Aug 13, 2013

Fantasy Football Rankings: The Quarterback

The rankings below are based off a hybrid league of sorts with a standard point system, in addition to half a point per reception (PPR), with a snake draft format .  This is what your ideal fantasy league should look like in 2013, and even if you disagree I'm writing this blog so I can choose what league settings we'll be using.  In recap:

Passing TD = 4
Rushing TD = 6
Receiving TD = 6
Passing Yard = .04
Rushing Yard = .1
Receiving Yard = .1
Reception = .5
Fumble = -2
Interception = -2

The Quarterback:

However you hold your draft (auction, snake, random pull out of a hat) the draft will end with at least six owners more then happy with their quarterback situation heading into week 1.  There can even be a case made that all 12 owners, everyone manager in the league will get the QB target of their choice.  This is a concept that has never been equaled in fantasy history.  While not as traditionally top-heavy as RB, there has never been a parallel year where you snatch up your QB of desire in round 13.  Simply said, there has never been a year like this.

The Rankings:

1. Drew Brees
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Cam Newton
4. Peyton Manning
5. Matthew Stafford
6. Matt Ryan
7. Tom Brady
8. Tony Romo
9. Andrew Luck
10. Robert Griffin III
11. Russell Wilson
12. Eli Manning

13. Ben Roethlisberger
14. Andy Dalton
15. Sam Bradford
16. Michael Vick
17. Colin Kaepernick
18. Jay Cutler
19. E.J. Manuel
20. Matt Schaub
21. Jake Locker
22. Phillip Rivers
23. Josh Freeman
24. Joe Flacco

25. Ryan Tannehill
26. Alex Smith
27. Carson Palmer
28. Brandon Weeden
29. Matt Flynn
30. Kevin Kolb
31. Geno Smith
32. Chad Henne
33. Christian Ponder
34. Nick Foles
35. Terrelle Pryor
36. Shaun Hill

37. Kirk Cousins
38. Kyle Orton
39. Mark Sanchez
40. Blaine Gabbert
41. Ryan Mallett
42. Tyrod Taylor
43. Ryan Fitzpatrick
44. Brock Osweiler
45. Graham Harrell
46. Chase Daniel
47. Matt Cassel
48. Matt Moore
49. Dominique Davis
50. Seneca Wallace

Who's Number One?
After I stole the name of this section from one of the worst all-time ESPN shows (and that's saying something) I realized that the upper echelon of fantasy greatness is essentially like any modern debate that takes place on First Take.  Whatever the correct answer is it doesn't matter, all that matters is the debate is taking place.

With so much depth and quality players atop the QB rankings, it's more difficult than ever to decide who really is the cream of the crop.  Brees, Rodgers, Newton and Peyton all make strong cases, with Stafford, Brady, Ryan, Romo, RGIII, and Luck as dark horses as the leagues best.  If there are 10 guys with very strong shots at being the best at their position then why be the person who blinks first?


I won't blink first.  There will be zero leagues that I participate in where any QB comes off draft shelves and onto my roster before pick 60.  Seriously, this position is so fucking deep, mainly due to Commish Goodell turing the league into two-hand touch.  Quarterbacks get 6 seconds in the pocket routinely, receivers can cross in the middle without the threat of James Harrison decapitating them & everyone on the roster can catch, from the elite WRs to third string TEs, everyone on the field has the ability to catch a ball for a first down.

Starting Eli Manning week in and week out is not going to be the reason you don't win your fantasy league.  The reason you fall out of the playoffs is because Jonathan Stewart didn't get you enough points Week 8 or Greg Jennings put up a goose egg Week 11 when you needed it.  There is going to be a solid QB plug and play on the waiver wire ever week.  There aren't going to be any RB or WR plug and plays laying around during bye weeks or on a Saturday.  You need to draft value every round, and there will be more QB value in Round 13 then Round 2.


My ranking of Colin Kaepernick means two things: 

#1. I will not be drafting the San Fran QB this year 
#2. Neither should you

As we just discussed, quarterback is a position of mass depth.  We now understand that paying a premier price in the high rounds where there is still strong value sitting in late rounds is a bad move.  Now we learn how drafting the player with the most amount of variance isn't exactly a good idea either.  Everyone knows the phrase "the NFL is a copy-cat league" and it seems fairly obvious to me that the QB option offense caught the league by surprise and running as a whole should decrease with a full offseason for DEs to prep for it.  Mix that in with the fact Kaepernick and Terrelle Pryor had the same amount of 20 point games and this is a dude I want to stay far away from.  

Is it possible this ranking could come back and bite me in the ass with Kaepernick being a top QB at the end of the year?  Yes.  My rankings of Mike Vick, Jay Cutler, and Sam Bradford can all bite me in the ass too, and one of them will.  As is what happens every year, some high variance QB hits the jackpot and plays his way towards fantasy stardom while the other four bust out.  In a quarterback class that is this deep and this good, I'd rather pay for proven above average talent then a QB who can land anywhere on the spectrum.

The Floor:
Again, in order to beat it into your head "There is no reason to reach for a QB".  Every year at least one ball thrower comes out of the woodwork to post a top 12 season.  Last year we had Russell Wilson and Josh Freeman finish the year inside the top 12 despite both largely going undrafted on draft day. 

If you are the owner who takes Roethlisberger in Round 13 and he falls off a cliff, you can also be the guy who adds 2013 Russell Wilson to his roster.  There are going to be at least 8 owners in your league who feel having a backup QB is wasted roster space, so when someone shows up off the waiver wire out of nowhere, you'll only be competing with a maximum of four owners for their services.  Truth be told, even if your QB flops or gets injured, someone will be available to make the sting hurt less, which is something you can't say if Alfred Morris goes belly-up.

