Fantasy Football 2012: Tony Romo and 5 Mid-Round QBs Worth Waiting for
It turns out that the world is not over once the elite names are off the board—in fact, you can rest easy knowing there is serious talent at the quarterback position that will be available later in the draft.
Players who average more than 25 touchdowns passes and fewer than 14 interceptions can be had more than 140 picks into the draft.
So, if you choose to address most every other position on your depth chart before circling back to quarterback, that is just fine.There are at least five quiet QB options that could turn you into a fantasy guru.
The middle rounds of a fantasy draft are often where teams become destined to succeed or fail.
Which path will you take?
5. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
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Joe Flacco is not an exciting pick at any point of a fantasy football draft. Rarely is he going to post exceptional numbers over the course of a season or even win many Player of the Week honors.
However, there is one thing about Flacco that makes him beyond attractive in the middle rounds of a draft: his consistency.
Approximately 3,600 yards passing, 21-24 touchdowns and somewhere between 10-12 interceptions can be expected out of the Baltimore Ravens signal-caller on a year-to-year basis. He has never missed a game in his career, and he has one of the NFL's top running backs in Ray Rice to ensure defenses never—and I mean never—key in too closely on the passing game.
Again, Flacco is not going to wow you on a week-to-week basis, but consistency is an inherently underrated aspect of fantasy football.
Don't be afraid to take the underwhelming, but extremely safe selection of Flacco before his average draft position of 146.
4. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
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Tony Romo is not considered one of the NFL's "elite" quarterbacks, and that is a fair argument.
However, there is no denying that Romo is a fantasy asset far too often overlooked in the early rounds of drafts.
Romo has thrown for at least 4,000 yards three times in the past five years, and he has thrown at least 26 touchdowns four times in that time span. His track record certainly has its ups and downs, but this is a player coming off a 2011 season in which he threw for 4,184 yards, 31 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions.
Romo's current average draft position is the 61st pick, but don't you think those numbers might warrant a higher selection?
Romo is going to go higher than other players on this list, but he still is going to be undervalued.
Take the risk.
3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
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There is no getting around the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick is a risky fantasy option, especially as your team's starter.
But this is one risk that could pay huge dividends should you choose to load your team with running backs and receivers before finally addressing your black hole at QB.
Fitzpatrick's average draft position is ranked at a mind-numbing 153 behind players such as Jake Locker, Andrew Luck and Sam Bradford. Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills are certainly a team on the rise, and this is a quarterback who has improved his passing yards in each of the last three seasons.
His interceptions are a serious cause for concern, but with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller both healthy at running back as well as Stevie Johnson maturing into one of the game's most underrated pass-catchers, this is an offense on the brink of exploding in 2012.
This Harvard graduate can likely be had in the double-digit rounds of your draft, and Fitzpatrick is not as much of a waiver as you may think.
2. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears
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There is a stigma surrounding Jay Cutler—one that says he is a whiner, a crybaby and could get hurt at any moment.
If you are one of the believers in this stigma, then put aside your grievances for a second and try to grasp fantasy football reality: Cutler is primed for a huge 2012 season.
Cutler's fantasy production has been an unpredictable ride since joining the Chicago Bears, but there have been limited weapons for him to get the ball to.
Back in 2008, Marshall helped Cutler to his best season, amassing 4,526 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. Rekindling that flame in Chicago this year with a developing offense that now features the two-headed rushing attack of Matt Forte and Michael Bush will spell big things for Cutler and the passing game.
Go ahead and let other fantasy owners pass on Cutler because of his stigma.
Their loss is your gain.
1. Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders
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It can't be possible that Carson Palmer is going, on average, at the 142nd pick in fantasy drafts this year, can it?
That skewed reality is your gain, as most owners are pessimistic about approaching Palmer and his career rejuvenation with the Oakland Raiders.
His body of work last year may have had its rough spots, namely throwing 16 interceptions in just 10 games.
However, Palmer was thrown into an offense midseason, with no time to fully grasp the playbook or build chemistry with his receiving corps.
Even still, Palmer managed to throw for more than 2,700 yards.
At 32, he is not as over the hill as many may think, and in the five career seasons he has played a full slate of games, Palmer has never thrown under 26 touchdowns.
If Fitzpatrick is a risk worth taking in the later rounds, then Palmer may prove to be the biggest steal of your fantasy draft—especially if you get him with the 142nd pick.