Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2012 Draft Prep: QB tiers and strategies

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

• Dave Richard's tiers and strategies: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Kicker/DST

When it comes to quarterbacks, you must first decide when to take a quarterback, then decide who. And these will be the two biggest decisions you make on Draft Day.

Four factors will help you make the call on the when:

• What's the scoring like for quarterbacks?
• How many quarterbacks can you start?
• How many teams are in the league?
• What's your personal preference on quarterbacks?

2012 Draft Prep essentials
Fantasy News
Rankings | Top 200 | Player Profiles
CBSSports.com Draft Averages
Mock Drafts | Projections | Draft Index

The more points quarterbacks get compared to everyone else, the more valuable they become. The more quarterbacks you can start, the hotter the commodity they become. The more teams in your league, the more desirable they become. These things are obvious; personal preference is not.

Some people are locked into taking an elite quarterback as soon as possible because those reliable, established ones have the tendency to score lots of points on a weekly basis and be counted on to play every game. Some people prefer to wait for a quarterback, instead picking up quality players at other positions before going with a signal-caller who might not score as consistently but still be productive. Others will wait longer for a passer knowing one will be there at a great draft value, forfeiting consistency.

The only right answer is that there's no wrong answer. Whether you decide to take a quarterback in Round 1 or 2 or wait until halfway through the draft, you're not exactly putting yourself in a dangerous position provided you can only start one and that the league has 12 or fewer teams.

Let's help figure out which way you might want to go.

Go early
Rounds: 1-2
Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton
Pros: These are rock-solid starters with 20-point expectations from week to week. Of the group, only Stafford carries injury risk, but the truth is if you're taking a quarterback this early you're never going to bench him (or at least you hope not!). Therefore, it's not as necessary to draft a backup; you can always find someone to fill in on the bye week later. That opens up a roster spot for an extra player, perhaps a running back.
Cons: By spending a top-round pick on a quarterback, you pass on the chance to draft an elite non-quarterback. Statistically that might not be a big deal because quarterbacks put up a ton of points, but if you have to start two or more running backs and two or more receivers, you'll either have to get lucky in your draft or do some detective work in the middle rounds for low-end starters.
When I'll use this strategy: Leagues with 14-plus teams, leagues that start multiple quarterbacks and 12-team non-PPR leagues when I pick toward the middle/end of the first round. I'll never pick a quarterback with an early or middle first-round pick in 10-team leagues knowing everyone will have an all-star quarterback. Round 2 or maybe 3 is when I'll lift a finger for a passer in those smaller formats. If there are heavy yardage bonuses I'll lean toward this crew.

FREE Draft Kits!
Mike Tolbert
Get everything you need to dominate on Draft Day in one convenient place with our Downloadable Draft Kit, complete with projections, rankings and outlooks for 2013!
Download your Draft Kit now!

Go early-middle
Rounds: 4-5
Quarterbacks: Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Michael Vick, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers
Pros: To get one of these guys would still mean burning a valuable pick, but not one of your first two (or maybe even four) selections. That should give you a chance to land some elite and very good talent and still get a quarterback capable of at least 15 points per week.
Cons: They're not bad, but they're not elite. Potential to be? Sure, but not quite as reliable as the first five are thought to be. But that's why you're drafting them here and not there. There are some injury risks here with Vick and Peyton Manning so getting a backup for those is a must, but the rest don't require one.
When I'll use this strategy: In most 12-team PPR and all 10-teams leagues. So basically this is the most common draft plan I'll propose, especially if I'm picking in the Top 3 overall.

Go middle
Rounds: 6-7
Quarterbacks: Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger
Pros: Excellent value -- you'll get a quarterback after you've drafted at least five starters at other positions. Plus the pressure is on your opponents to get players at those other positions while you can strategize your way into a starter. And expectations aren't too bad for these guys as they'll score close to (if not more) than the early-middle quarterbacks.
Cons: More risk with this pair than the others, though not much. Both are capable of laying an egg more than a few times during the year. Backups are necessary in case they struggle or get hurt, but you could land one in the ensuing round.
When I'll use this strategy: I don't mind waiting for Romo (not so much Big Ben) in Round 6 or 7, but I'll need the draft to fall the right way. That means I'll try to land Romo as late as possible, then follow him up with an upside-laden backup a couple of rounds later. Typically this might happen to me in 12-team leagues.

