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Saturday, August 2, 2014

FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT PRIMER: QUARTERBACKS

Today we begin a tour around the various fantasy football positions as drafts continue to go on in large masses with the season quickly approaching.  With that said we begin with the quarterback class and my views on how to place/rank the prime players in this group in leagues that play only one passer.

QUARTERBACKS WHO WILL LIKELY BE DRAFTED ONTO MY EXPERTS TEAM

Tony Romo:  Those who have followed me on the site for the last few years knew this was coming.  Flat out no other fantasy football weekly starting-caliber passer has been more undervalued than the Dallas Cowboys' Romo over at least the last five seasons.  Averaging almost 30 TD's and more than 4,200 passing yards a season during that span, Romo gets downgraded due to all the talk of his late-game failures.  Once again for the 1,001st time, we don't care what Romo does at the end of games so long as he puts up big time numbers before the last two minutes.  On that front Romo has delivered and than some and now he gets to operate an offense under pass-happy king Scott Linehan.  For a guy who is being drafted on average in the fifth or sixth round, Romo is once again a crazy steak who will likely be one my team if the following name doesn't beat him to it.

Matt Ryan:  Yup good old Matty Ice was drafted my yours truly the last two seasons in the Experts League but a year ago I quickly traded him when Julio Jones was lost for the season with his broken foot for Matthew Stafford.  I will be more than happy to go back to the Ryan well again this season as both Jones and Roddy White are healthy and Harry Douglas is more than capable of picking up the receiving slack from the retired Tony Gonzalez.  Dirk Kotter is one of the more pass-friendly OC's in the game and Ryan is still flat in his prime at 29.  Let's do it again my friend.

Matthew Stafford:  Was not sure I was going to go back to Stafford this season after he screwed me royally in the Experts League semifinals a year ago but I can't help ignoring him given how explosive the Lions offense is.  Stafford has the best arm in the game hands down but only has to fight his tendencies to force throws which lead to interceptions in order to realize his vast abilities.  The lasting image of Stafford as a fantasy football December failure a season ago lingers which means his draft price should be affordable. 

Nick Foles:  I really thought Foles would shoot way up the draft boards but he hasn't totally which means I could maybe make a play here.  Honestly I think Foles will go a round too early before I want to get my QB so I doubt he ends up on my team but if he slips than I would consider it.  No way in hell Foles repeats his ridiculous 29-2 TD/INT ratio in 2014 as everything went right for him.  Still the Eagles will throw it all day long and there remains plenty of weapons for Foles to take advantage of.

Philip Rivers:  Told you all to draft Rivers a year ago as many went overboard in saying he was past his prime after a rough 2012 and he rewarded my faith with an incredibly productive 2014.  The Chargers love to run the football though and ultimately I would rather do a tad better than Rivers as my starter.  Only if all breaks down and the guys above go quicker than I thought.

QUARTERBACKS I WILL AVOID

Peyton Manning/Drew Brees/Aaron Rodgers:  I like and respect all three of these guys but I am not willing to spend a first or second round pick on either of them.  Nothing personal but the depth at QB makes that foolish in single-passer setups.  Much more value on taking the backs and receivers early and getting your QB in Round 4 or later.

Colin Kaepernick/Russell Wilson:  I put Kaepernick and Wilson together because both plays in run-dominant offenses that don't allow their QB's to throw the football even remotely close to some of the other guys around them in the rankings.  That means there is immense pressure for the TD's to be there and that number can be volatile.  Plus the downgrade in yardage is a big negative alone.

Cam Newton:  The Carolina Panthers flat out have the worst wide receiving unit in the NFL and now rookie Kelvin Benjamin is already dinged up.  We all love the rushing yards and scores but those stats were down a bit a year ago and Newton really has no one at all to throw to. 

Andy Dalton:  I was a Dalton apologist the last two seasons but the arrival of the run-favoring Hue Jackson is a big problem this season for his stats.  The Bengals will emphasize the run big-time this season which will take a sizable chunk out of Dalton's passing TD's and yards.  Plus his turnovers ways are growing to a very ugly level.

As far as backups are concerned, I am looking closely at Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Tannehill, Sam Bradford, and Josh McCown.  All have solid floors of numbers of upside to take advantage of which is nice to have in a backup.

 

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