Time for your annual fantasy football reminder:
Stop. Paying. Top. Dollar. For. Quarterbacks.
OK, maybe in the case of two-QB leagues or some bloated scoring system that inflates the worth of slingers, it could be justified ... But those are specific, rare situations (like me getting Drew Brees in Round 5 of my recent FFToolbox.com expert mock because the market was highly depreciated).
Not my normal strategy
I understand that week-to-week consistency plays heavily into why people spend big bucks here. Still, there's typically a small difference there, and filling what's required as typically only one starting slot shouldn't be your top priority. Ever.
While there's typically a slight gulf between the top tier and middle tier of the position, in the grand scheme, it's not as big a gap as that between the top tiers of (especially) running backs and wide receivers. The replacement value on a QB from a backup or waiver addition, when planned properly, has the most security of any position, in terms of opportunity to accumulate points.
The top tier probably only sits with Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, in some order.
But are you ready to pay those types of bucks for Matt Ryan? 2013 could mark the quiet decline of Tom Brady and leave Cam Newton overpriced if he can't adapt to more pocket passing.
Dual threats Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick have been climbing in terms of Average Draft Position and at the moment straddle the fence between expensive and discounted. What'll their prices look like come August?
Here's where you should be looking. Matthew Stafford, once the finest sleeper play in the land, makes a grand, volume-defined appearance in the bargain tier. Tony Romo, too, could be one of the biggest steals this year.
Andrew Luck was helped by Bruce Arians last year. His volume should drop, but he returns to a familiar system from Stanford, so the statistical trade-off will give him more completions and perhaps a touch smaller yardage total. Robert Griffin III (knee) could struggle or miss more time, but as a fringe QB1, he won't sink your squad, as long as you pair him with another one of these midrange options. Eli Manning looks like a simple rebound play. Carson Palmer should enjoy Arians' arrival in 'Zona.
Need I say more about the sleepers, as well? A pair of quarterbacks in Year 2 of their respective systems look poised to break through: Ryan Tannehill with Mike Wallace and an emerging Lamar Miller, and Sam Bradford with a glut of unpolished but promising speed and talent.
I'm not as big on Andy Dalton as some of my colleagues, but he's a suitable committee play. As is Joe Flacco. Heck, Philip Rivers could prove more efficient with a new offense. (I think he could be the best of this trio.)
Regardless of your preference among the middle dwellers, realize that QB opens you up for more strategic directions than any other lot and typically delivers some of the biggest profits in this game.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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