Fantasy Equity Scores: Top-10 QBs Available in The (Very) Late Rounds
July 17, 2015 | Chet
Our look at the first 12 quarterbacks off the draft board showed nice chunks of equity for a few guys. I’d remain hard pressed, however, to draft any of those signal callers if they go at or around their average draft positions.
That changes here, as we look into fantasy equity scores for the 13th-24th quarterbacks taken in re-draft leagues. I think the best part about the quarterbacks listed below is that there’s almost no way their stocks are going to skyrocket over the next 60 days. Not even a full-fledged hype train push by the biggest fantasy football sites could move the needle on (most) of these quarterbacks.
And that’s in large part because a bunch of these signal callers have been drafted as fantasy starters and crushed a lot of hearts. Anyone interested in optimizing the quarterback position and streaming passers in 2015 won’t overlook these late-round options as solid cornerstones to the streaming strategy. These guys, like most quarterbacks, are going to be matchup dependent, and that’s OK in standard-sized fantasy leagues. The waiver wire is your extended bench. Remember that at all times.
Most of these quarterbacks are cheap enough in re-draft leagues that if they flame out — and a couple certainly will — it doesn’t send your team into a fiery hellscape. Cut the guy and move on.
As per usual, I’ve used Rotoviz’s similarity score app as a baseline for each projection. That great little tool, if you’re unfamiliar, “contains the results of what the similar players did after they had a season that was comparable to the subject player.”
While I make adjustments for each player, I’ve found the similarity score app to be more than a little useful in spotting players who are almost universally overrated and underrated in the weeks and months before Opening Day kickoff. I find the app, at the very least, to be a solid starting point for projecting most players. That doesn’t often apply to players who have switched teams over the off-season or whose role has significantly changed from one year to the next.
|Player||ADP||Median equity score||High equity score|
|Ryan Tannehill||QB13||2 (QB11)||9 (QB4)|
|Philip Rivers||QB14||3 (QB11)||5 (QB9)|
|Teddy Bridgewater||QB15||-9 (QB24)||2 (QB13)|
|Carson Palmer||QB16||4 (QB12)||8 (QB8)|
|Sam Bradford||QB17||3 (QB14)||8 (QB9)|
|Colin Kaepernick||QB18||7 (QB11)||11 (QB7)|
|Joe Flacco||QB19||9 (QB10)||12 (QB7)|
|Jay Cutler||QB20||3 (QB17)||8 (QB12)|
|Jameis Winston||QB21||0 (QB21)||8 (QB13)|
|Marcus Mariota||QB22||6 (QB16)||11 (QB11)|
|Andy Dalton||QB23||5 (QB18)||7 (QB16)|
|Derek Carr||QB24||-1 (QB25)||4 (QB20)|
* I wrote about the Marc Trestman Effect and Joe Flacco about 15 minutes after the Ravens hired Trestman to run their offense. Flacco has been mostly inefficient during his pro career, though it’s worth noting that when Gary Kubiak prioritized protecting Flacco, he posted the most efficient season of his career. Trestman’s offense is predicated on short and medium-range throws that don’t lend themselves to the quarterback being under constant duress. I think Flacco could fit very well in Trestman’s scheme. The Rotoviz sim scores don’t know Flacco is entering a new system — though parts of last year’s scheme will reportedly remain in Baltimore — but the app likes the Ravens’ quarterback. More than half of his comps are positive — not exactly commonplace — and his some really solid seasons, including Philip Rivers’ 2013 campaign. If Trestman could make Jay Cutler a viable fantasy option again (and he did just that), I trust he can do the same for Flacco. I don’t see him as an unquestioned every-week starter in a 12-team league though. That doesn’t mean he won’t be (very) useful in 2015. Remember that Flacco has excelled in games against bottom-half NFL secondaries, posting 20.4 fantasy points per contest thanks to a marked uptick in passing scores. I’m not at all surprised by his median or high equity scores.
* The Colin Kaepernick hate is real, and it’s fantastic. I recently tweeted about Kap’s off-season work with Kurt Warner and was met with a barrage of “Kaepernick sucks and he ruined my fantasy life last year and I’ll never ever draft him again” responses. That’s fine. I get it. But I don’t think it’s wise to shrug off reports about improvements in the way a guy plays his position just because it’s more narrative than statistical. Kap’s radically new throwing motion could be a major factor in how he progresses. If Kaepernick improves on his 2014 shortcomings — touch passes and the like — there’s real reason to believe he could become a reliable fantasy starter. The sim scores list Russell Wilson’s 2014 season among Kap’s positive comps (that comps remains even when you remove Kap’s whacky Week 15 performance against San Diego). He’s never going to stop running, and that’s a good thing for anyone interested in exploiting the Konami Code in the late rounds of 2015 drafts. It’s true that Kap has been horrendous in 49ers’ losses. He’s not been one to overcome negative game scripts, though an off-season of improvements could change that. And if it doesn’t and he proves nothing more than a middling fantasy play, so what? You don’t have to break the bank for San Francisco’s signal caller. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about how Kaepernick is trying to change his game.
* Carson Palmer‘s projections weren’t easy. The elderly passer was on pace for QB6 numbers in the games he started and finished for the Cardinals last season, appearing more than comfortable in Bruce Arians’ offensive scheme. He notched 22.1 fantasy points per game before his knee gave way. I don’t anticipate his ADP rising any further this off-season for that very reason — catastrophic knee injuries scare fantasy owners, and for good reason. I’d find it tough to pass on the old man as a late-round option barring August reports of setbacks to his recovery. Palmer, for what it’s worth, has proven to be one of the least matchup dependent quarterbacks in fantasy, as he’s averaged just two fewer fantasy points against top-tier pass defenses over his long career. Palmer throws almost the same number of touchdowns against good and bad secondaries. I should say that I’m a little surprised that his median prospects aren’t higher, but at the very worst, Palmer will be a streaming centerpiece in 2015.
* I’ve never understood the Teddy Bridgewater love in 2015 re-draft. I get the Ryan Tannehill trutherism though, and the sim scores seemingly agree. Aaron Rodgers’ 2009 campaign pops up in Tanny’s positive comps. That was the year, in case you’ve forgotten, that saw Rodgers finish as QB1 by a wide margin, as he threw for more than 4,400 yards and 30 scores. While Tannehill’s re-draft price is approaching uncomfortable territory for those determined not to over-invest in the quarterback position, it’s tough to pass him if you believe that high equity score is within reach. And why not? Tanny was seven fantasy points away from finishing as a top-7 fantasy quarterback in 2014 despite a few clunker stat lines. Added weapons and another year in the potentially explosive offensive attack instituted by coordinator Bill Lazor gives Tannehill boosters every reason to believe their guy could be a top-5 fantasy option available at a fairly deep discount.