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Undervalued QBs

Read the introduction to this series if you haven't yet.

Tony Romo - DAL ADP: 44 overall, QB 7 9 votes

Sigmund Bloom - Romo has produced at or near the clip of the elite QBs like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady since Miles Austin breakout in 2009, yet you can get him a round or more later than those illustrious names. Romo has the most talented 1-2 punch in the league at wide receiver in Austin and Dez Bryant and one of the best receiving TEs in Jason Witten. He's your plan A at QB, hope to land in him in late fourth or fifth round.

Anthony Borbely - When you compare the numbers of the top fantasy QBs, Romo's are as good as any of them. He has averaged 270 passing yards and almost two TDs per game. Folks, that works out to over 4300 yards and 32 TDs per season. Those numbers are comparable to QBs like Brady, Brees, Manning, and Rivers. The difference is Romo's ADP of 48 is much lower than that of the QBs I just listed. Why draft a QB in the second or third round when you can draft a similar QB in round four? Use your first three picks on RBs and WRs and get your stud QB in round four. That gives you a huge advantage over the rest of the owners in your league.

Jene Bramel - I feel the same way about Romo this year as last. His talent and surrounding cast put him on the edge of elite fantasy QB status, but he's often available after half the league has already committed to their QB1. It's hard to argue that Romo should be ranked higher than QB7, but that doesn't mean he's not a clear value play. A healthy Romo isn't a bad bet to out-produce Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Philip Rivers. If you don't want to fuss over matchups with a QBBC approach but don't want to feel obligated to take a QB in the first four rounds of your draft, Romo is your man.

Mike Brown - Aside from his fully healed fractured shoulder blade, I fail to see what's so different between the situation Romo walks into in 2011 versus 2010, when he was everybody's darling pick to finish as QB1 because of all the weapons around him. He's lost Marion Barber and Roy Williams, hardly players who were counted on as focal points of the passing game. With an improved Dez Bryant and an offensive line that can't possibly be worse, Romo is in position to put up the stats in 2011 that he was supposed to put up in 2010.

David Dodds - This team had all the pieces in place at the end of last year, but unfortunately Romo was sidelined due to injury. He is back and should be able to move the ball efficiently with arguably the best starting WRs in the league in Austin Miles and Dez Bryant. TE Jason Witten isn't a slouch either and will likely top all TEs in catches in 2011. The team has moved on from inconsistent players Roy Williams and Marion Barber, but that could add even more passing yards as starting RB Felix Jones should be exceptional in screens/dumps out of the backfield.

Jeff Haseley - As it stands right now in drafts, Tony Romo is the forgotten elite QB. He is currently the 7th QB taken in drafts on average. It's hard to rank him ahead of Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Vick, Manning and Rivers, however he has just as much ability to crack the Top 3 as the above players do. Between Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, Romo has plenty of weapons at his disposal. He's a great value pick at his current ADP.

Ryan Hester - Before being injured last season against the Giants, Tony Romo was averaging 313 yards and two touchdowns per game last year. He was utilizing weapons all over the field -- including a resurrection of Roy Williams from useless to pleasant surprise. This year, Romo has Miles Austin and Jason Witten back with a blossoming Dez Bryant replacing Williams. From 2007 through 2009 (16 games, 13, 16), Romo's lowest yards per game total in a season was 263 yards. He threw 88 TDs (36, 26, 26). As a point of reference, Peyton Manning averaged 261 yards per game over that time and threw 91 TDs. This is a team with a former quarterback as its head coach and offensive guru and a team without a clear-cut running game leader. If he stays healthy, drafting Romo this year is like drafting 2007-09 Peyton Manning but with arguably better weapons.

Jeff Pasquino - Dallas will struggle to put the ball in the end zone on the ground with just Felix Jones at tailback, so expect Romo to get Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Miles Austin heavily involved each and every week. Romo has some wheels too, so expect a few rushing TDs for Romo himself this year. Romo has Top 5 upside and you will not have to select him nearly as high as his potential.

Jason Wood - Romo isn't undervalued in terms of his QB positioning -- I have him ranked as the 7th best fantasy QB, as well. But he's going 48th overall, almost two rounds after Philip Rivers comes off the board -- and that's the rub. Romo is coming off an injury, but a broken collarbone isn't something that you have to worry about relapsing. He's 100% healthy and one of the league's most productive passers. His career TD rate is better than most of the guys going ahead of him, as is his passer rating and yards-per-completion. With Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten, Romo should be coming off the board in the 3rd round alongside Rivers, not in the 4th or 5th.

