2011 Fantasy Football Boom and Bust Players: Quarterback

August 4 4:07am
Josh Shepardson

Every season players outperform, or conversely underperform, their draft position for one reason or another.  In some cases, the busts were health related and almost entirely unpredictable, but in others the signs of a player not living up to their draft status were there for those that looked deeper heading into drafts.  On the opposite end of the spectrum were players that many viewed as afterthoughts who helped owners pile up wins and fantasy titles.  Identifying between the two is often the difference between being an also ran and a contender.  Putting on my prognosticating cap, I’ve attempted to determine one boom and one bust at each of the offensive positions used in standard fantasy games.  Today we’ll look at the quarterback position.

* Average Draft Position (ADP) and selection by position come from the most recent information available at Mock Draft Central

Quarterback

Boom:  Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, ADP: 105, QB: 11

The man with two first names that calls Atlanta his football home had his best statistical season of his career in 2010 posting his highest completion percentage (62.5 percent), most yards per game (231.6), most touchdowns (28) and least interceptions (9) leading to his best quarterback rating at 91.0.  All the organization has done since then is trade up to the sixth pick in the draft to get him another explosive weapon in Julio Jones.  Those that haven’t done all of their homework may not realize that 13 of 16 games the Falcons play this year will be shielded from the unfriendly realities of mother nature, something most of his counterparts can’t boast.  The high flying dirty birds were a top five offense last year and have the tools necessary for  a repeat performance.  Invest in Ryan and watch as he performs comparably to the top five options at the position, at a fraction of the cost.

Bust:  Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys, ADP: 71, QB: 7

When thinking of bust and Tony Romo, one can be forgiven for thinking of some of his notable lady friends.  In this case, however, fantasy owners are going to consider Romo a boob for failing to live up to his top ten fantasy quarterback draft status at year’s end.  The lazy way of looking at Romo’s disappointing 2010 season would be to write it off as lost to injury.  What is missing from such thorough analysis is that his numbers last year were closer to a mirror image of his good 2008 than his superior 2009 season.

It is hard not to like the options he has to throw to in Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, but a questionable running game could pose problems.  A one dimensional offense would likely yield healthy yardage totals, but would also allow defensive coordinators the opportunity to exploit his gunslinging ways.  Last season Romo threw muliple picks in half of the games he played in, which is yet another reason to use caution when evaluating his fantasy value this season.  At his current average draft position he’d need to perform significantly better than the likes of Josh Freeman, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco and the aformentioned Matt Ryan, who are all being drafted three-to-four rounds later in 12-team leagues, to justify the selection.  Of that bunch I expect Freeman, Flacco and Ryan to post better numbers, and I’d rather have the rest of the bunch as well when considering their draft position.  He may lead “America’s Team,” but that doesn’t mean he should lead your fantasy team, pass on Romo on draft day.

Josh Shepardson also writes for both the Fantasy Baseball Cafe and Fantasy Football Cafe as well as The Hardball Times.  You can find Josh here on Twitter if you too enjoy communicating in 140 characters or less.

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