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2013 Draft Prep: When to take your QB

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Last year at this time we told you to wait on drafting a quarterback. The majority didn't listen -- and it might have cost many of you a chance at the playoffs.

Maybe this year you'll take our advice and practice patience with your passer. There are plenty of good, if not great, quarterbacks to go around, and drafting a starter after the first couple of rounds might lead to a great team.

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In 2012, five quarterbacks were drafted on average in the first round: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton. Brees, Rodgers and Brady were the Top 3 overall scorers in standard leagues -- that will almost always happen for the elite quarterbacks with six points for passing touchdowns -- but Newton got off to a miserable start and Stafford suffered from a lack of touchdowns, pushing them down the quarterback finishers.

And even though Brees, Rodgers and Brady were successful, they didn't automatically lead to victories. Based on win percentage, which shows how players affected Fantasy league victories and not individual titles (you can see more on this topic here), quarterbacks drafted later in 2012 or not drafted at all did just as well as the aforementioned trio.

Peyton Manning (53.7 win percentage), Russell Wilson (53.0 percent), Matt Ryan (52.8 percent) and Colin Kaepernick (52.6) all had a better win percentage than Rodgers (51.7 percent), who was tied with Robert Griffin III. Tony Romo (51.3 percent) and Josh Freeman (50.8 percent) were right behind. Brees had the best win percentage among quarterbacks at 54.0 percent, and Brady was third at 53.6 percent. But there were 13 skill players with a better win percentage than Brees last year.

The goal is not to avoid drafting the upper-echelon quarterbacks. The goal is to hopefully see them go later than where the Average Draft Position suggests they will.

Brees and Rodgers are being drafted with the last two picks in the first round of a 12-team draft. Manning is going in the middle of Round 2, while Brady, Newton, Ryan and Stafford are usually off the board by Round 4. Next to be picked are Griffin and Andrew Luck in Round 5, followed by Kaepernick and Romo in Round 6. Wilson is being picked early in Round 7, and Eli Manning has fallen all the way to Round 8. You can see all the ADP data here.

We'd prefer to see Brees and Rodgers start the quarterback run in Round 3, pushing the other guys down. We understand many of you like your quarterbacks and you like drafting them early. But your team might have a better chance of succeeding if you wait, especially since there are so many quality options this season.

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Last year, there were 14 quarterbacks who averaged more than 18 Fantasy points per week -- Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Peyton Manning, Ryan, Newton, Griffin, Romo, Wilson, Andrew Luck, Stafford, Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger and Kaepernick -- with 10 over 20 points (Roethlisberger averaged more than 20 points in his 13 starts and Kaepernick was over 20 during his seven starts).

By comparison, there were only 19 running backs who averaged at least 10 Fantasy points a week, including guys who missed at least five games in DeMarco Murray, Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee. In most standard leagues, you need at least 24 starting running backs -- and that doesn't include flex options and reserves. Only 12 quarterbacks typically start in most formats.

The point we're trying to illustrate is this: It's better to load up on quality running backs early before looking at a quarterback, and that doesn't include the elite receivers or tight ends. There were only nine running backs who averaged more than 12 Fantasy points per week in 2012.

Remember, it's all about position scarcity, and talented rushers are hard to come by when compared to quarterbacks.

And now for the eyeball test.

What we're doing here is looking at the ADP starting where the quarterbacks are being selected. From there, we've built Fantasy teams for 10 rounds to give you an example of what your team could look like depending on when you draft your quarterback.

For example, if the quarterback in question was drafted on average in Round 1, like Brees at No. 11 overall, I used that draft slot to build the team for every player on that roster. For the quarterback in Round 2, with Manning at No. 16 overall, I used the No. 9 spot in Round 1 and went from there to line up with Manning's draft position. And so on for each team without overloading at positions with too much duplication if possible.

We've also added up the average projections for myself, Dave Richard and Nathan Zegura to see how each team would finish. But you can decide for yourself which team you like best based on where the quarterbacks are being drafted.