Matthew Stafford - DET ADP: 94 overall, QB 14 7 votes

Sigmund Bloom - With Mikel LeShoure out for the year, the Lions will clearly be running a ton of spread/shotgun shots, which makes Stafford a combustible fantasy commodity this year. He could flame out with another shoulder injury, but Stafford will put up big numbers for as long as he is healthy. He is no sure thing to play all 16 games, but if he is your #1 QB, you will have one more top RB or WR than your opponents, giving you the luxury of taking a Sam Bradford or Josh Freeman to be part of your upside QBBC with Stafford.

Jene Bramel - The top three tiers of my quarterback rankings look very much like the consensus, with one exception -- Matthew Stafford. I think it's correct to be concerned about Stafford's durability and lack of a clear second receiving target. But I see a strong-armed leader with an elite WR1, a strong set of red zone options and one of the better receiving threats at RB in the league. I think 4000 yards and 25+ touchdowns are well within reach. An ADP of QB14 puts Stafford firmly in the QBBC tier. I think he belongs a tier higher alongside Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Freeman and Matt Schaub. If you decide to use a QBBC approach in your draft, I think Stafford should be your priority target.

Ryan Hester - Like Romo, Matt Stafford's biggest "con" is his inability to stay healthy. In his rookie year of 2009, he threw for 226 yards per game and 13 TDs. Last season, in just three games, he had 6 TDs and just one interception. Stafford still looks like the promising young QB who the Lions drafted #1 overall in 2009. At the point in the draft where he and the closest-ranked QB -- Joe Flacco (91 overall) -- are going, I'd much rather be looking for a high-ceiling player than a high-floor player. The weapons around Stafford are more explosive than those around Flacco so I see him as that kind of player. Stafford's rank here seems to be based more on risk-mitigation than on talent.

Steve Holloway - Stafford's ranking is undoubtedly connected to his injuries. In his two seasons, he has played and completed only 12 games total. For those games, he has averaged 227 yards passing per game and 1.58 passing TDs. His receivers this season are very dynamic including Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, Brandon Pettigrew, Nate Burleson, and a speedy rookie in Titus Young. Their rookie RB, who might have provided the Lions a better opportunity to balance their offense has already been lost for the season. Look for Stafford's passing numbers to improve.

Jeff Pasquino - Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler and Jahvid Best are five guys who should be scoring multiple touchdowns via the pass for Detroit this year. Stafford is one of the few quarterbacks available after the Top 7-8 guys are selected that can put up big week after big week and has 30+ TD potential. As long as he stays healthy he will push for Top 10 status for 2011.

Chris Smith - I love what Matthew Stafford brings to the table in Detroit. Obviously the huge caveat here is his health with just 13 games in two seasons. He was off to a very good start last year and throwing the ball to Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew can mean good things in 2011.

Matt Waldman - Injuries have never really been a part of the equation prior to Matt Stafford entering the NFL. David Dodds seems to believe that the Lions have a pretty good line. I haven't studied the line hard enough to say. What I do know is that Detroit has done nothing to upgrade that unit, which means either the confidence is there or Matt Millen snuck back into the building armed with a hypnotist. I think Stafford outperforms Joe Flacco and has a reasonable shot to match or exceed Eli Manning's typical production during the past two seasons.

Sam Bradford - STL ADP: 97 overall, QB 15 4 votes

Sigmund Bloom - Nobody cared about Kyle Orton in fantasy leagues coming into last year, and Josh McDaniels made him a top five fantasy QB in the first half of the season. You might say, who does Bradford have to throw to? Well, who did Orton have going into last season? Bradford also gets to fatten up on the weak pass defenses of Seattle, Arizona, and San Francisco twice this year. No one should be surprised if McDaniels turns him into a fantasy QB1 this season.

Mike Brown - Bradford may not have a true, bona fide number one receiver. But he's got a number of solid 2's and 3's to work with, and oh yeah that guy in the backfield Steven Jackson. Bradford looked anything but a rookie a season ago, and now has the tutelage of proven quarterback guru Josh McDaniels to run the offense with. Bradford entered the league to much fanfare, took over a downtrodden franchise, and immediately infused life into the team with his play. They say the biggest improvement a quarterback makes is between years 1 and 2. A scary thought indeed for the rest of the NFL...

