Sometimes an insignificant event can have a monumental impact.

Say it’s summer, 2010. You’re walking down the street one evening with your girlfriend, on your way to dinner. You’ve been dating for almost a year, so it’s pretty serious, but not quite that serious, because there ain’t no ring on that finger. You see a gorgeous girl walking toward you, and you definitely stare at her for a second. No big deal, she was pretty and you looked. Whatever. You just keep on walking.

But tonight it is a big deal. Your girlfriend catches you staring and calls you on it. Your position has been compromised, soldier. You make it through dinner without incident, but there’s tension in the air and you know there’s a battle brewing.

The fighting starts when you return home. You’re yelling, she’s yelling, you make some disparaging remarks about her mother, she throws your fantasy football league trophy (three-time defending champion!) through your plasma TV. Now things are getting out of hand. She kicks you out of the house and you start doing that movie-style break-up scene where you’re in the front yard screaming while she’s dumping all your things out the bedroom window. But things eventually settle down. You pick up your jockeys off the front lawn, embarrassed as the neighbors watch from their windows.

A few weeks go by. You miss her, but you don’t want to call her. Eventually you do though because, hey, you’re no catch. Your 34 and in a dead end job, and she’s already dealt with your fantasy football addiction and your bitching during the lockout, so you might as well give it another shot. But when you finally talk to her, you hear the bad news. There’s someone else. An NFL player. She’s been dating Peyton Hillis, a little-used running back who had just been traded to the Browns, for two weeks now.

You’re crushed, but you move on. Fantasy football season is upon us, and you don’t have time for a girlfriend because you’re already in a committed relationship with your fantasy team. But she and her 6-2, 250-pound stud of a new boyfriend won’t go away, as Hillis becomes a waiver wire sensation in Week 3. But you’re not picking him up. Your team is awesome. But Hillis doesn’t stop, putting up a 1,177 yard, 11 touchdown stat-line nobody saw coming, bulldozing his way to a No. 2 overall fantasy finish. And to make matters worse, your opponent in the league championship has Hillis. And you lose. Badly. Now you’re sitting alone in your parents’ basement as your ex-girlfriend dates the running back that just denied you your fourth straight league title, all because of a wandering eye.

So what does this completely made up story teach us? It teaches us that one seemingly insignificant event can drastically alter your world. And why is that important for you to understand? Because I predict that the transaction this offseason that will have the biggest fantasy impact has been made by a player that might not play a single snap in 2011.

It won’t be Kevin Kolb, the highly sought-after quarterback who has the same amount of NFL pass attempts as the immortal Brodie Croyle. It won’t be Reggie Bush, because he was horribly average before he took his talents to South Beach and should remain that way now that he’s there. And it definitely won’t be Roy E. Williams, who will look to continue his career-long mediocrity on Chicago with a quarterback who still has trouble identifying who is on his team and who isn’t.

No, the biggest fantasy impact off season change of 2011 will be made by the one and only Matthew Erickson Moore. Yes, Matt Moore, the former Panthers’ quarterback who finished his stellar 2010 campaign with 857 yards, five touchdowns and 10 interceptions, will make the biggest fantasy impact of the offseason. Why? Because when Moore signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins on July 29, he made a fairly profound fantasy splash. Not with the Dolphins, of course, because any offense that intends to be lead by Moore or Chad Henne is primed to be a fantasy disaster. But 1,700 miles away in Denver, the Dolphins move to sign Moore has a considerable impacts the fantasy outlooks of three prominent Broncos.

