Whenever someone asks you to explain fantasy football to them, you can do so by simply stating that anyone who is good in real life, is good in fantasy.
It’s a generalization, but it really is true. Any QB who throws for 4,000 yards in real life is good in fantasy. Any RB or WR who has over 1,200 yards is good in fantasy. Any defense that is tough to score on is good in fantasy.
So how, then, do you explain that Tim Tebow is valuable in fantasy football?
Our own eyes tell us it can’t be possible. His delivery of the football is so awkward and painful looking it has lead many to question whether or not he is actually left-handed.
He overthrows open receivers 25 yards downfield on one play, then he short-hops a receiver 10 yards in front of him on the next. His lack of arm strength is extremely perplexing, given the fact that he is built like a Roman gladiator.
But, he simply can’t throw a football.
If Tim Tebow showed up at your annual Turkey Bowl next Thursday on Thanksgiving, and you didn’t know who he was, odds are he wouldn’t even be chosen as the QB for your game. Linebacker? Sure. Tight End? Probably. But chances are there is at least one person in your immediate family who can throw a football further, and looks more natural doing it, than Tim Tebow.
So, how good is he in fantasy football?
Here’s a list of QBs he currently ranks ahead of:
Eli Manning: 17.4
Michael Vick: 16.7
Tony Romo: 16.2
Ben Roethlisberger: 15.2
Philip Rivers: 14.5
That’s an impressive list, but where do his points come from?
Everybody knows about his legs, and he is rushing for an impressive 44.8 yards per game since taking over for Orton; second only to Michael Vick (59.4 YPG) among QBs.
Those yards are nice, but they only account for four fantasy points-per-game, so naturally he must be running for a bunch of TDs, right? Wrong. His two rushing TDs are five less than Cam Newton and one less than Mark Sanchez. He’s tied with noted human statues Matt Schaub and Matt Ryan.
So, obviously he must be throwing for more yards than we would expect, right? Wrong again. His 121 yards passing rank dead last in the league since he took over in Week 5.
His 105 passing attempts? Yup, last. His 47 completions? 32 out of 32.
OK, one last time then: How is he doing it?
Believe it or not, he’s putting up the points by performing the one basic task that you ask a QB to do: Throw TDs.
Since taking over for Kyle Orton, Tebow has thrown seven touchdown passes. Here’s a list of a notable players with fewer passing scores over the same period:
Joe Flacco: 3
Michael Vick: 5
Jay Cutler: 6
Cam Newton: 6
Matt Hasselbeck: 6
Maybe that isn’t a “who’s-who” list of elite QBs, but ESPN doesn’t lead off SportsCenter on a nightly basis talking about how they throw like pregnant women either.
Something else that gets lost in the shuffle when talking about Tebow: He doesn’t really turn the ball over. With the exception of his indescribably bad Week 8 game against Detroit, where he threw one INT and fumbled three times, he has only had one turnover in the other four games in which he has played significant minutes this season.
Just to name a few:
Matt Stafford: 6
Ben Roethlisberger: 6
Drew Brees: 7
Tom Brady: 8
Eli Manning: 9
Michael Vick: 9
Philip Rivers: 15
Each turnover deducts two points, so while Tebow has lost 10 points (or two points per game) over those five weeks; Philip Rivers is costing his owners six per game.
He may not succeed in the most conventional way—and that’s part of the reason why he receives so much flack—but the fact of the matter is, he is succeeding; both in fantasy and in winning NFL games.
Whether your fantasy QB throws for a flashy 300 yards and two TDs, or if he only manages 100 yards through the air with one TD while rushing for 60 yards and a second TD, is inconsequential; because at the end of the day, you still have the same 20 points to show for it.
As fantasy owners, the one thing we have in common with Tebow (in addition to looking incredibly awkward when we try to throw a football left-handed) is that neither of us are awarded style-points; we only get wins or losses.
He may never throw for 4,000 yards in a season or make a Pro Bowl, but in the world of fantasy football, it’s time to accept Tim Tebow for what he is, as it pertains to us: A top-flight option at QB.