AFC East Quarterback Preview

Only one QB from this division is a Fantasy starter

Today I turn my attention to the AFC East quarterbacks. Whereas yesterday in the NFC East I raved about the fantasy potential of each of the four teams, today, I have to say the AFC East brings just one fantasy starting QB. There is also one low end fantasy backup QB with some upside. There might be another if Kevin Kolb can stay healthy (a big "if", I know). And then there is a team with a QB situation that is the equivalent of fantasy excrement.
Buffalo Bills
Starter: Kevin Kolb (projected)
Backup: E.J. Manuel
Kolb is battling the rookie Manuel for the Bills starting job and I expect that he will win it. Not because Kolb is a great QB, but rather Manuel is unlikely to be NFL ready week one. After that, it will all depend on Kolb as to how long he lasts into the regular season. Perpetually injury prone, Kolb rarely makes it far before injuries (or just simply ineffective play) gets him benched. Even if Kolb stays injury free, I seriously doubt he'll finish the 2013 season as the starter. Once the Bills are eliminated from playoffs contention, I expect Manuel will be given the job to get him some experience going forward. Neither QB is worth selecting in standard fantasy drafts and both make risky prospects as #3 QB's in leagues where you have to start 2.
Miami Dolphins
Starter: Ryan Tannehill
Backup: Matt Moore
Rather than go after a starting job of his own elsewhere in free agency, Moore chose to remain in Miami and be a well paid backup to Tannehill. Tannehill looked pedestrian and very much like a rookie at times, but he also showed some promise despite a lack of talent at the WR and TE positions. With Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller in Miami, Tannehill now has better weapons to throw to in 2013. He needs to show he's able to step up his performance and prove he is the real deal after a so-so rookie season. I'm still not convinced he's a future great NFL or fantasy QB but he does possess some upside as a backup fantasy QB if he proves to be better than I think he is. Right now, I think drafting him as anything more than a weak fantasy backup or QB3 is a mistake.
New England Patriots
Starter: Tom Brady
Backup: Ryan Mallett
The loss of Wes Welker, along with the concerns about his TE's Rob Gronkowski (back; arm) and Aaron Hernandez (shoulder; potential police situation) has some concerned about Brady's fortunes heading into 2013. And while that does give pause for thought, I am not about to downgrade him by much. With the exception of his injury shortened 2008 season, Brady has been an elite fantasy QB the past several seasons. Approaching 36 years old though, he is getting into those years where QB's start seeing a decline in production, but I believe that even with a new set of WR's Brady is in an offensive system that has proven it will still air out the football with the best of them. I see no reason to not consider Brady as an excellent starting fantasy QB. Mallett sounds like he is really doing well and if anything were to happen to Brady, he might be able to step in and be better than serviceable. The Patriots also have Tim Tebow, but it's really hard to see how he fits into the equation at al as he would not be a good fit. At least not until they work with him on developing better QB skills.
New York Jets
Starter: Mark Sanchez (projected)
Backup: Geno Smith
The most recent reports say that Sanchez will likely start the season over rookie Geno Smith, but I doubt he lasts more than a few weeks before he is benched. The Jets coaches and the fans will be looking for an excuse to sit him despite Smith not likely to be ready as he tries to learn a completely different style of offense than what he ran in college. That said it is possible that Smith passes up Sanchez if the rookie shows well in the preseason. I think Smith is the better Jets QB to have in 2013 but he is unlikely to be a fantasy contributor. The Jets WR and TE corps is possibly the worst in the league. I would stay away from Smith in fantasy leagues as he is better set up for failure than success with the Jets.