Fantasy Football 2013: 3 Quarterbacks to Watch on Draft Day
Quarterbacks in fantasy football often get overlooked in the preparation process in favor of running backs and wide receivers.
You only need to start one quarterback in standard leagues, and they don't get hurt as often as other positions, so you're usually set once you draft your starter.
That being said, the quarterback position is just as important as every other position, and it's a position that you should pay special attention to this year because the top tier of quarterbacks isn't as solid as it's been in seasons past.
Obviously getting a potential top-five quarterback is a huge advantage for your fantasy team, as is having a quarterback with the potential for a big game to carry your fantasy team during any given week.
Getting those attributes in a quarterback that you don't have to take in the first few rounds? That's even better.
These next three quarterbacks have the talent and opportunity to become top-five fantasy quarterbacks, but for different reasons none of them are going early in the draft.
These guys aren't without risk, but betting on them on draft day could pay off in a big way for your fantasy football team.
All stats and ADP references are from ESPN.com unless otherwise noted, and all fantasy scoring referenced assumes standard fantasy football scoring.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is currently being drafted as the twelfth-best quarterback, despite finishing in the top-ten last year.
In fact, aside from the 2010 season when Romo only played in six games, Romo has been a top-ten quarterback every year since the 2009 season. He's only missed nine games over the course of his career, has thrown at least 26 touchdowns in five different seasons and he has four seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards.
That's pretty consistent production, and there are plenty of reasons to expect more of Tony Romo in 2013.
Romo had a very rough start to last season, throwing just 10 touchdowns to 13 interceptions and posting two single-digit fantasy outings through his first eight games.
Over the final eight games, however, he posted 18 touchdowns to just six interceptions. That increase in production coincided with Dez Bryant's breakout in the second half of last season, which isn't very surprising.
Dez Bryant emerged as an elite receiver last season, and if Dez can keep himself focused for a full season there's no reason Tony Romo's 2013 season won't look more like his second half numbers.
Bryant isn't Romo's only weapon, as Jason Witten is one of the best tight ends in the NFL and Miles Austin has been a good receiver when healthy. The offensive line should be improved as well, with first-round pick Travis Frederick solidifying the center position.
There's also the monster contract that Romo signed which should serve as motivation for him to prove to Dallas Cowboys fans that he's worthy of such a large financial commitment.
Romo should be ready to step up this year, and with the offensive weapons that he has around him he should be able to post career highs in every passing category this year.
He's definitely worth a look if you plan on waiting on your quarterback, as he's a rare late-round combination of safety and upside.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions was a borderline first-round pick in fantasy football last season, coming off a season where he posted 5,000 passing yards and 41 touchdowns.
That made last season, which saw Stafford post only 20 touchdowns to 17 interceptions despite throwing a league-high 727 passes, a major disappointment. But not all of the disappointment was a result of a decline in Stafford's game.
The Lions didn't have any receivers after Calvin Johnson, and they had no running game to help take pressure off the passing game. Johnson was also tackled just short of a touchdown six times, which is a phenomenon that's hard to imagine repeating.
If one of the receivers on the Lions can emerge as a legitimate receiving threat opposite Johnson, and they can avoid the bad luck of Johnson getting tackled so close to a touchdown, Stafford will have a better season.
The running game should also be better, as they signed running back Reggie Bush in the offseason. Bush has developed into a competent player when running the ball, and he's a great pass-catcher out of the backfield that should help get Stafford some free yards on short passes.
It's worth noting that Stafford did add four touchdowns on the ground last year, something that's hard to count on for a stationary quarterback like Stafford.
Stafford will be throwing the ball a lot, and he has the weapons to produce. His lack of touchdowns last year hurt his value, but he still almost passed for 5,000 yards.
Had Stafford thrown for just six more touchdowns he would have finished as the seventh best quarterback in fantasy football. If Stafford throws for 30 touchdowns, which is realistic to expect given his career high of 41, he'll be a lock to be a top-ten fantasy quarterback even without his rushing touchdowns.
If Stafford can get back to 40 touchdowns he'll almost certainly be a top-five quarterback.
He has the best receiver in football, one of the best pass-catching running backs and he will probably lead the league in passing attempts once again. All of that combines to make Stafford an ideal candidate to bounce back this year and return to the ranks of the elite fantasy football quarterbacks.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL.
He's a duel-threat quarterback that has the passing ability of a traditional pocket-passer. He finished last season tied for fifth among fantasy football quarterbacks, and he did that as a rookie missing a game to injury and being limited in others.
If he's healthy he's a lock to be one of the best fantasy players this season, but health is the major concern.
RG3 is coming off a torn ACL that he suffered in the first round of the playoffs last season, meaning he hasn't had the full year to recover that a lot of players take to come back from major knee surgery.
Cases like Adrian Peterson, who came back from major knee surgery in under a year to record one of the best seasons for a running back in NFL history, have given a lot of people confidence that RG3 will be ready to play at full speed this year.
Not enough confidence to draft him higher than an average of the end of the fifth round, which means he has a lot of potential value.
If he's healthy, Griffin will provide a major boost to your fantasy football team. If he's not, he's a wasted pick.
The most likely outcome is somewhere in the middle, with Griffin perhaps getting off to a slow start and missing some time but finishing the season strong. If that's the case, he presents a very interesting dilemma during fantasy drafts.
There’s also the risk that Griffin can’t improve in the passing game enough to offset the predicted loss of rushes he will have so that his chance of injury isn't as high.
That’s possible, but it’s also possible he’s even better in his second season than he was in his first. Again, that risk probably ends up somewhere in the middle-ground.
If Griffin can play the majority of the season at an elite level he might be worth the cost of having a backup quarterback start for you the rest of the games.
It's a risk for sure, but if you're prepared to stomach those games he misses there's always the chance that he rewards you by playing a full 16 games at a high level.
RG3 is likely to be one of the players that define the upcoming fantasy football season. He's not the safest pick, but he offers the most upside. And if you like taking risks he's certainly got the chance to be worth the trouble.