As one of the richest positions in fantasy football, it's hard to find a quarterback who won't give you at least a fighting chance to win each week. Because of that, value is very important to take to heart. Below, I've listed busts for the upcoming season, but they aren't labeled as such because I necessarily think they will stink up the stat sheet. It's mostly because they don't warrant their current draft positions as circumstances stand. Let's have a look:
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
His name still carries clout, and his sixth-round ADP reflects that. But the reasons for that baffle me, as Brady averaged the 13th-most points per game among quarterbacks in 2013. With a paltry group of pass catchers at his disposal, we saw New England transform its identity to a power running team at the expense of Brady's fantasy numbers.
In 2014, not much has been done to upgrade Brady's arsenal. Rob Gronkowski will likely be back early in the year after suffering a torn ACL, but his effectiveness is an unknown. Aaron Dobson just started running in July, and Danny Amendola's discouraging injury history can't allow anyone to assume he'll be a vital cog for long.
Brady is still one of the great talents of the game, but we learned in 2013 that the stat sheet won't always reflect that. There's still a chance Gronk bolsters the offense and Brady makes a fantasy comeback, but it's not a risk worth taking in round six over quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Matt Ryan, and guys in much later rounds like Tony Romo and Jay Cutler. Let Brady be someone else's headache this year.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
We've heard this stat ad nauseam, and when it's this impressive, it's deserved. Say it with me -- 27 touchdowns and two interceptions. That's an unheard of ratio, and it's one that gave Nick Foles the third-highest fantasy point average per game among quarterbacks in 2013. He was as efficient as it gets at the position, and with ample weapons and an offensive guru like Chip Kelly holding the clipboard, Foles is likely to have another nice season.
So why predict he'll be a bust?
Well, regardless of who you have calling the plays, a 27:2 TD/INT ratio is so rare. That's not something I'd expect Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Willie Beamen to replicate, let alone Foles. Of course, that doesn't mean he can't be a great fantasy quarterback; it's just that the outliers are reason for concern. Foles' third-highest points average drops to ninth when his seven-touchdown performance versus the Oakland Raiders is removed from the equation. That also doesn't account for adjusting his interception rate to something a little more expected. The league as a whole threw one every 22 pass attempts. Nick Foles threw a pick every 158 attempts, and with a regression to the mean a near certainty, he's closer to a fringe QB1/QB2 than a top-three option. Suddenly, Foles' outlook appears mortal. I'd still like to have Foles in my lineup, but as the sixth quarterback off of the board? I'd prefer to bolster other positions first.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
A few things stand out to me regarding Colin Kaepernick. First, despite his dual-threat ability and his penchant for big plays, he remained one of the most frustrating fantasy quarterbacks of 2013. He failed to eclipse the 200-yard mark 10 times, and finished 15th in fantasy-point average per game with 16.5. That mark was lower than Sam Bradford and Alex Smith.
This year, things could change a little bit, but not necessarily with fantasy totals. Jim Harbaugh has expressed his desire to air it out a bit more with Kaepernick entering his third full season as a starter. With a stable that includes Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Stevie Johnson and Anquan Boldin, it's not hard to see why he'd make that assessment. Factor in that your top running backs comprise 31-year-old Frank Gore and an intriguing but unknown Carlos Hyde, and it makes more sense to lean on your quarterback.
But if passing more means Kaepernick will run less, then that's bad news for fantasy owners. His rushing stats have been the great equalizer for his fantasy totals, and the increased passing attempts may not add more to his yardage totals after turning in a sub-59 completion percentage a season ago. There's a nice ceiling for Kaepernick still, but the low floor for a guy who will face Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks defenses six times cannot be ignored either.