Colin Dowling - Bradford's final third of 2010 left a lot to be desired. He threw the ball reasonably well but didn't account for many passing yards and posted a single touchdown in his last five games. Then again, considering the cast he was throwing to its a bit of a surprise he did that well. The addition of Mike Sims-Walker and Carnell Williams will certainly provide more veteran leadership to help guide Bradford. Furthermore, with another year of experience and a full camp with his team, it would be a major surprise if Bradford didn't improve significantly and break out in a big way. Bradford should easily finish as a QB1, well ahead of his ADP of QB14.

Jeff Haseley - I was impressed by Bradford's accuracy and precision in his rookie season. He has nowhere to go but up, in my opinion. What gives him the edge to move up the ranks, is the presence of Josh McDaniels as the Rams offensive coordinator. Bradford's ability to utilize multiple receivers in a quick strike offense matches well with McDaniels' offensive strategy and game plan. Quarterbacks under McDaniels' guidance have fared well in the past. If that trend continues, Bradford will shoot up the rankings. He is definitely a candidate for a breakout year among QBs.

Ben Roethlisberger - PIT ADP: 64 overall, QB 10 4 votes

David Dodds - Despite playing in only 12 games, he managed 3,200 passing yards and 12 TDs. The team added Jericho Cotchery and has a developing Mike Wallace while playing the easiest schedule against the pass in 2011. By playing less than 16 games in 2010, he is flying a bit below the radar right now in drafts.

Will Grant - He's not flashy, he doesn't command the big contracts and he isn't on insurance commercials or a Wheaties box. But the one thing that Big Ben does year after year is put up solid fantasy numbers. In only 12 regular season games last season, Ben had six games with more than 25 points. Not bad for a 6th round pick.

Steve Holloway - Roethlisberger has averaged 275 yards passing per game over the past two seasons. If he had played the full 16 game season each year that would equate to just over 4,400 yards. He has also averaged 1.59 passing TDs per game and added two TDs rushing in each of the last two seasons. The combination of his four game suspension and his off the field behavior definitely impacts his ranking, but not his performance.

Aaron Rudnicki - After sitting out the first half of the 2010 season, Roethlisberger put up numbers like a top-5 QB the rest of the way. He threw for multiple touchdowns in 7 of the 12 games he played and averaged 267 passing yards/game. While the Steelers like to rely heavily on their run game, it also helps open up big plays downfield for a big-play WR like Mike Wallace. Roethlisberger has some added fantasy value thanks to the plays he makes running the ball, but he's also surrounded by solid veterans like Hines Ward, Heath Miller, and now Jerrico Cotchery. He'll put up numbers like a Tony Romo or Matt Schaub but can be drafted several rounds later which makes him an excellent value play.

Matt Ryan - ATL ADP: 58 overall, QB 9 4 votes

Mike Brown - Ryan will helm one of the league's most potentially explosive offenses this season. He has already proven himself a capable fantasy starter, but now he's been given even more toys to work with in the passing game. The drafting of Julio Jones should terrify NFL defensive coordinators, because it will amazingly enough open up lanes for Roddy White even MORE. Ryan has got a dynamic running game and three top-flight options in the passing game, not to mention the expected continued improvement of Ryan himself. A top-5 finish is not only possible, but likely.

Dave Larkin - Matt Ryan is just a solid, all-around veteran quarterback. His offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey knows exactly how to get the most out of him and plays to his skill set well. The Falcons offensive line lost valuable guard Harvey Dahl, but the line is solid and gives Ryan time to survey the field. Cerebral, smart and a leader, Ryan now has the hungry Julio Jones to throw to, as well as Roddy White, perhaps the best wide receiver in the game.

Aaron Rudnicki - Ryan has shown improvement every year that he's been in the league. His touchdown totals improved from 16 to 22 to 28 and his average fantasy points per game have gone from approximately 15 to 17 to 20. At 26 years of age, he is just starting to enter the prime playing years of his career and the Falcons have done a good job of providing him with a strong group of weapons in the passing game. Roddy White is among the league's elite receivers, but the team also traded up for rookie Julio Jones this year and Harry Douglas should be a nice fit working out of the slot along with tight end Tony Gonzalez. Michael Turner and Jason Snelling should continue to provide an effective running game and the offensive line should continue to provide Ryan with plenty of time to throw. I think Ryan is a safe selection at this point in the draft with the chance to put up numbers every bit as good as the QBs being drafted much earlier.

Mark Wimer - Ryan has improved each year he's been under center in Atlanta, and last year he cracked the top-10 at his position. The Falcons are emphasizing creating more explosive/deep passing plays this year, and they brought in Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers to help Ryan take the offense to a new level. Given their elite #1 WR, Roddy White, Ryan should vault into the elite tier of QBs this year in a more wide-open Falcons' offense.

