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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
Gavin Escobar a threat to Jason Witten?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:13 am ET) Cowboys rookie tight end Gavin Escobar, who entered the day with just four catches all season, wasn't highly targeted Week 7 against the Giants, but he made the three targets he did get count, scoring two touchdowns, including one on an impressive 26-yard grab between two defenders in the third quarter.

In all, he had three catches for 65 yards -- numbers that would be easier to overlook if not for the two touchdowns and the fact that fellow tight end Jason Witten, to this point a mainstay in Fantasy, had only two catches for 27 yards. And it's not like he and quarterback Tony Romo were just failing to connect. Witten was targeted only twice the whole game.

Witten's production hasn't been up to his usual standards this season -- in seven games, he's averaging 3.3 catches for 38.0 yards -- but just based on their history together, you figured Romo would have a need for him sooner or later. Now with the emergence of Escobar, it's no longer so clear.

Escobar himself isn't worth adding except in deep leagues of 16 teams or more that don't have enough tight ends to go around. In those formats, he's the new Timothy Wright. But in leagues of 12 teams or fewer, Witten may be on the outs. He deserves a couple more weeks given his history, but keep an eye out for the next big thing at the position.


Larry Donnell here to stay?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:55 am ET) After catching just one pass in his previous two games combined, Giants tight end Larry Donnell got back on track Week 7 at Dallas, catching seven passes for a season-high 90 yards.

Considering it was the Giants' first game without star wide receiver Victor Cruz, Donnell was expected to play a bigger role in the passing game, but a resurgence of this magnitude should remind us all how he came to be owned in 83 percent of Fantasy leagues in the first place. Over the first four weeks, he averaged 6.3 catches for 59 yards, scoring four touchdowns.

One potential pitfall for Donnell is that he lost two fumbles in Week 7, giving him three fumbles lost for the season, but with so few tight ends capable of his kind of production in a given week, the Giants would have to suggest his playing time is in jeopardy for me to pass on Donnell in Fantasy.

His production fell when rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham entered the mix in Week 4. Now that Cruz is out of the mix, Donnell's production figures to rise again.


Odell Beckham shows he's worth adding
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:42 am ET) Only three games into his career, Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham has emerged as one of quarterback Eli Manning's favorite red-zone targets, which is especially good news with another one of his favorite red-zone targets, Victor Cruz, lost for the season with a knee injury.

Beckham didn't have a lot of chances Week 7 at Dallas, but he made the most of the ones he got, scoring on catches of 9 and 5 yards. In all, he had four catches for 34 yards. His six targets were third-most on the team, behind wide receiver Rueben Randle's nine and tight end Larry Donnell's seven.

The six targets were a season high for Beckham. He has yet to catch more than four passes for more than 44 yards, but because he keeps getting looks in the end zone, he's worth adding in Fantasy even if it's just to stash him on your bench until you're ready to put your trust in him.


An encouraging performance for Eli Manning
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:34 am ET) Playing his first game without star wide receiver Victor Cruz, who's out for the season with a torn patella tendon, Giants quarterback Eli Manning still managed to bounce back from arguably his worst game of the season with one of his best Week 7 at Dallas, completing 21 of 33 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns.

It was his fifth game in six with multiple touchdown passes and his second with at least three. And he did it against a defense that had generally kept quarterbacks out of the end zone, recording nearly as many interceptions (seven) as it had allowed touchdown passes (eight) prior to Week 7.

Though two of his touchdown passes went to rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, who wasn't even available to him the first four weeks, Manning did a nice job of spreading the ball around. None of the touchdowns went to his two leading receivers, Larry Donnell and Rueben Randle.

Judging by this performance, Manning knows how to make use of the weapons the Giants have and doesn't need Cruz to remain successful in Fantasy. His bad games can be really bad, but his good games have been frequent enough for you to give him another shot when he returns from a bye Week 9 against Indianapolis.


Andre Holmes comes back down to earth
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:26 am ET) Raiders wide receiver Andre Holmes, who blew up for 121 yards and two touchdowns Week 6 against San Diego, took a long time to get going Week 7 against Arizona, catching his first pass about midway through the fourth quarter. Not surprisingly, he finished with just three catches for 34 yards. 

It's not like he was invisible before then. He nearly had a great catch on a long pass along the sidelines in the second quarter, but it was ruled incomplete. He did have only two targets apart from his three receptions, though.

Clearly, it was a disappointing showing, but it's not like quarterback Derek Carr forgot about him. Only James Jones and Darren McFadden had more targets, tying for the team lead with eight. Holmes spent much of the game covered by Patrick Peterson, who remains one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. Holmes still has incredible play-making ability and will have better days.

But this performance shows why you can't trust him on an every-week basis yet. His matchup Week 8 against Cleveland is another tricky one because of cornerback Joe Haden, who has struggled at times this season but limited the Jaguars' Cecil Shorts to three catches for 12 yards in Week 7. You might want to leave Holmes on your bench for this one.


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by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:22 am ET) 49ers knicker Phil Dawson made only one of his two field-goal attempts in Week 7, adding two extra points in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos.

Dawson couldn't deliver from 51 yards out in the first quarter, pushing the attempt wide left, but was true from 22 yards out in the second quarter. He's 13 of 16 on field-goal attempts this season but had been 10-for-10 in his previous three games coming into Week 7. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


49ers TE Vernon Davis catches two passes in Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) 49ers tight end Vernon Davis caught just two of his five targets for 21 yards in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

Davis was coming off an ugly Week 6 performance in which he dropped two passes, and he didn't fare much better in the team's blowout loss against the Broncos. He has 14 receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns heading into the team's Week 8 bye. The 49ers will face the Rams after the week off.


49ers WR Michael Crabtree held to 27 yards in Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:16 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree caught four of his seven targets for just 27 yards in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

While the 49ers averaged 11.1 yards per reception as a team Sunday, top options Crabtree (6.8 YPC) and Anquan Boldin (7.1 YPC) could find no room to work, leading to disappointing performances despite the offense dialing up 46 passes in the loss. Crabtree hasn't topped 50 yards in any of his last four games, and he owns 32 receptions, 322 yards and three touchdowns in seven games this year. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


Anquan Boldin catches seven passes in 49ers' Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:13 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin caught seven of his 10 targets for 50 yards in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

Boldin had at least one bad drop in the game and was unable to find much room to work downfield. He came into the week average 12.4 yards per reception but managed just 7.1 YPC against the Broncos. Boldin has collected 39 receptions for 447 yards and one touchdown in seven games. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


49ers WR Steve Johnson scores touchdown in Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:10 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Steve Johnson caught five passes for a team-high 79 yards and one touchdown in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

Johnson hauled in a four-yard score in the back of the end zone with only 11 seconds left in the first half to send the 49ers into halftime with a 21-10 deficit. The Broncos took over from there, scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter. Johnson has reached the end zone in three of his last four games, and he's up to 25 receptions, 315 yards and three scores on the season. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


 
 
 
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