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2014 Draft Prep: QB tiers, 2.0

Senior Fantasy Writer
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RB tiers | WR tiers | TE tiers | Draft Averages | Rankings | Draft Index

The basic, most clear piece of advice to give for the quarterback position: Don't reach. Aim for at least a little bit of a bargain in standard leagues and maybe more than a little bit of a bargain in PPR leagues.

You'll feel a little weird about this, especially if you're in a league where other owners spend a first-round pick on Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. Let them. You wouldn't buy a beautiful car for $10,000 above sticker price even if your friends did, right? Same logic applies. Those guys are great but if you're really trying to build a strong Fantasy roster, you don't want to be caught short without difference makers at running back and/or receiver. Those difference makers go early for a reason. Besides, you can find a potential difference maker of your own later on. Promise.

After those first four quarterbacks go off the board, the rest of the passers are like a box of donuts -- some with sprinkles, some with a creamy filling, some with jelly, some with chocolate frosting. They are all different but they're all ultimately very sweet (note: research for this paragraph wrecked my diet). It's up to you which donut, er, quarterback you want to take, but remember the first rule about reaching. If it doesn't feel like a bargain then it's not the right time to pick one.

You can read up on the quarterbacks outside of the Top 4 right here, along with gander at the quarterback tiers from late July. You'll also see which elite quarterback I'm really targeting.

Bonus strategy: Extreme Waiting

It might be of interest to you to wait longer than anyone else in your league to take a quarterback, then take two from the likes of Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Sam Bradford, Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton. Using this strategy you can play the matchups for as long as need be and then once one of your passers -- or one on waivers -- breaks out, ride them. One idea is to go with Russell Wilson for his home games in Weeks 1, 3 and 6 and Cam Newton in Weeks 2, 4 and 5. Both of these guys were on my initial bust list, but if we're talking about back-half-of-draft selections making up your starting quarterback, there's no major argument.

Naturally, the downside to this is that there's no guarantee you'll put up serious points, not to the effect of what you'll get from the Top 4 signal callers. But that might not bother you since you'll fill your plate with studs at other positions and hope to clobber opponents with those players instead of your quarterback.

Lastly, quarterback is an easy position to fix off waivers, so if you decide to wait and then whiff on who you take, a stroll to the friendly wire will solve your problem.

Quarterback tiers for 2014

Elite Value Elite Very Good
Rounds 2, 3, 4 Rounds 5, 6, 7 Rounds 7, 8, 9
Peyton Manning Colin Kaepernick Andrew Luck
Drew Brees Nick Foles Jay Cutler
Aaron Rodgers Tom Brady Robert Griffin III
Matthew Stafford Matt Ryan  
  Tony Romo  
No. 2/Upside No. 2/Less Upside Deep sleeper QBs
Rounds 10, 11, 12    
Philip Rivers Andy Dalton Teddy Bridgewater
Ben Roethlisberger Ryan Tannehill Geno Smith
Cam Newton Alex Smith Johnny Manziel
Carson Palmer Josh McCown Blake Bortles
Sam Bradford Eli Manning  
Russell Wilson Joe Flacco  
  Jake Locker  

Bye-week cheat sheet

Here's a useful guide to seeing what quarterbacks have seemingly favorable matchups when a quality quarterback is on a bye week. Keep in mind that we only list the byes of quarterbacks most owners consider starters, and only list the matchups for potential backups.

Week 4 bye: Peyton Manning
Alternatives: Philip Rivers (vs JAC), Ryan Tannehill (at OAK), Eli Manning (at WAS)

Week 5 bye: None

Week 6 bye: Drew Brees
Alternatives: Philip Rivers (at OAK), Jay Cutler (at ATL), Carson Palmer (vs WAS), Russell Wilson (vs DAL)

Week 7 bye: Nick Foles
Alternatives: Carson Palmer (at OAK), Ben Roethlisberger (vs. HOU), Cam Newton (at GB), Andy Dalton (at IND), Eli Manning (at DAL)

Week 8 bye: Colin Kaepernick
Alternatives: Ben Roethlisberger (vs. IND), Ryan Tannehill (at JAC), Johnny Manziel (vs. OAK)

Week 9 bye: Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford
Alternatives: Carson Palmer (at DAL), Russell Wilson (vs. OAK), Andy Dalton (vs. JAC), Eli Manning (vs. IND)

Week 10 bye: Tom Brady, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers
Alternatives: Russell Wilson (vs. NYG), Alex Smith (at BUF), Joe Flacco (vs. TEN), Josh McCown (vs. ATL)

Week 11 bye: Tony Romo
Alternatives: Cam Newton (vs. ATL), Philip Rivers (vs. OAK), Carson Palmer (vs DET)

Week 12 bye: Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton
Alternatives: Jay Cutler (vs. TB), Eli Manning (vs. DAL), Russell Wilson (vs. ARI)

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Player News
Cowboys DST actually looking respectable
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:04 pm ET) According to standard CBSSports.com scoring, the Cowboys DST turned in its third straight double-digit effort in Week 4 -- and against the Saints, of all teams.

