Quarterbacks are always one of the most puzzling positions to draft for fantasy football owners. Selecting the right signal-caller in the right round to maximize value is a daunting task year after year.
Before fantasy drafts begin, many of us find ourselves asking the same questions. How early should I take a quarterback? How late should I wait? Which ones are most likely to duplicate last season's production?
It's never easy.
The best thing we can do is to prepare ourselves as much as possible before fantasy drafts come around. Let's take a look at current quarterback rankings heading into this season, expected draft positions and a little advice on when to select your desired signal-caller.
|1||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||4||1-2|
|2||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||6||2|
|3||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay||9||2|
|4||Matthew Stafford||Detroit Lions||9||3-4|
|5||Matt Ryan||Atlanta Falcons||9||6-7|
|6||Andrew Luck||Indianapolis Colts||10||4-5|
|7||Tom Brady||New England Patriots||10||5-6|
|8||Robert Griffin III||Washington Redskins||10||5-6|
|9||Cam Newton||Carolina Panthers||12||6-7|
|10||Russell Wilson||Seattle Seahawks||4||9-10|
|11||Colin Kaepernick||San Francisco 49ers||8||7-8|
|12||Nick Foles||Philadelphia Eagles||7||5-6|
|13||Philip Rivers||San Diego Chargers||10||9-10|
|14||Tony Romo||Dallas Cowboys||11||8-9|
|15||Jay Cutler||Chicago Bears||9||9|
|16||Andy Dalton||Cincinnati Bengals||4||11-12|
|17||Ben Roethlisberger||Pittsburgh Steelers||12||11|
|18||Alex Smith||Kansas City Chiefs||6||14|
|19||Ryan Tannehill||Miami Dolphins||5||14|
|20||Carson Palmer||Arizona Cardinals||4||13-14|
Sean O'Donnell's Rankings and Projections
So, here's where the value comes into play.
Looking over the quarterback rankings, it's apparent that some are being selected sooner than they should, while others are taken later, producing value to fantasy owners.
Let's take Matt Ryan—the fifth-ranked quarterback—for example.
He's currently being selected in the vicinity of the sixth and seventh rounds of fantasy drafts—a couple rounds later than quarterbacks ranked below him.
Sure, there's a reason for this. After all, Ryan threw for 4,515 yards, 26 touchdowns and 17 interceptions last season. That's not overly impressive. However, take into consideration his patchy offensive line and the injuries to wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.
Next, take into consideration the Atlanta Falcons made some serious offensive line upgrades, such as selecting Jake Matthews in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, and the fact that both wide receivers are now healthy.
The thought that Ryan could produce upwards of 4,800 yards and 35 touchdowns isn't really far fetched. That's the definition of draft value.
We also have to take into consideration the complete opposite of Ryan's scenario. For this example, let's focus on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.
Foles isn't a bad quarterback by any stretch. In fact, he was impressive last season, throwing for 2,891 yards, 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions in 13 games. However, there's reason to believe he won't be quite as productive this season.
Currently, Foles is ranked 12th on the above list, but he's being drafted in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Well, this one's pretty easy to decipher. While many fantasy owners remember Foles' production from a season ago—with good reason—we must consider the big changes on Philadelphia's offense going forward.
Losing DeSean Jackson is huge for Foles in 2014. Jackson accounted for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns one season ago, much of those totals coming from big plays.
This year, the Eagles don't have that type of playmaker out wide. Jeremy Maclin is a talented pass-catcher but isn't a deep threat. To make matters worse, he can't seem to shake injury woes, playing a full 16-game season just once in his five-year career.
Should Maclin miss time this season, the Eagles are suddenly scarily thin at the position, having Riley Cooper and rookies just behind him on the depth chart.
Yes, the addition of Darren Sproles will certainly help things, but he will in no way make up for the loss of Jackson.
Expectations should be tempered with Foles, and many fantasy owners who draft him early may not like the end result.
Before participating in your fantasy draft this year, take the time to decipher each quarterback's ceiling and floor, take their average draft positions into consideration and make your decision from there.
A calculated approach will go a long way—possibly to a championship.