CFB: QB Roundtable
Which quarterbacks are overrated as a fantasy option this year?
Braden Gall: This one is a really tough call for me. When you dive into the stats and track record of NC State's Russell Wilson, the feeling will probably be to rank him pretty high on the draft board. The 3,027 yards and 31 TDs are nice. However, 12 of those scores came in non-conference play and his offensive line and running backs are some of the worst in the ACC. He also went from 1 INT in conference play in 2008 to 11 in 2009. His rushing yards also dipped from 388 to 260. With road trips to Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Clemson, Maryland and East Carolina, to go with home tests against Florida State, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati and Wake Forest, I will have Wilson way down my draft board.
And for personal reasons, I will not select Kyle Padron (I was burnt on Justin Willis and Bo Levi Mitchell). Will Padron finally execute the June Jones attack to the max and for a full season? Or will, for the third time in a row, the projected preseason starter not even have his job midway through the year?
Steven Lassan: Terrelle Pryor is one of the most difficult quarterbacks to peg this preseason. Pryor finished as the No. 27 fantasy passer last season and if he continues the momentum from his Rose Bowl performance, finishing in the top-10 of quarterbacks should be attainable. However, there’s certainly more risk than I would like as my first quarterback. I would take Landry Jones, Jake Locker or Kyle Padron as a QB1 before I select Pryor, but it’s difficult to argue with anyone who went with the upside.
Patrick Snow: Zach Collaros at #13. Collaros had an amazing four-game stretch last season filling in for Tony Pike, but I think the Bearcats offense will not be quite as explosive now that Brian Kelly is in South Bend and Mardy Gilyard is in St. Louis. New coach Butch Jones runs a similar system to that of his mentor, but it won’t be quite the same without Kelly.
Collaros can be a very solid second quarterback for your team, but I would put him more in the 18-22 range of the rankings.
Which quarterbacks are underrated as a fantasy option this year?
Braden Gall: Andrew Luck, Stanford. The numbers point to a huge year but so does the gut instinct. He has the best offensive line in the conference, two outstanding wideouts to throw to and a full year of starting experience under his belt. Not to mention a guarterbacks guru teaching him the ropes and first-round NFL talent. A 3,000-yard, 30-TD season is not out of the question. Oh, and did anyone notice he ran for more yards (354) than Russell Wilson, Colt McCoy, Daryll Clark or Mike Kafka last year?
Andy Dalton, TCU. The Horned Frog passer has improved in each of his first three seasons as the starter. Now, entering his fourth, he is poised for stardom. The offensive line and running game should give him plenty of time and space to work while playing a schedule even Jonathan Crompton could excel against. His 7,457 career passing yards and 44 career TDs make him worth the investment — but did you know he has rushed for 944 yards and 11 TDs over the last two seasons?
Steven Lassan: After watching Dana Holgorsen coordinate the Houston passing attack to an average of 400 yards per game in each of the last two seasons, fantasy owners will be monitoring his progress in his year coordinating the offense at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys won’t throw it as much as Holgorsen did at Houston, but if Brandon Weeden continues to progress in the offense this fall, he’s going to be a great value pick as a QB2 – with potential to finish in the top 10 of fantasy quarterbacks.
Another quarterback that intrigues me is Purdue’s Robert Marve. There were flashes of potential at Miami, but also some rough moments. Marve has a lot of positive offseason buzz and with running back Ralph Bolden likely out for most of 2010, the focus of the Purdue offense will shift to the passing attack. If Marve continues to build upon a strong offseason, throwing for 2,700 yards and 25 scores isn’t out of the question.
Patrick Snow: Landry Jones at #15. Jones was pressed into duty a little too early last season with the injury to Sam Bradford. He was very effective for most of the year, with the exception of the Nebraska game. The Cornhuskers are not on the schedule this season, and Jones will be ready to take the Big 12 by storm in his second campaign.
The Sooners have a proven offensive scheme, as well as top weapons like receiver Ryan Broyles and running back DeMarco Murray. I think Jones will put up huge numbers this season and should be ranked in the back half of the top 10.
Which quarterbacks will you avoid on draft day?
Braden Gall: This one is tough, because depending on the draft value, every player has a break even point. Injuries bother me and a guy like Robert Griffin makes me nervous. Its not that I wouldn't draft him, because the upside is ridiculous. But at what cost? If he is your 4th round pick and will be your QB1 heading into the season, I would pass. If I could get him in the 6-8 round range as my QB2? I am all in.
Also, with as poorly as the Tulsa offensive line played a year ago (118th in sacks allowed), I have eliminated the internal debate by not even looking at G.J. Kinne.
Steven Lassan: Zach Collaros, Dwight Dasher and Robert Griffin are three names I am hesitant to select on draft day. Collaros could have a huge year under Butch Jones, but something tells me Cincinnati will miss Brian Kelly more than some may expect. Losing coordinator Tony Franklin is a concern for MTSU and his replacement (Mike Schultz) struggled with Illinois last year. The competition level in the Sun Belt certainly favors Dasher, but I could see his numbers taking a dip without Franklin call the shots this year. Griffin has a lot of upside, but one year removed from ACL surgery, I can’t see him repeating the 843 yards and 13 scores posted on the ground as a freshman. I wouldn't necessarily avoid any of the three players mentioned, but I would certainly hesitate to pull the trigger on adding them to my squad.
