Oct 25,2013

Things that make you go Hut-Hut Hmmm: Digging deep, like REALLY deep, on Quarterbacks

Favre currently spends his days as a volunteer coach for a high school team in his home state of Mississippi.

Brett Favre is coming back to the NFL!?!? Well, a few days ago, it looked like that might be a possibility. Earlier in the week, after discovering that fourth-year QB Sam Bradford would be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, the Rams reached out to the 44 year-old future Hall of Famer and asked if he’d suit up once more. Thankfully, Favre declined. But that’s not really the point. What’s troubling is that St. Louis was so desperate for talent that they bypassed their backups and dialed up a dude who hasn’t played ball since 2010. To be fair, this phenomena isn’t unique to St. Louis. It seems to be happening regardless of geographic location.

Just this past Monday night, over 13 million viewers gathered around their flat screens to watch newly acquired Josh Freeman drown like a pelican in the Gulf Coast. Seriously, Teresa Giudice’s bookkeeping skills are more accurate than Freeman’s arm was in Week 7. And to think that the former Buc was the Vikings THIRD starting QB of the season!

Speaking of things happening in threes, this past Wednesday it was announced that after losing Brian Hoyer to injury and (re)benching Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell would be starting under center for the Browns. Yup, come Sunday, everyone’s favorite journeyman QB will do his darndest to extinguish both Josh Gordon‘s and Jordan Cameron‘s fantasy heat.

The fact that there exists such a dirth of capable signal callers in the NFL is head scratching to say the least. So much so that it got me thinking about conversations I had in the preseason. Conversations about draft strategy and waiting on QBs because, you know, it’s a really “deep position.” Considering the aforementioned situations and after taking a look at the numbers, however, I’m not so sure.

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Currently in standard scoring leagues (4pts per TD) the top producing QB is Peyton Manning. He’s averaging over 28 points per week and was the third most drafted fantasy QB with the 19th overall pick in most leagues. Conversely, the twelfth most producing QB is Cam Newton who is averaging 19 points per game and was drafted only one round after Manning with the 36th overall pick. There is a difference of 81 overall points and 9 average points per week between these two starting QBs. That’s a lot… and even more for leagues that award 6 points per TD.

The conventional wisdom BEFORE the season started was to spend premium draft picks on running backs since it was considered such a “shallow position.” However when examining the production of the top twelve running backs in relation to their ADP, that viewpoint appears to be outrageously inaccurate. Take a look at Jamaal Charles who is, as of right now, the most productive fantasy RB. In non-PPR, he’s averaging 19 points per week and was drafted in the first round of most leagues with the fourth overall pick. Surprisingly, Giovani Bernard, who wasn’t drafted until halfway through the sixth round completes the top twelve fantasy RBs and is putting up just over 10 points per week. While Charles is outproducing Bernard by more than 60 overall points, it doesn’t change the fact that owners could have passed on 26 backs before scooping up the Bengals’ rookie and still would have acquired an RB1. Furthermore, the gap between Manning and Newton is roughly twenty points greater than that between Charles and Bernard, pointing to a larger disparity between elite vs starting QBs.

As a VBD believer, I’m still mulling things over and plan to revisit both the numbers and my strategy throughout the summer. What I do know right now, though, is that I cringe when facing off against a team led by the senior Manning and am a little less worried when playing against Alex Smith‘s favorite target. Seeing as elite QBs are absolutely at a minimum, it makes sense that perhaps they should carry more value. The volatility and unpredictability at the running back position, on the other hand, means that maybe owners should consider waiting to draft them. There’s still a lot of season left and anything can happen, but at least Brett Favre showing up on the waiver wire isn’t one of them. We can be grateful for that… right?