I have breaking, urgent, and disappointing news to report: the fantasy football season will end soon.
Let that rattle around for a few minutes. I’ve often referenced the fact that many of you have spent the past three months or more sheltered in your bunker that’s far removed from your family. And now in about two weeks you’ll be faced with a severe shock as family life returns during the most frantic time of the year for such matters. Suddenly you’ve gone from scrutinizing T.Y. Hilton’s inconsistent production and yards per reception to putting a carrot on a snowman. If your mind isn’t focused, the placement of that carrot could have long-lasting and drastic psychological effects on your children.
Yes, this time of the year is a little bittersweet for so many of us. A large percentage of the fantasy football playing public will see their season end this week, if that already didn’t happen last week. So much like the holiday season as a whole when we look back on the year that was and all the awful things we did (which prompts the composing of horrid songs), this is a time for fantasy reflection. Oh, we’ll be breaking down the fantasy playoffs plenty in this space, and dedicating many hours when we should be sleeping to that exercise. But that process of reflection will slowly begin as we attempt to learn something from the 2012 season.
With that in mind, let’s turn to the excellent J.J. Zachariason for a quick reminder of a drafting philosophy that we’ve touched on before, and we’ll touch on it many, many more times because it bears repeating.
Don’t overvalue quarterbacks during the height of a passing era when passing numbers are quickly inflated, and late-round QBs are providing great value in terms of fantasy production.
If you’re not familiar with Zachariason, he’s quite the advocate for the late-round quarterback draft strategy. We know this because he wrote a book about it, and because his Twitter handle is “@LateRoundQB“. So, there’s that.
As such, on Twitter and elsewhere he often cites evidence as to why the draft value of the quarterback position is declining, and it has been for several years. An example he used involving Tom Brady that dates back to 2007 is particularly intriguing:
The fact is, the majority of the NFL is moving to this type of spread offense. And when everyone is doing it, all quarterback statistics will get better, not just the best guys.
People fail to realize the kind of fantasy football quarterback Tom Brady used to be. Yes, he’s always been a stellar leader. And yes, he’ll go down as one of the best in history. But prior to his 50-touchdown season in 2007, Tom Brady had never eclipsed the 30-touchdown mark in a single season. He spent 6 years as the starter in New England before becoming a fantasy football stud. He grew with the NFL into this pass-first style offense.
If we exclude his injury shortened 2008 season, Brady has also had four straight years with at least 3,900 passing yards starting in 2007, and prior to that he had only hit that mark once. He’s also posted three years with 35 or more passing touchdowns over that stretch, and with four games to go this year he’s at 25.
The purpose here and elsewhere isn’t to downgrade Brady in reality. No, it’s to give some perspective on him and Drew Brees and others for fantasy purposes. Why spend a first-round pick on Brees when, say, Carson Palmer is averaging only 3.7 fantasy points less per week, and he was often undrafted. Hell, Palmer is unbelievably still available in many fantasy outposts, as he’s unowned in over a quarter of ESPN leagues even though he’s ahead of Eli Manning in overall fantasy points.
I realize this is something that’s often hard to accept, because the surface layer of the discussion is difficult to fight through. Quarterbacks provide the spectacle, and they’ll forever draw our gaze due to their glowing sex appeal (you’re still dreamy, Brady). But as you assess the damage in the days to come that includes highly inconsistent early-round QBs (Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers), remember that your first mistake may have been over investing in a deep position where bargains area easily available while the first-round running back run sucked that position dry quickly.
And now the links part of the links post…
- So Percy Harvin’s season is over, which sucks a lot. [The Associated Press]
- Bernard Pollard thinks that hitting Robert Griffin III is a good idea. We agree. [NFL.com]
- Danny Amendola is out of his walking boot. That’s good, because playing football in a walking boot is difficult. [St. Louis Post Dispatch]
- Nate Burleson hopes that Titus Young’s time on the IR will help him heal mentally too. That would be nice, because in his brief appearances Young has shown some serious fantasy potential. [Detroit News]