Donovan McNabb
Donovan McNabb
43-Year-Old QuarterbackQB
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Donovan McNabb in 2019. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a one-year, $5.05 million contract with Minnesota in July of 2011.
QBFree Agent
September 5, 2012
McNabb has joined the NFL Network broadcast team, reports.
McNabb said in May he wasn't retiring and was working out, but he didn't find any offers. He may not have officially retired, but this news indicates his career is all but over.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
With all bridges burned in Washington, the Redskins sent McNabb to Minnesota in exchange for two sixth-round draft picks. His 2010 struggles (14 touchdowns to 16 turnovers) and history of durability troubles indicate he’s unlikely to have a major revival in Minnesota and at this point in his career McNabb looks like little more than a one- or two-year stopgap option. In addition, the Vikings drafted quarterback Christian Ponder in the first round of the 2011 Draft, which further limits any long-term potential for McNabb in Minneosta.
McNabb makes a much-publicized transition from the Eagles to division rival Washington, and as a result steps into Mike Shanahan’s QB-friendly system. You have to expect McNabb to perform at least as well as he would have had he remained in Philly. Shanahan will try to mold at least one of Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly into a suitable complement to Santana Moss, who can be a poor man’s DeSean Jackson, given McNabb’s long-ball skills. Shanahan will run it more than the Eagles did. But that will set up the big plays, which are McNabb’s bread and butter. He’s not accurate enough on those easier, shorter throws. He can extend plays with athleticism that belies his age and miles and getting big chunks down field amidst the chaos. McNabb is an excellent cheap starter in standard formats.
McNabb could be discounted in many leagues given he was famously benched last year and his modest 2008 stats. He has warts, we know. He’s not accurate (15.6 percent poor throws). He checks down too much, especially on first down (6.6 YPA on those attempts, 32nd among QBs with more than 50 first-down attempts). But he has Andy Reid calling plays, which means passes on about 60 percent of snaps. He’ll have Brian Westbrook, the NFL’s Queen on the Chessboard when healthy, which, unfortunately, is always a question. But the Eagles are now better prepared to withstand Westbrook’s loss given the addition of LeSean McCoy (Pittsburgh), who has Westbrook-like RB/WR skills. McNabb will have a couple of game-breaking outside talents for the first time since Terrell Owens left in DeSean Jackson and rookie Jeremy Maclin (Missouri), who is more of a possession receiver but who also flashed some game-breaking skills in college as a kick returner. Kevin Curtis can slide into the slot receiver spot for which he’s the better fit. Underachieving TE L.J. Smith is gone, though, and Cornelius Ingram (Florida) is likely too raw given all the time he missed in college with knee injuries. Even more important, the team’s offensive line was fortified with the addition of OT Jason Peters, and OT/OG Stacey Andrews, who is recovering from a torn ACL and thus might not be ready at the start of the season. McNabb is in an environment where he has a chance to be a poor-man’s Drew Brees (given the Eagles pass-happy ways) at a price at least four rounds later. He will reward those who wait to fill the position.
He missed time yet again with injury, but managed 14 starts and put up numbers that are acceptable for a fantasy starter but not a star. He's a JAG now at the position -- just a guy. In addition, Kevin Kolb, last year’s second-round pick, is now the No. 2 man with his sights set on McNabb, who created waves in the offseason when he blogged that the Eagles needed to bring in "playmakers." McNabb insisted he wasn't criticizing his receivers. But no one is a bigger playmaker than Brian Westbrook. So who's left? This was not a way to make friends among your teammates or in the front office. Kevin Curtis ("White Lightning") is back. Reggie Brown is more of a possession guy. Tight end L.J. Smith is always hurt. None of these guys are particularly strong in the red zone, and that's where McNabb really struggles: just 11 TDs in 79 red-zone attempts, well below average. Much of the blame falls to McNabb, who checks down if his first read is'’t open rather than going through downfield progressions. McNabb also thinks he can still outrun defenders on scrambles. This results in too many sacks – 44 in 473 attempts; the Eagles were 25th in sack rate, and that figure will improve if McNabb simply gets rid of the ball when escaping pocket pressure instead of futilely trying to make plays with his injury-ravaged legs. Barring injury, the chances of McNabb being replaced this year by Kolb are slim. This is an Eagle team that considers itself a serious Super Bowl contender. But the injury risk with McNabb is ever present. If you own him, you need a very capable backup, and that demands at least a mid-round pick. Even though there's always serious passing upside in an Andy Reid offense, McNabb is too risky to put in the top quarterback tiers.
