Late-Round Fantasy Quarterback Options
I don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion that you avoid a quarterback at all cost in the first round of standard redrafts. The idea that you pass up on Aaron Rodgers in order to select someone like Marshawn Lynch, who may miss the first four games of the season due to a suspension, is foolhardy.
That being said, if you do have one of the top-five picks in a standard fantasy draft, you are likely to look running back.
This can cause a trickle-down effect in your draft. After passing up in the first couple rounds, fantasy owners tend to stack the running back position and find a solid WR1 option. This leads to the Drew Brees’ and Aaron Rodgers’ of the world being taken long before you make the decision to finally nab a quarterback.
What do you do at this point?
Some may look at youngsters such as: Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III as high-upside QB1 options. Others may come to the conclusion that they’re not worth the perceived risk.
Those who fall under the latter category are unknowingly subscribing to the late-round quarterback philosophy.
If so, let’s take a look at a few who could surprise a great deal of people and where they stack up against other quarterbacks who are pegged to go higher in standard drafts.
Note: All ADP provided by My Fantasy League (redraft leagues).
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles: ADP (140.89)
To say that Vick struggled this past season would be a major understatement. He turned the ball over 15 times in 10 games, for an average of one turnover per 27.5 touches (run/pass). To put that into perspective, a youngster like Robert Griffin III turned the ball over once per 46.8 touches.
This obviously had a negative impact as it related to Vick’s fantasy production in 2012.
Overall, Vick ranked 26th among quarterbacks in fantasy points per outing. This made him an emergency waiver-wire pickup in leagues that normally hold on to two quarterbacks.
This was a huge drop considering Vick was a bottom-tier QB1 option in standard 12-team leagues back in 2011 and the No. 5 overall fantasy quarterback in 2010.
The question here is whether Vick can rebound under new head coach Chip Kelly? The former Oregon head man will be bringing a high-tempo spread offense to Philadelphia, which could work well for Vick. He likes to spread the ball around the field and get it to receivers in space. In addition, Vick is solid when it comes to initial reads. Where he struggled last season was progressing beyond that initial read and making a good throw as the play developed. This won’t be as much of an issue under Kelly’s new system.
As it is, Vick still needs to win the starting job. Second-year quarterback Nick Foles played pretty well in limited action as a rookie last season and is right in the thick of the quarterback competition. Meanwhile, Philadelphia exhausted a fourth-round pick on former Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley this past April.
If you average out Vick’s last three seasons, taking into account his horrible performance last year, he would still have been a top-six fantasy quarterback last season.
The opportunity to get him in the 12th round of standard 12-team drafts as an under-the-radar QB2 option enables you to sit the quarterback for a couple weeks to see whether 2012 was more of a mirage than anything else.
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals: ADP (175.14)
Say what you want about Palmer’s effectiveness with the Oakland Raiders last season, he was still a top-tier QB2 option in standard leagues. Palmer finished ahead of the likes of Eli Manning, Joe Flacco and Philip Rivers among quarterbacks.
He also averaged just 2.9 less fantasy points per outing than Matthew Stafford:
|Player||2012 Team||Avg Pts||ADP||ADP Draft Slot|
|Matthew Stafford||Detroit||22.8||64.36||6th Round|
|Russell Wilson||Seattle||20.7||64.49||6th Round|
|Andy Dalton||Cincinnati||20.5||130.59||11th Round|
|Carson Palmer||Oakland||19.9||175.33||15th Round|
|Eli Manning||New York (G)||19||105.03||9th Round|
|Joe Flacco||Baltimore||18.7||134.43||12th Round|
The point here is that Palmer, though not a QB1 option, can enable you to go with the late-round quarterback strategy and focus on other positions earlier. It’s the idea that the drop off from bottom-tier QB1 to top-tier QB2 isn’t great enough for you to fall in line with the masses.
I can guarantee you that in one of my fantasy drafts I will utilize this philosophy and see what happens. After all, it’s all about reinventing how we utilize strategy leading up to fantasy football season.
Does Matthew Stafford, at about three more fantasy points per outing than Carson Palmer, represent value when he goes 10 rounds before his counterpart in Arizona? That’s the question you have to ask yourself. After all, Vernon Davis and Tony Gonzalez might be ripe for the picking in the sixth round as top-tier TE1 options.