2014 Fantasy Football – It’s All About Value: Quarterbacks

By Kenny Ortiz
Follow Kenny @kennethortiz

Kenny has been a fantasy football enthusiast since 1996 and has developed a strong track record of finding quality value picks throughout the draft. Last year, he participated in 12 fantasy leagues and made it to the championship game in six of those leagues and claiming three fantasy championships. Kenny has especially established himself as a guru of auction leagues and keeper leagues. As for his “day job” Kenny is a motivational speaker, web designer, real estate landlord, free-lance writer and the host of this website.

Also, be sure to check out WalterFootball.com’s 2014 Fantasy Football articles, including sleepers, busts, tons of 2014 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

Published August 20, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football - It's All About Value:
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defenses | Kickers

Peyton Manning had a historic 2013 season. It was AWESOME! He was the No. 1 quarterback (and I ranked him as such last year when most websites had him at No. 2 or No. 3).

This summer, in most leagues, Manning is currently being drafted in the latter portion of the first round and in some leagues in the early portion of the second round. How likely is Manning to match, or top, last year’s production? Quite honestly, it is highly unlikely that he is able to match last year’s production. The last time Manning was coming off a historic season (2004), the number of TD passes he threw dropped from 49 to 28. That’s a HUGE drop! I am not saying he’ll drop that much, but there is a risk that drafting Manning will cause you to be grossly overpaying!

Do I think Manning will be the best quarterback this year? Well, it is certainly possible. But is it a guarantee? No way! In fact, it’s possible he’ll fall to No. 2 or No. 3 (or maybe lower depending on what Andrew Luck can do). I have Manning ranked No. 1, but it’s really close between him and the other top guys (mainly Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees).

Of course, the big difference between Manning and the other two big guys is his draft slot. Manning has an average draft position in the first round, while both Rodgers and Brees are being drafted in the late second round (and in some cases I have even seen Brees slipping into the third round). The reality is that you will probably get the same production (or maybe even more) from Brees in 2014 as you will from Manning. So why spend a first-round pick on Manning when I can get a similar (or maybe better) player in the second or third round?

Is it better to spend a first-round pick on Manning (who might give me first- or second-round production), or would I be better off spending a second-rounder on Brees (who might also give me first- or second-round production; similar expectations to Manning)? The answer is obvious!

And it’s even more obvious if you consider the fact that Andrew Luck is being drafted in the third and fourth rounds of most leagues (and in some cases as late as the fifth round); You will definitely think twice before spending a first-rounder on Manning. (Side Note: I absolutely love Andrew Luck as an NFL player and pure passer. He’s got all the tools to be elite for many years to come).

My preference for 2014 is to wait on quarterback, but not wait too long.

This will depend on your competition. If you play against guppies and newbies, you can probably get away with waiting very late in the draft before drafting a quarterback because newbies often overspend on quarterbacks and let the “middle-of-the-road” guys last longer. But in most of my leagues, my competition is decent, so I need to be a little more savvy.

It is safe to say that even in leagues with very seasoned owners, quarterbacks still are often overdrafted or drafted too early, therefore, waiting is the smart move. The exception would be if one of the top-three guys somehow fell past the top-25 picks or so.

So if you’re drafting in the third round and Manning, Brees or Rodgers are on the board, and you’re unsure about the other guys there, go ahead and draft the quarterback. But chances are, that won’t happen.

Best options for 2014:
– Andrew Luck in fourth round
– Matthew Stafford in fourth round
– Nick Foles in sixth round
– Tony Romo in seventh Round
– Jay Cutler in 10th round

The best option this season is Andrew Luck because he has huge upside, plus he has rushing production to go along with his passing numbers. If you’re drafting late in the first round in a snake-style draft (meaning you’re drafting early in the second and fourth rounds), then seriously consider taking Luck in the fourth round. He has the chance to give you first-round production.

Stafford is a also great option because I believe Detroit’s offense is going to put up numbers. Besides, Stafford has already proven in the past that he is more than capable of putting up numbers comparable to first-round production. He currently has an ADP in the fourth round, and that is certainly his basement, not his ceiling.

