Quarterback Power Rankings Part 1

As a lifelong Redskins fan, I know a thing or two about quarterbacks. Namely, I know a bad one when see him. I’ve watched Gus Frerotte, Tony Banks, thankfully was spared Brad Banks (he almost won the Heisman once!), Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Rex Grossman, Rex Grossman, and Rex Grossman. Among countless others. Hell, I even watched Shane Matthews, Patty Ramsey, and Danny Wuerffel battle it out for the starting spot in 2002. One year, people thought Matt Hasselback’s brother was the savior. Another year, a journeyman 36 year old was the savior. If you’re still not sold, just a few years ago, John Beck proclaimed he was the starter over Rex Grossman. Yeah, ‘John Beck.’ If you’re thinking “Wait, who the hell is John Beck?????” then you’re just like the rest of us. Oh, and there was that unforgettable time we traded a 2nd round pick for a washed up division rival QB, who’d tortured us for the past decade. Skins fans recognize those names all too well, and I probably missed a few gems in there too.

The closest thing to competency that I’ve witnessed from the quarterback position was RG3’s rookie year. So yeah, I haven’t exactly seen expertise from QB, but it has at least reminded me (painfully) how important it is to have a stud QB in the NFL. And if you’re forced to rely on a game manager or dink-and-dunker, you’re in serious trouble. You can drunkenly talk yourself into believing it’s possible to sneak into the playoffs with a patry eight wins, or that you’re only a lucky break or two away from being a wild card team. But deep down, you know you’re screwed. You need shit like this to happen. Rooting for a team without a competent QB is a uniquely miserable experience in the sports world. The position is so integral for success in the NFL.

With the current rules protecting QBs and WRs though, we’re in a golden age for superstar QBs. It feels like there are more QBs right now that could legitimately lead a team to a Super Bowl than ever before. You’d feel fine with Brady, Manning (the good one), Rodgers, Brees, Luck, Wilson, Big Ben, Romo (just kidding), and maybe even Kaepernick if you had to win a Super Bowl this year. So that’s what we’ll do here–rank the QBs in the league who you’d want if you were trying to win NOW. Continue reading

Fantasy Outlook for Every NFC East Team

Preseason is over and the first real game will be played in just a few days on Thursday, as the defending champ Seahawks square off against the Packers. With all the preseason games out of the way, it’s time to re-evaluate things. We’ll go through every team, starting with the NFC, and figure out what they have to offer to the fantasy world.

NFC East

In a more passing-oriented offense, Morris could see much fewer carries.

In a more passing-oriented offense, Morris could see much fewer carries.

Washington Redskins: Stick to Garcon; Be wary of everyone else
For a pretty dismal team in real life, the Skins have a lot of players being drafted early in fantasy. Pierre Garcon had a monster season last year and is a PPR machine. His value shouldn’t take a huge hit from DeSean Jackson’s arrival. But Alfred Morris’ value should take a hit from Jay Gruden’s arrival. Gruden will have RG3 throw the ball a lot more, and that hurts Morris. Morris might not get 20+ carries per game. It also might hurt RG3, who looked atrocious in preseason. RG3 isn’t nearly the fantasy commodity many are expecting him to be. He takes too many hits, won’t run as much as he did in his rookie year, and is an overrated passer. He has more options than ever before, but he’s still a mostly average QB at this stage in his career. I’d be reluctant to draft DeSean or Jordan Reed too. DeSean might be the fastest player in the league and is coming off a career year, but isn’t in Chip Kelly’s hurry-up offense anymore, and Jordan Reed struggled with concussions last year. Continue reading

Who’s Undervalued in Fantasy Football?

Go back and look at the draft results from your fantasy season last year. You’re bound to find guys drafted outside the top 50, 75, and 100 that became stars. Maybe it was Josh Gordon, who fell in most drafts and was quietly acknowledged as a sleeper. Maybe it was Knowshon Moreno, someone who slipped to the double digit rounds in leagues. Everyone knew about Gordon and Moreno before the season. They didn’t think Gordon would be the best receiver in fantasy, of course. But they knew the potential was there. As a 6’4″ receiver with 4.3 speed, Gordon had the physical tools necessary to dominate. And for Moreno, the situation was perfect. With Peyton Manning running the offense in Denver, if Moreno could snag the starting job, which lots of people discounted before the season, then he could see tons of red-zone opportunities and rushes with six men in the box.

Those players were not sleepers, who no one had heard of before. They were extremely undervalued. The list of players below is not a list of sleepers. It’s a list of players who are going a round or two (or more) too late.

