2012 draft day rules of the road - quarterbacks
4) My initial fourth QB tier (essentially, the top QB2 options) included Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub and RG3. I'm moving Luck into that range. He's shown plenty during the preseason, at least from a poise and competence standpoint. Yes, the Colts have a suspect offensive line and ground game and could be without Austin Collie for a bit. Regardless, I still like him in this scenario over the remaining backup types. Upside, upside, upside!
5) No, I did not forget to include Josh Freeman and Andy Dalton in the aforementioned group. Bucs should be improved, but I'm thinking that attacks morphs into a run-oriented approach. As for Dalton, the historically Jekyll and Hyde Bengals are poised for a down year (look at their year-by-year records); but more importantly that receiver slot opposite A.J. Green remains curious. Even more importantly, I'm just not viewing Dalton as a high-volume thrower; Neither is Freeman, but at least he plays in the high-scoring NFC West, not the rugged AFC North.
6) The daily training reports out of Redskins Park have not been brimming with Robert Griffin III goodness and his second preseason game evaluation might be best described with a shrug. Having a patchwork OL and running game to work with doesn't help. Keeping the ubiquitous pitchman on my ideal QB2 short list because he'll make plays with his legs. The Redskins receivers are better than advertised and because he's just so charismatic, there is no way he can fail!!!
7) Speaking of QB2s, if I'm in a keeper league and own Rodgers (Week 10 bye), Brady (9) or Eli Manning, I'm taking advantage of those late bye weeks by shooting for the moon with my backup. Maybe RG3 and Luck require more of an investment than desired, but Jake Locker won't. Neither will Carson Palmer or Ryan Tannehill. Worse case, they bomb and you pick up another QB off the waiver wire, easy enough. Best case:
* Locker's legs make him viable and his speedy weapons make him a top 12-15 play.
* Palmer's en fuego with the deep pass and either he's worthy of use now/ or his name recognition gets a QB needy owner in your league talking trade
* Tannehill shows he's a QBBC option now and a worthy starter in 2013 when the Dolphins add actual NFL receivers to the roster.
Since we're here, should I land Vick – or perhaps Peyton Manning – I'll be adding a backup 1-2 rounds earlier than normal (be it Cutler, RG3 or more likely Matt Schaub or Joe Flacco). Won't be thrilled if I end with up with decent but low ceiling options like Alex Smith and Matt Cassel. Add that to the cost of taking a (injury) risk kind of player, regardless of position.
8) Current NFL backups I'd target for 2012 purposes should they move into the starting lineup: Kyle Orton, Jason Campbell, Joe Webb, Shawn Hill, Brian Hoyer/Ryan Mallett and if the Dolphins show any signs of life, Matt Moore (And if the latest Russell Wilson might start buzz out of Seattle has legs, add Matt Flynn to this group.
9) If you're looking waaaay down the line – and believe current strength of schedule numbers have merit -- then Sam Bradford is your guy. The Rams QB has the number one overall SOS in weeks 14-16 with games at Buffalo then two on paper gems in Minnesota and at Tampa Bay. Not that long ago Bradford was the young passer everyone talked about. Now he's a mere afterthought in the overall fantasy quarterback world. On some level, because nobody is hyping him – and the Rams finally, finally addressed their woeful wide receiver situation – Bradford is actually more interesting to me.
10) My pound for pound favorite QB (factoring in draft slot/cost) is…Aaron Rodgers. Obvious? Eh, from a pure bottom line standpoint, sure, but the investment is steep. So is the consistent, scream with joy at your flat screen production he'll give you every week. Even in this passing era, Rodgers gives his owners a true scoring advantage and taking him early is both safe and strategic, not to mention oh so potent. That's a bottom line angle I can get behind.
* On the flip side, my FFToolbox colleague George Bissell deemed Cam Newton the worst value while touting Josh Freeman's. So, there's that.