Consider a scenario in which all of your best laid plans go badly awry in your draft or auction. You went in knowing you didn’t want one of the top-ranked guys and would be comfortable with middle-tier options like, say, Philip Rivers or Eli Manning. But then Rivers and Manning got sniped just before you were starting to think about grabbing a QB, and next thing you know you go caught out in the cold after a QB run took Tony Romo, Michael Vick, and Peyton Manning off the board too. Great, now what do you do? Spend a quality pick on a borderline starter like Ben Roethlisberger? Dive into the rookie pool with Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck?
If you find yourself in this desperate spot, here are some interesting options:
QB Disaster Recovery Strategy #1: Pair Matt Schaub with RG3
According to ADP, you’ll have to use a seventh-rounder on RG3 and a 10th-rounder on Schaub. Using our patented (not really) Super Rankings, we can see that the combo of Schaub and Griffin essentially gives us a top-12 fantasy QB in all but two weeks of the season.
One of those weeks is during Schaub’s Week 8 bye, when RG3 has an unfortunate matchup against the Steelers, and the other is during Griffin’s Week 10 bye, when Schaub draws a tough Bears squad. If need be, you could fill in with Josh Freeman in Week 8 (13th-ranked QB) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (No. 14 in Week 10). Using the average rankings from Schaub and Griffin as shown above would result in you getting the equivalent of the No. 10 fantasy QB for the price two late-round picks.
QB Disaster Recovery Strategy #2: Screw It – I’m Rolling With Alex Smith!
In the first scenario, getting Griffin is a bit of a problem because his ADP makes him a seventh-rounder (you could just draft Rivers with his sixth-round ADP and get the same return), and because he’s a rookie so there’s a fair amount of risk in grabbing him and using him as your starter. In our second scenario, your QB plans have gone from suck to blow in a hurry. Everyone’s off the board and you’re stuck choosing between guys like Jay Cutler, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Joe Flacco, and Josh Freeman. Less than ideal, of course, but not inconceivable – especially in larger leagues or QB-flex leagues. Thankfully, our Super Rankings have a solution for this dilemma as well! The names you’re about to see aren’t super-sexy (or even a little bit sexy), but the end result is very interesting.
So, you’ll come out of your draft with Alex Smith (ADP: round 14 in a 12-team league) and Joe Flacco (round 13). If this sounds like an absolute worst-case scenario, it’s because it is… but don’t despair!
There’s good news; using our handy dandy recovery plan, you’re still in good hands. While going to battle with Alex Smith doesn’t sound that palatable (truthfully, it sounds downright disturbing), you can actually use him a whopping five times in the first six weeks! As luck would have it, the 49ers early-season schedule is littered with some of the NFL’s worst pass defenses. The Niners start with a three-week stroll through the NFC North, where the Vikings, Packers, and Lions all ranked 8th or worse against opposing QBs last season. After a tough run-in with Darrelle Revis and the Jets in Week 4, it’s another two-week cakewalk versus the Bills and Giants (seventh and sixth-worst, respectively, against opposing QBs last year).
So you’ve had one rough week in the first six, and then you use Flacco in Week 7 (12th-best QB that week), and you drop Smith in exchange for Andy Dalton before Week 7 (with a bye in Week 8, Dalton will almost certainly be unrostered, but you don’t need him until Week 9 so the bye isn’t a concern). Dalton provides QB1 value in both Weeks 9 and 10 before a Week 11 hiccup that’s really your last hurdle for the rest of the season. Starting in Week 12, you’ll use Dalton against Oakland (third-worst pass defense last year), San Diego (ninth-worst), and Dallas before turning back to Flacco for a couple of enticing matchups against the Broncos and Giants in the final two weeks of the fantasy playoffs.
All-in-all, for the price of 13th and 14th-round picks (and a midseason pickup of a guy nobody will want), you’ve locked down the equivalent of the 11th-ranked QB overall, and you’ve returned QB1 value in all but two weeks of the season.
This exercise is meant to provide some hope for those whose QB plans go completely awry on draft day, but if you play in a 14-team league this might very well be a legitimate strategy to use. Eschewing QB early will allow you to maximize your potential at other key positions because you aren’t using a 5th or 6th round pick on a player like Tony Romo or Peyton Manning, who won’t return nearly the same type of value as your disgusting trio of boring starters (Manning, in fact, returns QB1 value just 10 times all season according to our rankings).