Undervalued QBsRead the introduction to this series if you haven't yet.
|Ben Roethlisberger - PIT ADP: 103 overall, QB 15||9 votes|
Ryan Hester - The Steelers are saying that they'll run the ball more, but without Rashard Mendenhall, the team is likely to put the ball in the hands of its more proven players -- those in its passing attack. Additionally, Roethlisberger shouldn't be scrambling to make big plays, taking as many big hits, and missing games with injuries due to an offensive line bolstered by two draft selections (David Decastro at guard and Mike Adams at tackle). With added protection and three very talented young weapons at WR, Roethlisberger could return to the form of his best fantasy season -- 2009 (4,328 yards and 26 touchdowns).
Steve Holloway - Roethlisberger already has two top ten quarterback seasons and two more ranking in the top twelve while playing in a fairly conservative Steeler offense. The combination of an improved offensive line and additional experience for his young receivers should lead to increased passing attempts and production. Roethlisberger has averaged 8.3 ypa over the last three years, so he should easily pass for over 4,000 yards and increase the number of passing TDs.
Marc Levin - In 2011, Ben Roethlisberger played through a serious foot injury and competed with record-setting quarterback seasons from other players, yet still finished with over 4,000 pass yards, 21 touchdowns, and a #12 fantasy quarterback ranking. Keep an eye through training camp on the growing pains with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, but expect Roethlisberger to improve on those numbers. A likely QB1 who is available in the 8th round as my QB2? That reeks of value.
Jeff Pasquino - Ben Roethlisberger loves to throw the ball and stay in the pocket for the Steelers, who now will struggle running the ball with no featured tailback after Rashard Mendenhall's injury. Roethlisberger has big play targets with all his wide receivers, giving him options to spread the ball around and drive a pass-happy attack. Look for him as a very cheap fantasy starter this year with so many quarterbacks going off the board ahead of him.
Aaron Rudnicki - Roethlisberger hasn't put up enough touchdowns in the past couple years to join the ranks of the elite quarterbacks around the league. Part of the problem has been a lack of protection up front so the Steelers added two of the best offensive linemen in this year's draft. Todd Haley didn't have the greatest talent to work with in Kansas City and had other responsibilities as a head coach to distract him. In Pittsburgh, he'll be able to focus solely on the offense and the passing game is his specialty. The Steelers running game is not what it used to be either so this team will likely go as far as Roethlisberger's arm will take them. I fully expect a top-10 season from him, but you can draft him much later.
Matt Waldman - One thing that Todd Haley does well is maximize the effectiveness of his offensive weaponry. The Steelers have the makings of a dominant passing offense and I think Haley will create a system that elevates this team into a unit that can compete with the likes of the Cowboys, Giants, and Eagles as that next tier of aerial attacks just a notch below the best units in the league. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are skilled after the catch and do a strong job of making plays in tight coverage or finding open zones. If not for Victor Cruz, Brown might have been the talk of the league when it came to breakout receivers. There's also recent talk that Haley intends to feature veteran tight end Heath Miller, which is one of my favorite bits of news as a fan of one of the more under-appreciated players in football. Miller has the skills of a borderline elite tight end, but his pass protection is so good that he's been relied upon as mostly an outlet. I think we're going to see a more controlled passing game that elevates Roethlisberger's production into a more consistent and productive fantasy starter.
Jason Wood - The decision to hire Todd Haley for the "retired" Bruce Arians raises the risk profile of the entire Steelers offense, but the reality is the Steelers struggled with consistency over the last two years -- ranking outside the top 10 in yards and points. While the new offense will take some getting used to, many of the basic tenets remain in place. Roethlisberger is an incredibly talented veteran with mobility, who has a great rapport with a deep class of receivers. That is not a recipe for mediocrity. With Rashard Mendenhall damaged goods and a youth infusion on the offensive line, I fully expect Roethlisberger to re-assert himself as a fringe Top 10 fantasy passer.
