Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Money doesn't grow on trees but QB's do.

Let’s have a little chat about QB’s in an auction style draft format. I am a big fan of setting up tiers before I go into my war room for draft day. So the question is who are the top tier QB’s this year. It is fairly cut and dry.

Tier A consists of Brees (43), Brady (41), and Manning (31). The dollar values in the brackets represent the average cost in standard ESPN auction drafts.

So who is in tier B? It is a rather large group of 6 quality QB’s including Warner (19), Rodgers (18), Rivers (16), Romo (16), Ryan (14), and McNabb (11).

Let’s break down tier C. Keep in mind that in a standard 10 team league that only 10 QB’s will start every week, so only 1 of this next group will be a starter week in and week out. The group includes Schaub (10), Cutler (8), Cassel (8), Roethlisburger (7), and Palmer (6). So if you are the one owner left without a QB you should have your choice of these QB’s. I doubt another owner will get in a bidding war for a backup QB.

Tier D includes 4 guys who aren’t the sexiest group of guys, no offense to Eli Manning, but certainly have value. This group would represent the bottom of the top 20 QB’s. Your back up QB choices include E. Manning (3), Farve (3), Flacco (2), Hasselbeck (2), Pennington (1), Garrard (1), and Campbell (1).

Now that we have our 4 tiers broken down let’s discuss some value come draft day. If I were to ask you who the top rated fantasy QB was last year, would you guess Drew Brees? If you would, you are one for one right now. How about a tougher one, who was the 2nd rated passer last year? Kurt Warner…no. MVP Payton Manning…no. It was none other than first time starter Aaron Rodgers. If you had the opportunity to draft player A for $43 and receive 295 fantasy points or draft player B for $18 and receive 278 points, who do you take? If you are choosing player A, Drew Brees, I have to question your fantasy expertise. To take it a step further, do you really think Brees can reproduce his near record setting stats from last year? Do you really think that Rodgers won’t be better this season with a year of experience under his belt? Even if the fantasy production repeats itself, the $25 of difference you have to pay to get Brees is worth a whole lot more than 17 fantasy points. It is worth something more like the difference between Roddy White ($24) who scored 172 fantasy points and Ted Ginn Jr ($2) who scored 101 fantasy points. Give me the combo of Rodgers and White who combine for 54 points more than Brees and Ginn Jr. every day and twice on draft day. Are you picking up what I’m putting down? The same logic goes for Tom Brady who could score more than 300 points this year, but at the price you have to pay for him it is still not worth it. I would say the same for Payton Manning but you can typically get him for $10 less than Brady or Brees. If you are looking to avoid risk at your QB position I have no problem dropping $30 for Payton.

We have been through the top 2 rated QB’s from last season, but who were #3 and #4? Payton Manning has to be in the there right? Wrong, Payton actually dropped out of the top 5 last year, finishing at #6. Rivers (16) was #3 and Cutler (8) was #4. Philip Rivers didn’t miss a game last year and had a QB rating under 90 only 4 times. As Darren Sproles becomes more involved in the Chargers offense I envision 4 or 5 cheap dump off passes broken for TD’s this season. If L.T. is healthy this year the Chargers may go back to more of a running game but I find it hard to believe that Rivers won’t get his. Cutler is much harder to predict. Last season he had a QB rating under 90 in half of his games. Cutler was throwing non-stop last season which led to over 4500 passing yards and 25 TD’s. The problem is he also threw 18 interceptions. Now Cutler makes the move to Chicago’s run happy offense. Chicago’s highest rated fantasy receiver Devin Hester only scored 78 points last year. The Bears do have a decent TE in Olson for Cutler to throw to, but he certainly doesn’t have the weapons he had in Denver. The bottom line on Cutler is that for under $10 he is worth a shot as a high upside back up who could fill in if your “starter” is injured or slumping. He would also be great trade bait if he plays well. If you are drafting Cutler to be your fantasy starter you better have a backup plan.

