Everyone and their mother plays fantasy football in 2007 so I am going to contribute a number of articles to help out the casual fantasy players we have out there. Feel free to comment.
The Quarterback ends up being the forgotten position for a lot of fantasy general managers. You miss out on Peyton and then start eyeing the skill position players you fell in love with and the next thing you know its the 8th round and you don’t know which QB to select because all that is left is a collection of mediocrity. I’ll weigh in on that situation and some other thoughts and FAQ’s about the 2007 fantasy QB’s.
Q: Where do I pick Peyton?
A: I’m pretty high on Manning. I would look to select him at any point at the end of the first round which will still leave you an opportunity to draft a legitimate No. 1 RB with your 2nd rounder. In a 10 team league I could justify taking Manning as early as 8th as it would still leave you an opportunity to draft a Henry, Maroney, Bush at the 13 spot. After 13 your probably going to see a dropoff in RB value to the McGahee, Ronnie Brown, Jones-Drew types. Remember that Peyton is a rock. He won’t miss games, is in his prime, has playmakers around him, and still has that 50 TD pass ceiling.
Q: Who are the 2nd and 3rd ranked QB’s?
A: It depends who you ask. Since this is my blog entry, here is how I see it. Its important to know whether your league awards 4 or 6 points for a touchdown and how many points interceptions take away when you answer this question. Standard fantasy scoring is 4 points and -2 so we’ll use that. One of the reasons why Manning is so valuable reveals itself in this answer. There is a clear cut number 1 QB, after that its a lot of conjecture and opinion. Sean Payton’s offense is not going to slow down this year and Brees is going to throw for over 4 grand again. Brees is still my number 3 though. Carson Palmer is 100% healthy this year and I have to put him in the 2 hole. Palmer threw for 4000 yards last year with 28 TDs and you could see him favoring that knee. Palmer’s upside puts him above Brees for me. Palmer in 2005 was creeping towards an illegal 70% completion rate with 32 TD’s and only a dozen interceptions. I think you can expect that type of year from Palmer in 2007. After Manning, Palmer, Brees, you go with Brady, then Bulger. Those are the big 5 that you can hang your hat on.
Q: After the big 5, what do I do?
A: I think you look for McNabb not too long after. But after Donovan, it gets really hairy. The 7, 8, 9, 10 QB’s are valued about 2 rounds after McNabb comes off the board. So your in the 7th round and start looking at a QB, what do you do? The next 4 quarterbacks drafted on average in Yahoo drafts are Vince Young, Hasselback, Kitna, Romo. My pick in this spot is Kitna. Two words, Mike Martz. Kitna threw a gross 22 interceptions last year, but thats the only thing holding him back from being a top top QB. Kitna threw for 4200 yards and 21 TD’s. Now this year you give the personnel a year of familiarity and add Calvin Johnson to the WR corps. I think another 4,200 is in store with 25 TDs and less interceptions. Also, a stat that went sort of unnoticed is Kitna rushing for 2 TDs and 156 yards last season which was good for an extra 28 fantasy points and nullifies the high INT total. Not bad production for an 8th rounder.
Rushing TDs for a QB are very unpredictable and I don’t believe Vince Young duplicates his 7 from last season. Couple that with the fact that his WRs are trash and he completed an unbelievably low 51.5% of his passes last year and I think you should probably bank on Young only as a bench player. VY is a winner, there is no doubt about that, but for fantasy purposes I think he has too much bust potential.
Hasselbeck doesn’t have as many weapons as in the past and everyone is always down on guys who are coming off an injury season. This could mean you can get a big time QB late in your draft. Hass is a gunslinger thats still in his prime and still playing in the same offensive system that sent him to the Pro Bowl only two years ago. I would be fine with Matt Hass as my fantasy QB in 2007 if I had and edge in skill position talent earlier in the draft.
Romo is usually going to be the next guy off the board. He is unproven, but from what we saw last year, Romo could put up very nice fantasy numbers playing for an entire season. He has Owens, Glenn, Witten, and the underrated Crayton to throw to and he likes to get mobile and throw down field. Bottom line is Romo is another guy from the handful that has 25 TD and 3,800 yard potential.
I would tell you to target Peyton if he is available in the end of the 1st or beginning of the 2nd round. If you miss out on Peyton then start looking at Palmer/Brees in the third round. If you can get a tier 1 WR or Gates in the 3rd then thats where I would go instead. Brady is going to go earlier than I would select him so you won’t see him on my team this year. Best case scenario here is its your pick in the 5th round and the skill position field is starting to thin but you realize Bulger is still available. If you can’t get Bulger then you are in the last question territory. You have already missed the big 5 so get a good 3rd WR and consider McNabb a round later. After McNabb goes then screw it, your going to have question marks at quarterback so stock up on talent elsewhere and look for Kitna/Hass/Romo later on. If you get one of those guys or Phil Rivers then just remember to grab a backup not too long after. Personally I like Eli, Leinart, Alex Smith, and Favre as very solid backups with potential to be starters. Remember that its not necessarily the QB you select, its where you take them and what you are able to surround them with.
-Reggie Bush looks like hes ready to really set it off this season. He’s the featured player in that Saints offense. Bush is in the best shape of his life with some added muscle. He is running patient instead of pressing, while still showing that insane explosiveness. Just think of it as Sean Payton increasing his workload while expecting the type of play we saw at the end of 2006 when he produced about 500 yards and 7 TDs in December.
-Adrian Peterson is for real. Get him on your team if possible. Your looking at first round production if he takes over the job full time or Taylor gets injured. And even in a time share you need to think Peterson will get the goal line carries and produce a decent amount of touchdowns. The 43-yard run that included a Madden spin move, truck stick, and blowing by a fast Jon Vilma on the sidelines last week was tantilizing.
-WRs are underrated and the talent pool is pretty shallow if your league starts three of them. All the draft experts say to go RB/RB in rounds 1 and 2 but I disagree with that philosophy this season. I’ll go RB/RB if I’m able to get 2 studs, but in the latter part of the second round I take Steve/Chad/Harrison over a suspect RB like Ronnie Brown or Benson any day of the week. After the top dozen RBs there is a dropoff where there isn’t much difference between the 2nd and 3rd round talent. The amount of running back by committees these days assures you that some good talent is going to slip to the 3rd and 4th rounds. Running back is actually a deep position this season. Let your fellow GMs select Ronnie Brown/Randy Moss while you take Chad Johnson/ Brandon Jacobs in rounds 2/3. Also, take a look at the WR rankings this season. After the top 15 it starts to get scarce and then after the top 25 it starts to get uncomfortably thin. Get your three WRs on board before you look for a backup RB. Good players like Cadillac, Julius Jones and Tatum Bell can be had late in the draft. You do not want to be stuck with Cotchery and Berrian as your WR2 and WR3s because you waited too long to fill them out.