Josh Freeman - TB ADP: 71 overall, QB 11 3 votes

Ryan Hester - In his second year in the league, Josh Freeman had a surprisingly effective year and, therefore, led his team to a surprisingly good record. Freeman demonstrated that he can make plays to help his win instead of just being a young, game-managing QB. His best wide receivers -- Mike Williams and Arrelious Been -- were just rookies. Freeman is being drafted slightly after Matt Ryan -- a QB who had by far his best statistical season in his third season last year. Freeman is someone who could make a similar leap this season. Another reason to like Freeman is that his passing stats don't have to match similarly-drafted QBs for him to end the season ranked higher than them. As a mobile QB, he can add points with his legs as well -- rushing for 364 yards last year.

Mark Wimer - Freeman has done nothing but improve in each of his NFL seasons, and enters his third campaign as a seasoned veteran. He is surrounded by one of the youngest and most dynamic cast of skill position players in the NFL. Dezmon Briscoe is emerging as an outstanding WR2/WR3 during training camp, and RB Kregg Lumpkin is staking a claim to be the third-down/pass-catching change of pace back. Adding those guys to LeGarrette Blount/Mike Williams/Arrelious Benn/Kellen Winslow Jr creates a multi-faceted attack down in Tampa.

Jason Wood - I'm betting a lot of my fellow Footballguys will list Freeman as overvalued. And they would be wrong. No, I don't expect he'll match last year's unreal 25 TD vs. 6 INT ratio, but he doesn't have to in order to finish as a top 10 fantasy QB. Freeman ran 68 times for 364 yards last year, but didn't get into the end zone. That's a huge statistical outlier. Of all the QBs with at least 60 rushing attempts, Freeman is the only one to not score at least one TD, and on average those QBs score on 5% of their rushing attempts. You can be sure Freeman will rush for 3-5 scores (or more) this year, which will more than offset a slight decline in his TD passing totals.

Kevin Kolb - ARI ADP: 120 overall, QB 18 3 votes

Steve Holloway - When considering Kolb's projections for 2011, I recall the optimism in Philadelphia only a year ago. He had a top ten QB ADP then. Now, only a year later he has been traded to Arizona and his ADP fell all the way to QB 18. He does have a new team, but that team includes the always reliable Larry Fitzgerald, new addition Todd Heap and a couple of young WRs that enter their second and fourth years in Andre Roberts and Early Doucet, and he still has the same skills that Eagle fans eagerly awaited a year ago. When you combine his 6.8 ypa over the last two seasons with the Cardinals average of 577 passes per year for that same period, it calculates to 3,924 yards passing. Kolb gives you a value QB pick very late in your draft.

Jeff Pasquino - Arizona traded for and signed Kolb to a big contract as the starter, so rest assured that he will start every game if they can keep him healthy. With targets like Larry Fitzgerald and Todd Heap, Kolb gives QB1 upside from a QB2 draft spot on a team with questions in the backfield and in a division lacking for defense. Kolb also has some scramble ability to him to add a little more fantasy potential, but Kolb's clear upside is throwing to Fitzgerald every week.

Chris Smith - Kolb has gotten himself into a very good situation in Arizona. With an elite receiver to throw the ball to in Larry Fitzgerald, the talented young quarterback could leap into the top-ten at the position this season.

Mark Sanchez - NYJ ADP: 131 overall, QB 19 2 votes

Jeff Haseley - I am not ready to put Mark Sanchez among the league's best QBs, but I do believe he has an opportunity to finish in the Top 15 this year. The recent re-signing of Santonio Holmes and the acquisitions of Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason add weapons to an aerial attack that wasn't there last year or years past. Rex Ryan has indicated the Jets will throw the ball more in 2011, which adds more intrigue to an offense that could see a good uptick in production from the passing game.

Matt Waldman - I watched enough of the Jets last year to know that other than Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez lacked reliable receivers. Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, and Dustin Keller were all inconsistent. The addition of Derrick Mason and Plaxico Burress is an upgrade, despite their age and arguable decline in the corps overall athleticism. Just on the basis of more consistent play from the receiver position, I think Sanchez will have a better year than his value indicates.

