Fantasy Football: Why You Shouldn't Take a QB Until Later Rounds.

By Alex Rubin
August 20, 2011 12:29 am
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The transition of the NFL to a passing league has certainly raised controversy in the fantasy world. As last year in ESPN standard leagues 8/10 top scoring fantasy players were quarterbacks. The only two to break that trend were running backs Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson. In the mock drafts I've been doing I am seeing more and more people take their starting QB early in rounds 1 or 2. In my opinion though that's a bad idea. In fact I wouldn't even take a QB in rounds 3, 4, or 5 either. Even if I could get my hands on Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick, or Tom Brady. You want to know why? The answer is: MATH.

2010's Top 5 QB's: ESPN Standard Scoring (ppw = points per week)

Michael Vick- 292 points = 24.3 ppw (only played 12 games due to injury)
Aaron Rodgers- 288 points = 19.2 ppw (played 15 games missed one with a concussion I believe)
Tom Brady- 287 points = 17.94 ppw (full 16 games)
Peyton Manning- 277 points = 17.31 ppw (full 16 games)
Philip Rivers- 269.5 points = 16.84 ppw (full 16 games)

Alright, above are the top 5 fantasy QB's from 2010 with their average points per week figured by dividing their total amount of points by however many weeks they played last season.

And below are my three favorite QB's for 2011. Why? Because I can always get one of them in RD7 in the many mock drafts I have done thus far. Another reason to like these three is because they all had solid fantasy seasons last year and are likely to improve and make big strides this season, especially Josh Freeman and Matty Ice. Who both may I add finished within that top 10 overall last year in ESPN standard leagues. Freeman has another year under his belt and is now surrounded by weapons that he has developed good rapport with. For Ryan with the addition of Julio Jones in the draft, could have one of the most dangerous air attacks in the league to work with. As for Big Ben, he got married so should no longer find trouble hopefully and play a full 16 games this year without suffering another suspension for his off-field actions. I'd expect Roethlisberger to finish within the top 10-15 overall this season as well.

Josh Freeman- 247.5 points = 15.47 ppw (full 16 games)
Matt Ryan- 236 points = 14.75 ppw (full 16 games)
Ben Roethlisberger- 195 points = 16.25 (remember he only played in 12 games due to suspension)
**Roethlisberger's average scaled over a full 16 games would have added up to 260 points and he should play a full 16 this year**

Now some of you may look at the number totals and say, "Well Freeman scored 44.5 points less than Vick over the course of the season. That's horrible!" But when you do the math, you know what? The difference in points between Josh Freeman and Michael Vick is a measly 2.78 points per week! You heard it, 2.78 ppw, that's it. I realize that the actual difference between Vick's and Freeman's average ppw is 8.83 on a basis of their ppw shown above. But that would have only been true had Vick played all 16 games. It's the average of the difference in points (44.5/16) that matters. Yes, Vick only played 12 games to Freeman's 16. But the NFL and fantasy football don't stop to wait for Vick to heal. If you factor in the 4 games Vick missed (scoring 0 points) and divided his total by 16 his average takes a significant drop from 24.3 to 18.25. Then subtract Freeman's average of 15.47 and that equals just a 2.78 ppw difference once again. And I always thought I hated math, never knew it would come in handy in the fantasy football world!

Another argument I can see arising here is some may say, "Well, Michael Vick could blow up any given week and score me 49 fantasy points while Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan, or Ben Roethlisberger will just score their average say 16 points a week. A performance like that from Vick would almost guarantee me a victory that week. So, he is worth the high pick!" My answer to this is, No. Sure, Vick can and will surely surprise us with some monstrous weeks. That's a given due to his talents as both a passer and a rusher. But all I can say again is, look at the averages. Vick vs. Freeman is a 2.78 points a week difference over the entire 2010 season. Which means for every incredible week that Vick has, he will also have a dud week. And his dud weeks could be weeks where Vick scores 0 points due to injury which is almost certain to happen at some point during the season. Make sense? Personally I would rather have a QB with high breakout potential like Freeman who is consistent and less injury prone. And most importantly: a much, much lower ADP (average draft position). Don't get me wrong here, I would LOVE to have Michael Vick on my fantasy team as much as anyone else. The guy is amazing and incredibly fun to watch, but I just cannot justify spending my 1st or 2nd round pick on him when I can take a very solid QB in the second half of the draft.

When draft time comes I can assure you people are going to take QB's in the first three rounds. Don't be that person if you want my advice. In fact in the first three-four rounds of any draft I would expect Vick, Rodgers, Brady, Manning, and Rivers to all be gone. Brees might even be snatched up in the first three rounds as well. But why waste a pick on a QB then when you can get Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan, Big Ben, or even Matthew Stafford/Sam Bradford if you really want to gamble as late as RD6 or RD7+? I've seen Freeman go as late as RD10 or RD11 in some mock drafts where somebody was lucky (that being me) scooped him up as my back up to Matt Ryan. What I'm trying to get across here is, you should wait to take your starting QB later in your draft because the point discrepancy is so minimal compared to the high price of an early pick for a big name that it really doesn't matter too much if you have an, "elite QB" vs. a Josh Freeman type. Rounds 1-4 should all really be spent stacking your team with elite WR's and RB's as the difference between a great WR or RB and a mediocre one is much larger and those positions have multiple starting spots each and every week too.

And that's my 2 cents. Take it or leave it! Good luck drafting everybody!

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By Alex Rubin
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