Coming in at #5 last year was Kurt Warner. If you read any of my stuff from last year you know that I predicted Warner wouldn’t last past week 7. Well, I was wrong. Warner was great last year but I refuse to believe. I still believe he is an injury risk and will not be on my team this year. Now if Kurt can stay healthy for a second season in a row there is zero reason to believe that he won’t be a top 5 QB again next year. The thing is someone is going to love Warner and will pay $20 for him. I say give me Rodgers or Rivers, even if I have to pay the same $20.

Let me finish up with 4 underrated and overrated QB’s I haven’t mentioned yet.

Underrated – McNabb (11) had a solid season despite all the turmoil. He finished as the 7th rated QB. He has some new weapons, although young weapons, and an improved offensive line. For $11 you get a guy who is a sure fire top 10 QB with a legit shot at being top 5.

Overrated – Brett Farve (3). Yeah you heard me Brett Farve. I don’t care if he is the starting QB for the Vikings next year, which he is not as of this moment. Last year he was the 16th rated fantasy passer. Farve was horrible in the 2nd half. Do you really think things will get better this season? I enjoy throwing his name out there in fantasy drafts and watching in complete amusement as owners lose their minds and drop $5 to $10 on Farve. If I get stuck with him for the dollar I nominate him at I will trade him if he is named the Vikings starter or drop him if he never signs and grab a different back up from the waiver wire.

Underrated – David Garrard (1). I think Garrard is the best back up QB in the game. Even in a “down year” last season he was still able to rack up 206 fantasy points, which was good for 11th among fantasy QB’s. Torry Holt’s arrival combined with MJD being on the field more often this year should only help Garrard’s numbers.

Overrated – Tom Brady (41) hasn’t played football for a long time. Will he ever put up his 2007 numbers again? Even if he does is he worth a bid of over $40. The same argument I used against drafting Brees can be used here. Brady scares me and there is no way I am paying over $40 for a player who scares me. I really hope someone else in my league does though.

Underrated – Matt Cassel (8) is rated as the #12 QB going into the season. Last year he was a top 10 QB (#8) in his first year on the field. I know he is no longer in New England but Kansas City does have a great receiver in Dwayne Bowe. I am not a huge fan of Matt but if I had an injury risk starter, Cassel would sure help me sleep better at night.

Overrated – Schaub (10). Maybe it’s because I believed in him last year and he barely broke the top 20 (#18). Who is paying $10 for this guy? I just don’t get it. I know he has Andre Johnson to throw to but come on. Maybe Sexy Rexy Grossman is starting in Houston by week 8. That is how confident I am in this guy. They also have Dan Orlovsky who is a better QB than Schaub. Sorry about the rant but this guy stinks. He has also missed 5 games in each of the last 2 seasons.

Underrated – Chad Pennington (1) never gets any respect. I know the future in Miami is Chad Henne, but the future is not this season. Pennington had a great year last year. He finished as the 10th rated passer in fantasy football. If he winds up in your starting lineup for a game or two he won’t kill you. Pennington only had 2 games last year with a QB rating under 70. On the flip side he had 8 games with a passer rating over 100. That’s good enough to be my back up QB, especially for $1.

Overrated – Matt Ryan (14) was the golden boy in the NFL last season. The rookie led the terrible Falcons to the playoffs. It was amazing, but how did his fantasy stats stand up? He must have been top ten, right? Nope, he finished a mediocre 15th among QB’s. Now don’t get me wrong, the kid has a high powered offense with great weapons, but I see a sophomore slump in my crystal ball. I think there is a chance for him to break into the top 10 QB’s but I think there is a better chance that he will remain somewhere around 15th. To land Ryan you have to pay top 8 QB money, which I am not willing to do.

I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings. If you did, be sure to check back in for the RB addition where I will break down the position by tiers and give some fantasy draft advice as well as go over some of my more underrated and overrated players. I am also planning on throwing out some bargain basement sleepers as well. See you then.

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