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Selecting A Backup: QB’s

BWhether your throwing an early round pick at a top 5 QB or your waiting until the middle rounds to grab a back end QB1, it’s important to remember that eventually you’ll need a second quarterback for byes and injury.

Sure, you could opt to skip drafting a second QB and stream the waiver wire as the needs arise, but depending on how deep your league is you may be left with slim pickings for late bye weeks. Below we’ll examine each of the consensus QB1 selections and I’ll attempt to  give you 3 targets to keep in mind when drafting your backup.

Week 5 BYES: Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins

Having the early bye, it’s important to have a backup plan in place for the bye week and any potential injury issues later in the year. Both Ryan Tannehill and Joe Flacco are available in the 17th round or later in standard drafts, and both have favorable schedules during the home stretch of the regular season. Playing the Raiders (Flacco) and the Titans (Tannehill) are particular boons considering both teams finished in the top 10 for most generous fantasy defenses for opposing QBs. If you’re interested in late picks in deep leagues or just want to watch the waivers, Josh McCown of the Jets offers very little upside but does play the Browns in week 5 so could be a valuable stand in while your QB is on their bye.

Week 6 BYES: Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott

Neither one of the guys inspires the confidence of an Aaron Rodgers despite the potential for monster seasons. The Vikings’ Sam Bradford has a nice matchup against the Packers that should feature higher scores while Blake Bortles draws the Rams in week 6. Sticking with the he’s playing the Browns theme, DeShaun Watson (should he win the starting job) will not have much difficulty putting up decent points in week 6, and aside from the week 8 matchup against the Seahawks, has very winnable games down the stretch.

Week 7 BYES: Matt Stafford

Sure, he’s not really a QB1 to most, but in 12 – 14 team leagues he very well may end up your starting QB. Alex Smith (Rnd 16) draws the raiders, and Carson Palmer (Rnd 14) draws the Rams. Odds are you’re not going to wait too long to grab a backup but if you’re convinced of Staffords abilities, McCown has another nice matchup in week 6 against the Dolphins.

Week 8 BYES: Aaron Rodgers, Marcus Mariota

Week 8 offers a ton of value in terms of backups, and you could choose to wait until late if you grab Rodgers by drafting Mike Glennon (26th round) or Sam Bradford (playing the Browns). If you want to hedge you bets with Mariota, Andy Dalton is available in the 13th round and plays the Colts, and Carson Wentz has fallen back to earth a bit in the 14th round but could put big points but against the 49ers.

Week 9 BYES: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger

Both Brady and Big Ben are two potential top 5 (or better) fantasy QB’s assuming their health holds up. Brady (despite being older) is a far less likely injury risk but it’s something to take into account when drafting an aging QB. Matt Stafford is a relatively low risk option to add in the 11th round assuming you’re concerned about missed time. Espcecially with Roethlisberger it’s important to be realistic. If you’d rather wait, both Joe Flacco and Ryan Tannehill can be had at the back end of the draft (both in round 17 or later) and both have above average schedules for fantasy production. Either or is a valuable addition to your team if you drafted Brady or Big Ben.

Week 10 BYE: Derek Carr

It depends on who you ask, but Carr is a borderline QB1 who should be drafted under the assumption that he should remain consistent. Still, having a backup for a starter who’s coming off a serious leg injury isn’t a bad idea. Eli Manning may only be drafted a few rounds later, but if he falls, he’s a perfect fit for the bye week and if Carr faces any missed time for injuries. Should he go before the 14th round, DeShaun Watson could fall to you as well, and his week 10 matchup against the Rams (and other favorable matchups in this area) mean less risk. While the by week matchups aren’t as good, Bortles (Rnd 16 – against the Chargers) and Bradford (Round 18- against the Redskins) could put up sizable numbers and serve as a valuable back up for the rest of the season.

Week 11 BYES: Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston

What a murders row of “who the hell knows” in week 11, although most questions should be answered by then. Still, there’s significant injury risk to Luck and Newton, so preparing is a necessity. Bortles matchup against the Browns makes him an obvious option in the 16th round, as does the potential shootout Joe Flacco (Rnd 17) is looking at against Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay, but the real crown jewel would be Carson Wentz in the 14th round; his ceiling makes for a dramatic backup but should he be needed for more than a week or two, he could produce in spades from the bench.

Of course it’s important to consider the bye weeks, but as always don’t compromise your strategy to fill in one or two weeks on the schedule. There are no worst case scenarios you’ll face that the other 9-13 teams you’ll play won’t also face, so make sure you start the best possible team and build around them as best you can.