Once again, turnovers were the Cowboys' specialty. They intercepted a pass and recovered two fumbles, with Jack Crawford and Henry Melton each contributing a sack. They also limited the Saints' normally explosive offense to just 17 points on 438 yards.

The Cowboys' five takeaways are tied for fourth in the league and a big reason why the Cowboys DST ranks 15th in standard CBSSports.com leagues. If not for a poor showing Week 1 against the 49ers, it'd rank even higher than that.

The Cowboys have what looks to be a more favorable matchup Week 5 against Houston, making their DST worth considering in 12-team leagues.


Bruce Carter 'week-to-week' with strained quad
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:01 pm ET) Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter is "week-to-week" with the strained quad he suffered in Sunday's win over the Saints, reports the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Carter is expected to miss Week 5 against the Texans.

John Conner, aka 'The Terminator,' re-signs with Jets
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:51 am ET) The Jets signed fullback John Conner to a one-year deal, reports Yahoo Sports. He played for the team in 2010-11 before stints with the Bengals and Giants.

Jets coach Rex Ryan nicknamed the 5-11, 245-pounder "The Terminator" on HBO's "Hard Knocks" in 2010.


Dwayne Bowe's performance doesn't move needle
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:45 am ET) Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe turned in his best game of the season Week 4 against New England, catching five passes for 81 yards.

But a big reason for it was he happened to catch a long one -- a 33-yarder in the second quarter. He still got only six targets, or what he averaged through his first two games. Unless you think he's no longer the possession receiver he's proven to be the last few years or that the Chiefs will for some reason shy away from the rushing attack that piled up 207 yards against the Patriots, these performances for Bowe figure to be few and far between.

To put it another way, he's not enough of a big-play threat to make good on so few targets.

Some people may see this relatively decent performance, remember that Bowe used to be a pretty good Fantasy option and make a play for him on the waiver wire. Some people are not me.


Lions down to two healthy running backs
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:42 am ET) The Lions might need to promote running back George Winn from the practice squad or sign a free agent because they currently have two healthy running backs, Reggie Bush and fullback Jed Collins, reports the Detroit Free Press. Joique Bell is recovering from a concussion, while Theo Riddick and Montell Owens are dealing with pulled hamstrings.

All three were knocked out of Sunday's win over the Jets. Lions coach Jim Caldwell has not provided any updates on the injured trio. Detroit hosts Buffalo in Week 5.

Niles Paul sidelined with concussion
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:31 am ET) Redskins tight end Niles Paul was unable to practice Monday as he continues to recover from a concussion suffered last Thursday against the Giants. He did some light jogging on the side, reports CSNWashington.com.

Alex Smith's production linked to Jamaal Charles'
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:20 am ET) Even with star running back Jamaal Charles on the mend (though he looked good in his return Monday night), the Chiefs offense has picked it up the last two weeks with back-to-back 30-point outbursts -- and surprisingly, against two defenses that currently rank in the top 10, Miami and New England.

Quarterback Alex Smith has been either one of the beneficiaries or one the facilitators of the turnaround, throwing three touchdown passes in back-to-back games. It's reminiscent of last season, when he had nine games with multiple touchdown passes in leading the Chiefs to an 11-5 record. Of course, he had zero touchdown passes in the other seven games.

Back in the fold, Charles figures to take the leading role in the Chiefs offense and did so in Week 4, scoring three of their five touchdowns. It's just that two happened to come through the air, benefiting Smith as well.

That's part of Charles' game, catching the ball, so it's not the last time we'll see Smith benefit from his ability. But you'd think more often than not, his scores will come on the ground.

It all adds up to Smith being little more than a bye-week replacement in Fantasy. He'll have some big games like the last two weeks just because the Chiefs have the ability to score, but the presence of Charles will make him boom-or-bust every time out.


Chiefs dominate Patriots in Monday night win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:19 am ET) The Chiefs took advantage of another subpar showing by the Patriots offense in Week 4, in a 41-14 win Monday.

 The Chiefs DST unit put together a huge performance, highlighted by a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. They forced three turnovers overall, while limiting the Patriots to just 290 yards and two touchdowns, one coming in garbage time. The Patriots also managed just 290 yards of offense, while the Chiefs racked up three sacks.

The Chiefs DST unit has dominated over the last two weeks, allowing just three offensive touchdowns. They face a tougher test in Week 5, with the 49ers on the way. 


Bengals optimistic about Vontaze Burfict's availability
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:19 am ET) Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he expects linebacker Vontaze Burfict to practice this week ahead of Sunday night's visit to New England. Burfict suffered concussions in each of the first two games before sitting out Week 3.

Cincinnati had a Week 4 bye. Burfict did not practice Monday as he remained in the league's concussion protocol.


Conditioning key for Ace Sanders
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:14 am ET) Jaguars receiver and punt returner Ace Sanders is back from his four-game suspension, but the team won't decide until Friday if he'll suit up Week 5 against Pittsburgh.

"He's fired up," coach Gus Bradley told the Florida Times-Union. "He's excited. You can only imagine. ... I think it's important to see where he's at and his conditioning. It would be great to get him back here not only on offense, but on punt returns as well."


 
 
 
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