Don’t do it.
At least not yet, anyway.
This is something you need to remind yourself before drafting a QB. It’s also something almost every fantasy expert says, but every year, someone always does it. They reach and grab Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees in the first or early second round. Yes, these are great players, and they will likely finish once again a top the fantasy points standings, but fantasy championships are not won with QB’s drafted in the first two rounds.
Drafting a QB in the early part of the first two rounds is like hooking up with someone while intoxicated. Sure, it seems like a great idea after a couple jack and cokes or whatever your beverage of choice is, but come morning and hangover, you realize what a terrible thing you’ve done.
For those of you unfamiliar with this situation or slightly removed from the wild ‘n crazy college lifestyle, think of drafting a QB in the early rounds as an example of buyer’s remorse.
You did it, you crazy bastard, you. Of course you didn’t need that new convertible/100″ TV/World class espresso machine/Wardrobe/Life-size replica of Gandalf, but now you are the proud owner. You can flaunt these tantalizing objects in front of friends, strangers and small children all you want, but it doesn’t quite make you whole inside. Why? You got what you wanted, but deep down, you know you didn’t need it. You could have spent the money on something much more practical, something that you actually need.
This is exactly what happens when you take a QB too early.
That, and an angel loses its wings. There. Now don’t you feel like an awful human being?
All that being said, the QB is an important position to be filled. You just need to know when to fill it. Here are my rankings of the QB class, reasons to draft/not draft them, and when you should take them. (WARNING: If your friends don’t read this column, they will likely make the mistake of taking a QB too early, so you should send them the link.)
1. Drew Brees– He will easily throw for 5,000+ yards, and with Sean Peyton (Proud Naperville Central HS alum) back at the helm, expect the Saints offense to explode yet again. Plus, he gets to throw against the Falcons, Panthers and Buccaneers (Revis can only cover one guy at a time, plus Brees can make a potted plant a 1,000 yard receiver) 6 times a year. Possible problems: The levies break again. Draft: late second for 12+ team leagues, third for 10 and under team leagues.
2. Aaron Rodgers– Won’t throw for as many yards as Brees, but the TD’s will be close, plus Rodgers adds a ground game that Brees doesn’t have (or need). James Jones thinks there will be three packers with 1,000-yard seasons this year. I doubt it. Definitely one, maybe two, pending on if they can keep a consistent core on the field. And hey, Jermichael Finley and Rodgers are building chemistry! Despite the health issues of the receivers, Rodgers can make a potted plant look pretty damn good as well. Possible problems: his O-line reminds me of practice putting green: full of holes. If he keeps taking sacks, one day he might get hurt. But still, it’s Godgers. Draft: right after Brees late second, third round.
3. Peyton Manning- Unfortunately, his Direct TV rap won’t get you any fantasy points (I checked), but I think he will be okay this year. He threw for almost 4,700 yards last season along with 37 touchdowns. That was before adding Wes Welker. He can still throw deep and he’s in great shape. See potted plant reference. Possible Problems: his neck snaps in half and his head falls off, in which case, only expect about 4,200 yards. Draft: 3rd, 4th.
4. Tom Brady- No Hernandez (Jail), No Floyd (FA), No Welker (Broncos), No Woodhead (Chargers), no problem! Blah blah blah, plant reference. It’s M-F’in Tim Brady! He still has Gronkowski, who when healthy will produce 80 touchdowns, along with the addition of Amendola and some apparently clutch post-draft pickups. While the running game will expand, he’s still one of the top QB’s in the league. Possible problems: Gronkowski and Amendola both get injured or the man in the sweatshirt gives up on life and puts Tim “God’s child” “Skip Bayless’s man crush” Tebow into the game. Draft: Late 3rd, 4th.
