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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
Dez Bryant's scoring binge ends on Thanksgiving
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:35 pm ET) Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant, who had caught six touchdown passes in his previous four games, was held in check by the Eagles on Thursday. Bryant caught four of seven targets for 73 scoreless yards.

The first two passes thrown Bryant's way were broken up, then he snagged a 38-yarder down the sideline. However, that would prove to be Bryant's only impact play.

He'll try to revert to form next Thursday in Chicago.


RB DeMarco Murray held to season-low 73 rushing yards
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:29 pm ET) NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray averaged under 4.0 yards per carry for the first time this season in the Cowboys' Thanksgiving loss to the Eagles. Murray carried 20 times for a season-low 73 yards (3.7 ypc) but did punch in a 1-yard touchdown, his first score since Week 7.

Murray tied his season high with six catches for 40 yards. It was the fourth time this year he's hauled in six passes.

Murray, who's been held under 100 yards rushing only twice, visits the Bears next Thursday.


Tony Romo's TD streak ends in disastrous performance
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:24 pm ET) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo saw his streak of 38 straight games with a touchdown pass come to an end Thursday against the Eagles. Looking uncomfortable in the pocket and missing some easy throws, Romo completed 18 of 29 passes for 199 yards with two interceptions.

He took four sacks and seemed eager to avoid big hits to his surgically-repaired back.

Both of Romo's interceptions came on underthrown balls, and he also underthrew Dez Bryant on a potential big gainer. But Romo often had no one open to throw to.

He'll try to bounce back next Thursday at Chicago.


Cody Parkey drills four more field goals
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:13 pm ET) Eagles rookie kicker Cody Parkey converted all four of his field-goal tries against the Cowboys and is 27 for 29 this season. He was good from 31, 22, 26 and 25 yards. Parkey added three PATs for 15 points.

He'll play the Seahawks in Week 14.


Eagles get offensive contributions Week 13
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:08 pm ET) The Eagles got several offensive contributions in their Thursday blowout of the Cowboys. Wideout Riley Cooper caught four of seven targets for 32 yards, and tight end Brett Celek had a 7-yard reception.

Running back Darren Sproles caught all three of his targets for 19 yards and had a 13-yard run. Running back Chris Polk, playing mainly in garbage time, ran 11 times for 49 yards. Receiver Josh Huff added a 7-yard rush.

They'll all play the Seahawks in Week 14.


Jordan Matthews catches fifth TD in last five games
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:05 pm ET) Eagles wideout Jordan Matthews continued his productive rookie season in Thursday's win at Dallas, catching four of five targets for 51 yards and a touchdown. It was Matthews' fifth score in the last five games.

On the Eagles' second drive, Mark Sanchez rolled right and hit Matthews for a 27-yard touchdown. Matthews has caught at least four passes in all but three games.

He'll play the Seahawks in Week 14.


Jeremy Maclin posts fourth 100-yard game
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:59 pm ET) Eagles wideout Jeremy Maclin reasserted himself Thursday as the team's leading receiver, catching a game-high eight passes for 108 yards. He was targeted a game-high 10 times.

It was Maclin's fourth 100-yard game this season, and it put him over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career.

Maclin's biggest play came when he caught a sideline route and cut all the way across the field for a 58-yard gain. That set up a field goal on Phillys' third drive.

Maclin plays the Seahawks in Week 14.


LeSean McCoy busts out on Thanksgiving
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:52 pm ET) Eagles RB LeSean McCoy busted out for a season-high 159 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in Thursday's win at Dallas. McCoy sprinted 35 yards around right end on his second rush and averaged 6.4 yards per carry on the day.

Midway through the third quarter, McCoy used a vicious stiff-arm to scoot 38 yards for a touchdown, his third score in the past four games and fourth this season. McCoy has run for 289 yards over the past two weeks. He was not targeted in the passing game.

McCoy coughed up his second fumble of the season, but it didn't matter in this blowout. He plays the Seahawks in Week 14.


Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has big first half in easy win
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:48 pm ET) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez did almost all his damage in the first half of Thursday's 33-10 rout at Dallas, throwing for 202 yards and accounting for two touchdowns. He finished 20 of 29 for 217 yards and a touchdown and ran five times for 29 yards and another score.

After committing six turnovers in his previous two games, Sanchez did not have a turnover Thursday.

Sanchez came out on fire. He led the Eagles to 80- and 88-yard touchdown drives on their first two possessions. Sanchez capped the first march with a 2-yard keeper off a zone read, and he ended the second with a 27-yard scoring strike to rookie Jordan Matthews.

Sanchez plays the Seahawks in Week 14.


Eagles TE Trey Burton leaves with hamstring injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:22 pm ET) Eagles tight end Trey Burton, who plays mainly on special teams, left the game against the Cowboys in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.

 
 
 
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