COMMENTARY: It’s every fantasy owners favorite time of year again. The hunt for the coveted Shiva or your leagues counterpart. The online drafts are more and more packed everyday, and just like in the NFL, it all starts with the quarterback. The fact is that your quarterback should be the highest scorer on your fantasy team. If they aren’t, you need to be checking the waiver wire every hour on the hour and praying to the football gods for a miracle.
Over the past few seasons, there have been five quarterbacks who have really set themselves apart in terms of points scored Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, and Peyton Manning. Those quarterbacks averaged 321 fantasy points last season. In current online drafts, all five of them have been drafted before the end of the third round. The next five quarterbacks averaged 278 fantasy points and three of those quarterbacks where rookies last year. I always preach using caution when drafting rookies on account of the history of inconsistency with them. If you take out those rookies, the average drops to 259 fantasy points for those five veteran quarterbacks. That’s a 62 point difference over the season, which is just under four points a week. So landing a top five quarterback can make all the difference, but that doesn’t mean you have to burn a third-round pick for one when you could wait for one of the following gems that’s poised to shine this year.
Matthew Stafford is currently going around 60th overall in current drafts and is usually around the 10th quarterback taken. He’s been going after Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson. For a guy who has averaged 5000 yards and over 30 touchdowns the last two seasons, landing after three guys with barely a track record, is insane. Having the most physically gifted and dominating receiver in the history of the NFL alone warrants more attention then that. Add the fact that the offense has added a pass catcher like Reggie Bush out of the back field and you can’t ignore the potential for another huge year. I think last year’s struggles where a fluke, and I know for a fact that Detroit receivers where stopped inside the five-yard line more times than anyone else last year. If bad luck exists anywhere in the universe, it has to be in downtown Detroit, but I think this year the talent and the arm of #9 will be strong enough to overcome. I think waiting until the middle of the 6th round is safe anywhere outside of the state of Michigan where Stafford will probably go a round or two earlier.
Andy Dalton is currently going 128th overall and has been the 18th quarterback taken overall. That means for a 10-person league that everyone took a starter and then seven backups before Dalton. Would it surprise you that Big Red was the 15th highest scoring player in all of fantasy football last year. It shocked me and I was even more impressed that he did it in what is arguably the toughest defensive conference in the NFL. This kind of value doesn’t come around very often in a fantasy season. With A.J. Green blossoming into one of the top five receivers in the league Dalton has what every top tier quarterback has to have a dominating go to receiver. The Bengals pairing Tyler Eifert with the talented Jermaine Gresham at tight end opens up all kinds of fun possibilities. They also added Giovani Bernard to the back field who had 47 catches for 490 yards and five touchdowns during his final season in North Carolina. That can only help a backfield that had a combined 42 receptions for 256 yards and never saw the end zone as a group last year. I think you could wait until the 13th round to land him if your feeling lucky unless your in a league with the Ginger Giants.
Carson Palmer and yes I said Carson Palmer is going 137th overall and is the 23rd quarterback taken in online drafts. So for a lot of you he could be drafted in the final round of your draft. Now I know a lot of you think I’ve completely lost my mind on this one, but let’s think about it for a second. Palmer is in Arizona now with non other then Larry Fitzgerald who I think is still a top three receiver in the league in terms of talent. They also have Andre Roberts who actually caught one more touchdown than Fitzgerald did last year. If you remember last year in Oakland that Palmer threw for 4000 yards and had an 85.3 passer rating. Now that’s not pro bowl numbers but come on people its freaking Oakland where his #1 target was Brandon Myers! There is more ability in one of Larry Fitzgerald’s glorious dreadlocks then on the entire receiving corps of the Raiders last year. I expect a comeback year for Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald who should be nothing short of brilliant together. In addition they still have Michael Floyd to develop and for crying out loud even Patrick Peterson is catching passes in practice. I see him as a must have for any team this year if nothing else as trade bait or insurance for a lesser established starter.