Fantasy Football Position Primer – Quarterbacks

The preseason is so close I can taste it! Before the first game kicks off, I’m plowing through primers for all the major fantasy football positions. I started with tight ends and running backs, and now it’s time to put quarterbacks under the magnifying glass. If you’ve got a minute, first brush up on the quarterbacks that changed teams.

All done?

Okay, let’s dive into this refreshing pool of knowledge. Don’t forget to bring a towel!

Drafting Strategy

If you’re not planning on drafting one of the top few quarterbacks in the first 20 picks then prepare to play the waiting game, because a 3rd or 4th round QB will be just as good as an 8th round one. Wait, wait, and wait some more. Last year, only 2.0 PPG separated quarterbacks 4 and 13, and only 3.1 PPG separated 4 and 21. I expect a similar spread this season. So feel free to be one of the last teams to select your starting QB. If you’re feeling unsure, no worries, just grab two. There should also be plenty of worthwhile waiver pickups.

Tiers

Tier One

The first tier is pretty predictable and consistent with public opinion. It’s hard to deviate from these top four. They are all seemingly healthy, tied to potent offenses, and have good continuity of offensive weapons. You might say “Manning lost Decker,” but adding Sanders and Latimer is a net gain. Stafford finally has a legit WR2 in Tate, which puts him firmly into this first tier. Feel free to pull the trigger on one of these QBs. However, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: don’t spend a first round pick. If you want one of these studs, wait until the second round – a couple of them should still be there. If they’re gone, that just means you’re getting insane value at RB and/or WR in the second round.

QB tiers 1

Tier Two

I’m tempted to make the second tier 15 players deep, but have decided to pull out three names just because of their upside and ability to add valuable rushing stats. The return of Wayne and Allen, and the addition of Nicks, should help Andrew Luck eclipse 4,200/25 while also contributing 300/4 rushing. With DeSean Jackson in town, RG3 should also bounce back from his disappointing 2013. Cam Newton’s fantasy points have gotten lower and lower since his rookie year. Unfortunately, I expect that trend to continue. His ankle injury will rein in his rushing stats, and shaky receivers will limit the Panther’s passing attack. All that said, he’s still got a very high floor and is almost guaranteed a top 10 finish.

qb tiers 2

Tier Three

The rest of these quarterbacks are very competent and could make up a very good QBBC. Basically just pick your two favorites. Rivers is coming off a career year. Brady is looking to bounce back. Matt Ryan could struggle without Gonzalez, but he’s got Julio back. Then you’ve got Foles and Cutler in explosive offenses. Wilson and Kaepernick aren’t going to light it up with passing yards, but their rushing abilities help pad the stats. Romo and Dalton are good options, too. If you have the patience, it pays to wait.

Overvalued

Cam Newton is going in the 3rd round. In terms of position ranking, QB5 is a little high, but I only have him a couple spots lower. In addition to the concerns I expressed above, my main gripe here is more about the early pick. There are just too many great WRs, RBs and TEs available in the 3rd round. Just to name a few, your team would be better off with Randall Cobb, Keenan Allen, Ryan Mathews, Andre Ellington or Jordan Cameron.

Don’t get too excited about Johnny Manziel. He’s currently going off as the 16th QB. If you draft a stud QB1, I could see taking “Football” as a lottery ticket to be used as trade bait, or to be cut if he doesn’t pan out. However, counting on him as part of a QBBC is risky business. He could burn a hole in your bench until Halloween! I’d rather have later picks with solid floors like Dalton, Big Ben, Tannehill or Palmer.

Undervalued

For a quarterback who finished No. 3 behind Manning and Brees, Andy Dalton is getting NO love. What’s up with that? I expect a healthy dose of regression, but not all the way to QB19! If you’re using the QBBC strategy or if you’re in a 2-QB league, Dalton should be high on your list of late targets. At this point, he’s a cheap investment. So, why not? To add to his case, he’ll be trying hard to earn a big contract extension. He can easily finish in the top 12 for the third straight year.

Phillip Rivers is coming off the best year of his career, but is still being selected as the 14th QB off the board. Like Dalton, I think he’s a fantastic candidate for a QBBC that can be had in the later rounds (current ADP is in the 9th). It’s dangerous to bank on another career year, but I think he’ll make it happen. Keenan Allen and Ladarius Green are emerging stars among other strong receivers and a potent rushing game. I’d rather draft Rivers than Brady, Wilson, or Kaepernick.

Sleepers

Quarterback “sleepers” are hard to come by, because most starters are entrenched and the handful of open competitions are well publicized (i.e. Hoyer vs. Manziel). If I had to pick a couple quarterbacks that aren’t being talked about, it would be Mike Glennon and Charlie Whitehurst.

As I’ve said before, Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt has a man-crush on Whitehurst. K-Wiz kicked Ryan Fitzpatrick to the curb faster than Ryan could say you can’t triple stamp a double stamp. Their blossoming bromance started in San Diego and is now threatening Jake Locker’s career in Nashville. Locker was already on thin ice due to injuries and lackluster performance, so I would not be surprised to see the inexperienced Whitehurst get a legitimate shot at fantasy relevance. Offensive weapons Wright, Walker, and Sankey could help him make the most of that opportunity.

Glennon’s outlook will become clearer as the preseason progresses. For now his demise is overstated, unless McCown thoroughly outplays him over the next 6 weeks. McCown played very well last season, but – as Yoda would say – a few good games a good quarterback does not make. Also, at 35 years old, McCown is not the future of the franchise. A scenario where the Bucs give Glennon the rock, and he takes full advantage of flashy new receiving weapons and a renewed running game is entirely plausible. In fact, while his worst-case “floor” consists of him keeping the bench toasty for McCown, I would argue that his ceiling is higher than established starters like Alex Smith, Joe Flacco, EJ Manuel, or Sam Bradford.