Fantasy Football 2013: Risky Quarterbacks Worth Drafting

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2013

Carson Palmer has offensive weapons to work with in Arizona.
Carson Palmer has offensive weapons to work with in Arizona.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The most important position on a football field is quarterback, and Carson Palmer of the Arizona Cardinals is one of the risky signal-callers that would be worth taking from a fantasy perspective.

Unless you can get Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, it would be wise to wait to take a quarterback. Most passers can put up big numbers against the right opponent, so playing the matchup game could pay off for fantasy owners.

The four previously mentioned quarterbacks are going to put up big numbers every week.

The rest of the league is going to be pretty even, so it doesn't matter if you take a quarterback with your second pick or wait a few rounds.

As long as one of the following players isn't on your favorite team's rival, it would be wise to draft them. 


Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

After getting out of Cincinnati, Carson Palmer performed well in Oakland despite his team's failures.

The former Heisman Trophy winner put up big numbers with the Raiders. He didn't have many weapons to work with or a good running game, so it's impressive that he still finished 10th in the league in passing yards. 

Palmer didn't have talent around him on offense, so he wasn't able to throw for many touchdowns. Nevertheless, he still managed 22 scores and only 14 interceptions last season.

A trade to the Arizona Cardinals will give Palmer talent to work with.

The running game in Arizona won't be great, but Palmer is due for a big season.

With Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, Palmer has the weapons to get back to putting up points. Fitzgerald is still one of the best receivers in the league and Palmer can hit him deep to get both players the numbers they are used to.

Arizona plays in the NFC West. The only concern about taking Palmer would be his opponents. He has to face the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks two times each.

Even with those teams on his schedule, he is worth a pick in the middle of a fantasy draft.


Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

Nobody knows who coach Chip Kelly will pick as the starting quarterback, but Michael Vick will be worth drafting.

Though Kelly isn't going to be able to run the same offense that he ran at the University of Oregon, it will be interesting to see what he can do in the NFL.

Vick is suited to run a fast-paced offense like Kelly is known for. The quarterback can use his legs and keep teams guessing.

The Eagles have LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson to help Vick on offense. Both are quick and versatile players. Unfortunately, Jeremy Maclin recently tore his ACL, which takes one his offensive weapons away. 

Vick was once the best fantasy players to have. Even on a mediocre passing day, he can add points by running the football.

Everyone will be focused on taking Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick for a versatile quarterback, but Vick could have a big season under Kelly.


Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

A few years ago, Philip Rivers would have been a smart pick. Now, he's an afterthought and seen as a big risk.

His numbers last season were the worst they had been in years, so most fantasy owners will have Rivers low on their board. 

Rivers did decrease his interceptions and increase his completion percentage from 2011, but almost every other number got worse. 

The 2012 season marked the first time since 2007 that he did not throw for at least 4,000 yards. His 26 touchdowns, 88.6 passer rating and 6.8 yards per attempt were also his lowest marks since 2007.

San Diego struggled last season, especially on the offensive line. Rivers was sacked a career-high 49 times. The Chargers addressed the line in the first round of the 2013 draft, so there should be some improvement.

Danario Alexander joined the team in the middle of October and started making an impact in Week 9. He quickly became Rivers' favorite target and had 658 yards and seven touchdowns on only 37 catches. He had a catch of at least 20 yards in every game in which he recorded a reception.

Malcolm Floyd also had over 800 yards on only 56 catches. He had five touchdowns, but his numbers could increase now that he has a good receiver lining up beside him. 

Rookie Keenan Allen should make an impact on offense as well.

Rivers is no longer an elite quarterback, but he has an improved group of receivers. If he's available late in the draft, grab him.