, thinking he’d start if Schaub was out, only to watch a competing league mate pick up Keenum? Something like that happens a lot in 2-QB leagues, and it might happen again with a St. Louis quarterback.

After St. Louis Rams starting quarterback Sam Bradford was lost for the season with a torn left ACL injury, the Rams were forced to turn to career back-up Kellen Clemens against the Seattle Seahawks Monday night.

The 30-year-old Clemens was a second round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2006, and has 12 starts to his name, with his last start coming in 2011, the year before head coach Jeff Fisher came to St. Louis.

According to Rotoworld, Clemens’ stats in his 12 career starts prior to Monday Night’s 14-9 loss to the Seahawks were not all that impressive: 52 percent completion rate, a seven touchdown to 11 interception ratio, and a 183.33 passing yards per game average.

Any quarterback facing the Seattle Seahawks would have difficulty going up against a defense which was tied for the sixth most in sacks (23), and tied for the third most in interceptions (11), heading into Monday night’s game, but a quarterback making his first start of the season against the Seahawks had the odds stacked against him even more.

The expectations were as low as they could get for Clemens, and the results might have been even worse than expected. The final stat line for Clemens versus the Seahawks had him completing 15-of-31 passes, for 158 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. Basically, the same ole’ Clemens.

Since we already know who Clemens is, and what he has to offer, what about the rest of the quarterback depth chart in St. Louis? After Bradford’s season ending injury, the Rams brought in two quarterbacks: Brady Quinn and Austin Davis.

Quinn, like Clemens, has been relegated to career back-up duty, and the depth chart in St. Louis has Austin Davis backing up Clemens, not Quinn, with Quinn being a game day inactive Monday night.

We know who Clemens and Quinn are, but who is Austin Davis, and why should 2-QBers know who he is?

An undrafted free agent quarterback out of Southern Mississippi, Davis signed on with the Rams last year, only to be cut this offseason, when he couldn’t beat out Clemens for the back-up quarterback job, no matter how much the Rams wanted him to.

During his 4-year college career, Davis threw for 10,898 yards, 83 touchdowns, 27 interceptions, and had a completion percentage of 63. On the ground, he ran for 1,375 yards, with 25 rushing touchdowns.

As a freshman, Davis threw 23 passing touchdowns, and broke Brett Favre’s Southern Mississippi passing touchdown record of 15. The competition Davis faced might not have been the greatest in college, but he was able to produce, regardless.

Here are a few relevant scouting report takeaways on Davis: weak arm, not a deep ball thrower, accurate on short-to-intermediate passes, athletic, “elite-level” pocket presence, and he has an ability to scramble to make plays and elude pass rushers.

Looking at the St. Louis Rams offense, they were a dink and dunk offense under Bradford, as his yards per attempt average was 6.4, which would suit Davis’ game. It wasn’t any better with Clemens under center, as he sported a 5.1 YPA.

There is no offensive identity in St. Louis at the moment, and with Bradford out of the picture, it gives the coaching staff an opportunity to see what the rest of their offensive pieces can do, while also determining if Davis can be a quarterback to groom for the future.

Clemens and Quinn aren’t the future in St. Louis, and neither is Davis, probably, but if the team is committed to Bradford long-term, it wouldn’t hurt to give Davis an extend audition to see if he could be the team’s future backup quarterback option.

It’s a fair question to ask how good Davis is when he couldn’t beat out Clemens, who had a preseason completion rate of 48.9 percent this year, as the team released him, and went with Clemens as its sole back-up quarterback option. 2012 was a different story though, as Davis had a strong preseason performance, completing 70 percent of his passes, and coach Fisher, said Davis had done a “great job.”

When speaking about Davis in 2012, Fisher said Davis had, “picked up this offense, which is not easy to do in a short time and he’s done a good job.” That’s a plus for Davis, who echoed the same sentiments when talking to the press after re-signing with the team, mentioning how he knows the system, that the terminology is familiar, and it’s like he never left.

The only reason Clemens is starting this week is because the Rams had no other quarterbacks on the roster following Bradford’s injury, and we saw what happened this year when a new quarterback is forced to start for a new team, after not having enough time to prepare. Cough, cough, Josh Freeman.

Monday night’s match-up between the Rams and the Seahawks gave us a chance to see what Clemens was made of. We could have either been in for a shock, with Clemens proving to be capable enough to handle quarterback duties for the Rams going forward. Or we would see exactly why he has been nothing but a back-up for most of his career, leading the way to Davis getting a shot. The latter scenario won out.

For 2-QB league owners deciding whether Davis is worth a speculative add, it all depends on your current situation, and your need at quarterback. However, if you have the roster space to stash Davis, now would be the time to strike. It’s always a good idea to be a week early rather than a week late, and if you waited too long to pick up the likes of Mike Glennon or Case Keenum, you don’t want to make the same mistake with Davis.

Stats used in this article from ESPN, FantasyData.com, and Rotoworld

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