Many believed it was a cruel prank from the gridiron gods. Surely, no team, not even the Raiders, would be foolish enough to fork over two (TWO?!?!) possible first-round picks for the services of Carson Palmer. Yet as the reality of the ridiculous compensation for the disgruntled quarterback set in, a new question arose: what fantasy worth does the former field general of the Bengals possess?
In the short-term, very little, as Oakland appears to be going with Kyle Boller under center against Kansas City this Sunday. The move gives Palmer this week, followed by the bye, to become acclimated with the Oakland offense.
Yet the Raiders’ second-half slate is far from arduous, as Hue Jackson’s squad faces susceptible secondaries against Denver, Minnesota, Miami and Green Bay. Despite owning one of the better backs in the league in Darren McFadden, the Silver-and-Black prefer to attack from the air, providing a platform for Palmer to post solid passing numbers. Oakland also has a deep WR corps, giving the necessary targets for the former Heisman winner to find fantasy fruition.
However, don’t expect Palmer to revert to his glory days of 2006. When we last saw the USC product, he was tossing 20 passes to the wrong team in 2010, third-most in the NFL last season. The velocity on his throws was absent, and Palmer appeared timid and downright scared in the pocket at times.
Perhaps a change of scenery is all Palmer needs to rejuvenate into of the league’s proficient passers. For now, view Palmer as a fantasy backup. He probably won’t merit starter status in the fantasy forum until Week 11, but in deeper leagues or two-QB formats, picking up Palmer is a gamble worth the risk.