5. Cam Newton- A running back carousel of broken horses along with freakish natural abilities keep $cam ahead of the other mobile QBs. Yes Steve Smith will be quintuple covered leaving Brandon LaFell and Greg Olsen fighting for yards and targets, but somehow, Newton will still rack up close to 4,000 passing yards and a bunch on the ground. Possible problems: Defenses actually figure out how to stop him on the ground, and smart coverages. Draft: 4th
6. Matt Stafford- Fat-faced Stafford? Yes, the one and only. OMG, Rob! Is you crazy? Nope, I am not. I won’t pretend to take credit for knowing Lions receivers were tackled a league leading 23 times inside the 5-yard line. Stafford threw for almost 5 large and 20 TDs. He also threw the ball 727 times. Plus, Calvin was dealing with the Madden Curse. This year, Calvin is curse-less, Broyles is a solid #2 and the Lions added ex-Kardashian Lover, Reggae (Reggie) Bush, who will compete with Darren Sproles for most receptions and Receiving yards by an RB. Possible problems: Injury to Megatron or himself, Lions average O-line collapses, USC decides to punish Reggie Bush again by sending him back to school. Draft: 6th, 7th (He is a steal).
7. Matt Ryan- I’m not really a Matt Ryan fan, but you can’t argue with his situation. Matty Ice has arguably the best receiving core in the game, with Julio, Roddy and Tony G. Not to mention, Hot-lanta picked up Steven Jackson in the offseason, who unlike Turner, is able to catch passes out of the backfield. Expect the Falcons to be back in the playoffs, and Ryan back in the top 10. Possible Problems: Any injuries to the big three receivers, defense woes begin to take possessions away from offense. Draft: 5th , 6th.
8. Andrew Luck- The highest rated second year QB is only fitting for Luck. Last year with a line made of marshmallow men and running backs that couldn’t find the sunset in an old western movie, he threw for almost 5,000 yards. This year the Colts added Droppius Heyward-Bey (who will still created coverage problems) along Ahmad Bradshaw to solidify their running group. With the emergence of TY Hilton and Dwayne Allen, look for Luck to replicate the yards and add about 10 more passing TDs. Possible Problems: O-line somehow gets worse, sophomore slump. Draft: 7th
9. RGIII- According to rumors, the ‘Skins are looking to keep RGIII as more of a pocket passer to avoid further injury. There is no way this will happen, but it could hamper his numbers this year. Still, he has a stronger receiving corps than Kaep and Wilson right now, plus Mike Shanahan is cray-cray and they play in the super weak NFC East. Possible problems: Re-injures knee, injuries to receivers (Pierre Garcon, Fred Davis), Subway drops him as a spokesperson and gets really fat and unmotivated. Draft: 7th.
10. Colin Kaepernick- No, it is not my SF bias that has Kaep over highly touted Russell Wilson. He is a better athlete and has a stronger team, despite the uncertainty of whom he will be throwing to. He is faster than last season, he has had an entire offseason to work with the first string offense, and according to scouts he has improved his touch passes tremendously (too bad he couldn’t do that in the Super Bowl…) If his receivers step up, he could be a top 3-5 QB with his running game. Possible problems: Injury, sophomore slump, no receivers step up, Candlestick park collapses on him. Draft: 5th, 6th.
11. Tony Romo- It truly pains me to ever suggest drafting Tony Romo, let alone as a starting QB. I’m going to spend some time alone with my journal after this one. But, the guy threw for almost 5,000 yards and 28 TDs last season. He can largely thank Dez “bedtime” Bryant for those huge numbers, but Witten, his favorite target, only had 3 TDs. Don’t expect that number to stay the same this year. Plus, like every QB in the NFC East, he plays in a weak division. Possible Problems: TD to Interception ration decreases, Injury to Dez or Miles Austin, Cowboys ownership finally realizes Romo is not a championship contender. Draft: late 8th, 9th, 10th.
12. Russell Wilson- I’m not a huge fan of Russell Wilson this year, unlike a lot of other experts. His height isn’t his problem. The combination of broken ex-Vikings receivers, defenses figuring him out and Pete Carroll as a head coach, I just don’t think his numbers will be better than any of the QBs I listed before him. Sure he has potential, but aside from Golden Tate and Zach Miller (OAK), who does he have? Beast mode can’t put da whole team on his back, contrary to popular belief. Expect a good but not great year. Possible problems: Injured receivers, diminished role for Marshawn, D-Lines lifting up their arms. Draft: 7th, 8th, 9th.