David Yudkin - Ben Roethlisberger was not himself last year as he played through a number of injuries. Including last year, he still ranked as the #9 fantasy quarterback on a PPG basis across the past three seasons. Even without Hines Wards, the Steelers are loaded with lightning quick receivers. Factoring in the injury to Rashard Mendenhall, Roethlisberger should be throwing quite a bit and should again rank as a starting fantasy quarterback in 10-12 team leagues.
|Matt Ryan - ATL ADP: 72 overall, QB 11||6 votes|
Bruce Hammond - Entering his 5th season and his prime at age 27, Ryan could be on a Brady-like career curve. He has an ADP of QB11 even though he finished as QB8 each of the last two years. In 2011 he had his best numbers yet and was even better over the second half of the season. Atlanta should be more of a passing team going forward, reportedly will use the no-huddle a lot more, and I could see Ryan finishing as QB4 or QB5 in 2012. Michael Turner is in decline and Jacquizz Rodgers should be more active catching passes out of the backfield. Roddy White is a still-productive 31 and Julio Jones should have a big second season. Consistent Tony Gonzalez is there for one more year and slot receiver Harry Douglas will reportedly get more looks. There's much to like about Ryan this year.
Chris Smith - Ryan has been the cornerstone of the Falcons offense since entering the league and with four full seasons under his belt, he is entering the prime of his career. He is a smart, talented and athletic quarterback that has all the tools to elevate into an elite level this season. He has two tremendous wide receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones, one of the best tight ends ever to play the game in Tony Gonzalez and an offensive scheme he is comfortable within. After two straight 8th place fantasy finishes, I expect him to make a strong push towards the top-5 this year.
Jeff Tefertiller - With the last pick in the sixth round, you can select a young quarterback who is coming off a breakout season including 4,100 passing yards and 29 touchdowns through the air. Yes, Matt Ryan put up those numbers last season and is the eleventh quarterback drafted according to ADP. Ryan has a great receiving corps in Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez. Even though he was impressive as a rookie, Jones should improve going into year two. Ryan could actually improve on last year's numbers if the Falcons use a no-huddle offense more as rumored.
Maurile Tremblay - Ryan has been the eighth best fantasy quarterback in each of the last two seasons, and has improved his yards and touchdown totals each year he has been in the league. Roddy White and Julio Jones are in the conversation for the best pair of wide receivers in the league, and Tony Gonzalez is still playing at a high level as well. With the weapons he has, it would be hard for Ryan not to be a solid fantasy starter once again.
Mark Wimer - Matt Ryan crossed 4,000 yards passing for the first time in his career last year, and also threw for a career-high 29 TDs. With a year of seasoning under Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers' belts, and steady production from savvy veterans Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, I think we see Ryan on the cusp of top-five fantasy production among the quarterbacks this year.
|Jay Cutler - CHI ADP: 96 overall, QB 14||5 votes|
Dave Larkin - Jay Cutler represents terrific value at his current ADP, somewhere in the eighth round of drafts. Cutler seems to be warming to new offensive coordinator Mike Tice's scheme, which will involve fewer deep drops and quicker releases. Cutler, with one of the quickest releases in football, combined with his improved receiving corps (including the rekindling of a partnership with Brandon Marshall which produced consistently in the past) should be able to far outperform his ADP and be a high-end #2 quarterback, if not a low-end #1.
Bob Magaw - Cutler will be the beneficiary of what should prove to be easily the best assemblage of WR talent during his Chicago tenure. Reunited with WR Brandon Marshall, the Bears spent a second round pick on rookie WR Alshon Jeffery, and they could comprise a dynamic duo with complementary skill sets. Marshall is a force over the middle and a RAC monster, and the team thought Jeffery was one of the top boundary receivers and red zone weapons in the draft. Even Devin Hester could get into the act, now that he isn't miscast as a feature WR. New OC Mike Tice may not rely as heavily on RB Matt Forte, and he oversaw prolific passing attacks in Minnesota. Cutler could be involved in a few divisional shootouts with the likes of Green Bay and Detroit.
Jeff Pasquino - Jay Cutler finally has his stud wide receiver back now with Brandon Marshall heading to Chicago this year. Cutler now has his favorite target from Denver back with him, a player that helped Cutler to finish as a Top 5 quarterback in their final season together in 2008. The Bears have improved their passing attack and their ground game could struggle if Matt Forte holds out as well. Cutler has fantasy QB1 upside that can be had very cheaply so I strongly recommend grabbing Cutler as your second quarterback.