Jordan Cameron
Cameron began last season on fire, largely because of a 3 TD game, and 5 TDs in the first four games. He had a four game stretch in the second half of the season, in which he didn’t score any TDs, and had only 4, 29, 32, and 43 yards. Cameron had only two games over 100 yards, one of which was the first game of the season. So, I’m listing all the negatives for Cameron. Why is he undervalued? Well, the Browns’ top offensive target Josh Gordon is most likely going to be suspended. It could be four games, half the season, or the entire season. The Browns could also be starting a rookie quarterback in Johnny Manziel. Everyone knows that a rookie QB’s best friend is his tight end. Especially when it’s a Pro-Bowl tight end. Look at the Browns’ depth chart offensively. Cameron is their best player. Miles Austin and Nate Burleson are their wide receivers (!!!!). New running back Ben Tate has struggled to stay healthy his entire career. It’s unlikely the Browns will be able to ground the ball. They’ll be down early and often and will need to chuck the ball plenty. Continue reading

ESPN Makes it Way Too Easy to Troll Fantasy Football Mock Drafts

With fantasy football season just around the corner, ESPN’s mock drafts are heating up. Anyone without a life, including myself, incorporates a mock draft or two as part of  the preparation for the season. It’s always useful to have some sort of idea who’s available when. Problem is, trolls infest every area of the Internet, and you’re bound to come across some people whose only aim is to ruin your mock draft. It’s not a big deal. ESPN runs thousands of mock drafts, and new ones turn up every five minutes. You win some; you lose some. That’s the motto of mock drafts. I’m not going to lie: it can be pretty entertaining seeing a mock draft ruined. I dabbled in mock draft trolling when I was a kid, but after you do it a few times, it stops being fun. Basically, you take a kicker or someone out of the league in the first round, and everyone collectively loses it and tells you to get lost. They bash you, rightfully so, and tell you that you don’t have a life. While they spend their day completing mock drafts.

Anyway, I only trolled a few mock drafts and that was a long time ago. Lately, I’ve completed a few mock drafts that were quickly ruined by a troll, and I got thinking. Why does ESPN’s draft board include so many players out of the league?

The bottom of ESPN’s draft board is full of players who haven’t been in the league for years. I don’t know if Yahoo or NFL.com have that glitch too, but it’s laughable that ESPN still allows you to draft Mark Brunell, who’s an ESPN analyst now. Let’s go through some of the most troll-able picks you can make because of ESPN’s draft board. Continue reading

Fantasy Football: Players Being Drafted Too Early

The goal in fantasy is to minimize risk. Sure, you can swing for the fences in the later rounds, hoping to land a sleeper that will be a weekly starter. But in the beginning of the draft, it’s important not to try to get too cute. Why swing for the fences with an unproven player in the first or second round, when you can safely land a stud. So far, from ESPN’s live draft results, there are several players who are being taken too early. Some of the guys are unproven, high upside picks, and other guys are not huge risks, as much as they are bets that the player will mirror his production from last year.

Peyton Manning
This is a case of a guy who will surely produce this year and is worthy of a high pick, but he is being taken too early. Manning is definitely worth a first round pick. But the problem is that he’s being taken in the top five. If you really expect him to throw for 5500 yards and 55 TDs again, then go ahead and taken him in the top five. Chances are, he won’t replicate what he did last year. He lost one of his top wide receivers Eric Decker to the Jets. Emmanuel Sanders is not the player that Decker is. Sanders will see his stats increase, but he’s a mediocre receiver in the NFL. And the running game has some questions. Knowshon Moreno benefitted from Peyton’s arrival more than anyone, but losing Moreno is still a loss for the Broncos. He was the starter because of his blocking ability, not because he’s a good runner. Those two losses aren’t lethal by any stretch. The Broncos will still have one of the best offenses in the league, but if Manning regresses back to being amazing, and not superhuman, then he shouldn’t be taken in the top five. Continue reading

Fantasy Football Draft Strategies

Fantasy season is heating up now that preseason is almost over. There are several strategies to take in fantasy, especially with fully customizable leagues that have unique scoring rules. But for now, let’s take a look at the common draft strategies for standard scoring leagues. That is, leagues where running and catching a touchdown yields six points and passing for a touchdown is worth four points. And standard scoring usually does not include a point per reception, so we will forget about that for now.

1. Running backs, running backs, running backs…
The old school strategy to winning fantasy football. Back in the day, when most starting running backs got around 20 carries per game, this was an easy way to draft players who would definitely get plenty of opportunities to make plays every game. You could count on Starting Running Back X to get enough touches per game to be worth starting. Nowadays, most teams have running back timeshares to prevent injuries and keep players fresh. Other than the cream of the crop running backs, most running backs are not guaranteed to get at least 20 touches per game. There are two ways to interpret that. Some people ditch running backs if they can’t get one of the top guys. They decide to grab a top quarterback and load up on wide receivers, realizing that they’ll have to scrap in the mid and late rounds for competent running backs. Other people see the scarcity at running back as a reason to load up on running backs, early and often. Their cardinal rule is to spend their first two picks on running backs, no matter what. Or at least spend two of their first three picks on running backs. If you can start two reliable running backs, while everyone else is scrapping to get one, you’ll have a huge advantage. Continue reading

My Middle School Encounter with an NFL Wideout

It’s easy to read the 40 times, the max bench presses, and the vertical leaps and forget that it’s real life. We’re relatively detached from the process, but we know what’s fast. 4.4 is fast. 4.6 is slow. After enough years of following pro sports, we’re conditioned to understand what’s considered normal for a pro athlete. For most people though, they never get to experience that level of athleticism, except through watching it on TV. Maybe you had a friend of a friend who went on to walk on at a major university, or your buddy was All-State in high school. But that’s different–that’s not the NFL.

What is it like to encounter one of these physical specimens in their early years of development? It’s not too hard to envision.  Most of these guys are not exactly what you’d call “late bloomers.” Every player you see in any professional sport is used to being the best player at every level. Chances are, he dominated all throughout middle school, high school, and even college. And most likely, he dominated less and less as he moved up the ranks. Continue reading