Dominating your fantasy football league is not easy, and one way to get a leg up on the competition is through the draft. Solid waiver grabs, quality trades, and making the correct start/sit decisions play a huge factor in the outcome of your season, but it all starts in your fantasy league’s draft. Your first round pick isn’t gonna be too difficult to choose, and neither is your second round pick. And to be honest, your probably not going to lose sleep over who you take in the third round either. Grabbing an underrated player who may be getting overlooked later on in your draft is where you can really make a positive impact on your roster. Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking a look at each offensive position and highlighting some players who I think you can wait on, rather than cash in all your chips on a high-priced, big-name guy in earlier rounds.
Let’s take a look at the men who will lead your offense this year — the quarterbacks…
Jay Cutler, Bears (ADP – #103): Cutler has always been an easy target for angry Bears fans and fantasy football owners alike. He’s known for walking off the field in the middle of Chicago’s 2011 NFC Playoff Game vs. Green Bay, his dumb scowl, and of course, for marrying (and impregnating) that one girl from The Hills. Yeah, she’s hot, but still… Anyway, despite Cutler not always measuring up to our standards, he’s in a prime position to put up major fantasy points this season. The former Vanderbilt Commodore missed five games with various injuries last year, so he was never really given a chance to fully live up to his potential under new coach Marc Trestman. He did, however, throw for 2,621 yards with a 19/12 TD/INT ratio. Extrapolated over a full 16 games, he would’ve have totaled 3,812 yards and 28 TD. Not too shabby. Of course, 2013 wasn’t the first year Cutler was unable to stay on the field — he also missed six games in 2011. If he can remain healthy, he’ll flourish. Trestman is known as the offensive guru in the NFL. He’ll have two receiving studs in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, who finished 10th and 19th, respectively, in PPR leagues last year. RB Matt Forte was the fourth-leading scorer in all of fantasy football and is a major weapon for Cutler because he can catch balls out of the backfield (he had 74 receptions in ’13). Cutler is the 13th signal caller going off the board so far, but he has top-eight fantasy QB potential this season.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (ADP – #126): Other than 2010 and 2012, when he missed a total of seven games due to injury, Big Ben has finished in the top 10 in the NFL in passing yards in three of the past five seasons. His 28 touchdown passes last year ranked him seventh overall and the 26 he threw in 2012 tied him for ninth in the league. Antonio Brown (110 rec, 1,499 yds) gives Roethlisberger one of the top targets in all of football and he’ll also have long-time tight end connection Heath Miller at full-strength after he missed the first two games of the 2013 season while recovering from knee surgery. I would have no qualms waiting till the 10th round to grab Roethlisberger, rather than spending an earlier pick on a guy like Tom Brady, Nick Foles or Matt Ryan.
Other undervalued QBs in terms of ADP:
Andy Dalton, Bengals (ADP – #128): Everyone’s favorite redhead was actually the fifth-ranked fantasy QB last year. Yup. OC Jay Gruden is gone, but A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Giovani Bernard, Tyler Eifert, and rookie Jeremy Hill are some nice weapons.
Eli Manning, Giants (ADP – #175): While the elder Manning led all fantasy players in points — and broke many NFL records along the way — his younger brother completely sh*t the bed with an 18/27 TD/INT ratio. With a better rushing attack, a revamped O-line and a brand new OC (Ben McAdoo), expect Eli to bounce back. There’s nice upside to be had here in the 14th round.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals (ADP – #192): Palmer finished 10th in pass attempts last year, which led to 4,274 yards (8th), and with the emergence of WR Michael Floyd and explosive pass-catching RB Andre Ellington, the former Heisman winner is a certified fresh sleeper at QB this year (sue me if you want, Rotten Tomatoes).
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