Saturday, June 22, 2013

2013 Quarterback Tiers

Tiers tiers tiers. Of the past ten years I've been playing fantasy football, this could be the least useful year for quarterback tiers. Why you say? Because you could clump them up into a tier of twelve and say boom. There's a tier. As I've said before, the quarterback class is so deep that you can wait till the seventh round to draft one and be set. To get a more general overview of the quarterbacks this year, check out my previous article.

But that doesn't mean this is a complete waste of time. Knowing about what rounds you should target the different tiers and also figuring out your preferences among each tier is key. Also, doing mock drafts and knowing each player's average draft position is vital to getting the players you want. For this, the rounds I place each tier is where they should be drafted. The average draft position is based on ESPN drafts and is where they are being drafted (keep in mind it will vary from website to website and that needs to factor in to your draft).

Rounds 2-3: The Super Elite
1. Aaron Rodgers (ADP 9.9)
2. Drew Brees (ADP 14.3)

This is pretty straightforward. Since 2009, these guys have finished right next to each other at 1st and 2nd three times. And since 2009, neither has finished outside the top six quarterbacks. They are benchmarks for consistency and durability. You cannot go wrong with either of them. But no, I would not take either in the first round. Not this year folks.

Who I want the most: Who do you think? I want my boy the all-time passer rating leader. But actually, I'd prefer Brees here. You can get Brees slightly later than Rodgers (ADP 9.9 vs 14.3) and simply put, some fool is probably going to take Rodgers in the first anyway. Yet the biggest reasons I have for Brees is that Sean Payton is back and the possible emergence of a running game in Green Bay. We all know the chemistry Brees has with Payton and I expected the duo to replicate and improve upon last season. And with offensive line changes and high potential running backs in Green Bay, I expect Rodgers' yardage and touchdowns to be cut in to. I especially expect declines in Rodgers' own rushing stats in which he has averaged 279 yards and 3.6 touchdowns per season. While those aren't great by any means, they are usually what put him over the top of Brees and Tom Brady.

Rounds 3-5: The Elite
3. Peyton Manning (ADP 21.6)
4. Tom Brady (ADP 18.7)
5. Cam Newton (ADP 29.3)

First off, let me remind you that in a typical league, there's no way you'll get any of these guys in the fifth. But, you should be able to. People just don't get it. In the first ESPN experts mock draft, Brady and Manning went in the fourth while Newton went in the fifth. I highly doubt the people you play with will be that smart and patient. Nonetheless, as I said, wait, and reap the benefits.

As you can see, there are still no question marks in this deep quarterback class. Cam has ended any doubt that he could be the same QB he was as a rookie, Manning is back to full health and robot-like precision, and Brady is still Brady. I would take Manning over Brady simply because of all years where we've seen Brady's options, this could be the worst. With virtually no receivers besides the still unproven Danny Amendola, Brady will lean heavily on Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, both of whom have had their fair share of injuries (and in Hernandez's case, an arrest warrant).

Who I want the most: Despite the addition of Wes Welker in Denever, I'll actually take Cam here. While I do think Manning will have the better season, I don't think it will be that much better than Cam's. I mainly prefer Cam here because of the draft value and hopes to get him (realistically) in the fourth. As for Brady, just remember that he is still Brady. No matter who his receivers are, you can expect Brady to be Brady. Did I say that enough? Brady will be Brady. 

Rounds 4-7: The Up and Coming
6. Robert Griffin III (ADP 56.5) (Pending injury updates)
7. Matt Ryan (ADP 41.3)
8. Colin Kaepernick (ADP 43.7)
9. Russell Wilson (ADP 49.9)

A tier with three running sons of guns. But hear this folks, whether or not the read option sticks, they are changing the way the game is being played right now. Matt Ryan here is the only truly proven one here, but that doesn't mean I would trust the other three any less. But those three guys are the only ones I would even consider drafting a backup for. Because they run so much and are thus vulnerable to injuries, a backup could be worth it. But if you take anyone besides RGIII, Kaepernick, or Wilson please, please do not draft a backup. You don't need one.

Who I want the most: Matt Ryan. Tony Gonzalez is back and the addition of Steven Jackson gives the Falcons a running back who will play a role in their passing attack. Ryan finished seventh among QB's last year and has a chance to finally crack the top five this year. I trust him most of those not in the top five and expect big things as the Falcons are once again loaded in weapons.

Rounds 7-10: The Value Starters
10. Matt Stafford (ADP 64.4)
11. Tony Romo (ADP 80.5)
12. Andrew Luck (ADP 71.0)

These are the guys I'm targeting. They finished 11th, 9th, and 8th respectively and all are in a position to improve on that. You cannot go wrong with any of these and drafting one as your starter and it will allow you to have the stock up and running backs (and wide receivers). 

And for those of you who are thinking you might want to take one as your backup before I get my starter? Think again. Remember how last year worked when THREE people took backups before I got my eventual starting quarterback? Yeah, take a look at my championship belt why don't you. And do you really want to waste a roster spot on a quarterback who will never start over a top five QB? Or just give you headaches about which of your two QB's you want to start? And I have asked enough leading questions to make you never even ponder this decision again?

Who I want the most: Matt Stafford. Despite struggles last year, he still put together a solid season. While it was a far cry from his 2011 breakout campaign, I expect him to rebound. While he may not throw over 700 times this year, the additions of Reggie Bush and a slightly improved line can only help. And he's still got that guy Calvin Johnson. That helps too. And you can't go wrong with Romo either. Just because he can't win big games does not mean he is not a good fantasy option.

Rounds 11-16: The Rest
13. Eli Manning (ADP 92.9)
14. Ben Roethlisberger (ADP 104.7)
15. Michael Vick (ADP 119.5)
16. Joe Flacco (ADP 112.9)
17. Philip Rivers (ADP 137.0)
18. Andy Dalton (ADP 131.0)
19. Sam Bradford (ADP 133.0)
20. Jay Cutler (ADP 137.4)
21. Matt Schaub (ADP 127.5)
22. Alex Smith (ADP 145.1)
23. Josh Freeman (ADP 136.7)
24. Carson Palmer (ADP 139.8)
25. Ryan Tannehill (ADP 145.1)
105. Tim Tebow (ADP N/A)
106. JaMarcus Russell (ADP N/A)

Time be blunt. None of the guys outside the top fifteen should be drafted. Don't waste a roster spot for a guy who won't be used. So. Pick up Eli for bye weeks. Keep a close eye on Vick in Kelly's new offense. Monitor Rivers to see if he can regain old form. And if he performs like he did with gloves on, perhaps he will. Monitor Palmer solely for his impact on Larry Fitzgerald. Watch Big Ben and Flacco. Watch Cutler to see what a grown baby looks like. Watch Tim Tebow warm up seats for Brady. And watch to see if JaMarcus can regain his eating form. It looks like he took some time off from that. And use the all of them as very solid bye week replacements. Boom.