My dynasty fantasy football goal this year was to put together dynasty ranks that I can keep updated constantly. Whenever I’m overthinking a trade, I can go back and look at where I have players ranked, then assuage my fears. To make these rankings, I used the method ProFootballFocus’ Scott Spratt wrote about here. I used point projections from the RotoViz Similarity Score apps, although it does come with one caveat: the app doesn’t know that Shonn Greene isn’t a starting running back anymore; it has no idea that LeSean McCoy has a new coach who ran the ball over 600 times last year. I manually adjusted for situation, and with a case like Shonn Greene, I used projections from ProFootballFocus to get an accurate value.
The end result was a spreadsheet of auction values, weighted towards the short term. I adjusted as I saw fit, trying not to deviate too far from what the numbers were telling me. I found that it made it much easier to rank players; everyone has a monetary value attached to their name. It helped remove my bias towards or against certain players. Instead of focusing on the names, I looked at production, years left, and situation. You can see the quarterback rankings below, but first I’ll talk about some player whom I’m much higher and lower on than the experts over at FantasyPros. ECR stands for Expert Consensus Ranking, the average of all the experts for that player.
Geno Smith, QB17. +9 vs ECR
Would people really rather have Eli Manning over Geno Smith? Sure, Smith is in a bad short term situation, but I have faith that John Idzik can turn that franchise around. Smith is a good quarterback to pair with veteran guys like Roethlisberger and Vick. They can hold your team together while Smith develops, and he can probably spot start for you should they go down. Don’t forget, Mark Sanchez was a top 12 quarterback in 2011. I’m in a $250 salary cap league where my quarterbacks are Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Geno Smith. For a combined $6, there’s a good chance one of my three players will produce a top 12 performance each week.
Michael Vick, QB16. +8 vs ECR
After a disastrous season when the Eagles were decimated by injuries, the experts have abandoned Vick, barely ranking him as a QB2. I see the QB16 in points per game last year entering a creative offense with a better offensive line. Vick is the 20th quarterback going off the board, and represents a great value that late. I don’t see any other quarterback with top 5 upside in that range. If Chip Kelly wants to run what he ran at Oregon, Vick is the only option on the roster capable of that. There is a chance that he’s not going to do that, but we really don’t know. In a deeper league, you can handicap your chances of having the Eagles starter by grabbing Nick Foles as well.
Alex Smith, QB22, +6 vs ECR
The case for Alex Smith is very simple: he’s a quarterback in his prime who’s been remarkably efficient the last two seasons. Andy Reid has a reputation as a quarterback whisperer, and perhaps he do the same thing to Alex Smith that Jim Harbaugh did. Quarterbacks who have looked good in stints with Andy Reid include guys like Mike Kafka, Kevin Kolb, and A.J. Feeley. Can Alex Smith be any worse than they were? Additionally, Smith has legit skill position weapons in KC with Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe.
Tom Brady, QB5. +4 vs ECR
There is a ton of discussion on Twitter regarding how New England’s receiver situation will impact Brady in 2013. It’s likely overblown. Age is a concern; the Patriots signal caller will be 36 when the season starts. If you think 37 year old Peyton Manning can play 2 more years, why can’t Brady play for 3? Most film scouts will agree that Manning’s arm has lost velocity following his neck surgery; Brady doesn’t have that issue and he’s younger.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB11. +3 vs ECR
Roethlisberger is going to be on all of my teams last year. Todd Haley’s short passing offense rejuvenated Big Ben’s career, and he ranked as the QB10 in points per game last year. Ben still likes to hang in the pocket too long and get himself beat up, but you’re investing so little draft capital that it doesn’t matter. Grab an upside play like Joe Flacco or Sam Bradford to pair with Big Ben and stream yourself to fantasy glory. Shawn Siegele wrote an excellent article on Roethlisberger’s star potential here.
Drew Brees, QB9. -4 vs ECR
The Similarity Score app does not like Drew Brees; it places his floor as the QB12 next year. He’s compiled the raw statistics, but taking a closer look reveals some red flags. From 2009 to 2001, Brees completed 69.97% of his passes; that number fell to 63% in 2012. His touchdown percentage over that period fell from 7% to 6.4%, and his interceptions percentage rose from 2.1% to 2.8%. Granted, Brees’ numbers fell from superhuman to above average, but the decline is still worth noting. I’m willing to be wrong on Brees if it turns out that Sean Payton was the difference between him being superhuman or “just” above average. His ADP is as the QB2 though, which guarantees I’ll never own him.
Ryan Tannehill, QB20. -5 vs ECR
I detailed why I don’t like Tannehill here, but it boils down to this: because of his age and lack of experience, I’m betting that his development is stunted. He’s a player dynasty drafters are taking as a borderline QB1, when in reality his upside is capped as a QB2. He’s a prime sell high candidate, especially if you can get QB13 value for him.
Philip Rivers, QB26. -5 vs ECR
The last two seasons have been two of Rivers’ worst ever as a pro. His 6.8 yards per attempt is the worst since he became a starting quarterback, and his 6.5 adjusted yards per attempt is the 2nd worst of his career. After posting an up and down season that saw him end as the QB9, the bottom fell out, and he plummeted to QB21. It’s possible that Mike McCoy’s short passing offense could rejuvenate Rivers’ fantasy prospects, but the Chargers roster – especially their offensive line – is a dumpster fire. They’ll be challenging Oakland for the worst team in the league next year. I’m not sure I want a piece of that on my fantasy team.
Christian Ponder, QB40. -11 vs ECR
It’s time to give up on Ponder. The 2011 top 15 pick has two mediocre seasons under his belt, where he’s averaged less than 7 yards per attempt. His adjusted net yards per attempt the last two seasons has been under 5, Derek Anderson and Chad Henne level-bad. Ponder reached his ceiling last year, as the QB22. It’s very likely he’s not the quarterback in Minnesota next year, as the Vikings will have given him the cursory three years for a 1st round pick to prove himself. The offense has been upgraded around him, but I doubt he’ll be able to take advantage of it.
Without further ado, my dynasty quarterback rankings: