Fantasy Football 2014: Outlook for Draft's Top 5 Quarterbacks
We all know that quarterbacks are the cornerstones of NFL franchises, and many times that extends to the fantasy football realm.
While quarterbacks are hugely important in real-life football, the running back and wide receiver positions still hold more weight in fantasy leagues. So, the need for a top-flight quarterback is not that pressing.
That goes double for rookie quarterbacks, as first-year signal-callers usually take some time to develop. That’s not to say we should ignore them on fantasy draft day. Sometimes a rookie quarterback can come in right away and adapt quickly (see Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, etc.).
In dynasty and keeper leagues, the drafting of quarterbacks takes on more importance, as you’re relying more on the long-term potential they have.
That all said, here are this year’s top five (ranked in order of fantasy relevance for the long term) quarterback draft prospects.
- A.J. McCarron, Alabama
- Zach Mettenberger, LSU
- Tom Savage, Pittsburgh
- Aaron Murray, Georgia
- David Fales, San Jose State
5. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois
Jimmy Garoppolo is a small-school wonder from Eastern Illinois who is making some serious waves prior to the draft.
Garoppolo is probably slated to go anywhere between the first and third round.
Considering he comes from a small school, Garoppolo will probably be worked in slowly for whatever team that eventually drafts him. Garoppolo has a strong arm and a quick release that many teams covet.
Since he is from the same college, people will constantly compare him to Tony Romo, and you know what? Is that such a bad thing? Romo, for all his warts for not coming up clutch in real life, is a fantastic fantasy quarterback.
Garoppolo has the ceiling of a Tony Romo with the floor of, say, a Christian Ponder.
Obviously, for seasonal leagues, Garoppolo should be avoided on draft day, but in keeper/dynasty leagues, he should be worth the late-round investment in the hopes he breaks out in two or three years.
4. Derek Carr, Fresno State
As the brother of David Carr (who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2002), Derek Carr may unfairly be compared to his big brother.
Derek Carr, though, should be judged on his own merits, and he has a skill set that should translate well over to the NFL. He has a terrific arm, can escape from the pocket and has the skills and the athleticism to do quite well for himself in the NFL.
Carr will likely be selected on day two of the NFL draft, and depending on where he ends up, he will probably have to fight for the right to start immediately. More than likely, he will be groomed into the position. In that regard, he is not someone you should draft if you want an immediate success from a rookie QB.
But in keeper/dynasty leagues, Carr is worth the roll of the dice in much the same way Garoppolo is.
3. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
There isn’t a quarterback who has more people divisive about the NFL potential he has than Johnny Manziel.
Manziel can certainly throw the deep ball, and he has the wheels that scouts and general managers love. Some team will inevitably fall in love with Manziel, thinking he is the real deal. Just a hunch, but it will probably be within the first 10-15 picks. Heck, it could even be the Texans, who own the No. 1 overall pick.
If Tim Tebow can be fantasy relevant, then Manziel—who undoubtedly has the better arm and mechanics—should do much better. That’s especially true if he is given the keys to start right away.
While he is not someone you want initially as your starter at quarterback, Manziel is worthy of being your backup quarterback, even in seasonal leagues. There is a lot of Russell Wilson and, dare I say, Drew Brees in Manziel’s game.
2. Blake Bortles, Central Florida
As one of the more physically imposing prospects at quarterback, Bortles’ stock just keeps going up and up.
Teams love the size (6’5”, 232 pounds) that Bortles possesses; not to mention he has the athleticism to boot. He, too, should safely be selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
With the physical attributes he has, Bortles is a very intriguing prospect. He definitely holds a lot more value in keeper/dynasty leagues than seasonal drafts. Bortles could start immediately, and if he does, he can make for a decent backup at first. However, Bortles’ value is better suited for the future, and he should make for a great starting option in two or three years.
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
Perhaps the most composed, driven and mature (both physically and mentally) quarterback available in the NFL draft is Louisville’s signal-caller, Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater has great footwork and makes great decisions in the pocket. Some team is almost certain to draft him in the first round, and he, Manziel and Bortles all have legitimate cases for being the top pick overall.
If Bridgewater can get to work with Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins in Houston (who own the top pick), Bridgewater can make an impact right away as a fringe 12-team starter. He’s certainly a high-upside backup in seasonal leagues, and he should make for a fantastic keeper/dynasty quarterback you can lean on for years to come.
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