Did the Late Round Quarterback Work in 2013? Part Two
In part one of this column, I ended with a description of the players who could have been had at the ADP of the early round quarterbacks. Now, in order for the Late Round Quarterback strategy to work, the fantasy team owner has to have an equal or better team than those owners who drafted quarterbacks early.
In one of my 12-team leagues , one team drafted a quarterback in the first round, three teams in the second round, and three teams in the third round. This means that seven-of-12 teams drafted a quarterback in the first three rounds, or the “early rounds”.
Of these seven teams, only two made the fantasy playoffs and one of them owned Peyton Manningy. The other two teams that made the playoffs drafted Tony Romo in the sixth round, and Michael Vick in the tenth round.
Let’s take a look at the teams who drafted a quarterback in the first three rounds and did not make the playoffs:
Team One selected Aaron Rodgers in the first round. Now, Rodgers did get hurt and miss the majority of the fantasy season, so that changes things a bit. But the rest of this team was not enough to lead a successful season. Maurice Jones-Drew, Demarco Murray, Darren Sproles, Reggie Wayne, Tony Gonzalez, Eric Decker, and Sidney Rice were this owner’s next seven picks. This is where it gets interesting. The ninth-round pick for this team was Eli Manning. So, in two of the first nine rounds, this owner selected quarterbacks. Had he have stuck with Eli Manning in the ninth round as his first quarterback and drafted a skill player in the first, his lineup could have included: Marshawn Lynch, Calvin Johnson, Matt Forte, or Jimmy Graham.
Team Two drafted Tom Brady in the second round, who had his worst season in terms of fantasy points in a few years. Team Two’s roster was very good, but he was missing that one player to put him over the top. Team Two traded Tom Brady for Terrelle Pryor and Cecil Shorts, and ending up starting Ryan Tannehill as his starting quarterback. Had he gone with Tannehill and Pryor from the get-go, this owner could have used that second round pick up Frank Gore, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant or Eddie Lacy. The pick after Brady was A.J. Green. This would be Team Two’s lineup had he gone with Green over Brady, and started Tannehill from the get-go. Tannehill, Jamaal Charles, Darren McFadden, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green then in the FLEX would have been a choice of Stevie Johnson, Hakeem Nicks, Cecil Shorts, or Donald Brown (later in the season). Team Two missed the playoffs by one game.
Team Three drafted Matt Ryan in the third round. Now, Julio Jones and Roddy White suffered injuries this season, but Ryan was still drafted ahead of some players who could have contributed even more than Ryan. This owner will never draft a quarterback early again, because his ninth round pick was Philip Rivers, who was a top five fantasy quarterback this season. With Matt Ryan, Team Three’s lineup was composed of Ryan Mathews, Alfred Morris, Stevan Ridley, Steve Smith, Martellus Bennett, and Anquan Boldin. Had he have drafted a skill player instead of Matt Ryan (the next three picks were Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson, and Reggie Bush), things could have been different this year. Team Three went 2-12.
Team Four drafted Colin Kaepernick in the third round. Kaepernick had an excellent first game and a great end of the season, but for the bulk of the fantasy season, he was not worth near a third-round selection. This team’s roster included: Matt Forte, Trent Richardson, Pierre Garcon, Roddy White, Michael Crabtree and Dwayne Bowe. Now, Team Four also drafted Ben Roethlisberger in the 11th round, and he was a serviceable fantasy quarterback for most of the season. If Team Four would have drafted a skill player instead, the team would have made the playoffs. Team Four missed the postseason by one game, and the next three skill players taken after Kaepernick were Wes Welker, Vincent Jackson, and Reggie Bush. What could have been with Forte, Reggie Bush, Pierre Garcon, Roddy White, and Michael Crabtree in the last few weeks.
Team Five drafted Matthew Stafford right after Colin Kaepernick was drafted. Stafford had a decent year in fantasy football, but not worth value in the third round. As mentioned before, the next few skill players were Wes Welker (who Team Five drafted at the turn), Vincent Jackson and Reggie Bush. Team Five drafted Russell Wilson in the eight round, and hopefully will learn from taking an early round quarterback. Russell Wilson was a good fantasy quarterback for an eighth rounder, and had this team have waited and not drafted Stafford, and took Reggie Bush, this would have been his roster. Russell Wilson, Zac Stacy, Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson, Wes Welker, and DeSean Jackson. Without question he would have been a playoff team. But, not having that second running back crushed him, as he was forced to start Andre Ellington and Steven Jackson early in the season. Team Five missed the playoffs by two games.
As you can see, there were five teams that drafted quarterbacks in the first three rounds and did not make that playoffs. All but one team was within reach of the playoffs, and if each team had drafted a skill player over a quarterback in the first three rounds, the playoff bracket would have included at least one of them.
In this league, the last team to draft a starting quarterback lost in the championship game. This owner also drafted David Wilson in the third round, Victor Cruz in the fourth round, lost fifth round pick Rob Gronkowski due to an ACL tear and lost Adrian Peterson to injury for two key matchups. But, this owner was still able to go 10-4 and make it to the championship game. In essence, this owner’s team lost its third and fifth round picks completely, and drafted a bust in the second round. Three of the first five picks were irrelevant, but with the strategy of the Late Round Quarterback, this owner was able to make it to the championship game with Nick Foles and Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Do the right thing next year, wait on your quarterback.