Go crazy
Rounds: 8-plus
Quarterbacks: Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub, Robert Griffin III, Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck, etc ...
Pros: In theory the rest of your roster will be stocked because you've waited this long. And if you hit it big with a quarterback that outperforms expectations (think Stafford or Newton last year) you should be on your way to your league's playoffs. Going with back-to-back quarterback picks using this strategy makes sense as you give yourself two options to start weekly and two chances for an overachiever.
Cons: You're committing to playing the matchups every week if you take two non-No. 1 Fantasy quarterbacks. There's significant risk as no one in this group can consistently put up over 15 Fantasy points per week. And there's definitely some uncertainty as every passer has some question marks. If you get unlucky with other players on your Fantasy team and your quarterbacks don't step up you're sunk.
When I'll use this strategy: Not often -- maybe in 14-plus team PPR formats. In fact, I'd have to wait and wait for a quarterback only to get besmirched by a rival who takes his second passer before I get my first. But I'm not opposed to going with a Cutler-Schaub battery if I'm picking near the end of a round and have picks in close proximity and can get them both.

The 4-10 split

It's understandable to want a great Fantasy quarterback. How many owners won big last year with one of the guys ranked in the Top 5? But whether you can't bring yourself to take one with a Top 24 pick or come out of the first two rounds without one because other owners ate them up, keep this idea in your back pocket.

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe today!

Basically we're looking for a quarterback in Round 4 and another in Round 10 to serve as our options for the year. The choices we'll have in Round 4 will be along the lines of Ryan, maybe Vick, Rivers and a Manning. Pair one of those guys with a sleeper in Round 10, maybe someone as good as Cutler or Luck. The basis is to lean on the guy you draft in Round 4 and hope the 10th rounder plays out of his mind and can be good trade bait.

This year's Cam?

Drafting a sure thing in Round 1 is nice, but everyone wants to land the sleeper quarterback who develops into a Top 10 Fantasy choice. While we can't guarantee that any of these quarterbacks will finish as Top 10 options, we do recognize their potential and wouldn't list them here if they couldn't get into that Top 10. Give them some thought late in drafts as a second (or even third) quarterback.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati: There's a lot to be excited about here. He's got the stud receiver (A.J. Green), the burly tight end (Jermaine Gresham), some up-and-coming complimentary targets and will run Jay Gruden's offense for a second season. He'll need his run game to play better than expected to have a chance at being a massive stat machine, but he's got the pedigree to do it. Getting over the hump vs. the Steelers and Ravens (four touchdowns, five interceptions, 50.3 comp. pct., 6.36 yards/att.) would be a must.

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay: I might not be the biggest Vincent Jackson fan but even I'll admit he'll be a huge help to Freeman's passing numbers. Bringing him in and moving Mike Williams to a No. 2 role gives the Bucs a formidable receiving threat. Throw in Doug Martin, Dallas Clark and Preston Parker and Freeman easily has the most effective pass-catching unit he's ever had. Tack on his rushing ability and the sky is the limit.

Robert Griffin III, Washington: The fit of Griffin in Mike Shanahan's offense is perfect. He's at his best when he moves out of the pocket and fires downfield. He's going to have a good receiving corps and will pick up a lot of yardage running the ball. Playing in a tough division doesn't help but you can count on Griffin delivering some impressive weeks. He's actually the best rookie quarterback you can draft in seasonal leagues, but just barely.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis: I can't help myself: I love Luck already. He's so polished, so ready for the NFL. But his receiving corps just isn't awesome and his offensive line wishes it was average. He's going to have some tremendous stat lines and he's also going to have some nasty weeks, including Week 1 against the Bears. I am all for taking a flier on Luck in Round 10 or even 11 but wouldn't go much farther with him than that. Luck is worth taking No. 1 overall in rookie drafts -- he'll eventually be a gem for Fantasy.

Alex Smith, San Francisco: Look, the Niners didn't add Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins to boost ticket sales. They know they became too predictable and had to improve the receiving corps to keep defenses from keying in on what Smith was doing. He doesn't have a cannon for an arm but doesn't need it. A versatile up-tempo passing game should be enough to get Smith's stats higher than they've been, especially if he finds ways to use Vernon Davis like he did during the playoffs last January. He's also coming off a career-best season and has taken to Jim Harbaugh's coaching. He's better than you think.

