Don’t expect big names to be best value fantasy quarterbacks

Don’t expect big names to be best value fantasy quarterbacks

Leaf through any fantasy football magazine on the shelves right now or surf any website offering draft advice and they will tell you the same thing — wait on quarterbacks. They are, typically, the highest-scoring players in the game, the position is rich with talent and the difference in points between a third-best quarterback and the 12th isn’t as big as you would think. Nevertheless, try as we might to convince you, people will still reach for Tom Brady because they are deathly afraid of being saddled with Derek Carr.

The herd mentality is strong, and you always will see someone in your draft use a third-round draft pick on Aaron Rodgers. Brady will follow him in the fourth and he will be quickly followed by Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson. Cam Newton and Carson Wentz won’t be far behind. But while those in your league fail to achieve value with such selections, you have a golden opportunity to not only increase the value of your draft picks, but to also blow your opponents’ minds when you win the championship with a team led by a 13th-round quarterback.

The names are far from sexy, but Case Keenum, Blake Bortles and Eli Manning all have the potential to finish this season as top-10 quarterbacks. None of them are being drafted until very late and, in your shallower leagues, should be sitting on your waiver wire when Week 1 of the NFL season gets underway. To ignore them, even as a backup in fantasy, is a grave mistake.

How quickly people forget it was Bortles who brought home the fantasy championship for so many last year. From Weeks 13 through 16, the fantasy playoffs, the guy had three 300-yard games with nine touchdowns and just three interceptions. Between Weeks 10-15, inclusive, Keenum averaged 268 passing yards per game and had 13 touchdowns to four interceptions over a five-game span. The Jaguars have made a few adjustments to improve their offense while Bortles has a familiarity with his weapons most quarterbacks would kill for. Meanwhile, Keenum heads to Denver to run another high-octane offense in a system that caters to his style of play and has some of the top wideouts in the game at his disposal.

And let’s not sleep on Manning, who gets a better coach, an offensive coordinator who understands him, healthy, high-end receivers and, finally, a supportive ground game. The last time all that was in play was 2008 when he had one of the highest QB-efficiency ratings in the league and led the Giants to a 12-4 record and a Super Bowl title. His fantasy totals that year were rock-solid.

Don’t draft based on name or reputation. Draft for value. If Bortles can produce numbers similar to Wentz, why not take an eight-round discount? Imagine how much better your running backs and receivers will be.

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 4-6 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy sports advice and NFL player rankings.

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