2010 Fantasy Football Preview: QBs

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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The quarterback position is important in fantasy football, just not as important as it is in real football. Unless you play in a league that requires two starting QBs, there is plenty of depth at the position which means you have plenty of options.

Strategy #1: Draft a stud.
This is the simplest way to approach the position. Sometime in the first three rounds, pick the best QB available. This year, it appears that there are seven QBs going in the first 36 picks: Aaron Rodgers (1.08), Drew Brees (1.09), Peyton Manning (2.04), Tom Brady (3.01), Tony Romo (3.09), Matt Schaub (3.11) and Philip Rivers (3.12). These guys have a few things in common: 1) they’re good, 2) they’re entrenched in good situations, and 3) they have good receivers to throw to.

One strategy is to set aside one of your first three picks for one these players. The upside is that you probably won’t have to worry about your QB position. You’ll run this guy out there every week and won’t have to make any decisions about whom to start. The downside is that you won’t be using one of your early round picks on another position, like RB and WR, that does not have as much depth as the QB position.

Strategy #2: Wait for value to emerge.
This approach doesn’t preclude taking a QB in the first few rounds, but it doesn’t mandate it either. You might wait until the late 2nd/early 3rd and see if Rodgers/Brees/Manning are still on the board. Or wait until the 4th or the 5th and see if one of the other four players are available. If it’s the latter, then you managed to get a 3rd round QB a round or two later, which allowed you to get a stud QB and use a 3rd round pick on that RB or WR you had your eye on.

The ‘wait for value’ approach could also stretch into the middle rounds as you wait for a well-priced QB. If that value never emerges, don’t fret, because you’re still well positioned for…

Strategy #3: Quarterback By Committee
I wrote a far more detailed post about this last week, but suffice to say, with the depth at the QB position, 2-3 middle- to late-round QBs with schedules that combine well (i.e. favorable matchups line up so there’s usually a good one every week) will form a QBBC that will perform at Top 5 levels at a fraction of the price.

My top recommendation this year is to grab Eli Manning (or Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco) in the 8th, and then Ben Roethlisberger in the 10th. For a three-man combo utilizing only late rounders, grab Big Ben in the 10th, Alex Smith in the 11th and David Garrard in the 12th.

The benefit to this strategy is that you won’t lose much at the QB spot and will be able to load up with tons of talent and depth at RB, WR and even TE in the early rounds. You’ll also have 2-3 capable signal callers on the roster to turn to if one gets injured. What do you do if Drew Brees goes down?

The downside? You can go into the season with a plan, but player and defensive performance may make picking a starter each week more of a chore than you’d like it to be. This is not necessarily the right strategy for an owner who wants a low-maintenance team.

Since I’ve already written extensively about the QBBC, and you don’t have to put much thought into picking a stud early in the draft, here are a few QBs that look like especially good values, even at their current average draft positions.

Jan. 17, 2010 - MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, UNITED STATES - epa01992506 Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo walks off the field after the loss to the Minnesota Vikings in their playoff game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 17 January 2010. The Minnesota Vikings won the game 34-3.

Tony Romo (3.09)
Romo finished as QB7 last season and was about 10 points away from QB4. He has finished in the Top 10 in each of the last three seasons and a plethora of weapons, including newcomer Dez Bryant. The Cowboys always seem to be playing until the (sometimes bitter) end, so you don’t have to worry about Romo taking Week 16 off. If there is no RB or WR that you like late in the 3rd or Romo slips into the 4th, jump on him.

Eli Manning (8.06)
Manning was QB10 last season and has finished in the 10-14 range the last four seasons, so why is he QB13 heading into this season? With that kind of consistency, you’d think that he’d go a bit earlier since there is very little downside. He has a nice receiving corps featuring Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Kevin Boss and the Giants aren’t afraid to throw the ball.

Alex Smith (12.08)
Smith averaged 16.7 fantasy points in 11 starts last season, which is more than Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, who are both going a full four rounds earlier in mock drafts. He’ll benefit from the emergence of Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, along with a much easier schedule in 2010.

Vince Young (13.01)
Not unlike Smith, Young averaged 16.7 points in his last 10 starts. More importantly, the Titans went 8-2 over that span, so he proved that he could win. He’s not going to set the world on fire with his passing numbers, but he always seems to add 2-3 points in the running game and is a threat to run it in.

David Garrard (13.07)
Why is last year’s QB13 going in the 13th round? He averaged 17.6 points per game last season and has a quality WR in Mike Sims-Walker to throw to. However, the Jags have struggled in recent seasons and if they don’t get off to a good start against a tough early schedule, Garrard might become the fall guy. However, if he can survive the first four weeks, his schedule lightens up, which is why he’s a good match in a three-man QBBC with Big Ben.

Matt Moore (N/A)
Moore averaged 16.1 fp over his last five starts, throwing eight TD and averaging 207 passing yards over his final four games. His body of work is small and he may have Jimmy Clausen pushing him, but with a pretty favorable opening schedule, Moore should be okay.

Here are our official rankings, by tier:

1. Drew Brees
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Peyton Manning

4. Tony Romo
5. Tom Brady
6. Matt Schaub
7. Philip Rivers

8. Kevin Kolb
9. Brett Favre
10. Jay Cutler

11. Eli Manning
12. Donovan McNabb
13. Matt Ryan
14. Joe Flacco
15. Carson Palmer

16. Ben Roethlisberger
17. Alex Smith
18. Chad Henne
19. Vince Young
20. Matthew Stafford
21. David Garrard

22. Matt Cassel
23. Matt Moore
24. Matt Hasselbeck
25. Jason Campbell
26. Matt Leinart
27. Mark Sanchez

28. Josh Freeman
29. Trent Edwards
30. Kyle Orton
31. Sam Bradford
32. Jake Delhomme

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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