Bye-week cheat sheet

As a service to you, the Fantasy quarterback shopper, we're pleased to present our list of backup quarterbacks to target based solely on the matchups during your starter's bye week. Print, copy or memorize this list and bring it with you to your draft to help you maximize your backup quarterback value, if you choose to carry one.

Bye-week cheat sheet
Bye Week Top 15 Fantasy QBs on bye No. 2 Fantasy QBs with projected good matchups
Week 4 Ben Roethlisberger Andy Dalton (at JAC), Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. NE), Joe Flacco (vs. CLE), Josh Freeman (vs. WAS), John Skelton (vs. MIA)
Week 5 Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford Andy Dalton (vs. MIA), Jake Locker (at MIN), John Skelton (at STL)
Week 6 Drew Brees, Jay Cutler, Cam Newton Andy Dalton (at CLE), Robert Griffin III (vs. MIN),
Week 7 Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers,
Matt Ryan, Michael Vick
Josh Freeman (vs. NO), John Skelton (at MIN), Andrew Luck (vs. CLE), Carson Palmer (vs. JAC)
Week 8 Matt Schaub Matt Cassel (vs. OAK), Josh Freeman (at MIN)
Week 9 Tom Brady Joe Flacco (at CLE), Josh Freeman (at OAK), Robert Griffin III (vs. CAR), Andrew Luck (vs. MIA)
Week 10 Robert Griffin III, Aaron Rodgers Andrew Luck (at JAC), Alex Smith (vs. STL)
Week 11 Eli Manning Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. MIA), Andrew Luck (at NE), Carson Palmer (vs. NO)

Tiers, no fears

As always, this is the breakdown of quarterbacks based on expected production and settled into tiers. In your travels for a quarterback you'll see the talent pool dwindle one tier at a time. Not only should this help you identify when to make plans for a quarterback based on the dwindling talent as the draft goes on, but if you're the sneaky owner who wants to wait for a quarterback, you'll know when to make your move for a low-end No. 1 option based on the tiers drying up. Keep in mind the stats provided below are also equivalents for those quarterbacks who run more and throw less than their pocket-present counterparts.

Elite Near Elite Very Good
4700+ yards, 37+ TDs 4400+ yards, 32+ TDs 4200+ yards, 28+ TDs
Aaron Rodgers Matt Ryan Peyton Manning
Drew Brees Eli Manning Philip Rivers
Tom Brady Michael Vick Tony Romo
Matthew Stafford Ben Roethlisberger
Cam Newton   Jay Cutler
    Matt Schaub
No. 2 Upside No. 2 Less Upside Deep sleeper QBs
3700+ yards, 22+ TDs    
Robert Griffin III Christian Ponder Ryan Tannehill
Joe Flacco Blaine Gabbert Mark Sanchez
Andrew Luck Matt Cassel Matt Hasselbeck
Alex Smith Sam Bradford Tim Tebow
Josh Freeman Brandon Weeden Nick Foles
Ryan Fitzpatrick    
Jake Locker    
Russell Wilson    
Andy Dalton    
Carson Palmer    

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Kenny Britt looking for fresh start in Week 1 vs. Vikings
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:34 am ET) Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt ended an up-and-down career in Tennesse by catching only 11 passes for 96 yards last season. Reunited with former Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher, the embattled receiver will look to begin his tenure with his new team on the right foot in Week 1 against the Vikings.

Britt has flashed big-play ability in the preseason, catching a 36-yard pass from starter Sam Bradford in Week 3 before the quarterback succumbed to a season-ending injury. He then tacked on a 32-yard completion from backup Shaun Hill on the team's second drive. If Britt can find chemistry with his new starting quarterback quickly, he has the opportunity to emerge from a muddled Rams receiving corps and become the team's No. 1 option in the passing game.

Will it happen? The Vikings were one of the worst teams in the league at defending the pass last year, ranking 30th in pass-defense DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The results, however, look much better in the early-going this season. In the team's third preseason game, the defense held Kansas City starter Alex Smith to 140 yards on 14-of-24 passing with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

If that same defense comes to play Sunday, Hill may have nothing but trouble trying to move the chains consistently. But if the upgraded offensive line can keep the Vikings at bay, the Hill-to-Britt connection has the potential to surprise. Consider Britt a quality free-agent add in advance of Sunday's game on the chance that he and Hill show something.