As the end of July neared, it seemed all but certain that Kyle Orton would be traded to the Dolphins. And with Orton gone, Tebow was primed to be the all-time greatest fantasy sleeper that ever existed, ever. Running quarterbacks are a dangerous weapon in the fantasy game, and Tebow was on his way to being a star in that regard, compiling 227 yards and six scores in mostly limited action last year while throwing the ball well enough to keep him serviceable. He was essentially Mike Vick-lite, if Vick was white, less skilled, highly religious and not an ex-convict. But with Moore signing with Miami, Orton is staying with the Broncos, and Tebow will likely be relegated to the bench because John Elway won’t allow the Broncos to start a QB who could possibly be a bigger celebrity than in Denver than he is. Tebow was once a super-sleeper for 2011, but if he’s going to start the season on the bench, he might be better left undrafted.

So with Moore in Miami and Tebow likely heading to the bench, Kyle Orton is relevant again. Last season Orton was a waiver-wire gem, throwing for at least 250 yards and a touchdown in nine of the first 11 weeks. But he fell apart like Ricky Williams after the NFL told him he couldn’t smoke marijuana as the season wore on, throwing for 117 and 166 yards with no scores and three interceptions in his final two starts being benched in favor or Tebow for the final three games. But even though he has a ridiculous neckbeard, Orton will likely be the Broncos starter in 2011. Fans will hold Tim Tebow riots in the streets of Denver if he struggles for even a minute, so he may not be long for the job. But if you need a bench quarterback that will make you cringe every time you look at your fantasy roster, Orton could be your guy as long as he’s playing.

But as much as Matt Moore affects Denver’s quarterback situation, his decision to sign with the Dolphins may have the biggest effect on Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd. After spending the first seven years of his career as a constant disappointment, Lloyd finally reached his potential in his one year playing in Josh McDaniels’ throw-the-ball-on-every-play-because-the-running-game-is-stupid offense, finishing 2010 as the No. 1 fantasy receiver with 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns. But with uncertainty at quarterback, Lloyd’s story could be very different in 2011. If the veteran Orton is in the game keeping the offense steady, Lloyd could once again put up lofty numbers for the Broncos, even in John Fox’s run-heavy offense. But if the young Tebow is under center, Lloyd’s outlook gets a little more blurry. Inexperienced quarterbacks tend to hamper their wide receivers from a fantasy standpoint, and Tebow has started just three games in his career. Remember what kind of fantasy impact the PanthersSteve Smith had last year with rookie Jimmy Clausen throwing him the ball? If you drafted him you do, because he was probably the bane of your fantasy existence last year. In the nine games Clausen started, Smith averaged a meager 30 yards per game and scored zero touchdowns, numbers worthy of the “most dropped” player list. And with a much less impressive track-record than Smith, Lloyd could be in even more trouble with Tebow, even though the two had some success together last season. Beware of a regression either way this season because, let’s face it, Lloyd’s just not top-receiver-in-the-game good. But if Orton starts for the Broncos, Lloyd is a solid bet to finish in the position’s top 20. If Timmy is the guy, you can go ahead and drop Lloyd to Razzball’s own “Up, Down, All Around” tier, with a potential emphasis on down.

A great man once said “A tiny drop in the fantasy football sea can create a tsunami in the ADP landscape.” That great man is me and I literally said that for the first time in this article, but the message holds true. For someone as trivial as Matt Moore, it seems silly to consider him having any fantasy impact other than giving owners the ability to stream defenses against him. But his seemingly worthless move from the hapless Panthers to the slightly-less hapless Dolphins has a profound effect on the outlooks on three significant Broncos, as it makes Brandon Lloyd a legitimate top-end WR threat again, places Kyle Orton back on the fantasy radar and drops Tim Tebow onto God’s waiver wire. All this makes the Matt Moore signing the biggest “fantasy impact” offseason change for 2011.

  1. pedro says:
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    so I went alot fo rounds without picking a qb got stuck with mcnab. i ahv two manager willig to trad, i wont give up much for ither stafford or bradford. Which should I trade for or should i just grab matt moore?

