When many newer fantasy football players start out, they wonder why most people will not draft a quarterback as their first pick.
The fantasy owners see things such as Drew Brees scoring 40 more fantasy points than Adrian Peterson in the 2012 season, and 123 more points than Calvin Johnson that same year. I am accustomed to Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Brees normally rounding out the top four quarterbacks, but what is the difference between the highest scoring quarterback and everyone else?
I was able to wait until the sixth or seventh round in most of my leagues to pick up a quarterback, and I was able to pick up the fourth-highest scoring quarterback in Andrew Luck. With your 2014 draft, should you consider drafting a quarterback first? What if they don’t live up to your expectations?
In 2012, Brees finished first among quarterbacks in standard scoring leagues with 337 points. The fifth place finisher was Manning with 304 points, while Matthew Stafford held the number ten spot with 263 points. If you picked Brees instead of Manning, Brees averaged an extra two fantasy points per game.
If you drafted Brees instead of Stafford, you were rewarded with an extra four fantasy points per game. When you break down the difference between the first, fifth, and 10th-place scoring leaders, the difference in points could not justify drafting Brees as a first-round pick.
As all of you know, 2013 showed that not all quarterbacks are created equal. Manning finished the fantasy season with 406 points, and he scored 58 more points than the second-highest scoring fantasy quarterback. When comparing him to the fifth and 10th-highest scoring fantasy quarterbacks, Manning scored 129 more points than Andy Dalton and 154 more points than Tony Romo.
Breaking this down even further, Manning averaged eight more points a game than Dalton, and nine more points a game than Romo. An extra 8-9 points a game is almost like having a free flex player on your team.
Will Manning repeat these numbers next year? Probably not. Is he worth the first pick in the first round of your draft? I would say so. If you play it safe in the first few rounds, you will end up with a safe finish. If you want to win the championship, you need to make some risky moves. With these past two seasons being so different, you can’t just stick with the same formula every year.
We may see things return to the 2012 season where quarterbacks were in a very close race with each other, but if you had the opportunity to own Manning, why wouldn’t you? The important thing to understand from this past season is that Manning deserves to be the first overall pick in your draft because of his performance.
Do you really want to be the guy who passed up on Manning if he finished 2014 with 450 fantasy points just because you never take a quarterback until after the fifth round? Always review and evolve your strategy.