Tuesday, August 11, 2009

PV's Fantasy QBs: Go Cheap

In 2008, Eli Manning threw for 3,238 yards and 21 touchdowns. Based on Eli's history, I think this is near his baseline, the lowest fantasy production you should expect from him if he plays 16 games. In 2008, Peyton Manning threw for 4,002 yards and 27 touchdowns. Based on Peyton's history, I would say that this, too, is his baseline. Based on the HW league's scoring (one point per 50 passing yards, three points per passing touchdown), the difference in passing stats between the Manning brothers is 33.28 points, or 2.08 points per start.

In a snake draft, Peyton Manning will be an early pick, Eli Manning a late pick. In an auction, Peyton will command a high price, Eli a very low price (in the HW auction with a salary cap of 300, Peyton cost over 50, Eli cost one dollar). Why would one want to pay such a high price for 2.08 points per game? Wouldn't you be better off using the high pick or the auction money on other positions, knowing there's going to be some quarterback that will perform adequately?

Actually, there are reasons to pay a high price for an elite quarterback: I would say at least three. First, reliability: you can be confident that an elite QB is not going to be sucktastic, and you know you won't have a bust for the pick/money. Second, consistency: you can expect quality production from an elite QB every week. And third, potential: a QB like Peyton Manning may far exceed his baseline, while a QB like Eli Manning is not likely to perform far over it.

But I still think QB is a position you can go cheap on and still come out alright. Most QBs rack up a lot of fantasy points, and with 32 starting positions out there, they can be found. This does not mean, however, drafting a cheap QB that you can expect moderate production from (like Eli, Jake Delhomme, David Garrard, Chad Pennington, etc.). I recommend trying to find QBs that will be cheap, but who you believe could produce elite fantasy numbers. They are out there. Better yet, draft two or three such quarterbacks: they all might not produce highly, but perhaps you'll find one that will. Here are my recommendations for QBs that could far outperform their draft cost.

Matt Schaub
In just 11 games, Schaub threw for 3,043 yards and 15 touchdowns. He plays in a quarterback friendly offense with elite skill position players (Andre Johnson, Steve Slaton).

Trent Edwards
Terrell Owens has helped four different quarterbacks throw for over 30 touchdowns; only one of them (Steve Young) ever threw for 30 touchdowns without Owens. I'm not exactly high on Edwards, but with Owens and Lee Evans to throw to, you just don't know.

Tony Romo
This depends on the value you get for him. Many seem to be down on him since he'll be without Terrell Owens, but in the last two seasons Romo threw 62 touchdowns in 29 games. If you're really worried about Romo without Owens, scroll to Table 2 of this Bill Barnwell article at Football Outsiders.

Sage Rosenfels
Chris Wesseling at Pancake Blocks suggests that the Vikings might be ready to break out as a great fantasy offense. Rosenfels might put up big fantasy stats, and the price should be low enough that it's worth the risk.

Matt Hasselbeck
I initially included Hasselbeck in the "expect moderate production" list. But considering his production in 2003 and 2007, considering he's not terribly old for a quarterback, and considering the low, low price you can get him for, I had to include him on this list.

Carson Palmer

Again, it depends on the value. I'm not saying there aren't concerns, but Palmer averaged 4,000 yards and over 28 TDs per season from '05 to '07. If he's cheap, he could far overproduce his cost.

1 comment:

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