Quarterback in Round 1

Quarterback drafted in Round 1
Round, Player Draft Position Avg. Projections
1. Drew Brees, Saints 11 419
2. Matt Forte, Bears 14 192
3. Randall Cobb, Packers 35 169
4. Victor Cruz, Giants 38 164
5. Chris Ivory, Jets 59 132
6. Eddie Lacy, Packers 62 118
7. T.Y. Hilton, Colts 83 136
8. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings 85 103
9. Vick Ballard, Colts 107 92
10. Zac Stacy, Rams 110 77
Total projected points: 1,602

The first four picks for this team are slam dunks, especially with the top quarterback in Brees, but now you're chasing running backs to pair with Forte. Ivory and Lacy aren't bad at all given the construct of your roster, and if Ballard and Stacy perform at a high level then this team should be quite competitive if they live up to preseason expectations. If you draft Brees in a 12-team, 14-round draft then ignore a No. 2 quarterback and just grab a bye-week replacement off waivers.

Quarterback in Round 2

Quarterback drafted in Round 2
Round, Player Draft Position Avg. Projections
1. Trent Richardson, Browns 9 222
2. Peyton Manning, Broncos 16 399
3. Darren McFadden, Raiders 33 154
4. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers 40 166
5. Pierre Garcon, Redskins 57 156
6. Steve Smith, Panthers 64 144
7. Andre Brown, Giants 81 120
8. Mike Williams, Buccaneers 88 129
9. Ben Tate, Texans 105 94
10. Martellus Bennett, Bears 112 98
Total projected points: 1,682

Getting McFadden in Round 3 gives this team two Top 20 running backs to use with Manning since you started your team with Richardson, and there's still plenty of receiver talent with Jackson, Garcon and Smith. Brown could prove to be a great flex option working in tandem with David Wilson, and Williams and Tate present tremendous value, especially if Tate's role expands due to Arian Foster missing any time. The key with drafting a quarterback in the first five rounds is to avoid drafting a tight end early as well because taking those two positions that soon will hamper your roster.

Quarterback in Round 3

Quarterback drafted in Round 3
Round, Player Draft Position Avg. Projections
1. LeSean McCoy, Eagles 10 211
2. Steven Jackson, Falcons 15 188
3. Tom Brady, Patriots 34 359
4. David Wilson, Giants 39 160
5. Jordy Nelson, Packers 58 136
6. Hakeem Nicks, Giants 63 140
7. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars 82 142
8. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals 87 100
9. Lance Moore, Saints 106 120
10. Owen Daniels, Texans 111 89
Total projected points: 1,645

The way the draft falls here has you taking three running backs and a quarterback to start your team. You'll likely love the options you have at those positions, especially with proven standouts at running back like McCoy and Jackson and then a future star in Wilson. But receiver takes a hit, and you likely could have taken a better option in Round 4 instead of Brady, allowing you to target a quarterback who still has upside later.The key, obviously, is the health of Nelson and Nicks. If they play 16 games then your gamble of drafting Brady in this spot paid off nicely.

Quarterback in Round 4

Quarterback drafted in Round 4
Round, Player Draft Position Avg. Projections
1. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs 4 234
2. Jimmy Graham, Saints 21 161
3. Frank Gore, 49ers 28 162
4. Matthew Stafford, Lions 45 356
5. Danny Amendola, Patriots 52 142
6. Torrey Smith, Ravens 69 136
7. Mike Wallace, Dolphins 76 130
8. Anquan Boldin, 49ers 93 113
9. Daryl Richardson, Rams 100 114
10. Bernard Pierce, Ravens 117 101
Total projected points: 1,649

This team would have committed one of my draft don'ts by taking a quarterback and tight end together in the first five rounds. Doing that leaves you thin for at least one starting position, and here it's receiver. Getting two Top 20 running backs, the No. 1 tight end and Stafford to start your team is amazing. But now Amendola is your top receiver, which is questionable. I wouldn't pass on Graham in Round 2 in any format if he falls in your lap, but then you have to wait on a quarterback. Amendola is better off as your No. 2 receiver, and this team could have been more complete with a better pick in Round 4.