Don't draft a QB til the late rounds.  Just don't do it.

Aug 2, 2013

The Indians, the Draft & (more) Depression

It's August 1st, so everyone is writing Trading Deadline articles on how boring it was thanks to the new extra Wild Card or how the date needs to be moved back since teams aren't selling right away.  I have made an executive decision for Cleveland Rocks to not piggyback these stolen ideas and retread them like every other blog on Earth.  Instead, I am starting a blog series that I'll hopefully actually complete in a month analyzing the past 20 years of the Indians drafts.  It starts with the World Series era (94-01), otherwise known as the "FUCK! The Browns Moved" & the rest has been a bunch of sad seasons mixed in with 2 random above average ones.

If you were (un)lucky enough to continue paying attention to the Tribe after the Browns came back, you will have realized after the John Hart era the Tribe has decided to suck both in the war room and on the field.  Mark Shapiro and his heir apparent Chris Antonetti have more or less produced a giant bucket of asshole in the draft, which right now Brad Grant is trying to convince is a trend that is changing.  While the team has made tons of savvy trades flipping many of these failed prospects for something of value, they would be much better off to actually draft good players instead of finding them on other teams.  

Since I'm not about to do and ungodly amount of research, we are going to have a 2 pieces of groundwork that we'll be following.

1. Only Players who Signed with the Team Count.

It's way to hard to project how a guy like Desmond Jennings would've come up with the Tribe, and it's even harder to pretend I have any idea of whether the team was really trying to sign an out of high school Tim Lincecum or not.  Either way, the Brian Sabean and the Giants will continue doing backflips thanks to Lincecum and Brian Wilson (TWICE) not signing with us.

2. You Gotta Play in the Big Leagues.

I'll try and mention little tidbits about guys who we traded and brought in some value for, but I have no idea who we traded to get Chris MaGruder and I'm really not going to pretend like anyone involved in that transaction had value.

Honestly, I have just assumed that the Tribe has been worse the Browns when it comes to drafting and that's why I'm doing this this.  Anyways, less paragraphs about what I'm doing and more mentions of Chan Perry.

1994 draft: 

RHP Jaret Wright (1), RHP Rick Heiserman (3), RHP Danny Graves (4), 3B Russell Branyan (7), SS Julius Matos (16), OF Bruce Aven (30), and 1B Chan Perry (44)

Initially, this is what our typical drafts looked like.  Wright reached uber-prospect level in '96 and we ultimately felt his future career was more important then dealing him straight up for the best pitcher of the steroid era Pedro Martinez.  While we mostly remember Jaret for being a failure he gave us a 1.4 and 2.0 WAR season at ages 21 & 22.  All signs pointed towards a career path similar to Jake Westbrook in terms of productivity with a good season here and there & maybe even an All Star birth or two.  Instead Wright went the way of Fausto Carmona and totally blew sack in '99 going 8-10 with a 6.06 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 26 starts.  Over the next 3 years he would only pitch in 24 games (22 starts), hit free agency & immediately bolted.  Still, overall Jaret gave us a few good years and actually ranks as our second best 1st round pick, which is just a quick sign of how ugly things are to come.

Heiserman and Graves were both flipped in '95 to help us reach the World Series.  Heiserman, our 5th round pick named Pepe McNeal (clearly awesome name), and David Bell went to St. Louis for Ken Hills & his half a season 1.5 WAR.  Graves was part of a huge package that brought John Smiley and Jeff Branson to Cleveland.  While Smilies arm exploded after 6 starts and Branson was just a utility player for 2 years, both guys at least provided positive value during the playoff years and you can't exactly predict arm explosions.

Paul Bunyan, or err Russell Branyan gave the Tribe 5 years of awesome home runs and amazing
in-game breezes thanks to his absurdly high strikeout rate.  Truth be told, Branyan was one of the first "3 True Outcomes" players & helped usher in a new era in baseball where the strikeout wasn't massively frowned upon.  Big Buss hit 45 HRs & drove in 115 RBIs in parts of 5 seasons with the Indians, which wasn't too shabby for a bench during the playoff years.  For a 7th round pick he brought back morevalue then anyone (especially this team) could have expected, and even netted a positive return when we dealt him and his impending free agency to the Reds for 5 below average years of Ben Broussard, who was at least a major league player.

I have absolutely no memory of Matos, who the team released before he ever made he bigs.  He OPSed under .600 for two cellar dwellers (KC & SD) in '02 & '03 and then rightfully was never heard from again.  Both Aven and Perry had cups of coffee with the big league club in 1997.  Aven went 4 for 19 before the Marlins took him off waivers in the offseason, & Perry went 1 for 14 before hitting minorleague free agency.  Aven actually floated around under '02 when he came back to the Tribe, went 2 for 17 and disappeared forever, while Perry showed up in KC in '99 to go 1 for 12 then retire.  On a side note, there was a rumor in my family that Perry and his brother Herb were on my uncles mail route so he is forever ingrained in my mind as a poor MLB player who had to rent a house Parma.  Come to think if it, I wonder if he still lives there.

Anyways, the 1994 draft analysis is over.  While this draft is solid, there is nothing to suggest that this should be one of the best drafts in the past 20 years.  Well, it might be hard to read the rest of these, but this is it.  This is the peak.  Jaret Wright, Russell Branyan, 2 pieces of trade bait, 3 replacement level dudes, and 1 rented house in Parma is the peak of the past 20 years.  And it was 20 years ago.

Yeah, fuck.