The Geek's Fave Five QBs
By David Owen Cymerman of TheFantasyGeek.com
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Football is finally back. Now that the calendar has flipped to August and the first preseason game is in the books, it's time to get serious about your upcoming fantasy football draft. Some owners keep their focus throughout the offseason, following draft-pick signings and studying the impact of coaching changes. If you take a bit more of a recreational approach, no worries. There's plenty of good draft prep stuff right here, and The Geek has you covered with a four-part series called The Geek's Fave Five. Each week, I'll reveal my top-five values at each key fantasy football position. (You're on your own with kickers and defense.)
In this, the first installment of Fave Five, I'm diving into the quarterback position. Taking a birds-eye view of fantasy's most glorified position, there seems to be more depth than ever. As NFL teams evolve into more vertical attacks, running backs have been devalued, while quarterbacks and receivers have cranked up the stats.
There are about 15 guys I'd feel comfortable lining up behind center of my fantasy squad. So if you're in a 12-team league, obviously, you don't need to reach. Yes, landing Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees is sweet. But you'll have to pay a premium price for them. The trick is to identify the players who will outperform their draft positions or auction prices. Just ask the owners who snatched up Cam Newton in the last round or for a few bucks in 2011.
You won't see Cam on my Fave Five list though. Last year's breakout is often this year's most overvalued player. I'm looking to find the next big thing, not break the bank on a previous one. Alright, onto the list of worthy arms that won't cost you an arm and leg.
(ADP rankings from Mock Draft Central, based on a 12-team league)
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, ADP: 81 (No. 11 QB, 7th round) - Once again, "Matty Ice" is on the back end of fantasy starting QBs. This year, however, things are going to change. Failing to pick up critical first downs on fourth-and-short will change the identity of the Falcons. Michael Turner will no longer be a workhorse. Julio Jones will emerge as a top wide receiver and the offense will open up for the Falcons to be more like the Packers, which will benefit Ryan immensely. Need another reason to like the Falcons signal-caller? Just look at that division. The NFC South should be called the NFC Soft.
Robert Griffin, Washington Redskins, ADP: 86 (No. 12 QB, 8th round) - Cam Newton, The Sequel? Not exactly. Griffin is a different kind of player. He's slimmer and quicker, but doesn't have the same goal line presence. You won't get all of those 1-yard TD dives. Still, you could get 40 rushing yards with an occasional rushing TD, which can effectively pad pedestrian passing stats. As the preseason continues, few players will be under the microscope as much as Griffin. And with so much upside, I'm betting his ADP keeps climbing throughout August. Get in early, if you can.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, ADP: 96 (No. 13 QB, 9th round) - Guess who sprained his ankle in camp this past weekend? Yup, Big Ben. He always seems to be dealing with an injury. In this case, it's a good thing. Owners who are tired of seeing Roethlisberger get banged up will stay away on draft day. Prudent owners will pounce when this guy's still around after the top dozen quarterbacks are gone. Look, Rashard Mendenhall is working his way back from a shredded knee. The Steelers are implementing a short-passing offense to keep Ben upright. He's going to be throwing a ton. And with Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, he's got the weapons to put up top six QB numbers.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills, ADP: 187 (No. 22 QB, 15th round) - Taking Fitzpatrick as your QB1 is not recommended. Yet, if you end up waiting for a Jay Cutler or Tony Romo, you could find that Fitzpatrick outperforms your starter quite often. The Harvard grad reportedly injured his ribs in the second half of last season, which could explain why his stats fell off a cliff. I don't love the receiving corps in Buffalo, though Stevie Johnson, David Nelson and CJ Spiller should do enough to make Fitzy...and the Bills...a pleasant surprise.
Tim Tebow, New York Jets, ADP: undrafted - Despite all the hype, Tebow isn't even being drafted in most leagues. Sure, he doesn't have a starting job. And, sure, he throws more worm-burners than spirals. You have to consider the Jets situation though. They're under a ton of pressure to win right now, and there's a good chance Mark Sanchez isn't the answer at quarterback. The Jets have games against the Steelers, 49ers and Texans in the first five weeks. If they get off to a slow start, you could see the switch being made. No offense in the NFL is more run-oriented. Put Tebow at the helm and you'll get fantasy production that should eclipse the serviceable numbers he posted in Denver.
David Owen Cymerman is also known as The Fantasy Geek. He runs a fantasy sports web site appropriately named TheFantasyGeek.com. Stop by for more observations, advice and absurdity from the world of fantasy sports, including articles, live chats and podcasts.
08/08 14:46:27 ET