Quarterback in Round 5

Quarterback drafted in Round 5
Round, Player Draft Position Avg. Projections
1. Ray Rice, Ravens 8 212
2. Dez Bryant, Cowboys 17 198
3. Roddy White, Falcons 32 171
4. Darren Sproles, Saints 41 152
5. Robert Griffin III, Redskins 56 347
6. Giovani Bernard, Bengals 65 138
7. DeSean Jackson, Eagles 80 132
8. Greg Jennings, Vikings 89 114
9. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers 104 109
10. Bryce Brown, Eagles 113 99
Total projected points: 1,672

This would probably be my favorite team, and my strategy with quarterbacks is to target guys like Griffin, Luck and Romo in Round 5 or later. Look at the early part of this draft with Rice, Bryant, White and Sproles. You have your starters at running back and receiver covered, and you can now add a potential Top 5 quarterback to the mix in Griffin. Some people may prefer to draft their flex option or tight end before a quarterback, which is fine, but this is a great spot to start thinking quarterback if you're inclined to wait.

Quarterback in Round 6

Quarterback drafted in Round 6
Round, Player Draft Position Avg. Projections
1. Alfred Morris, Redskins 12 199
2. A.J. Green, Bengals 13 197
3. Lamar Miller, Dolphins 36 168
4. Wes Welker, Broncos 37 150
5. Ryan Mathews, Chargers 60 124
6. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers 61 328
7. Steve Johnson, Bills 84 133
8. Jermichael Finley, Packers 85 100
9. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers 108 102
10. Josh Gordon, Browns 109 123
Total projected points: 1,624

I'm not the biggest Kaepernick fan as a standout Fantasy quarterback this season (losing Michael Crabtree for the start of the year with an Achilles injury worries me), but this is another team I would like based on how it's built if you're just analyzing that and not the players. Three running backs and two receivers before your quarterback is ideal if possible, and then you still stockpile talented reserves after getting a quarterback you should like. I don't exactly like the players on this team, but I like the process.

Quarterback in Round 7

Quarterback drafted in Round 7
Round, Player Draft Position Avg. Projections
1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings 1 258
2. Julio Jones, Falcons 24 189
3. Reggie Bush, Lions 25 177
4. Marques Colston, Saints 48 155
5. Reggie Wayne, Colts 49 147
6. Antonio Brown, Steelers 72 138
7. Russell Wilson, Seahawks 73 319
8. Mark Ingram, Saints 96 107
9. Miles Austin, Cowboys 97 122
10. Fred Jackson, Bills 120 88
Total projected points: 1,700

This team actually projects as the highest-scoring team with a lot of top-end talent in two Top 15 running backs, three Top 20 receivers and some high-end reserves. Wilson is actually outside my Top 12 quarterbacks (I have him behind Eli Manning and Kaepernick at No. 13), but he's still a potential starter in all leagues. Clearly this team would be highly competitive if the projections were accurate. The one thing to keep in mind with drafting a quarterback late is you should also target a high-end backup. Whereas drafting Brees or Rodgers allows you to pass on a No. 2 quarterback, going with someone like Wilson requires it.

Quarterback in Round 8

Quarterback drafted in Round 8
Round, Player Draft Position Avg. Projections
1. Calvin Johnson, Lions 7 223
2. Chris Johnson, Titans 18 187
3. Andre Johnson, Texans 31 174
4. Le'Veon Bell, Steelers 42 165
5. Eric Decker, Broncos 55 145
6. Shane Vereen, Patriots 66 133
7. Antonio Gates, Chargers 79 105
8. Eli Manning, Giants 90 318
9. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos 103 108
10. Golden Tate, Seahawks 114 118
Total projected points: 1,676

This is another team I'd love to use in any format with the talent potential at running back and receiver. While most of you don't want Manning as your quarterback, especially the way he played last year, keep in mind he was a Top 10 Fantasy passer the previous two seasons and should get Nicks back at 100 percent. The good thing about drafting Manning is you can come back in Round 11 and take Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub or any other high-end backup to cover yourself in case Manning falters. I'm high on Manning this season, and I like waiting for him in this spot or later.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg .

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Player News
Josh McCown might need thumb surgery
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:26 pm ET) Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown will be re-evaluated by a hand specialist in a week or two to determine if he needs surgery to fix his thumb ligament, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Even if he does not require surgery, McCown could be sidelined several weeks, the paper said.

