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100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 80: Finding Value at Quarterback

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I did another guest post at FF Today looking at how to find value at quarterback in 2013. Here’s a sample:

Bringing it Together in 2013

Let’s assume that we’re using a late-round quarterback strategy this year. Which passers with a current ADP in the seventh round or later best match our criteria? Let’s first look at just age and mobility:

Late-Round Quarterbacks
Quarterback Mobility Age
Robert Griffin III x x
Andrew Luck x x
Tony Romo NO NO
Russell Wilson x x
Eli Manning NO NO
Andy Dalton NO x
Michael Vick x NO
Ben Roethlisberger NO NO
Jay Cutler NO NO
Carson Palmer NO NO
Joe Flacco NO x
Philip Rivers NO NO
Josh Freeman NO x
Matt Schaub NO NO
Sam Bradford NO x
Ryan Tannehill x x
Alex Smith x x

Right away, we can take out all passers except RGIII, Luck, Wilson, Tannehill, and Smith. That’s not to say the eliminated quarterbacks can’t offer value, but rather that they don’t match the prototype of past elite passers.

Four of the five players we’ve selected were rookies in 2012, so their first-year efficiency is relevant to us. Luck and Tannehill were both efficient as far as first-year quarterbacks go, but RGIII and Wilson were off of the charts. Smith’s rookie stats really don’t matter much anymore, but he was highly efficient during his last few seasons in San Francisco.

Despite their efficiency, I have reservations about both RGIII and Wilson. The problem is that it’s unlikely they’ll be more efficient in 2013, but we’re not really sure if their workloads will increase. Wilson’s attempts could jump, but he’s also not going to throw a touchdown on 6.6 percent of his attempts like he did as a rookie. Plus, Griffin is an injury-risk I’m not willing to take in the seventh round.

Luck’s efficiency will almost assuredly improve in his second year in the league, but can we count on another top five season in terms of attempts? Probably not. On the other hand, Tannehill was nearly just as effective as Luck on a per-throw basis, but he threw almost 200 fewer passes. With Miami’s commitment to the passing game and Tannehill’s continued development as a quarterback, he’s basically a less-hyped version of Luck—young, relatively mobile, and efficient—but with a much cheaper price tag. Smith is in a similar situation; he’s still just 29 years old, so he should be able to produce at near-peak efficiency, and he’s probably going to see a massive upswing in attempts in Kansas City.

I’m not saying you should draft just Tannehill and Smith and think you’ll ride them to a fantasy championship, but both players make for excellent under-the-radar additions. They’re high-upside options, which is what you want in the late rounds. And if it doesn’t work out, you’ll lose a 14th or 15th-round pick, not a sixth or seventh.

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