13. Michael Vick- Why not? Chip Kelly is running things; maybe Vick can re-establish himself as one of the top mobile QBs in the league. Okay, that’s not super realistic, but I guess it’s possible as long as he stays away from the pound… of the NFC East defenses. Come on, guys. We all know what Vick can do when he’s healthy; the key is keeping him that way. His throwing numbers won’t be great because aside from Jackson and McCoy, there really isn’t a lot of explosiveness on the Eagles, but he can still run. Possible problems: Kelly’s offense doesn’t translate to the NFL, Injuries to himself or Wide Receivers, McCoy gets all the carries. Draft: 10th, 11th, 12th
14. Eli Manning- Drafting Eli is like settling for Applebee’s when you really wanted an authentic Porterhouse steak. Technically, it gets the job done, but you are always left somewhat disappointed and disgusted. I don’t care that he’s won two Super Bowls and he’s Peyton’s brother. He will never be elite. And if I hear him in the discussion one more time, I will drive down to Bristol, CT and slap everyone there silly. Except Erin Andrews… oh wait. Everyone. Victor Cruz is signed, but Hakeem Nicks is inconsistent, and the Giants got rid of Eli’s favorite target in Martellus Bennett. I guess Rueben Randle could have a good year? Possible problems: Wild inconsistency continues, productivity of receivers, running back fumbling issues, and lackluster defense. Draft: Late.
15. Carson Palmer- I’m surprised he didn’t retire mid-season last year with the Raiders. Could this be the second coming of Kurt Warner? I doubt it. He’s playing against the NFC West, the hands down, toughest division in football, and their offensive line is bubble wrap under the feet of 20 five-year-old children. But… He does have Larry Fitzgerald, a 6’6” 4.40 running TE by the name of Rob Housler and primed breakout candidate, Michael Floyd. Pair that with his NFL 4th best completion percentage under pressure and a running game consisting of backs with non-existent knees, Palmer could throw for a lot of yards this season. Possible problems: Lack of running game puts too much pressure on passing game, tough division, Floyd and Housler are busts, or he retires again. Draft: 10th.
16. Ben Roethlisberger- Proud Miami Alum. Pfft. What an asshat. The dude wanted 40 grand to come back and accept a dedication at his alma mater. We won’t get into his stellar personal life. As long as he and his receivers can stay healthy (and out of motorcycle crashes), he will be all right. Possible problems: Inconsistent, run-first team, no Mike Wallace or Heath Miller. Draft: Late as backup.
17. Josh Freeman- Scouts aren’t in love with him due to his inconsistency in accuracy, but the dude still has V-Jax and Mike Williams, two 1,000-yard receivers, catching passes. Plus, it does hurt to have Doug Martin running and passing catches out of the backfield. He’s a semi-mobile QB, and I think he’ll have a decent year. Possible problems: Injury to Wide outs, Doug Martin comes back down to earth, accuracy issues force Bucs to look at different options. Draft: Late
18: EJ Manuel- What, what, WHAT?!?!? EJ before Dalton, Cutler and Schaub? Yep. I like him, and to be terribly honest, the Bills aren’t that bad of a team. At least on offense. You have CJ Spiller who in my opinion is a top three back, backed up by Fred Jackson, who, when he’s healthy, can still pack a punch. Steve Johnson, if healthy, is a solid receiver and they have a couple other young guys with a lot of talent. The biggest concern with EJ is health. But, if he’s healthy, he could be this year’s Andrew Luck. Possible problems: Health of offense including himself. Draft: Late.
19. Jay Cutler– He’s apathetic, so I will be too. New offense could help or hurt him. New TE, but he doesn’t really throw to TE’s. Alshon looks better and Forte is looking studly. Possible problems: Can’t adjust to new offense, new offense doesn’t work in NFL, Marshall gets hurt. Draft: Late.