Zac Stacy could struggle vs. Vikings
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:20 am ET) Rams running back Zac Stacy lost his starting quarterback for the season during preseason competition. This is nothing new for the second-year back, as he had to play the second half of 2013 without Sam Bradford as well.

Though Stacy ripped off four 100-yard games after Bradford's injury, he mixed in several ugly lines as well, managing only 62 yards on 26 carries against the Colts, just 25 yards on 14 carries against the Cardinals and only 15 yards on 15 carries as the Seahawks exacted their revenge in Week 17.

Stacy's Week 1 matchup this season is a Vikings team that played well against the run last season. The Vikings finished seventh in the league in rate stuffing the running back at or behind the line of scrimmage. The defense surrendered just shy of 3.9 yards per carry, which is right at Stacy's per-carry rate from last season.

The Rams will likely try to remain committed to the running game with a second stringer at quarterback, but the Vikings have the personnel to sniff out a conservative gameplan and more or less shut down the running game. CBSSports.com Fantasy experts are split on Stacy's stock this week, with Jamey Eisenberg slotting him eighth at the position and Davie Richard ranking him 20th.


Wes Welker expected to be suspended for Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/2/2014) Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker will be suspended for Week 1, according to the Denver Post.

Mike Klis initially reported that there was a chance Welker's suspension wouldn't kick in until after Week 1, but issued an update later. While the NFL has yet to officially announce the suspension, the Broncos have been informed of the move. The team is expected to send out a press release confirming the information Tuesday.


Report: Wes Welker may play Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/2/2014) Update: Welker will be suspended for Week 1, according to the Denver Post. The team is expected to send out a press release shortly.

Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker may play Week 1 against the Colts, according to the Denver Post

Welker is expected to be suspended for four games after reportedly testing positive for amphetamines. The league, however, has not officially announced the suspension. Suspensions are typically announced by Tuesday, according to Pro Football Talk. Since the NFL has yet to announce the move, it's thought Welker could be available for Week 1, but would serve his suspension once the NFL announced the move. 

There are a lot of uncertainties regarding the situation at this time. The club expects Welker to be available, provided he passes concussion protocal, but it remains to be seen how the NFL will handle this suspension. 


Randall Cobb to be tested Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/2/2014) Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb should be in for a tough test Week 1 against the Seahawks.

Cobb caught just three passes during the preseason, picking up 34 yards and a score. His lack of work shouldn’t be a huge concern, as the Packers offense doesn’t need any fine-tuning. The main thing here is that Cobb is 100 percent healthy after playing in just six games last season due to a leg injury.

His Week 1 production could be dampened by a strong Seahawks DST. Seattle was exceptional against the pass last season, holding opposing wide receivers to just 14.79 Fantasy points per game. That figure was the second-lowest rate in the league. On top of that, Cobb may have to deal with Richard Sherman, who is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Sherman may spend the majority of the game stopping Jordy Nelson, but he could find his way over to Cobb on a few occasions.

Cobb’s versatility makes him a strong candidate to be moved around the Packers’ offense. If Green Bay can create some nice matchups, and Sherman is preoccupied with Nelson, Cobb could be in for a better game than people might expect. 

Despite that, expectations should be tempered. Seattle’s DST was strong last season, and while Green Bay boasts a strong offense, things should be muted Week 1. Cobb is a fine start, considering his upside, but he carries more risk this week due to the matchup.


Jordy Nelson in for a tough test Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/2/2014) Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson should be in for a difficult test Week 1 against the Seahawks.

Nelson had a quiet preseason, catching just two passes for 19 yards. One of those catches wound up being a touchdown. Despite the lack of action during the preseason, Nelson’s upside with a healthy Aaron Rodgers is well-known among Fantasy owners. That said, he’s going to have to work for everything he gets against Seattle.

The Seahawks rated as the best defense in the league last year. They were strong in every facet of the game. Seattle held opposing wide receivers to just 14.79 Fantasy points per game, the second-lowest figure in the league. To make things even more difficult for Nelson, he’ll likely be covered by Richard Sherman. Sherman, by many counts, is arguably the best corner in the game. 