Matt Waldman - The punchline to the joke in Chicago is the collection of skill talent and no offensive line help. However, I think that help will come with offensive coordinator Mike Tice's plan to eliminate Mike Martz's seven-step passing game and use more three- and five-step drops and two-tight end sets. Cutler also has more input on the play selection and these two-tight end personnel sets should afford greater flexibility for the quarterback at the line of scrimmage. Best yet, the Bears realized that Cutler's ability to make plays on the move and thread the ball into tight spots is a great match for big, physical, wide receivers capable of making plays in tight coverage and they added former teammate Brandon Marshall and draft pick Alshon Jeffery to the corps. Cutler and Marshall were a great duo in Denver and Marshall caught 100 passes in one of the years he and Cutler were together. Look for the duo to hit that mark again in 2012 and Cutler to perform as one of the top eight fantasy quarterbacks.
|Carson Palmer - OAK ADP: 135 overall, QB 19||5 votes|
Steve Holloway - After joining the Raiders in mid-season and only starting the last nine games, Palmer averaged 293 yards per game, which would equate to 4,688 yards over the season. With the Raiders defense expected to again be well below average, this production should continue.
Jeff Tefertiller - While drafted as a low-end QB2, Carson Palmer could produce QB1 numbers for fantasy owners. Last season, Palmer took over the starting reins in week nine. From that game through the end of the season, he finished as the tenth best fantasy option at the position. It would not be wise to wait until the 12th round (per his ADP) to draft Palmer as a QB1, but makes a great QB2 for those owners who waited until late for a QB1. The Raiders have a cache of talented, young wide receivers for Palmer to utilize.
Matt Waldman - Chase Stuart did a fine job in his Player Points series to underscore that the Raiders had one of the more productive passing attacks in the league when Palmer joined the team. That's an impressive point when one considers that Palmer arrived mi season, didn't participate in any training camp, had no rapport with a young receiving corps that has mostly underachieved at this point, and he didn't know the playbook. With a normal offseason under Palmer's belt, I expect this aerial attack to markedly improve. Most fantasy owners think 18 quarterbacks will have better seasons than Palmer. I'll take that bet in every fantasy league I have a chance to prove them wrong. In fact, I'll bet that if they're right about the general area where they think Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub will perform I'll place Palmer in the thick of that range, making him a reasonably consistent fantasy starter.
David Yudkin - There was a lot of talk about some players not performing as well due to a shortened training camp. Well, Carson Palmer went from the couch to starting in Oakland with a sizeable chunk of the season already gone by. From Week 10 on, Palmer ranked in the Top 10 in most formats. With his talented receiving corps, a full training camp to get up to speed, and playing against some so-so defenses in the AFC West, Palmer should do way better than the #19 quarterback spot.
|Josh Freeman - TB ADP: 122 overall, QB 16||4 votes|
Jeff Haseley - After having a strong second year, Josh Freeman took a step back in 2011, however he still finished 16th among fantasy quarterbacks. Tampa Bay has made big improvements on offense in the off season, namely acquiring Vincent Jackson. The Bucs haven't had a true WR1 on their team for a while and I believe his presence will not only help Freeman, but also improve WR Mike Williams as well. Freeman will benefit from Greg Schiano and Mike Sullivan's offense and could find himself inside the Top 12 by the end of the season.
Bob Magaw - Freeman is one of the most likely QBs to have a bounce back season, for a number of reasons. With proven upside from a brilliant rookie season, he has been surrounded by more talent, with the Bucs having probably the most impressive combined free agency and draft additions in the league (including the best available free agent WR and OL in Vincent Jackson and Pro Bowler Carl Nicks, and first round rookie RB Doug Martin, on offense). Like Freeman, WR Mike Williams followed up a promising rookie year with a soph slump, but has the talent to be a dangerous weapon again with decreased attention.
Chris Smith - Freeman is just 24-years old but impressively has 41 career starts under his belt. He has had both good and poor moments in his first three seasons but does have a 7th best fantasy season under his belt in 2010. With the addition of strong, veteran receiver Vincent Jackson and the continued growth of young receivers Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, Freeman is in a wonderful position to elevate back into the top-ten in 2012.
|Mark Sanchez - NYJ ADP: 200 overall, QB 26||4 votes|
Marc Levin - Mark Sanchez was the #10 fantasy quarterback in 2011 and he is drafted after his backup, Tim Tebow? That alone should tell most people that he represents a value pick. Sure, Sanchez will lose some opportunities to Tebow. But, if he holds the starting job all year, which is a distinct possibility given the current state of the players' performances in Jets OTAs, a QB2 fantasy finish is likely. For a 17th round addition, that represents good value.
