Waiting to draft a QB is a good idea, but which QB is worth waiting for?
Everyone knows about the big three quarterbacks for fantasy this year – Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. If Andrew Luck was 100 percent healthy, it might even be a big four.
But why waste a second-, third- or even a fourth-round pick on one of these quarterbacks, when there is so much value to be had later in the draft. So, if you are going to wait on a QB this year, here are five guys you should consider.
Note: All ADPs referenced below are courtesy of FantasyPros.
Philip Rivers, San Diego
You know what you’re going to get with Rivers. He’ll deliver a consistent return on a weekly basis. He finished 2016 as the cumulative QB6, threw for more than 250 yards in nine games, and tossed multiple touchdowns in 12 contests. Rivers also should get a healthy Keenan Allen back. In 38 career games played with Allen, Rivers' average fantasy points per game increases by more than 10 percent. The AFC West is one of the best divisions in the league, which points to more competitive divisional games and arguably, more points scored. Rivers representing the 15th quarterback off the board is criminal, especially given his recent consistency.
Eli Manning, New York Giants
Manning’s production slipped a bit last year yet he still finished with 4,027 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns. In the two years before that, he averaged 4,423 yards and 32.5 TDs. The additions of Brandon Marshall in free agency and the tight end Evan Engram through the draft give Manning even more options to throw to. He still has Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, while the running game could look and perform differently with Paul Perkins expected to lead the way. But make no mistake, the strength of this offense is in its receiving corps, which should give Manning plenty of opportunities to put up big numbers once again. Manning is being viewed as a middle-of-the-pack (16th) fantasy option right now, although he probably should be valued as a low-end QB1.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
It’s easy to overlook Dalton as a fantasy option. Despite losing Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones to free agency and A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard, and Tyler Eifert for significant parts of the season to injury, Dalton still ranked 12th in fantasy scoring among his peers in 2016. In addition to getting his top targets (Green and Eifert) back from injury (you can add Bernard to this list if you want), the Bengals also added a number of dangerous weapons through in draft in WR John Ross and RB Joe Mixon. In addition, Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd are both entering their second year with the Bengals and provide solid depth. If you’re using the late-round QB strategy, you could do a lot worse than Dalton, who is the 18th QB taken in drafts even though he easily could finish as a top-12 fantasy option.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia
Believe it or not, but Wentz attempted 607 passes as a rookie, the fifth most of any QB in the league. And this was without Alshon Jeffery or Torrey Smith, two veteran wide receivers Philadelphia added in the offseason. The Eagles won’t abandon the running game, but several of the backfield options also can make players as a receiver, which should help Wentz’ development and numbers. The pieces are in place for Wentz to take a big step forward in terms of passing yards and touchdowns. There is definite QB1 fantasy potential, which can be had in the middle rounds given Wentz’ status as the 19th signal-caller to come off of the board.
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee
This one may be a bit of a stretch, as Mariota has been getting his share of preseason buzz, and for good reason. Last season, he put up at least 20 fantasy points in nine of his first 12 games, finishing as a top-10 fantasy option seven times during that span. He tailed off after that, struggling against Denver and Kansas City before suffering a broken leg in Week 16. The early reports on Mariota’s recovery are nothing but positive and even better news, he won’t have to face the Broncos or Chiefs this year. With first-round pick Corey Davis and veteran Eric Decker added to the receiving corps, Mariota should be able to take another step forward as a passer, as he’s already supported by one of the league’s top rushing attacks and offensive lines. If Mariota continues to improve he could wind up as a must-start QB1 even though he’s not drafted in that range quite yet.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.