Palmer could be undervalued in fantasy drafts

4,083 yards, 27 touchdowns, 281 fantasy points on NFL.com.

Those are pretty good numbers for a quarterback.

What if I told you could probably get that sort of production without sacrificing an early-round selection in your fantasy football draft?

That could be the case with Carson Palmer, who averaged the aforementioned numbers in his last two full seasons.

Palmer, who missed much of 2008 with an injured elbow, told the media this week that he is back to 100 percent and has been “cleared” to prepare for the new season.

He went on to say that his elbow now feels “a lot stronger,” and that he’s not more susceptible to re-injuring it compared to other quarterbacks.

That’s great news in terms of Palmer’s overall value in fantasy drafts.

While he did lose T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Seahawks) this offseason, Palmer still has terrific weapons in Chad Ocho Cinco (yes, that is his official name now), Laveranues Coles and Chris Henry.

All three of those wideouts, most notably Ocho Cinco, will see a rise in value with the veteran quarterback at the helm.

Palmer does come with a level of risk, which will keep him on the board until the middle rounds of most drafts. However, those concerns will certainly dissipate with a solid preseason that’s productive and free of setbacks.

In fact, I’d be more worried about the team’s offensive line. Even with a mobile quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick under center for most of last season, the Bengals still allowed 51 sacks.

Only the 49ers (55) and Lions (52) allowed their quarterbacks to be sacked more often.

Those deficiencies should be addressed in the NFL Draft. The Bengals offense is far less effective without the strong-armed field general, so keeping him upright has to be a prioroty.

If the team can improve the line and build on their late-season success with Cedric Benson and the running game,  Palmer could be in line for a bounce-back season.

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