It’s never too early to start fantasy football prep. Even though the NFL draft is still two weeks away, there are already things that can be taken from early draft ADP. Today I’ll discuss three quarterbacks at their current ADP, one of which is overvalued and two that are undervalued.
Ben Roethlisberger: Steelers (Overvalued)
Ben Roethlisberger is currently the 10th quarterback off the board with an early ADP of 80th overall. That falls in line with his point-per-game production from last season, as he finished tied for seventh at the position. Considering that he played last season largely with only one true option at wide receiver, finishing as a mid-tier QB1 is a pretty good result. Then factor in that Martavis Bryant has a chance to return to the team in 2017 and that LaDarius Green could return to health (we’ve all heard that before) and it seems that the only way for Roethlisberger to go is up.
While it is true that Bryant and company could make Roethlisberger’s big games even bigger, they are unlikely to fix the Steelers problems on offense when they play away from home. In the past two seasons, Roethlisberger has averaged 29.85 points games at home and 16.61 points per game on the road. That means Roethlisberger is a usable fantasy asset in only half of his games leaving fantasy owners to hunt for a new starter in several matchups.
It isn’t quite that simple of course, as Roethlisberger’s home numbers make him an elite option in those weeks. However, as the number-10 quarterback off the board, fantasy owners should not be left scrambling when they realize the Steelers are on the road in their next matchup. Mixing and matching based on matchup is fine at the position, but in order to maximize team upside using that strategy, it is necessary to wait later than the seventh or eighth round at quarterback. That makes Roethlisberger an overrated fantasy option and someone who will not be on any of my teams.
Kirk Cousins: Redskins (Undervalued)
As long as Kirk Cousins avoids becoming a casualty to the drama and incompetency that is the Washington front office, he should be in for a big 2017 season. Last season, Cousins was third among all quarterbacks in yards per attempt and sixth in overall attempts. Those numbers paved the way to Cousins having the sixth highest point total per game among quarterbacks. As the 11th quarterback off the board, Cousins is being undervalued in the early portion of draft season.
The only thing holding Cousins back from an even better 2016 was his relatively low touchdown total of 25. Though much has been made of the offseason losses of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, Washington reloaded in talent with the signing of Terrelle Pryor. Add in the talent Washington already had on the roster, Jordan Reed and Josh Doctson (that just needs to stay healthy) and there is a very solid receiving core around him.
There are some risks with Cousins, most of which are out of his control. In 2015 he threw 60 fewer pass attempts than in 2016. How Washington is inclined to build their offense could be a determining factor in Cousins’ fantasy success. The receiving core discussed above is also filled with injury risk as neither Doctson nor Reed are the pictures of health. Still, after the elite quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, and Matt Ryan) there are not a lot of quarterbacks without risk, and Cousins has shown he has the talent to lead to great fantasy success.
Assuming he remains with Washington, Cousins’ is an easy target to fill your quarterback slot late in the draft.
Tyrod Taylor: Bills (Undervalued)
The Bills came to their senses in two different ways this offseason. The first was that they fired Rex Ryan, and the second was that they extended Tyrod Taylor. How the offense may change remains a mystery as McDermott is a defensive-minded coach, and the Bills are currently devoid of talent at any pass catching position outside of the oft-injured Sammy Watkins.
Though McDermott has said that the second-wide receiver spot will be filled from within, we all know coach speak needs to be taken with a grain of salt, if not more. Therefore, if the new coaching staff has any kind of sense they will take (or at least consider) offensive weapon early in the draft. That could come in the form of first round talents like Corey Davis, Mike Williams, or O.J. Howard in round one, or later round options like Chris Godwin, Zay Jones or JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Even if the Bills do invest heavily in their passing-attack in the draft, there likely still won’t be a wealth of options for Taylor to throw to. However, that leads us to Taylor’s best asset, which is his rushing ability. Year after year we have seen players like Taylor and Colin Kaepernick reach fantasy relevance despite their below average passing ability or poor supporting cast. That’s not to say we need to dismiss Taylor as a passing quarterback, but rather, it means that he should have a safe floor even if Buffalo’s passing game doesn’t progress.
That said, given the new coaching staff, his new contract, and the hopes that Buffalo invests in pass catchers, I’m willing to invest heavily in Tyrod Taylor at his current draft price; he is the 18th quarterback off the board.