McNabb’s missed so much time the past five years, is coming off reconstructive knee surgery and is 30-years old. The mobility has been more threat than reality in recent years, and the ACL fix might be the neon sign defenses need to ignore the threat of his running and play him more like a typical pocket passer. If that happens, McNabb is in trouble because he’s always near the top of the poor-throw rankings (20 percent, about a third worse than the average QB). McNabb threw just an average percentage of passes 11-to-20 yards and almost exactly as many behind the line scrimmage. To be fair, McNabb not only had a 100-plus QB rating on those throws, but a 100-plus QB rating on throws more than 20, 30 and 40 yards, too. And about 14 percent of his attempts were these legitimately deep throws, which is at the high end of the league range. Teams have been hesitant to blitz and play man versus McNabb because of his running threat. He's also been blessed of late with explosive receiving threats (Terrell Owens and Donte Stallworth). But teams might do with him what they did with Culpepper last year -- blitzes on about 50 percent of passing plays. If McNabb proves he can run and is psychologically equipped just nine months removed from surgery to actually try it, this might change. But we doubt it will change because McNabb burns them in the pocket with precision timing passes. Last year, McNabb was blitzed on 30 percent of attempts and had a mediocre 78 QB rating versus it. The receivers are all adapting to new roles. Kevin Curtis has never remotely been a go-to guy. You never can bank on Brian Westbrook being healthy, though he’s spectacular when he is. The argument for McNabb is that Andy Reid made cast-off Jeff Garcia a championship-caliber fantasy QB. Plus, the Eagles throw more frequently than any other team by a mile, 62 percent passing plays the first half of all games, and that figure was even higher with McNabb. And McNabb hasn’t really been a major running QB for years and did play great in the past when injury severely limited his mobility. If you’re persuaded to draft McNabb, consider yourself warned that you need a Plan B not just for injury but for a regression to his pre-Owens/Stallworth level of 2003, when he averaged just one TD pass per game.
First let’s get the negatives out of the way. He’s never averaged more than 7.0 YPA without Terrell Owens. And he never threw more than 25 TD passes without him, either. He doesn’t run anymore. It wasn’t just the hernia last year that kept him to 55 yards in nine games. He only had 220 yards rushing in ’04 and didn’t run at all in the biggest game of his life, Super Bowl XXXIX. He also has long stretches when he struggles to throw the ball; last year, 21 percent of his throws were poor; 18 percent in ’04. So why draft him? He plays in the NFL’s most QB-friendly offense. With McNabb in each of the last two years, the Eagles were among the NFL leaders in percentage of pass plays. So, they’re going to throw and keep throwing, win or lose. They’re always at or near the top in first-down pass percentage, too, and McNabb averaged 7.2 yards on those attempts last year. His arm strength is fine, with an 81 QB rating on 11-to-20-yard throws. And he’s efficient in the red zone, with TD passes on 28 percent of attempts last year. (The Eagles were second to Oakland last year in red-zone pass percentage; they were fifth in ’04). Philly still doesn’t have a reliable red-zone back, so the passes there should come frequently again in ’06. There’s no denying the loss of Owens is critical and severely limits McNabb’s upside. But Andy Reid’s play calling keeps the floor high. And Brian Westbrook is the best receiving threat among NFL running backs. Tight end L.J. Smith is a serious weapon, too. The Eagles believe that Reggie Brown can supply that threat in his sophomore year, giving McNabb an arsenal of options through the air.
