NFL Training Camps are on the verge of commencement. And many fantasy owners are actively preparing for their seasons by participating in mock drafts. This provides an excellent opportunity to scrutinize where players are being selected during the voluminous amount of drafts that have been taking place, in the form of their Average Draft Positions (ADPs). This knowledge will supply a critical roadmap toward understanding where other owners value each player. That in turn will provide better insight into how your upcoming drafts could easily unfold. This particular piece will focus upon the QB position, which contains an extreme degree of depth this season. That has certainly been reflected in the mock drafts, as owners are correctly responding to the declining sense of urgency that is required in selecting a signal caller this season. While Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady were among the first nine players selected in the 2012 fantasy drafts, no QBs are currently being chosen in the initial round. Rodgers is still the first signal caller being drafted, but his ADP has dropped to just 21. More owners are constructing their backfields, and collecting their WRs, before opting to select their QBs. This is the approach that I have endorsed, which has been taken into consideration for this breakdown of signal callers. Including those that I believe have been either undervalued or overvalued. All material is based upon current ADPs, and presuming that the drafts occur in 12-team leagues. For my analysis of RBs just click here
Tom Brady’s ADP Is The Worst Since 2005
Since there are a reasonable number of alternative options to Rodgers, Brees and Brady, the collective ADP of that trio was expected to decline somewhat. But Brady’s appeal has diminished rather significantly. And part of that regression is in response to his depleted collection of WRs and TEs. His current ADP of 50 ranks behind Rodgers, Brees and Cam Newton, which in itself is not a massive indicator of disrespect. But just one year ago, he was not only a consensus first round selection, but was the seventh player drafted overall. In 2011, he was securely nestled within Round 2, with an ADP of 18.5. And exactly five seasons ago, he was the first QB to depart the draft boards, and the sixth player overall. In fact, you must travel back to 2005 in order to locate an ADP that is similar to the number that he currently possesses. As many owners smartly realize, the lazy declaration by some observers – “he’s Tom Brady, he’ll be fine” is not a sufficient appraisal, considering the current state of affairs surrounding the New England offense. Brady might begin the season without his five most productive targets from 2012, if the cluster of offseason surgeries prohibits Rob Gronkowski from taking the field at that time. And even the dangerous TE does return, Brady’s arsenal of weaponry will be weaker than it was last year. Logic simply dictates that despite Brady's exceptional ability, New England's current stable of WRs and TEs cannot magically step onto the field and begin stockpiling receptions and TDs in the same manner as the weapons that they are being asked to replace. This is not to suggest that Brady will deliver a woefully substandard season, or that the Patriot offense will suddenly struggle with an inefficient offensive attack. But even though his performances have frequently indicated otherwise, he remains human. Not only will he be 36-years old when he handles his first regular season snap, but to an extensive degree will be asked to “do more with less”. And owners are acutely aware of it.
Your Options Will Diminish Rapidly After Rounds 5-6
There is a massive collection of QBs that are now being selected in Rounds 5-6, consisting of Brady, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, RG3, Mathew Stafford and Russell Wilson. All are undeniably QB1s, who should ultimately become prolific point producers for their owners this season. Given the landscape of this year’s roster construction at each position, this is the area of the draft that I have recommended for your selection of a signal caller. Even though it is wise to secure two RBs and at least one WR before you grab a QB, I strongly suggest that you avoid delaying your selection far beyond that point. Instead, make certain that you have captured one of the top 11 signal callers, which means that you should execute your selection before all of the names that are listed above have vanished from your draft boards. Otherwise, your only alternatives at that point in the process will force you to endure a drop-off in production of such significance that it will create too much risk for your team on a weekly basis. Which is why I do not embrace the strategy of waiting until the late rounds. It simply is not necessary to do that, when you have ample opportunity to fortify all positions on your roster, and still manage to garner a highly productive QB. It is important to avoid being overly fixated on any one approach, to the such a large degree that you deny yourself opportunities that arise. Instead, you should always have enough flexibility to examine the flow of your drafts as they develop. But based upon the trends that have occurred in the majority of drafts this summer, selecting one of the top 11 QBs while they remain available is very likely to benefit you throughout the fantasy season.
Russell Wilson Is Being Undervalued
Within the assembly of talented QBs that are being chosen in rounds 5-6, Wilson is the final signal caller currently being selected, with an ADP of 66.5. That makes him the 11th QB to join a roster, resulting in an absolute steal for owners who seize him at that point of the draft process. Once Seattle evolved from the conservative game plan that restrained his production last season, Wilson's true talents were unleashed. During the final nine regular season games, his proficiency as a passer enabled him to generate 18 TD passes. He also demonstrated his elusiveness by amassing 45 YPG as a rusher during his last eight contests. In the postseason, he tossed three additional scoring passes, while running for 127 yards and another TD. This season Wilson will not only improve, and but should do so significantly. Plus, his statistical ceiling will be expanded through the addition of Percy Harvin. Wilson’s proficiency as a pocket passer should enable him to locate his dynamic new teammate, and allow the tandem to generate big plays. He should continue to find success through targeting Sidney Rice and Golden Tate. Owners who select Wilson should also benefit from the fact that he is an extremely intelligent QB, who also studies relentlessly in order to elevate his game. I recommend selecting Wilson before both Luck and Stafford, who are currently being chosen earlier than the Seahawk signal caller. That also applies to RG3, if the uncertainty regarding his health persists.
