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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
Report: Donnie Avery will not practice Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) Chiefs wide receiver Donnie Avery is not expected to practice Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Avery is dealing with a strained abductor. His status for Week 5 is unclear at the moment. Avery has 14 receptions for 156 yards. 


Cardinals giving WR Jalen Saunders a chance
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:21 pm ET) Wide receiver Jalen Saunders was not out of a job long. Two days after his release from the Jets, he has been signed to the practice squad by the Cardinals.

The rookie has yet to catch a pass in the NFL, but did serve a short stint as a punt returner with the Jets. He averaged 4.3 yards in his six returns.


Cardinals pick up Jalen Saunders
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:18 pm ET) The Cardinals have added receiver Jalen Saunders to the practice squad.

Saunders had been with the Jets, but was released recently. The Cardinals lost kick returner Teddy Williams, so Saunders will take his place on the practice squad. 


Bounce-back week for Brandin Cooks?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4:17 pm ET) Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks continued his up-and-down rookie season with just five catches for 31 yards Week 4 at Dallas, but the good news is he was on the field more than ever, playing 82 percent of the team's snaps. He just got lost in the shuffle in the team's futile attempt to come back from an early deficit.

He has the right matchup for a bounce-back performance Week 5 against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are tied for 28th against the pass (with the Saints, incidentally), and have allowed the most Fantasy points to wide receivers this season. They were burned big by the Steelers' Antonio Brown, who had seven catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns last week, and the Falcons' Julio Jones, who had nine catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns the week before.

Of course, Cooks could end up taking a back seat to tight end Jimmy Graham in this one, but it's shaping up to be a big game for quarterback Drew Brees. And a big game for him means multiple touchdown passes.

Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Cooks outside their top 24 wide receivers for this week, but I wouldn't be opposed to using him as a flex option.


Malcom Floyd dealing with an illness Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(4:14 pm ET) Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd missed practice Wednesday due to an illness.

The issue doesn't seem to be all that serious. As long as Floyd is able to return to practice Thursday or Friday, he should be good to play against the Jets Week 5. 


Cardinals QB Carson Palmer set to see specialist for shoulder
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:09 pm ET) Bruce Arians has completed his about-face from earlier Wednesday, when he announced that the shoulder of Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer was getting better.

Palmer has actually regressed in his rehab, per arizonasports.com. His shoulder has become such an issue that he is seeking a second opinion. Palmer was excused from Wednesday practice to see a specialist.


Bradley: Ace Sanders expected to make 2014 debut Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:03 pm ET) Gus Bradley has announced that Jaguars wide receiver Ace Sanders, who is coming off a four-game suspension, will likely suit up Sunday against Pittsburgh.

Sanders is coming off a 2013 season in which he contributed 51 catches for 484 yards.


What now for Marques Colston?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4:00 pm ET) My case against Saints wide receiver Marques Colston last week was in part a response to his reduced production but even more a response to his reduced playing time. He played only about 60 percent of the team's snaps in Weeks 2 and 3 after playing 85 percent in Week 1.

Of course, then he goes and plays a season-high 87 percent Week 4 at Dallas. True, his production was still lacking -- he didn't find the end zone and only gained 50 yards on his five catches -- but his 11 targets were the third-most he's gotten in the last two seasons. Clearly, the Saints still have plans for him.

The Saints also have an especially favorable matchup in Week 5, hosting a Buccaneers team that has allowed the fourth-most yards through the air, averaging 272.5 per game. Even better, they've allowed the most Fantasy points to wide receivers this season, getting burned by Antonio Brown and Julio Jones the last two weeks.

So yeah, Colston is a worthy start in Fantasy, all things considered. But Jamey Eisenberg's and Dave Richard's ranking of him this week -- both have him outside the top 24 at wide receiver -- reveals a general lack of trust. Colston has been a regular enough part of the Saints offense over the years that you don't want to sell him short, but you shouldn't be too eager to start him either.


Saints OT Terron Armstead ready to roll again after concussion
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:57 pm ET) Saints tackle Terron Armstead has declared that he has cleared concussion protocol. He should be ready to roll for the Sunday game against Tampa Bay.

Armstead left the Week 4 battle against the Cowboys with the issue. He has started all four games this season.


WRs Sammy Watkins, Marquise Goodwin practice in full
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:53 pm ET) Bills wideouts Sammy Watkins and Marquise Goodwin were both full participants in Wednesday practice despite nagging injuries.

Watkins, who snagged second NFL touchdown pass last Sunday, is still dealing with a rib injury. Goodwin (concussion) has no receptions this season after totaling 17 a year ago.


 
 
 
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