A bit of a slow news day today so let’s talk a little strategy. The quarterback position is fascinating this season because there are so many that are viable starters in 2013. I’ve done hundreds of drafts this season and every time I have taken an “elite” quarterback in the early rounds I have regretted it. Why take Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers in the 3rd round when you can get Cam Newton in the 5th. Why take Cam Newton in the 5th when you can get Russell Wilson in the 7th? In nearly every draft you can be the last to take a quarterback and still be perfectly happy with what you have. So to that end let’s take a look at those quarterbacks that are generally available in the 7th or 8th round in nearly every draft and discuss why you should aim to be the last team to take a quarterback

 

First off, my current top 12 QBs are as follows:



Rank

Quarterback

Team / Bye Week

QB1

Drew Brees

NO/7

QB2

Peyton Manning

DEN/9

QB3

Aaron Rodgers

GB/4

QB4

Cam Newton

CAR/4

QB5

Russell Wilson

SEA/12

QB6

Matt Ryan

ATL/6

QB7

Robert Griffin III

WAS/5

QB8

Tom Brady

NE/10

QB9

Andrew Luck

IND/8

QB10

Matthew Stafford

DET/9

QB11

Tony Romo

DAL/11

QB12

Colin Kaepernick

SF/9

 

We aren’t going to look too much into the top four. Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Cam Newton are all in their own little mini-tier at the top. These guys will never drop far enough for us to draft when employing the “wait and wait some more” quarterback strategy, but they do represent excellent value at a certain point in the draft. If Brees, Manning, or Rodgers are available in the 4th round or Cam Newton is available in the late 5th, that’s about point where I would consider an early quarterback. At that point the prospect of getting elite production from the quarterback position after spending your first 3-4 picks on elite running backs, wide receivers, or tight ends is sometimes just too tempting. Likely though, I’m still waiting because of the value we see later.

 

A spattering of quarterbacks will go off the board between rounds 4 and 6 are generally where Matt Ryan and Tom Brady are selected. These two quarterbacks are the two that I am least likely to draft in 2013. In Ryan’s case, I just don’t think he has 5,000 yard or 40+ touchdown potential like the four in the top tier have. He took a big leap last season which was his best as a pro. Ryan put up 4719 yards and 32 touchdowns which were both career highs. I don’t see Matt Ryan and Falcons throwing the ball much more than the the 615 times they did in 2012 so I think we are looking at a similar type season or perhaps slightly worse. Those number certainly aren’t bad and place him squarely in the top 10, but I don’t see an elite season for Matt Ryan in 2013. The argument against Tom Brady is his lack of experienced targets. With Gronkowski out, the player on the Patriot’s roster that has caught the most regular season passes from Brady is running back Shane Vereen. I will say that in the team’s 2nd preseason game Tom Brady and the patriots offense, particularly Danny Amendola and Zach Sudfeld looked amazing; as if they were already in midseason form. While we perceive there to be a lack of quality, experienced targets in New England, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make us all look silly and finish in the top 3 at the position.

 

 

The six quarterbacks we just talked about are all unlikely to make it to the 7th or 8th round, but I have seen all of the remaining six available that late at one time or another. The point is that you don’t really care which of them make it to you. Your goal is to be the last person to draft a quarterback whether that happens to be Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo, or Colin Kaepernick doesn’t matter. Each of them are quality starting quarterbacks in 12 team leagues

 

RussellWilson’s ADP dropped a bit after the Percy Harvin injury, but don’t let that persuade you. From week 12 - 17 in 2012, Wilson was the 2nd highest scoring fantasy quarterback in the league behind only Cam Newton. Week 12 was when the Seahawks installed the read-option part of the offense and Wilson was a fantasy monster from that point on. He also did it without Percy Harvin. Russell Wilson is my 5th ranked QB but can often be had in the 7th or 8th round.

 

On a points per game basis, RG3 was top 5 last season. He is coming off a knee injury but appears to be on track to play in week 1 of the regular season. Draft him with confidence in the 7th round or later, but be sure to back him up with a solid option.

 

What Andrew Luck was able to accomplish last year in his first season was nothing short of amazing. He took a team that was 2-14 the previous year and turned them into a playoff team as he led an offense that had rookies playing a major role at every skill position. Many already view him as the best quarterback in the NFL and you can get him in the 7th or 8th round of most drafts.

 

Matthew Stafford threw the football an NFL record 727 times last season, but his end of the year stats didn’t reflect that. He still has Calvin Johnson though and the Lions upgraded their offense by acquiring running back Reggie Bush. Stafford should once again approach 5000 yards in 2013.

 

Tony Romo has quietly finished as a top 10 fantasy quarterback in 5 of the last 6 seasons. The one that he missed was in 2010 when he missed 11 games due to a broken clavicle. That is the kind of consistency you want in your starting QB.

 

While Colin Kaepernick is at the bottom of the top 12 quarterbacks for 2013, he could just as easily finish in the top 6. The Michael Crabtree injury is going to hurt him for sure, but Kaepernick is always a threat to run for 50-100 yards and score rushing touchdowns which is particularly valuable in 4 point passing TD leagues. Kaepernick in not usually the last of the top 12 QBs left in the 8th round, but if he is don’t hesitate to snap him up and then point and laugh at the owner that spend a 2nd rounder on Brees or Rodgers.

 


So give it a try yourself. Force yourself to wait on quarterback for as long as you possibly can. Do some mock drafts before your actual draft and see just how long you can wait before you take your quarterback and then compare those teams to ones where you took one early. I guarantee you that 9 times out of 10 you will like the team with the later round quarterback better than the one with the early quarterback. Feel free to contact me on the message boards or via twitter if you have any questions about this strategy and good luck in your drafts.


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