Also, I like to avoid quarterbacks in a battle for time. Texas Tech's Steven Sheffield, Michigan's Tate Forcier or Oregon's Nate Costa could have a solid fantasy season if they are the starter, but there's no guarantee they finish the year as the No. 1 option on the depth chart. Unless I'm selecting a quarterback locked into a battle as a fourth option, I'd rather have someone who is clearly going to start and produce each week.
Patrick Snow: I would be hesitant in drafting Brandon Weeden (#22) and Steven Sheffield (#27). Both have the potential to be quality second QBs on your squad, but there are a few concerns. Weeden has a brand new offensive line, plus there is no Dez Bryant or Brandon Pettigrew-type target for him. Dana Holgorsen did a great job at Houston and will now call the plays at OSU, but I’m not sure you can just ‘plug in’ those same types of numbers from the Cougars’ offense.
When you see ‘Texas Tech quarterback’ in a draft, the tendency is to draft him quickly. However, it’s going to look a little different in Lubbock without Mike Leach. New boss Tommy Tuberville says he won’t change the Red Raiders aerial attack, but he struggled to believe in the same offense at Auburn. Proceed with caution.
Something to keep an eye on…
Braden Gall: There are some monster programs with elite recruits stepping in to be starters and will all be very interesting to watch during fall camp. John Brantley at Florida, Garrett Gilbert at Texas, Kevin Newsome (potentially) at Penn State, Aaron Murray at Georgia and Cameron Newton at Auburn could all be huge fantasy performers or draft day busts.
Some of the intriguing battles will be fun to watch as well. Penn State, Oregon, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Texas Tech and most importantly Michigan. If Denard Robinson is the starter, draft him as high as you want. His speed and game-changing ability will be fantasy gold if he can beat out the less-motivated Tate Forcier.
Finally, the Notre Dame offense and Dayne Crist's new head coach. If Brian Kelly is the mad scientist we all believe he is, then Crist could be in for a huge season. Like No. 1 rated "BCS" fantasy quarterback in the nation kind of huge. All signs in camp point to him being fully recovered from his knee injury and he has more talent around him than he will know what to do with. He is a high risk-high reward pick seeing as how he has never started a game before.
Steven Lassan: Quarterback battles are always the most intriguing aspect when trying to sort out the rankings. Even with Mike Leach gone from Lubbock, the battle with the most fantasy value should be Texas Tech. The winner between Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield could be a top 15-20 fantasy quarterback this year, but fantasy owners need one to seize the job and not swap the position throughout the year. In addition to Texas Tech, fantasy owners need to monitor the Austin Davis-Martevious Young battle at Southern Miss, along with competitions at East Carolina, BYU, Michigan, Louisiana Tech and Oregon.
Patrick Snow: I’ll be interested to see if coaches lessen the running burden on their ‘spread’ quarterbacks for fear of too much physical pounding. Obviously guys like Navy’s Ricky Dobbs and Georgia Tech’s Joshua Nesbitt will continue to tote the rock in their respective offenses, but I suspect the dual-threats like Jerrod Johnson, Jake Locker, Robert Griffin (and others) may run significantly less this season. A few hundred yards and 4-5 less rushing touchdowns could affect your fantasy team quite a bit if the ‘less running’ trend develops.
Braden Gall: Dan Persa, Northwestern. The string of unknowns stepping in and succeeding at this position for Pat Fitzgerald (C.J. Bacher and Mike Kafka) will continue with Mr. Persa. He won't wow anyone with his raw ability but he has some game experience and is an excellent leader. His hard-nosed attitude and above average athletic ability could lift him into fantasy stardom this fall. He needs to, however, find some consistent receivers to replace what the Wildcats lost a year ago.
Denard Robinson, Michigan. IF IF IF he is the starter, he could be huge. SEE ABOVE.
Steven Lassan: Dominique Davis/Brad Wornick, East Carolina - Air Raid offense comes to East Carolina with quality receivers in place. Don't expect 5,000 passing yards, but this will be a dangerous attack - provided someone wins the quarterback job.
Steven Ensminger/Ross Jenkins, Louisiana Tech - Having Tony Franklin as the offensive coordinator usually means good things for fantasy owners. A starter needs to emerge, but this should be a much-improved passing attack.
David Isabelle, UAB - We know he can run it, but Isabelle needs to show he can throw it before emerging as a fantasy option.
Cameron Newton, Auburn - Still very raw as a passer, but a good fit for Gus Malzahn's offense.
Dan Persa, Northwestern - Great runner and a favorable early season schedule makes Persa a sneaky pick as a third quarterback.
Patrick Snow: John Brantley at #23, Russell Wilson at #28, Garrett Gilbert at #33, Tom Savage at #51