Tom Brady - NE ADP: 24 overall, QB 4 1 vote

Colin Dowling - I realize that finding value in QB3 is a little difficult. But Tom Brady is being drafted one slot ahead of Peyton Manning (who may start the season on the PUP list) and a couple slots behind Drew Brees. While it's foolish to predict Year X based solely on Year X-1, it would be a mistake to ignore that Brady was QB1 last season (a position he has reached twice in his last three healthy seasons). The Patriots have added Chad Johnson and two new running backs to help Brady and have another year of experience out of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez at tight end. I don't know if Brady will finish as QB1 again this year, but I'd be willing to bet the gap between he and Aaron Rogers (ADP 9) won't justify 17 draft spots of difference in hindsight.

Jason Campbell - OAK ADP: 187 overall, QB 26 1 vote

Jeff Tefertiller - It is hard to believe, but this is the first time Campbell has enjoyed working with the same Offensive Coordinator for consecutive seasons. He gets youngsters Jacoby Ford and Darren McFadden to target in the open field. Campbell will have some big games as the Raiders are expected to play from behind a lot. While the ex-Redskin is not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, he will surprise many this season.

Matt Cassel - KC ADP: 115 overall, QB 17 1 vote

Mark Wimer - The Chiefs' 25-0 drubbing at the hand of Tampa Bay in the first preseason game and the offseason departure of ex-OC Charlie Weis have a lot of fantasy owners down on Matt Cassel. However, a lot of good things have been happening on the surrounding cast this preseason. The team added a proficient WR #2 in Steve Breaston, and RB/WR tweener Dexter McCluster is finally healthy after struggling with a high ankle sprain last year. They drafted an exciting talent in WR Jonathan Baldwin - and lets' not forget the proficient pass-catchers the team already boasted in Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles. Cassel has a lot of weapons at his disposal and is coming off a 14th-ranked finish during 2010 in which he tossed for 3,116 yards, 27 TDs and just seven interceptions. The potential for a much better season awaits Cassel during 2011.

Jay Cutler - CHI ADP: 101 overall, QB 16 1 vote

Jason Wood - Cutler was QB15 last year, in spite of throwing just 432 times. On a points per attempt basis, Cutler was 8th among fantasy passers last year. If you think Mike Martz is going to throw fewer than 500 times again in 2010, you're sorely mistaken. The addition of OT Gabe Carimi, WR Roy Williams, and the transition to a 3-TE roster who all block better than they catch tells me Cutler will be slinging the ball around this year. He's going to give you borderline QB1 production for a QB2 price.

Ryan Fitzpatrick - BUF ADP: 149 overall, QB 21 1 vote

Jeff Tefertiller - Fitzpatrick flourished in Chan Gailey's system after taking over in week three last year. He looks to improve on a strong 2010 season, where he finished as a fantasy starter. Somehow he is forgotten this year. The emergence of Stevie Johnson gives the Buffalo passing game a much-needed "go to" receiver. Fitzpatrick makes a perfect fantasy option for owners waiting a long time for their starting quarterback.

Kyle Orton - DEN ADP: 145 overall, QB 20 1 vote

Jeff Tefertiller - Yes, Josh McDaniels has taken his prolific passing game to the St. Louis Rams, but Orton has been productive at every stop and will be serviceable once again. The Broncos have plenty of weapons for Orton to target in the passing game. The highly debated quarterback duel between Orton and Tim Tebow is now a thing of the past. The job is Orton's to lose.

Matt Schaub - HOU ADP: 55 overall, QB 8 1 vote

Colin Dowling - Schaub is being drafted as QB8. In 2010 he finished as QB9, so it's a little difficult to see any value at first. But he was QB4 in 2009 and the 2010 campaign was marred by some atrocious games in the first half of the year. He was fourth in the league in passing yards and one touchdown away from finishing as QB7. Schaub is one of only a handful of quarterbacks in the league that has the ability and the surrounding offense to pass for more then 350 yards or 4 touchdowns in a single contest. He is one of a handful of quarterbacks who can win games for you almost by himself. Considering that he can be had near the end of the fifth round while Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are gone by the end of the second, Matt Schaub represents nice value this season at the quarterback position.

Michael Vick - PHI ADP: 12 overall, QB 2 1 vote

Anthony Borbely - Last season, Vick finished fourth in QB scoring and was only 10 points away from the top spot...and he only played 12 games. He would have destroyed everyone in scoring had he played in all 16 games. Vick's running ability creates a huge different between him and any other QB with respect to fantasy points. While Vick's propensity for injuries is a factor, it is hard to ignore his production. As last year proved, Vick can miss a handful of games and still be near the top of the QB scoring. His per game average is off the charts and his owners have an enormous advantage every week. I think drafting Vick in the mid to late first round is a no brainer and considering his ADP is 14, he represents great value in drafts.

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