Still, it’s tough to pass up Nelson’s upside with a healthy Rodgers. The Packers boast an overabundance of weapons, and it’s possible moving Nelson around before the play could put him in a more favorable matchup. Even if Sherman covers him the entire game, Nelson is a good enough receiver to make some noise. While he doesn’t have a great matchup, Week 1 is not the time to take a player as good as Nelson out of your Fantasy lineup. 


Eddie Lacy to have his hands full Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/2/2014) Packers running back Eddie Lacy will have his hands full Week 1 against the Seahawks.

Lacy is coming off a tremendous rookie season, in which he rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. He didn’t get a ton of use during the preseason, but seemed to be in midseason form. Lacy rushed for 61 yards on 11 carries, good for a 5.5 average over two preseason games. He also managed to run in a touchdown.

Though he looked strong in the preseason, Lacy should have a tough time against the Seahawks Week 1. Seattle allowed just 12.32 Fantasy points per game to opposing running backs last season. That was the second-lowest rate in the league. While the Seahawks lost three defensive linemen during the offseason, the club is thought to still have the top-rated Fantasy defense.

In many circles, Lacy was considered a strong Fantasy pick after the elite four running backs were off the board. With that in mind, it’s unlikely he’ll be benched in many leagues Week 1. There are better matchups out there, but Lacy is a tough player to sit. Given Green Bay’s offensive capabilities, he’s still a decent start even against the best Fantasy defenses. 


Aaron Rodgers taking on a tough task Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/2/2014) Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has his work cut out for him Week 1 against the Seahawks.

Rodgers entered the season as one of the top Fantasy options at quarterback, but will take on the best defense in the league. Last season, Seattle held Fantasy quarterbacks to just 10.89 points per game. That was the lowest rate in the league. The Seahawks DST ranked tops in the league in limiting points and yards last year. On top of that, the team forced the most turnovers.

While Seattle lost three members of the defensive line during the offseason, the club is still expected to have one of NFL’s best defenses. If Seattle struggles to get to Rodgers, that could open things up for the Packers offense.

Given the cost to acquire Rodgers, in a snake or auction draft, he’s probably going to start for most Fantasy teams despite his tough Week 1 matchup. While there are better quarterback options for this week, Rodgers still has a strong potential for dominance. He’s healthy and still has a bevy of weapons at his disposal. It might not be Rodgers best game of the season, but he’s shown that he can put up numbers against even the best defensive clubs.


Percy Harvin looking to start the year on the right foot
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/2/2014) Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin is looking at a strong matchup Week 1 against the Packers.

A quiet preseason was a good preseason for Harvin. After missing nearly all of last season due to a hip injury, Harvin was able to play in all but the final game of the preseason. He missed the fourth game due to a personal issue, and not because of an injury. Harvin caught seven balls for 92 yards in August.

The Packers didn’t boast a strong pass defense last season. The team allowed opposing wide receivers to average 22.94 Fantasy points per game. That wasn’t one of the worst rates in the league, but it was below-average. The team attempted to address this during the offseason, taking Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round. Despite that, there’s no guarantee the team will perform better in the defensive backfield.

Despite the fact that Harvin is a five-year veteran, there are questions about how he’ll be used with the Seahawks. While Harvin was able to play during the club’s playoff run, it was unclear whether he was actually fully healthy last year. Harvin has shown the ability to be a game-changing wide receiver, so it’s assumed the Seahawks will find ways to get arguably their best playmaker the ball. The club has been been incredibly run-heavy over the past few seasons, but a healthy Harvin could make them more balanced. 


Marshawn Lynch ready to roll Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9/2/2014) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is looking to get off to a good start Week 1 against the Packers.

Lynch had an abbreviated preseason, carrying the ball just three times for 16 yards. That’s probably not a bad thing considering his high workload over the past couple years. Lynch also had a brief holdout during the offseason, but reported to camp in shape, and should be ready to roll.

The Packers weren’t particularly strong against the run last season, giving up 19.18 Fantasy points per week to running backs. That was the eighth worst figure in the league. While the team tried to shore up things defensively during the offseason, the loss of B.J. Raji should make it easier for teams to gash the Packers up the middle. 

With that in mind, Lynch should be a strong start. The Seahawks modus operandi the past couple years has been the run game, and that probably won’t change now. There are concerns about Lynch’s workload and lack of preseason reps, but his pedigree and matchup make this a strong start Week 1. 


 
 
 
Rankings