Fantasy Football Bookmaker #5
By Jeff Tefertiller
August 30th, 2010

Value is a tough thing for most fantasy footballers to quantify. How do I compare two players at the same position in different parts of fantasy drafts? This article will serve to package the concept of value in a new way. The money line odds below are a function of the players' respective ADPs (Average Draft Position) compared to their expected finish for the 2010 season. So, which players have the best chance of finishing as QB1 the end of the season?

The money line represents a percent chance of winning. It is basically the odds to win expressed in terms of money. For the purpose of this article, "winning" is having the better fantasy season. With money odds, whenever there is a minus (-) you put up that amount to win a hundred dollars, where there is a plus (+) you get that amount for every hundred dollars wagered. Obviously there is no wagering involved in this article, but just another way to represent the differing values for players.

So, for the players below, we will be comparing their values. We are not advocating gambling, but if you were to wager an imaginary $100 on which player you think will have the better season - given the odds - which player would you "bet" on?

This week's installment will look a little different. We will show the odds for the quarterbacks and determine the odds to finish as the top-ranked fantasy passer for the 2010 season. Obviously, the top few will be heavy favorites, but remember that the highest finishing passer has not been the first drafted the last few years. There is room for a longshot to sneak in for the honor. Which quarterbacks have a chance to finish as the top fantasy producer for the season? Given the odds below, who would you "bet" on?

Quarterback
Team
Odds
Team Quarterback
Arizona Cardinals
+$5,200 (52 to 1)
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons
+$1,800 (18 to 1)
Joe Flacco 
Baltimore Ravens
+$1,500 (15 to 1)
Trent Edwards
Buffalo Bills
+$20,000 (200 to 1)
Matt Moore
Carolina Panthers
+$7,500 (75 to 1)
Jay Cutler
Chicago Bears
+$1,900 (19 to 1)
Carson Palmer
Cincinnati Bengals
+$2,500 (25 to 1)
Team Quarterback
Cleveland Browns
+$20,000 200 to 1)
Tony Romo
Dallas Cowboys
+$600 (6 to 1)
Kyle Orton
Denver Broncos
+$5,000 (50 to 1)
Matt Stafford
Detroit Lions
+$5,000 (50 to 1)
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers
+$300 (3 to 1)
Matt Schaub
Houston Texans
+$600 (6 to 1)
Peyton Manning
Indianapolis Colts
+$400 (4 to 1)
David Garrard
Jacksonville Jaguars
+$5,200 (52 to 1)
Matt Cassel
Kansas City Chiefs
+$10,000 (100 to 1)
Chad Henne
Miami Dolphins
+$2,800 (28 to 1)
Brett Favre
Minnesota Vikings
+$900 (9 to 1)
Tom Brady
New England Patriots
+$600 (60 to 1)
Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints
+$350 (7 to 2)
Eli Manning
New York Giants
+$1,500 (15 to 1)
Mark Sanchez
New York Jets
+$12,000 (120 to 1)
Jason Campbell
Oakland Raiders
+$10,000 (100 to 1)
Kevin Kolb
Philadelphia Eagles
+$3,000 (30 to 1)
Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers
+$20,000 (200 to 1)
Philip Rivers
San Diego Chargers
+$850 (17 to 2)
Alex Smith
San Francisco 49ers
+$3,800 (38 to 1)
Matt Hasselbeck
Seattle Seahawks
+$10,000 (100 to 1)
Sam Bradford
St. Louis Rams
+$15,000 (150 to 1)
Josh Freeman
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
+$10,000 (100 to 1)
Vince Young
Tennessee Titans
+$1,600 (16 to 1)
Donovan McNabb
Washington Redskins
+$1,900 (19 to 1)

The top-ranked quarterbacks are enticing, but still are a risk given the odds. Let's break the chances down by tiers:

The large top grouping consists of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, and Philip Rivers. According to the ADP, and his strong play so far this preseason, Rodgers deserves to be the favorite. He has been playing at a very high level. The Packers have a cache of weapons at his disposal. As long as he can stay healthy, Rodgers has a strong chance to repeat the success enjoyed in 2009. Brees is a close second. He was the best fantasy producer in 2008 and is a threat once again to have a monster season. Coach Sean Payton wants a pass-happy offense. Manning has a legitimate chance, even as the third choice. It would be no surprise if the Indianapolis quarterback finished atop the rankings this season. He has a great group of receivers and a top-notch tight end.

Each of Romo, Brady, Schaub, and Rivers has a decent chance to best the rest for top honors. Romo and Schaub are coming off great campaigns and could improve even further in 2010. The addition of Dez Bryant in Dallas will only help Romo. Bryant will add another big-play receiver to the already-potent Cowboy air attack. Who can argue with Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten? Schaub gets tight end Owen Daniels back healthy. Having Andre Johnson in the lineup is the only reason the Texan quarterback has a shot. Tom Brady did have a record-setting year in 2008, and could come close again with Wes Welker now back on the field. With Randy Moss' contract, this could be the last season for him in New England. The Patriots have little at the running back position, and a less-than-stellar defense, possibly leaving the team to pass often just to stay in games. If Brady does air it out often, he could easily produce elite numbers again. The emergence of Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman, along with the addition of the two rookie tight ends, will help the high-powered Patriots' attack. Rivers is an interesting choice. Yes, he loses Vincent Jackson for some or all of the season, but Malcom Floyd has played well in his stead. The Chargers rely heavily on All Pro Antonio Gates to mitigate the Jackson loss. Rivers could surprise at a great price. The health of rookie ball carrier Ryan Mathews could determine the number of pass attempts for Rivers. There is little at the running back position behind the former Fresno State star. If he misses time, Rivers might be forced to air it out.

Of the group, Rodgers and Romo are the best values. Each team has a very strong group of wide outs, an elite tight end, and good options out of the backfield. So, do any of the rest have a chance?

Given that neither Matt Ryan nor Joe Flacco has finished in the Top 15 at the position, it might be a stretch to expect a finish as the top fantasy producer. It might be best not to be lured in by the lucrative odds of the two promising youngsters. Kevin Kolb will have plenty of big games, but lack of consistency might keep him out of the Top 5 at the position, much less the top spot. This leaves three with an outside shot at the title. Can Eli Manning, Brett Favre, or Jay Cutler eclipse the field to finish as the best fantasy quarterback for the year? The odds are long. Each has at least one great season under their respective belts so there is a chance. Of the three, Cutler is the most likely to either boom (and bypass the other top options) or not come close at all. The Mike Martz offense will provide the opportunity. Manning has a good, young receiving corps and could take another step forward if Hakeem Nicks can develop into an elite pass receiver. He has flashed the potential, but just needs to be consistent and put it all together. Favre is the wildcard. How much will Sidney Rice be missed? I am afraid the answer is "too much for the graybeard to have any chance".

So, with the odds, which quarterbacks would you think represent the best value plays?

What players do you want to see matched up in coming installments? Please feel free to email me at tefertiller@footballguys.com with any questions or comments. Also, I am on Twitter, so feel free to ask me questions there.

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