  2. Dominic says:
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    @pedro: did you even read the article?

  3. longbeachyo says:
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    Hey Doc, love the Drafting tiers cheat sheet. Are you gonna do a top 200 overall list again? I thought you did that last year, right? If so, any chance of it being a PPR??? That tier cheat-sheet really helped me out last year, and I was .78 points away from winning my first championship… I will forever hate Lovie smith for pulling Forte out of the goal-line snaps. Yes, I’m bitter!

  4. Shawn Siegele

    Shawn Siegele says:
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    Not sure how well the intro functions allegorically, but I do like that the main character was a 3-time Shiva Bowl winner.

    ‘…drops Tim Tebow onto God’s waiver wire’ is right up there with ‘physics is the only non-cash currency TO accepts’ for the best lines so far in this contest.

    Excellent piece.

  5. Amigo Miguel says:
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    I think the article might be a little too long, especially the intro about Hillis as the boyfriend and destroyer of your fantasy team, but by the end I came away impressed at how small changes can have wide-ranging impacts in the fantasy realm. It got me thinking a little deeper, and wasn’t just a “Draft a kicker last” kind of piece. Nice job, very creative!

  6. trick dad says:
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    i’ve noticed you’re relatively low on Daniel Thomas in the rankings. do you think reggie bush holds onto the starting role all season?

  7. Alex says:
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    @Dominic:

    lol, busted. Pedro probably saw how long it was, got lazy, scrolled down to the bolded Matt Moore and saw his campaign described as ‘stellar’ and figured he had most of the important stuff down.

    Very entertaining piece. Loved the last paragraph, which is pretty much the only necessary paragraph to read for those people looking for the ‘clif notes’

  8. RonWashington'sStache says:
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    I have a keeper league question. I need to choose between either keeping Maclin or Forte. Keeping Maclin will cost me a 12th round pick, while Forte will cost a 2nd round pick. Both players can be kept at that cost, each and every year, for the remainder of their career. Maclin was a no brainer to be kept, until his recent issues with Mono (or whatever he has).
    Any thoughts would be much appreciated, as I need to turn in my keepers later today.

  9. Chris Henry's Zombie says:
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    “You’re position has been compromised, soldier.”

    ~Your position…

  10. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    I just wanted to mention (before I read this post) that I’m pretty frequently getting an error when I try to visit this site (football only as far as I can tell).

    I seem to be getting alot of “Error establishing a database connection” errors, which prevent the page from loading (home page and individual post pages). Not always, but at least a couple times a day for the last little while (am I the only one?).

    Something to look into perhaps.

    PS: if this is posted twice (or more times) its because I got that same error when I tried to submit this comment :)

  11. Donny Kerabotsos' Ghost says:
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    I hate to change the subject as well, but are there any plans to repost the projections in the rankings? (or am I the only one that the projections are no longer appearing for?)

  12. herschel says:
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    @Doc: is 3rd round/4th pick too early to grab felix in a ppr league? i think im officially on the bandwagon….

  13. Trevor says:
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    @RonWashington: I would say you still go with Maclin if you can keep a different player next year. If you’re locked in for life though with pnealty I really couldnt tell you

  14. Jon says:
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    Question about PPR draft strategy. The league scores 6 pts for passing td and 1 pt for 10 return yds. Should I aim for a tier 2 QB early? Should I draft a guy like Mariani in the middle rounds? We roster 2 RB 2 WR and 2 flex. Any help is appreciated.

  15. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @trick dad: I think Bush will hurt his value, but i just haven’t seen DT do anything on the field to make me think he can play at this level.

    @RonWashington’sStache Says: I think Maclin will be fine.

    @A Hill O’ Beans Says: Yeah, we’re working on it. Sorry about that.

    @Donny Kerabotsos’ Ghost Says: I’d like to, but right now that application is slowing the site down. I’m trying to get a way to do it as we speak.

    @Jon Says: We’re going to have a return yardage league post fairly soon. I wouldn’t reach for a QB. Just get value.

  16. Mark says:
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    Any guy that walks out on a relationship with a girl that can date Mike Alstott Jr. is an IDIOT!

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