Warner Out; Look to Rattay?

by Fraser Lovat on October 15, 2007 @ 10:35:58 PDT


ESPNews reports Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner (elbow) is expected to miss one week with an elbow injury. Warner injured the elbow against the Carolina Panthers during Week 6.

Prior to the injury, Warner was 2-for-2 with 21 yards in the Week 6 contest. He has played in four games this season, and he has completed 45 of 71 passes (63.4 percent) for 601 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Warner started in place of quarterback Matt Leinart (collarbone), who is out with a broken collarbone.

Third-string quarterback Tim Rattay came into the game in relief of Warner. Rattay completed 12 of 24 passes (50.0 percent) for 159 yards (6.6-yard average), no touchdowns and three interceptions. He also fumbled the ball twice.

With Leinart out for the season and Warner expected to be out for Week 7, Rattay will likely start. Rattay has starting experience with the San Francisco 49ers and, most recently, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his career he has completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 4,848 yards, 28 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. Last season with the Buccaneers, he played in four games and started two of them. He completed 61 of 101 passes (60.4 percent) for 748 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

In Week 7, the team faces the Washington Redskins, who rank fifth in passing yards per game allowed. The Cardinals offense could rely heavily on the running game more, not only because of the Redskins defense, but because Rattay has not learned the entire offense. He was signed less than a week before the game against the Panthers.

As a result, running back Edgerrin James could see an increased role in Week 7. James has rushed the ball 129 times for 522 yards (4.0-yard average) with four touchdowns. He also has seven receptions for 68 yards (9.7-yard average). In Week 4 he carried the ball 21 times for 77 yards (3.7-yard average) and had one touchdown against the stingy Pittsburgh Steelers defense. The Redskins have allowed 98 total yards and one touchdown per game to running backs in the last four weeks (three games). James may see more men in the box because Rattay is under center, but any opponent would run the risk of leaving wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and, as long as he's healthy, Anquan Boldin (hip) in one-on-one situations.

If you are a fantasy owner who had Warner on your team, you could pick up Rattay, even if you do not play him in Week 7. Rattay has shown to be decent in his career and can manage the game. He is an average quarterback and is not going to put up mind-blowing numbers, though. Rattay will be matched up against a good Redskins defense this week, too. In the last four weeks (three games), the Redskins have allowed quarterbacks to pass for 175.3 yards, 0.33 touchdowns and two interceptions per game.

Another replacement could be Chicago Bears quarterback Brian Griese. Griese has played in three games this season. He has completed 75 of 122 passes (61.5 percent) for 881 yards, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. In Week 6 he was 26-for-45 (61.5 percent) for 381 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Griese is available in about 91 percent of casual leagues polled. In Week 7, the Bears play the Philadelphia Eagles, who are allowing 236.3 yards, one touchdown and one interception passing per game to quarterbacks in the past four weeks (three games).

Until more is known about Warner's injury, you should hang on to him. After the Cardinals' Week 8 bye, there is a possibility that Warner will be ready in Week 9. He was hot pickup in fantasy leagues for the same reason that he remains a good hold: The Cardinals have weapons on offense, and if Warner is healthy, he can make good use of them.

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About Fraser Lovat

Fraser is a Hot off the Wire Analyst with KFFL and has been with the company since 2007.

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