The Endless Search for Quarterback Help

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In 2010 there have been 67 quarterbacks taking snaps from center. That may seem like a big number, but it's not. There were 78 quarterbacks on the field in 2009, 77 in 2008 and 84 in 2007. But it can be confusing for fantasy owners who had what they thought was a solid strategy back in September before the season began.

Now, unless you drafted one of the few superstars at the position who has stayed healthy all season, there are questions on top of questions.

At least three top fantasy choices before the season began are no longer in the picture - Tony Romo (RapidDraft ADP 42), Kevin Kolb (ADP 81) and Matthew Stafford (ADP 127).

Romo, who has been the Dallas Cowboys starter since 2006 and missed just three games in four years, suffered a broken collarbone and likely won't return this season.

Kevin Kolb was injured in his first start this season against the Green Bay Packers and then supplanted as the starter by Michael Vick's performances.

Stafford, who is the opposite of Romo in terms of durability having missed 12 of 25 possible career starts, has been injured twice this season.

In their place, however, are three "fantasy-worthy" replacements.

The best of them is Vick, who has been almost perfect in his time as the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback. Vick has a quarterback rating of 115.1, has thrown 11 touchdowns against no interceptions and has 341 yards and four touchdowns rushing. His quarterback rating is the highest in the league for anyone with at least 50 passes.

Shaun Hill had been the Detroit Lions backup when Stafford was injured and in his place has posted three games of 300 yards-or-more and three multi-touchdown games.

Jon Kitna has started three games in place of Romo and has two 300-yard games and five touchdowns.

We have also "discovered" a couple of formerly unknown quarterbacks who have turned into decent fantasy options.

At the very top of that list is Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. In just seven games as the Bills starter, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 1,645 yards and 14 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He's ranked 16th among fantasy quarterbacks despite having played fewer games than most of the others QBs around him.

In San Francisco, Troy Smith has put together two solid games in his role as a replacement for Alex Smith. Troy seems to have the backing of coach Mike Singletary and with Tampa Bay at home this week and the weak Arizona Cardinals defense up next, he could be a viable option.

I bring all of this up because on Thursday, the Miami Dolphins will likely start their third quarterback of 2010 -- Tyler Thigpen.

I think Thigpen can play well and if you are struggling at the position due to injury or poor performance, you should consider the former Coastal Carolina Chanticleers quarterback.

In his only prolonged NFL action, Thigpen played solidly for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. Though he didn't win many games for the lowly Chiefs that season, it wasn't Thigpen's fault as he threw for 2,608 yards and 18 touchdowns to only 12 interceptions in 11 starts.

With three solid receiving options in Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess and tight end Anthony Fasano and a good running attack, Thigpen could thrive on Thursday and through the rest of the season if given the chance. He'll have plenty of time to throw, given that the Bears have just 12 sacks this season which ranks them 30th among 32 teams.

So if you don't have Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers or Kyle Orton, there is still hope for your quarterback position. Fitzpatrick is only owned in 60-percent of all fantasy leagues, while Troy Smith and Thigpen are owned in less than 10-percent.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.