Foles is interesting. There’s no chance he repeats last year’s crazy numbers, but how far back to the mean will he regress? We don’t know. As an Eagles fan, I hope not too far, but I need to remember to be objective. Losing DeSean Jackson hurts, but not as much as you might think, and I love the Chip Kelly offense. I definitely think Foles finishes as a top-seven quarterback in 2014, with a real chance to be a top-five quarterback. He is easily worth a fourth-round pick, but he’s being drafted in the sixth round of most 12-team drafts. If you think he’s better than what most think, then draft him in the fifth round. Otherwise, take him in the sixth round.

Romo is consistently underrated in fantasy football. The Cowboys’ defense is terrible, but that means they will be behind often, which means Romo will be throwing the football a lot. Romo does not have the upside to give you first- or second-round production, but he might give you third-round production. I think he’s easily worth a fourth- or fifth round pick, but his ADP is seventh round. That’s decent value.

Cutler is the one guy who many raise their eyebrows at when I put him on this list. I currently have him slated to finish as the 12th-best fantasy quarterback, but I have seen him ranked much lower on the internet. I think Cutler has a chance to greatly beat that, maybe competing to be in the top-five. Consider this, the Chicago starting quarterback has finished as the fourth-best quarterback in fantasy football in 2013 (Cutler and McCown combined). If Cutler stays healthy, he could match the numbers he amassed in Denver early in his career. At worst, Cutler will give you ninth-round production, but at best, he could give you third-round production. If you’re a risk-taker and want to wait this late to draft your starting quarterback (which is something I have done with great success over the years), then Cutler might be your guy.

Random addition: Someone recently asked me about Cam Newtown (and the person was passionate). My response, only if the price is right. Newtown is about a fifth-round value in my eyes, and that’s about where he’s being drafted. I would consider him in the sixth round, but I like Foles and Romo more.

There are several other quarterbacks who will be drafted by many fantasy owners to be starters on their fantasy teams, but they are all being drafted too high, and they have limited upside. This includes guys like Robert Griffin III, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Colin Kaepernick. If I were forced to draft one of these guys, then I’m going with Brady, but I don’t like the idea of having any of these guys as my starter in 2014; especially when I consider the fact that I can possibly draft Luck, Stafford, Foles or Romo around the same time in the draft (or even later) than when most of those guys are being drafted.

As for a darkhorse sleeper candidate, I’d take a flier on Ryan Tannehill late in the draft. I love his athleticism, and something tells me that Miami is going to be better than expected. Tannehill is being drafted too early in most drafts, but grabbing him late (like 15th round) might not be a bad option.

There are several other quarterbacks who will be drafted by many fantasy owners to be starters on their fantasy teams, but they are all being drafted too high, and they have limited upside.

2014 Fantasy Football - It's All About Value:
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defenses | Kickers

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2014 Fantasy Football Rankings:
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends - 8/27 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defenses - 6/4 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers - 6/4 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings - 5/18 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings: Dynasty - 8/22 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts:
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 2-QB - 8/21 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 8/14 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: PPR - 8/12 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: 3-WR - 8/7 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 7/31 (Walt)
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2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: PPR - 7/17 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Standard - 7/10 (Walt)

2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets:
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - PPR - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - 2-QB - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 250 - TD - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Custom - 9/3 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Spreadsheets - 8/28 (Walt)

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2014 Fantasy Football: It's All About Value - 9/1 (Kenny)
2014 Fantasy Football Sleepers - 8/31 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Busts - 8/31 (Walt)
2014 NFL Preseason Recap, Fantasy Football Notes - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Preseason Stock - 8/30 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Quarterback Targets - 8/30 (Walt)
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2014 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Simulator - 8/30 (Walt)
Fantasy Football Round-by-Round Strategy - 8/17 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football Stock Report: Running Backs - 3/28 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: Overdrafted Players - 2/16 (Walt)
2014 Fantasy Football: First-Round Bust History - 2/14 (Walt)
Running Backs with Most Carries - 2/14 (Walt)

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NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

NFL Picks - Feb. 12