McNabb’s numbers from last year might not look that great compared to Peyton Manning’s and Daunte Culpepper’s, but consider that McNabb sat out most of Week 16 and all of Week 17 with the Eagles playoff seed wrapped up. If you prorate McNabb’s passing numbers over a 16-game season, you get 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns. But that’s not the end of the discussion as McNabb also did some damage on the ground with three scores and 221 rushing yards – also in 14 games. The arrival of Terrell Owens helped boost McNabb’s YPA from a pedestrian 6.73 in 2003 to a stellar 8.26. Unfortunately for McNabb – and those of us who have to find a place for him in our quarterback rankings – Owens skipped the Eagles’ first mandatory spring minicamp and is threatening to hold out if the Eagles don’t renegotiate his contract. Moreover, Owens took a verbal jab at McNabb in the media for his play during the Super Bowl. Without Owens, McNabb belongs somewhere in the second tier of quarterbacks among the likes of Jake Delhomme, Brett Favre and Tom Brady. With Owens, Brian Westbrook, who led NFL running backs in receptions, yardage and touchdowns, Pinkston, Greg Lewis, rookie wide receiver Reggie Brown and Westbrook-clone rookie Ryan Moats, the Eagles would be better stocked on offense that at any time in McNabb’s tenure. And in that case, it would be sorely tempting to rank him second behind Manning. But given the uncertainty surrounding Owens, Daunte Culpepper gets the nod over McNabb, even without Randy Moss.
Terrell Owens changes everything. Or does he? Yes, McNabb finally has a premier, multi-dimensional weapon at wide receiver. And we'll even assume that Owens' case of the dropsies last year was induced by contract distractions. But the question remains whether McNabb has the skills necessary to produce premium fantasy points with his arm and his legs. The case against the former is pretty convincing. McNabb consistently completes less than 60 percent of his passes despite throwing almost two thirds of them less than 10 yards. Blaming his accuracy woes on his receivers doesn't fly when you consider that a whopping 18.8 percent of his total throws were classified as "poor." Accurate passers such as Peyton Manning and Chad Pennington are off target about 12 percent of the time. Was this an aberration in what everyone would agree was a sub-par fantasy year? No. McNabb also threw "poor" passes 18 percent of the time in 2002. Don't expect McNabb's accuracy to significantly improve after decades spent throwing a football (or trying to). Still, a QB's fantasy fortunes necessarily improve by adding an upper-echelon talent at receiver. Owens will boost McNabb's TD totals by dominating DBs near the goal line (18 TDs inside the 10 since 2000), and his overall impact could ripple through the passing game, as the double-teaming Owens faces creates more opportunities for other receivers.
McNabb's excellent fantasy production over the past three seasons (77 combined touchdowns in 42 games) has come despite a below-average set of skill players around him. McNabb was the top-scoring fantasy player when the ankle injury hit last year, due in large part to his running abilities (460 yards, six touchdowns in 10 games), but he did very little running when he returned for two playoff games (41 yards, no touchdowns against Atlanta and Tampa Bay). We don't expect McNabb to run this infrequently for 2003, but pay close attention to this situation – on the strength of his arm alone, he may not be a top-five quarterback.
More Fantasy News
QBFree Agent
May 14, 2012
McNabb indicated on ESPN SportsCenter on Monday that he has dropped about 15-20 pounds.
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Donovan McNabb: Hopes To Catch on With New Team
QBFree Agent
May 6, 2012
McNabb is not retiring and hopes to catch on with an NFL team in time for training camp, ESPN Chicago reports. "I've been training hard and preparing myself in San Diego working with George Whitfield, the obviously well known quarterback guru, supposedly, over the past month," McNabb said. "Just kind of refining the skills, working on the mechanics and getting back to a high level, an elite level. I'm just waiting for the opportunity to display that."
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Donovan McNabb: Unclaimed On Waivers
QBFree Agent
December 2, 2011
McNabb was not claimed on waivers, Chicago Tribune writer Brad Biggs reports.
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QBFree Agent
December 2, 2011
NFL Network's Jason La Canfora believes that McNabb's best (and perhaps only) chance to catch on with another team at this point, is with Chicago.
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Donovan McNabb: Cut Loose by Vikings
QBFree Agent
December 1, 2011
The Vikings have granted McNabb's request to be released, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reports.
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