Fantasy Football: Scott Tolzien Who?

 San Francisco 49ers quarterback Scott Tolzien
Aug 16 2013 Kansas City MO USA Scott Tolzien 3 runs out of the pocket against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium San Francisco won the game 15 13 John Rieger USA TODAY Sports

Continuing with the illustrious insert quarterback name here, followed by the word ‘Who’ and a question mark tradition of titles for XN Sports, it’s time to figure out who Scott Tolzien is.

Case Keenum Who? and Austin Davis Who? have been hit or miss for XN Sports, as Keenum has entered the every week QB2 discussion in 2-QB leagues, while Davis still finds himself on the bench in St. Louis.

Next up in the series of unheralded and undrafted quarterbacks is Scott Tolzien. Before we delve into Tolzien, we must first go through the history of what brought us to even knowing the name Scott Tolzien in the world of 2-QB fantasy football leagues.

The Aaron Rodgers injury was a big one in both real life and fantasy football. In real life, the Packers were primed for an end of season run, that could have seen them run the table and not lose a regular season game for the rest of the season. That’s just how good their schedule was.

Owners of Rodgers in 2-QB leagues were looking forward to riding him to a playoff run in their 2-QB league, and were expecting him to continue with his 21.46 standard fantasy points per game pace, or better it, thanks to his soft rest of season schedule.

Rodgers’ injury forced a crimp in those plans for both the Packers, and 2-QBers, and now it’s up to Seneca Wallace to lead the Packers through the storm.

By this point in his career, we know who Wallace is. He’s a journeyman 33-year-old quarterback, who has a 6-15 record as a starter, and was rumoured to retire when he couldn’t make the San Francisco 49ers as a back-up to Colin Kaepernick this year.

In 21 career games as a starter, Wallace averaged 193 passing yards, 1.28 touchdowns, .62 interceptions, and 14 yards rushing. In relief of Rodgers on Monday Night, Wallace went 11-of-19, for 114 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception.

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Wallace was put into a tough position, having to come in for an injured Rodgers, with little practice time heading into the week. While that’s a fair assessment, it doesn’t mean McCarthy is completely sold on Wallace being the team’s starting quarterback while Rodgers is out.

Wallace will get first crack at the job though, but if he falters, the next man up is former Wisconsin Badger Scott Tolzien.

Since going undrafted in 2011, Tolzien has spent time with the San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, and most recently, the Packers, where he was on the team’s practice squad. He has no regular season NFL experience.

When a rash of injuries hit the quarterback position this year, Tolzien was looked at by the Cleveland Browns, as a quarterback they wanted to sign from the Packers’ practice squad. The team didn’t want to lose him though, and gave him a raise from $6,000 to $32,000.

With Rodgers injured, and Wallace the only active quarterback on the Packers’ roster, Tolzien found himself promoted to the 53-man active roster.

There are reports that former Packers quarterback Matt Flynn will be coming in for a workout, but until he does, it’s the Wallace and Tolzien show in Green Bay.

So, who exactly is Scott Tolzien?

Tolzien’s collegiate career didn’t begin until his third season as Badger, but in his first year as a starter in Wisconsin, he set a school record for single season completions (211).

Tolzien threw less in his final season in Wisconsin, but he was much more efficient, setting a Wisconsin completion percentage record (72.9 percent), was the fourth ranked passer in the country in terms of passer rating, and had the highest completion percentage of any collegiate quarterback. Tolzien also cut down his interception total from 11 to six.

In 2010, Tolzien beat out Ricky Stanzi, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, and Colin Kaepernick to win the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is awarded to the top senior college quarterback.

Below is a snippet of a 2011 FFToolbox.com Scouting Report on Tolzien by Matt De Lima:

“He is efficient at the position, meaning he makes good decisions and does not force passes that aren’t there. He has a good (but not great) arm and throws the ball with good velocity. Tolzien led Wisconsin to a 21-5 record as a starter. Good mobility, but not particularly quick or fast.”

De Lima also threw out the term “game manager” earlier in his scouting report, and when efficiency is Tolzien’s strong suit, it adds up to a quarterback who has a low ceiling.

That’s who Tolzien was in college.

What he is now is a quarterback with the opportunity to lead one of the more potent offenses in football, surrounded by a supporting cast, led by Jordy Nelson, James Jones, and Eddie Lacy.

All that’s standing in his way is Seneca Wallace.

I’m not saying Wallace is going to crash and burn, or that Tolzien is the second coming of this year’s Case Keenum. Unless Flynn does get signed by the Packers, Tolzien will get the next chance at starting quarterback for the team if Wallace struggles mightily.

In 2-QB leagues you have to be aware of every quarterback situation, so you can adjust and react accordingly. When Rodgers got inured, 2-QB owners flocked to the waiver wire to pick up Wallace, while Tolzien remained untouched. If Wallace gets injured, or benched due to ineffective play, Tolzien will be the player 2-QBers rush to pick up.

But what if you stashed Tolzien now, and waited to see what happens in Green Bay, rather than wait until it’s possibly too late, and Tolzien gets rostered by somebody else? Playing fantasy football with a forward looking mentality will get you farther than playing with a reactionary mindset.

If the Packers thought nothing of Tolzien they would have let the Browns poach him from their roster, but that wasn’t the case. The team liked what they saw in Tolzien to bump his pay, and give him more time to develop in their system. That has to count for something, and in 2-QB leagues, if you can get the potential starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, for free, it could be a move that pays major dividends.

If Wallace does flourish, and Tolzien remains nothing but a clip holder, it would have cost you nothing but a waiver wire transaction, and you’ll be able to simply drop him. Why not take the shot on Tolzien, and let your 2-QB league mates wonder who is Scott Tolzien?

Stats used in this article from 4for4.com, Rotoworld.com, FFToolbox.com, and FantasyData.com

Scroll to Top