UPDATE: QB Rankings

Updated 6/26 (numbers in parenthasis are change in ranking from 6/1 rankings)
  1. Aaron Rodgers, GB (E)
  2. Tom Brady, NE (E)
  3. Drew Brees, NO (E)
  4. Matt Ryan, ATL (E)
  5. Andrew Luck, IND (E)
  6. Jameis Winston, TB (E)
  7. Kirk Cousins, WAS (E)
  8. Dak Prescott, DAL (+1)
  9. Russell Wilson, SEA (-1)
  10. Cam Newton, CAR (E)
  11. Derek Carr, OAK (+1)
  12. Tyrod Taylor, BUF (-1)
  13. Marcus Mariotta, TEN (+2)
  14. Philip Rivers, LAC (E)
  15. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (-2)
  16. Matthew Stafford, DET (E)
  17. Andy Dalton, CIN (E)
  18. Carson Wentz, PHI (+3)
  19. Eli Manning, NYG (E)
  20. Blake Bortles, JAC (-2)
  21. Ryan Tannehill, MIA (-1)
  22. Joe Flacco, BAL (E)
  23. Sam Bradford, MIN (+2)
  24. Carson Palmer, ARI (-1)
  25. Alex Smith, KC (-1)
  26. Deshaun Watson, HOU (E)
  27. Mike Glennon, CHI (+1)
  28. Paxton Lynch, DEN (+1)
  29. DeShone Kizer, CLE (-2)
  30. Cody Kessler, CLE (E)
  31. Jared Goff, LAR (+1)
  32. Josh McCown, NYJ (-1)
  33. Christian Hackenberg, NYJ (+2)
  34. Brian Hoyer, SF (-1)
  35. Mitch Trubisky, CHI (+3)
  36. Tom Savage, HOU (E)
  37. Trevor Siemian, DEN (-3)
  38. Patrick Mahomes, KC (+3)
  39. Jimmy Garoppolo, NE (+8)
  40. Landry Jones, PIT (+4)
  41. C.J. Beathard, SF (-1)
  42. Cardale Jones, BUF (-3)
  43. AJ McCarron, CIN (E)
  44. Drew Stanton, ARI (+1)
  45. Case Keenum, MIN (+1)
  46. Brock Osweiler, CLE (-9)
  47. Bryce Petty, NYJ (-5)

Way Too Early Rankings: QB

More than any other position, the QB position feels the least amount of fluctuation as starting gigs are usually wrapped up before the NFL draft. With the two rookies sliding into starting spots, lets see where our QB’s stand in terms of Fantasy Rankings in our Way Too Early Rankings.

  1. Andrew Luck – IND
  2. Aaron Rodgers – GB
  3. Peyton Manning – Den
  4. Russell Wilson – Sea
  5. Drew Brees – NO
  6. Ben Roethlisberger – Pit
  7. Matt Ryan – Atl
  8. Tom Brady – NE
  9. Cam Newton – Car
  10. Ryan Tannehill – Mia
  11. Eli Manning – NYG
  12. Tony Romo – Dal
  13. Philip Rivers – SD
  14. Matthew Stafford – Det
  15. Carson Palmer – Ari
  16. Colin Kaepernick – SF
  17. Joe Flacco – Bal
  18. Andy Dalton – Cin
  19. Jay Cutler – Chi
  20. Derek Carr – Oak
  21. Alex Smith – KC
  22. Teddy Bridgewater – Min
  23. Sam Bradford – Phi
  24. Robert Griffin III – Was
  25. Blake Bortles – Jax
  26. Nick Foles – StL
  27. Jameis Winston – TB
  28. Marcus Mariota – Ten
  29. Brian Hoyer – Hou
  30. Ryan Fitzpatrick – NYJ
  31. Josh McCown – Cle
  32. Matt Cassell – Buf

Three Up:

  • Derek Carr – A young team with some exceptional weapons, Carr could very well vault himself into the top 15 conversation.
  • Blake Bortles – Jacksonville seems committed to creating an offensive culture that will see Bortles succeed. He certainly has the intangibles.
  • Alex Smith – He may have shown age last year, but I think cleaning the slate with his receiving core could work wonders for Smith this year.

Three Down: 

  • Tom Brady – We’ve seen Brady play with a chip on his shoulder, but at 38 and facing a possible suspension, Brady may not be worth his draft day value.
  • Nick Foles – If Sam Bradfords fall from grace was any indication, St. Louis could be a bad spot for Foles. They also have a brutal schedule for QB’s fantasy production.
  • Drew Brees – Age is certainly a factor here, but losing Jimmy Graham and the news that New Orleans is looking to dial back on the reliance of the passing game could see Brees dropping out of the top 10.