No Crabtree, No Problem: Owners Believe In Colin Kaepernick
When Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles on May 21, Kaepernick's value instantly became a point of discussion for observers, although it appeared from here to be needless concern. Because it underrated Kaepernick's playmaking abilities by a sizable degree. Plus, it subscribed to the flawed premise that Crabtree was responsible for Kaepernick’s success, when in fact it was the second year signal caller’s ability to accurately and confidently deliver deep throws that revitalized what had been a moderate but uninspiring season for Crabtree. 595 of his 1,105 yards during the 2012 regular season were amassed once Kaepernick ascended into the starting lineup. Then, the tandem connected on 20 passes for 285 yards and three TDs in the 49ers’ trio of postseason contests. Even though Crabtree will not be available throughout most of the regular season (if not all of it), Kaepernick will still ignite another highly successful attack this year with his current arsenal of targets. Owners appear to be acutely aware that Kaepernick transformed San Francisco’s offense by supplying explosiveness and aggressiveness that had been sorely lacking with his predecessor Alex Smith. As he is currently the sixth QB to be selected in drafts, with an ADP of 58. While I had originally warned owners not to downgrade Kaepernick when the advice to the contrary initially arose, he is actually being drafted a little earlier than I would recommend. Matt Ryan is coming off the board just after Kaepernick, and I would reverse that process. But that represents borderline nitpicking, as Kaepernick’s current status as a sixth round selection is absolutely perfect placement by owners.
The Fluid ADP Of RG3
His exceptional rookie season included 3,200 yards and 20 TDs through the air, along with 815 yards and seven additional scores on the ground. Unfortunately, the torn ACL that he suffered in early January has provided the lasting image of RG3’s initial year. And it created extreme uncertainty throughout much of the offseason regarding his availability, and the degree to which he would perform whenever he did enter the field. Owners have dealt with the ambiguity that surrounded his recovery by considering alternatives for their QB1s, while monitoring his health with extreme scrutiny. But even though tangible details concerning his status have largely been limited, there has been increasing evidence that he will be under center when the Redskins open the season on September 9. As a result, a growing number of owners have decided to make the investment in RG3. That in turn has been reflected by his ADP, which has gradually improved in the past several months. Only eight other signal callers are being selected before him at this point, and his ADP of 64 places him firmly in Round 6. That is excellent value for a QB who generated such outstanding results last season, although the critical question of whether or not he can supply the same level of elusiveness, and deliver subsequent fantasy points remains unclear. His ADP carries the greatest potential for change among all QB1s during the remaining weeks of summer. As he could still rise to the top six at his position, if there is adequate evidence that he will be both available and productive when the season begins. Conversely, if we progress through August without a verification that can perform effectively in September, then more owners will choose alternative options. For now, make sure to select a strong QB2 for your rosters, if you choose to also draft RG3.
Which QBs Are Most Popular Late Round Additions?
As mentioned earlier, I am not among those who advocate waiting until the late rounds to draft a QB. I believe your goal of winning a fantasy championship this season is best served by making sure to have one of the top 11 signal callers as your QB1. However, this approach does have its supporters among observers and owners, and it is intriguing to observe which QBs are being selected for inclusion on fantasy rosters when utilizing this strategy. The list of QBs that I have recommended for selection are currently unavailable after Round 6, making Tony Romo the lone remaining QB1 in a 12-team league. However, his current ADP of 83 indicates that his availability will end before the close of Round 7. Once the unquestioned starters have been drafted, any owners who are continuing to exercise patience before grabbing their signal caller can consider Eli Manning until the end of Round 9, when his ADP of 106 necessitates him departing the draft board. Once Round 11 commences, the drafts have officially entered the late rounds by nearly any standard. At this point, Ben Roethlisberger (ADP-126), and Andy Dalton (ADP-127) are being chosen with consecutive picks, which almost certainly includes owners that have delayed their selections until now. Hopefully, the reality of waiting until the late rounds for a QB is now setting in for those of you who would consider this approach. I have absolutely no desire to be reliant upon either Roethlisberger or Dalton as my starter. Which is why I urge you to secure a QB before the conclusion of Round 6. For the record, Joe Flacco is currently being selected in Round 12 (ADP-137), along with Jay Cutler (ADP-142), and Michael Vick (ADP-143). Then in Round 13, Ryan Tannehill (ADP-145), and Sam Bradford (ADP-147) round out the top 20. They are viable QB2s, but nothing more at this point. You should be in possession of a QB who is far more prolific on a weekly basis as opposed to any options that remained available beyond Round 9. Hopefully, this breakdown was enlightening for anyone that is considering waiting until the late rounds to select a QB.
Matt Schaub’s Continuing Fade Into Irrelevance
My colleague Greg Brosh did an excellent job of examining the falling ADP of Philip Rivers, so I will identify another veteran whose number continues to deteriorate. As you journey down the list of QBs, you will eventually find Schaub, who is currently being selected after 22 of his peers. With an ADP of 167, that places him at the bottom of Round 14. It was just three years ago that he was the sixth signal caller selected, as his ADP of 27 placed him solidly into Round 3. But at that point, his precipitous decline began. In 2011 he was the ninth QB chosen, with a respectable ADP of 51.5. And only 12 months ago Schaub was the 15th signal caller selected, with an ADP of 93. This made Schaub a high end QB2, who could suffice as spot starter when required. He generated 4,008 yards last season, which was the NFL’s 11th highest total, yet his appeal continues to diminish. This despite the fact that his numbers have been better than some of the QBs who are being selected before him. However, Houston’s heavy emphasis on the run is a major factor. The Texans had the fourth most rushing attempts last season (508), and only one team ran the ball with more frequency inside their opponents’ 10 yard line. That propelled the team to 19 rushing TDs, which was the NFL’s fourth highest total. And it helped limit Schaub to just 22 TDs, which tied him for 15th in that category. It is noteworthy that the three seasons in which he as surpassed 4,000 yards, are also the only years that he has been under center for all 16 regular season contests. And he should produce a favorable yardage total once again if he can remain healthy. But his ceiling in other categories remains low, and will destine him to a paltry ADP.