Mike Glennon is expected to start Sunday at Pittsburgh.


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by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:26 pm ET) Giants safety Quintin Demps practiced with the first-team defense Tuesday and it appears he will replace Stevie Brown in the starting lineup at free safety Thursday at Washington after Brown was benched Sunday against the Texans.

"We're looking at all the possibilities. We're just trying to get better," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said, per NJ.com. "It was an internal Giants decision [to make the switch] and I'll just leave it at that."


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by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
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Kelce played just 50 snaps in the team's first two games, but was on the field 47 times on offense in Week 3, 65 percent of the team's plays. He turned that into just three catches for 36 yards, but made up for it with a touchdown, and should get more looks moving forward.

Kelce has a tough matchup on the way in Week 4, as the Chiefs get set to take on the Patriots this Sunday. New England has allowed just 4.0 Fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, the third-lowest total in the league. Kelce might not pay immediate dividends as a waiver-wire pickup this week, but his growing role should lead to good things before long. 


Redskins tweak practice squad
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(4:08 pm ET) The Redskins signed offensive lineman Tevita Stevens to the practice squad and released offensive lineman Braxston Cave from the squad.

49ers make roster moves
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:04 pm ET) The 49ers signed quarterback Josh Johnson and waived tight end Asante Cleveland.

Aaron Rodgers: Relax, we'll be fine
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(4:01 pm ET) Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packers' offensive players are facing criticism after Sunday's 19-7 loss to the Lions. Rodgers threw for just 162 yards, and Green Bay averaged 3.5 yards per carry.

Rodgers said the offense isn't playing fast enough or converting enough third downs. "We haven't made it easy on ourselves, but we're a resilient bunch," he said, via NFL.com. "We'll bounce back."

Added Rodgers: "Relax. We're going to be fine."

Green Bay visits the Bears on Sunday.


Coordinator explains Frank Gore's limited work Week 3
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:54 pm ET) 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Tuesday the reason for running back Frank Gore's limited touches Week 3 at Arizona was because the team planned to use its depth at wide receiver early to help set up the ground game in the second half, per the team's official website.

"I think Frank knew going into the game, we kind of outlined our game plan that we were going to start the game out a certain way and see how it went," Roman said Tuesday on KNBR. "In a perfect world, you're letting Frank and the offensive line take over the game at the end of the game, but we weren't in that situation, so we were never really able to transition into that."

Despite Gore's limited work Sunday, Roman said the team is committed to Gore and the running game.

"Frank is the ultimate pro, and he's the ultimate team guy," Roman said. "He wants to win, and he wants to play in the big games in January and February. So I think he totally understood what we were doing."


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by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:48 pm ET) Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo will play Thursday against the Giants wearing a hard cast on his injured left hand, reports the Washington Post. Orakpo dislocated his middle finger in the loss to the Eagles.

He told the paper he's not sure how the cast will affect his play. He has 10 tackles and half a sack through three games.


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by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:44 pm ET) Redskins left guard Shawn Lauvao experienced more swelling in his right knee and was unable to participate in practice Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. Lauvao had an MRI Monday, which showed no structural damage.

The Redskins are preparing to play the Giants Thursday.


As Rob Gronkowski's role returns, so does his Fantasy value
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(3:30 pm ET) If you drafted Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, chances are you did so knowing he might not be 100 percent healthy at the start of the season. The fact that he ranks seventh among tight ends in Fantasy scoring has to feel like a bonus for those Fantasy owners who took a chance on him this year.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told reporters Tuesday he thinks Gronkowski will be able to do a little more in each week, and that can only be a good sign. He hasn't quite been the stud we expected, but that is mostly because the team has been keeping him off the field. Gronkowski played a season-high 59 percent of the team's offensive snaps in Week 3, up from 44 and 42 percent in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively.

Still, he saw less of the field in Week 3 than Michael Hoomanawanui, so there is plenty of room for him to grow in the offense. As crazy as it might sound, Gronkowski might just be one of the best buy-low candidates in the league. He was the second tight end selected on average in drafts this season and can still live up to that billing as he gets closer to full health.

If there is one takeaway here, it's this: don't sell low on Gronk. You'll likely regret it.


 
 
 
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