Mark Wimer - Mark Sanchez isn't in favor with fantasy owners - witness his #26 ADP among quarterbacks - but the guy has all the motivation in the world to get to the top of his game this year. The Jets are pushing him with Tim Tebow, and I think Sanchez will respond with a solid season - good enough to make him a respectable #2 quarterback for fantasy owners.
David Yudkin - Consider this one a daily double, as this is really a listing of Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow drafted as a tandem. Bottom line, Sanchez ranked Top 10 last year and Tebow has ranked in the Top 10 on a PPG basis when he's started. I don't see the Jets utilizing both players in the same game too often. As I see it, one or the other should approach Top 10 numbers again (especially given the lack of an upgrade in the running game). I suggest picking up both Jets quarterbacks late and locking up solid fantasy back up production from whichever guy is starting.
|Ryan Fitzpatrick - BUF ADP: 140 overall, QB 21||3 votes|
Maurile Tremblay - Fitzpatrick has played through several stretches over the past couple seasons as an elite quarterback, but he's been inconsistent. The Bills use a short passing game to try to control the ball on offense, and if Fitzpatrick can cut down on the turnovers and be more consistent with his accuracy, he has the ability to be a solid QB1. He's a worthwhile risk at his current ADP.
Mark Wimer - Ryan Fitzpatrick set career highs in completions, attempts, passing yards and TDs last season (353/569 for 3.832 yards, 24 TDs and 23 interceptions). If he can dial back the interceptions and keep on improving in the other passing departments, Fitzpatrick can easily vault into the top ten at his position. With a little better luck on the injury front among his wide receivers during 2012, he may make a big move up the ranks.
|Alex Smith - SF ADP: 174 overall, QB 23||3 votes|
Chris Smith - Smith has gone from a bust to a winner to I believe a decent starting fantasy option in 2012. He always had the tools in his toolkit to be a strong NFL quarterback but changes in offensive players, poor schemes, and multiple changes in offensive coordinators caused his personal growth to be limited. He is in a good system now, has a quarterback friendly coach and is surrounded by good offensive weapons now. Put all of that together and I expect him to push for a top-12 finish in 2012.
Maurile Tremblay - Smith improved last season and should make further strides in 2012. The team brought in WRs Mario Manningham, Randy Moss, and rookie A.J. Jenkins to pair with WR Michael Crabtree and TE Vernon Davis, a sign that the team will open up the offense and let Smith throw downfield more often. As a result, Smith has as much potential as any of last year's clear backup fantasy QBs to move into starter territory.
|Andrew Luck - IND ADP: 131 overall, QB 18||2 votes|
Jeff Pasquino - Andrew Luck may not seem like a candidate for fantasy QB1 status in his rookie campaign, but think about it. The Colts are not good on defense or in the ground attack, so expect Luck to throw quite a bit this year. He has two good wide receivers in Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie and two young tight ends, one of which (Coby Fleener) was his favorite target in college. Expect Luck to perform well on a per throw basis in a dome and with ample chances for garbage time points, giving him an outside shot at a Top 10 finish.
|Tony Romo - DAL ADP: 53 overall, QB 9||2 votes|
Marc Levin - In a 16-game season, Tony Romo has not finished as low as QB9 since 2006. He has three top-notch receiving options, a solid stable of running backs to take the burden off, and a team operating with a tremendous sense of urgency. Considering he can be selected in 12-team leagues in the mid-fifth round, and could easily finish as a top-6 quarterback, value is represented.
|Michael Vick - PHI ADP: 40 overall, QB 6||2 votes|
Andy Hicks - Michael Vick might not play a full slate of 16 games, but when he does play he gets you fantasy points. A career low of 1 rushing TD is unlikely to be repeated, Vick has explosive and productive receivers and he offers a nice upside for those who don't want to blow a pick in the first 3 rounds on a QB. Just get a decent backup.
|Sam Bradford - STL ADP: 151 overall, QB 22||1 vote|
|Matt Flynn - SEA ADP: 175 overall, QB 24||1 vote|
|Robert Griffin III - WAS ADP: 92 overall, QB 13||1 vote|
|Peyton Manning - DEN ADP: 60 overall, QB 10||1 vote|
|Philip Rivers - SD ADP: 51 overall, QB 8||1 vote|
|Matthew Stafford - DET ADP: 20 overall, QB 5||1 vote|