Eli Manning – ADP 7 (Finish 15) – Eli didn’t live up to his 2011, like every quarterback ever to play the game it seems. But he was quietly horrible beyond hope. He finished 15th in fantasy quarterbacking points. That’s less than a whole slew of players you don’t want on your fantasy teams. Michael Vick did better than Eli on a game-by-game basis and he is thoroughly despised by us fake footballers.
Out of his 16 starts, Manning only finished in the top 10 quarterbacks five times. Last season he finished in the top 10 ten times. Much like Stafford, Manning throws the ball enough to still see hope for his fantasy future, especially after such a bad season where he should come at a discount. If Cruz, Nicks and Randle can hold their bones together long enough, it’s hard not to see a rebound.
Peyton Manning –- ADP 8 (Finish 5) – Most of us were on the fence with older brother coming into 2012. Much depended on where you could get him in your drafts, because you knew if he was healthy, he would put up decent numbers. Thankfully he was healthy and he did indeed put up decent numbers.
He finished fifth overall in fantasy points for quarterbacks, but tied for first with Drew Brees for number of top 10 weeks with 11. That consistency helped a lot of teams into their fantasy playoffs this season. He didn’t put up the huge games Brees did, but at a lot cheaper ADP he put up consistent numbers that gave you a shot at winning your matchups week to week. There’s a great chance that teams who drafted Brees early were either beaten by the Manning-ized teams, or at least, were playing them in the championship.
With Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas at his disposal, it’s hard not to like him again next season, even though he might not be as easy to get in later rounds. He did appear worn down in the playoffs last season, so the decline has to happen at some point, but his overall numbers last season were all close to his career highs, so I’m on board for another year.
Matt Ryan – ADP 9 (Finish 7) – Ryan’s numbers early on sure led us all to believe we had made the right decision in hyping him last offseason. And in retrospect his 7th most fantasy points for a quarterback makes picking him as the 9th best quarterback seem smart, but I think we all hoped for a little more, well, of course we hoped, but we also expected a little more. Ryan finished with nine top 10 weeks, putting him 5th on the quarterback consistency list.
My trepidation to anoint him as a draft win last season may be due to the one of the guys you’ll read about in a bit, but as a 4th/5th round pick, he put up the numbers you needed. And next season he’ll have a third year Julio Jones, and maybe a fiftieth year Tony Gonzalez.
Philip Rivers – ADP 10 (Finish 21) – Our own Evan Silva called this one last offseason, but it was hard to lay off a perennial top 10 quarterback when he fell to the 6th/7th round. But lay off is what we should have done. In the past, Rivers seemed to be able to put up big fantasy numbers while throwing to ball boys and street vendors, but this year, even though he played all 16 games, he finished as the 21st “best” fantasy quarterback. That’s four of 16 games in which he finished in the top 10 for the week. How can you possibly trust him at all going forward? You can’t.
That was the top 10 Quarterbacks in ADP, and now I’ll take a look at who went from outside the top 10 ADP to finish in the Reality Top 10.
Robert Griffin III – ADP 12 (Finish 5) – RGthree finished as the fifth best fantasy quarterback in the league (tied with Peyton Manning) and that came with one missed game. It takes a lot for a rookie quarterback to go in drafts as a starter (in 12 team leagues) but Griffin did just that and lived up to and beyond expectations. So really the fantasy community wasn’t completely blindsided by his great fantasy numbers, but to do what he did was still beyond what most people dreamed.
Only Drew Brees had more top 10 weekly finishes with 11 to RGIII’s10 and Griffin also tied Brees in most top 2 finishes with four. So for our weekly fantasy value buck, he was the second best quarterback on the season. Of course his injury history and present, is concerning going into next season, but his efficiency as a passer (65.6%, 2nd best ever for a rookie) and his ability to improvise with his legs may trump those concerns, especially if he looks to be a full go at the start of the season.
Tony Romo – ADP 11 (Finish 8) – I love Tony Romo. There I said it. That newsboy hat is just too cool. Oh, and all those fantasy points. But I am not a Tony Romo apologist, because he just can’t get the job done. I hate the term choke, but some of the things he does in crunch time are mind-boggling. But that’s why Tony Romo is so awesome. Everyone (even some Dallas fans) despise him, but he’s always worth more in fantasy than perception allows.
I thought he would be better than the 8th best fantasy quarterback so in my estimation he was a bust, but he still was drafted at some value. The emergence of Dez Bryant as a dominant force and maybe, just maybe, a healthy Miles Austin should keep him in the hunt for fantasy relevance next season.
Andrew Luck – ADP 16 (Finish 9) – Andrew Luck out Manning’d rookie Peyton and all rookie quarterbacks ever with 4,374 yards passing last season. Offensive coordinator handed over the reins to Luck and they commenced to passing and passing and then a little more passing. And not short safe passes; they put some air under that ball. With Reggie Wayne as the only reliable receiver, Luck’s efficiency wasn’t great, but understandable when you consider he led the league in average pass depth.
His inconsistency was the biggest problem last season, which is understandable being a rookie and him needing to pass so often sans a good running game. T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener will all have a season under their belt, to go along with Luck’s belted season, and it’s hard not to see him taking a step forward.
So in the end, seven of the top 10 ADP quarterbacks finished in the top 10, while four of the top 5 quarterbacks finished in the top 5. That’s not bad at all. With that kind of reliability, I can see many taking from this the idea that grabbing a quarterback early is the way to go, and maybe it is, but the safer something is, the less reward can be expected.
After this quick analysis, I’m still of the mind that grabbing two quarterbacks later in the draft is the right move, one who is fairly safe for a top 10 finish and one who has upside for more, i.e. RGIII last season. When I take a look at running backs later on, you’ll see much more volatility in ADP vs. Reality and that will either scare you off of running backs or turn you into a RB hoarder.