20. Andy Dalton- I’m not in love with Dalton, but I guess somebody has to throw to AJ Green. Apparently, his deep ball has improved, and with the addition of Tyler Eifert at TE, he will have another pretty good year. Possible problems: Running game collapses, injury to Green. Draft: Late.
21. Matt Schaub- Both him and Johnson are getting older, and the Texans are a run first team. Schaub will not improve on last year’s numbers, and with the imminent long-term injury to Foster looming, this team is a step away from becoming the Texans of the David Carr days. DeAndre Hopkins should bring a spark to the offense, but he won’t be able to carry it. Possible problems: Aging, injuries to Foster, Johnson, Daniels, run first team takes away Red Zone opportunities. Draft: Late, not at all.
22. Ryan Tannehill- The kid’s got potential. Losing Keller for the year was a big blow, but he still has Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline. The emergence of Lamar Miller should take pressure off the passing game, which should help him develop a little better accuracy. Also, he has a smoking hot wife. Possible problems: Sophomore slump, injury to Wallace, running game takes away from pass attack. Draft: Late as backup.
23. Philip Rivers- The man of goofy faces. So, apparently the Chargers are “curbing Rivers’ downfield aggression”, which should mean he throws less interceptions. That’s a good thing. Essentially, San Diego is now getting a less accurate Alex Smith. Possible problems: Inconsistency, injuries to receivers or Gates, running game is too weak to establish passing attack. Draft: Do yourself a favor and don’t.
24. Alex Smith- Poor Alex. So many offensive coordinators. He never really got a chance to thrive in SF, and of course when he did, Kaep attack took over. Andy Reid loves him, which is an okay endorsement, but don’t expect a ton from him. He won’t throw many INTs, but that’s because he is legitimately scared to throw downfield. He’s got some wheels if he needs to move, but he isn’t a legitimate starter in any fantasy league. Possible problems: Not many problems, he just won’t throw for big yards or TDs. Draft: Last pick in the draft backup.
25. Sam Bradford- He got paid a ton of money as a rookie. He could be good, but he plays in the toughest division in the NFL. Jared Cook is going to see a million targets, but once teams figure that out, there won’t be much left. The running game is a definite downgrade from Steven Jackson. Draft: Backup.
26. Joe Flacco- To quote Steve Carell in the office episode I watched last night, “Of all the idiots, in all the idiot villages in all the world, you stand alone.” You, of course, refers to the Ravens. Congratulations. You gave Joe Flacco the biggest contract in the history of the NFL. You realize the your team was a throw away, twice, from losing the AFC Championship and Super Bowl, respectively. Apparently, the Broncos’ and 49ers’ secondaries decided to play peek-a-boo with Jacoby Jones, and when they opened their eyes, he was tearing apart their championship dreams like Ray Lewis through legal documents. Joe Flacco is an AVERAGE QB, and he should give Jacoby Jones at least half of his winnings from the Ravens’ genius front office. Possible problems: No more Ray Lewis to apparently bring God to the field, no receivers to throw to unless Jacoby Jones will catch 400 balls, Ravens running game will be the focal point this year. Draft: If you want to win in most luckiest pass completions ever. Otherwise, no.
27. Christian Ponder- Draft: If your league has ESPN reporters-married category.
28. Matt Flynn- Draft: For old Al’s sake.
29. Brandon Weedon- Draft: If you love misery
30. Geno Smith- Too much to worry about here, with injuries and inconsistency. No receivers and weak running game. This will definitely be a development year.
31. Jake Locker- Draft: When Jurassic Park becomes a reality.
32. Blaine Gabbert- Draft: When Lou Holtz stops favoring Notre Dame.
33: Kevin Kolb- He injured himself on a floor mat, haha. But on a more serious note, his career could be done due to concussions.
34. Nick Foles- Draft: When PETA fully endorses Vick, or when Vick gets injured.
35. Chad Henne- Draft: See Blaine Gabbert.
2,343,876,345. Tim Tebow- Draft: If the nearest body of water near you is parted, and God speaks to you through a burning bush.
Holy crap that was long. There will be less text for RB’s.