Waldman’s first pass at 2016 quarterbacks through the lens of average draft position.
Precision is overrated in May and June. The archery, surgical lasers, and nanotechnology will have its time in July. This spring, it’s all about horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons at the office of the Gut Check.
We all have to start somewhere. As I create my first set of fantasy rankings, I’m beginning with the broad strokes. Today’s Gut Check profiles running backs that I like significantly more or less than the current ADP in PPR leagues.
A COMMUNIQUE FROM CAPTAIN OBVIOUS
My values versus existing ADP will change. How much, I have no idea. This article is that starting point. The purpose of this exercise is to note which receivers merit closer examination when creating your draft plans.
A SPECIFIC NOTE ON FANTASY QUARTERBACKS
Quarterbacks take the most time to rank if you’re incorporating the numerous questions that factor into their production:
- Is the running game good enough for opponents to honor?
- Is there at least one go-to receiver?
- Is there a receiver capable of erasing less accurate throws with his athletic prowess (H/T to Cian Fahey)?
- Is the receiving game more than a one-man show (think Julio Jones last year and Matt Ryan‘s production)?
- How good is the offensive line?
- How mobile is the quarterback and more important, how mature and accurate is he with his execution after avoiding pressure?
- How good is the defense?
Many of these questions I will address below as I share my perspective on each player. The great thing about quarterbacks requiring the most time to rank is that most of the fantasy community prefers (or in the case of analysts) to wait until the mid-to-late rounds before selecting a quarterback. Most fantasy owners will be selecting two players with the hope that one will hit rather than leaning heavily on one guy.
Fortunately, most of the quarterbacks I’m profiling will be part of a Quarterback By Committee (QBBC) draft strategy so the decisions aren’t as pivotal as if contemplating an option in the first five rounds and leaning hard on them to deliver well above his peers. After typing that previous sentence, we begin with exactly that situation.
There’s always an exception.
Andrew Luck (ADP 42, The Gut Check 64): The aura of Luck’s past production, athletic ability, and potential of his surrounding skill talent buoys his 2016 ADP. I also appreciate Luck’s physical grit and athletic skill on the move as a passer and playmaker. But when I describe Russell Wilson‘s grit, it’s more mental and physical. And when I describe Wilson’s athletic skill, it’s on a higher plain than Luck where it matters most: avoiding punishment.
This is different than avoiding pressure or taking hits. Wilson has taken 164 sacks from 2012-2015 and Luck has 115 during the same span. Even if you project more sacks for the nine games Luck missed last year after he refused to slide on a play where he was flushed from the pocket, Wilson has been dropped more often.
QB Hits is also trickier than it seems. According to ESPN this time last year, Wilson (317) and Cam Newton (587) have taken more hits than any quarterback since entering the NFL. But the company’s stats crew includes “tackled while running” into its equation. The NFL only counts QB Hits as “sacks” or “hit while throwing the football.”