The 2014 fantasy drafts are just around the corner, and it's still a quarterback's league.
But you already knew that.
In the last fantasy season, 11 quarterbacks posted point totals of higher than 250 in non-PPR standard scoring leagues (25 passing yards=1 point, 1 passing touchdown=4 points), and 6 topped 275 points. Quarterbacks made up 8 of the top 10 fantasy scorers, as well as 10 of the top 12. Peyton Manning, the league's MVP, set single-season records for both passing yardage and touchdowns. He led all players in fantasy points with 406. In the upcoming season, it would appear that the sky's the limit for top-level passers like Manning, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers. Shouldn't make drafting one of them a no-brainer? These 3 reasons say otherwise.
1) Quarterback was crazy deep last year, and it'll be even deeper this year. If you were looking for a starting quarterback to give you 15 points a week, 13 different players would have fit the bill. Wanted 17 points a game? 6 quarterbacks put up those numbers. And this number does not include Aaron Rodgers, who missed half the season due to a collarbone injury. But he was on pace to score over 320 points. It doesn't include Matt Ryan, whose entire offense struggled through injury and personnel issues. And it doesn't include RG3, who played with a knee brace and sat the final three games of the season. Throw these guys back into the mix, maybe even add veteran quarterback Tom Brady, and you've got a very large pool of serviceable passers.
2) As it was last year, there will still be solid late-round flyers and waiver pickups. If you were one of the unlucky owners who found themselves in need of a quarterback, you'll remember how Andy Dalton and Philip Rivers put up 279 and 277 points on the season, respectively. And I doubt anyone forgets the incredible breakout performance of Nick Foles, in which he averaged 24.6 points per game from weeks 9 to 17, and threw for 27 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. Here's another fun stat: Jay Cutler and Josh McCown, the two quarterbacks for the Bears, combined for a total of 291 points, which is more than all quarterbacks not named Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. If you decide to pass up on those high-profile studs, you can easily find yourself a solid starter in the lower rounds, or even the waiver wire.
3) Getting a Peyton Manning isn't cheap. It's pretty safe to say that unless something big happens, you're going to need to spend a first round choice on Manning, and even then you might miss him and reach for a different quarterback. This means that by picking him or another top tier passer, you're missing out on any of the elite running backs, like Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles, that are no-doubt first rounders as well. And while quarterback is as deep as it's been in a long time, running back is about as thin as it's ever been. Getting a Peyton Manning or Drew Brees could effectively downgrade your team at every other position, and you could find yourself with Ryan Matthews as your RB1. He's a great fantasy option, but you can't put him up there with all the Matt Fortes and Marshawn Lynches. So is it worth it to take a hit everywhere else to take the best QB? Probably not. As tempting as Manning may be, the smarter option would be to stack your team up around the board early, and pick up a few perfectly serviceable, less pricey options at quarterback later in the draft.