In our recent SB Nation Fantasy League draft, strategy at the quarterback position went a couple different ways. Two teams chose their starter in the second round (Brees and Rodgers) and three teams in the fourth round (Newton, P. Manning, Kaepernick). Others decided to flesh out the rest of their skill position players before diving in for a fantasy starting quarterback in the later rounds as two teams selected in the seventh round (Luck and Stafford) and the final starter was taken off the board in the eighth round (Romo).
I usually am one of the owners in the first group. I don't usually grab the first quarterback in a draft but I'll be one of the first five. I decided to wait and see if I could score a late value while improving the rest of my lineup, however, so I drafted Andrew Luck with the seventy-fourth overall pick. I've seen him going between picks sixty-two and sixty-six, so I think it was a value pick at this point. We'll see if the change at offensive coordinator lowers Luck's mistakes and increases his accuracy.
In my last quarterback rankings, I received some feedback about placing Cam Newton in the four spot. I realize that some owners have not come around to the fact that quarterbacks are able to increase their value with the points they put up on the ground. Some owners were burned last year, too, when he had scored only eight total touchdowns through the first seven games.
The beast was unleashed though, and he rebounded big time to finish as a top fantasy quarterback. Newton's offensive coordinator has changed, but Mike Shula plans on running the same offense, which should help Newton remain a force with which to be reckoned. Newton has already scored twenty-two rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons and it goes without saying that's more than most running backs. If he continues to improve his passing skills, he could sneak into the top three conversation at year's end.
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Tom Brady will be carrying New England this season after a tumultuous few months. Losing two of his favorite targets in the offseason and Rob Gronkowski to start the season have raised questions in the minds of some fantasy owners. His knee injury scare during training camp caused others to wonder if this was a flashback to 2008. Brady though will be ready to prove wrong the doubters come September and the New England offensive system will make use of whatever targets it has. He's a reliable top ten quarterback and should be able to reach or exceed whatever expectations you have when you draft him.
Matt Ryan has quietly climbed the fantasy quarterback rankings each season. Atlanta has surrounded Ryan with a great selection of targets, which has helped him reach a higher tier. The addition of Steven Jackson this offseason should make sure that defenses still account for their running game. He's still not the sexy pick of fantasy drafts like Brees or Rodgers but he won't let you down. With the trifecta of Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez together for one more season, he should go over thirty passing touchdowns and average close to three hundred yards.
Quick Notes: Geno Simth will start the Jets third preseason game, if he's healthy enough to play....Michael Vick has been named the starter in Philadelphia.....Brandon Weeden has been named the starter for Cleveland......Blaine Gabbert will start the season as Jacksonville's starter.........Kirk Cousins has a mild foot sprain but no major damage to his foot......Robert Griffin III has still not been cleared to play in Week 1......Tom Brady continues to wear a knee brace in practice but according to the team it's just a precaution.....Graham Harrell and Vince Young continue to battle for the Green Bay backup job....