You might be wondering why I’m writing about third-string quarterback David Fales, rather than recently promoted Jimmy Clausen to the throne of starting quarterback in Marc Trestman’s Chicago Bears offense.
That would be a fair question, as it was announced this week that the Bears were benching Jay Cutler for Clausen. However, as many of you 2-QBers who have read my work on XN over the past year or so have come to find, I tend to focus on the signal callers that don’t get much attention paid to them.
I’d rather look into the Scott Tolziens, Case Keenums, and Matt McGloins of the 2-QB fantasy world. The dirt cheap third-stringers elevated to football prominence, for however a short period of time they are there for.
As for Jimmy Clausen. Here’s what we know about him so far: he’s a former second-round pick of the Carolina Panthers (48th overall in 2010), that has ten career starts to his name, and a career completion percentage of 51.9. His adjusted yards gained/attempt is 4.1, and sports a career 3:9 passing touchdown to interception ratio.
Marc Trestman even mentioned that, for now, Cutler’s benching is a one week thing. Whether he goes back to Cutler next week versus the Minnesota Vikings, sticks with Clausen for another week, or gives third-stringer David Fales a shot remains to be seen.
Trestman says: "This is for this week," in terms of how long the Jimmy Claussen experiment goes on
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 18, 2014
In 2-QB leagues that play into Week 17, a preemptive pick of David Fales isn’t the worst idea. Even if Clausen gets a second shot at the starting gig next week, all it will have cost you is a bench spot if Fales remains on the sideline.
“I realized that what they wanted to do wasn’t a good fit for me,” said Fales. “They wanted me to be more of a runner. I looked at everything, saw where it was going and didn’t want to waste my time.”
Before heading to San Jose State, he played two seasons at Monterey Peninsula College, where he completed 61.8 percent of his passes, throwing for 4,635 yards and 37 touchdowns.
It was after his stint at Monterey Peninsula College that Fales eventually made his way to San Jose State, where at one point he was projected as a potential first round draft pick. He would eventually get selected in the sixth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
At San Jose State, Fales was a productive quarterback, and in 2012, he led the NCAA in both passing completion percentage (72.5), and passing yards/attempt (9.3). In his two seasons at San Jose State, Fales passed for over 4,100 yards and threw exactly 33 touchdowns in each season.
This offseason profile of Fales by Davis Mattek of RotoViz shows Fales has the ability to throw a fairly accurate deep ball, and actually bested Teddy Bridgewater in the category of adjusted completion percentage of passes 20 yards or more.
This quick scouting report from Chris Trapasso compared Fales to Drew Brees, and said the “undersized” quarterback had “great accuracy on short passes, really excels in the intermediate game” and has a “good, not great arm.” With any quarterback prospect, the scouting report is full of good and bad attributes.
Fales hasn’t thrown a regular season pass in the NFL, but did start the Bears’ final preseason game against the Browns, going 13-of-24 for 146 yards, one touchdown, and an interception.
Pro Football Focus gave him an overall -3.1 grade for his performance. He was eventually released, and then made his way to the team’s practice squad, where he was recently promoted, as the Bears were forced to call him up when the New England Patriots attempted to sign him.
That’s about where we are with David Fales at the moment. He’s still listed as QB3 on the depth chart, behind Clausen and Cutler. But if Cutler has already been benched, and Trestman is coaching for his job and Clausen falters, what would stop him from giving Fales a shot in Week 17?
Even if some see Cutler as a real life failure, he was nothing of the sort in fantasy. Heading into Week 16, he was the QB10 in fantasy overall, and finished outside the Top-24 of fantasy quarterback scoring just once, as pointed out by JJ Zachariason of numberFire:
Jay Cutler's weekly QB rankings: 10, 2, 15, 16, 6, 9, 26, 9, 22, 2, 24, 16, 6, 13, CLAUSEN.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) December 17, 2014
Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated asked the question many were thinking when they heard Clausen was getting a shot to start:
If you're throwing in the towel anyway, why not give David Fales a little run?
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) December 17, 2014
So why not Fales?
In redraft leagues that go until Week 17, pick him up in an anything-can-happen scenario. Heck, Case Keenum is probably going to be starting again this year.
And, as Davis Mattek noted in his RotoViz column, Fales could make for a sneaky add in 2-QB dynasty leagues. Even if that was under the assumption of Fales playing in a Bears Trestman offense. Fales, if he plays, could audition for Trestman at his next gig, or whoever coaches the Bears next season.