Every year there are always a few players that I just love. Guys that seem to be undervalued, guys that have much better situations, guys that I personally just love because of their skill sets. We’ll be starting this series off with the quarterbacks. Next time around we’ll take a look at some QBs I hate instead.
A lot goes into liking a player. Sometimes, you’re just convinced by their talent, even if it hasn’t shown up yet. Other times it’s the guys they have around them that makes things easy for them. The biggest factor however, will almost always be value. No matter how good I think a player may be, if he’s going two rounds too early I’m staying away. Conversely, even if I don’t like a guy THAT much, if he’s really low down in drafts, his value might be too much to ignore. With that said, let’s get started.
Rankings in no particular order.
1. Tom Brady
Tom Brady is currently being taken as QB 9. Considering he finished QB 8 last year that is fairly understandable. There is a clear demarcation however, where Brady really began to play better in the second half of the season. It’s a bit cherry picked, but from week 10 to week 17, Brady was actually QB 4 on a points per game basis. He had a 20-5 TD-INT ratio in those seven games, with a 110 passer rating.
Suffice it to say he was really good, and he continued that good play into the playoffs. There have been multiple reports that Bruce Arians’ system is notoriously difficult to grasp. The fact that he stepped it up in the second half of the season is a good indicator that it took Brady half a season to master it. Now that the system is installed, Brady has a good chance to outperform his draft slot in 2021.
It doesn’t hurt that Brady is returning basically his entire team, especially the offense. His top targets from last year are all back, and he’ll have a full season with Antonio Brown this time barring any mishaps. Not many teams have three great receivers, one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history and two serviceable running backs.
79.6 ADP is a Bargain
We all know Brady is an elite talent, and he’s got an elite team around him. His ADP at 79.6 puts him around the seventh round in a 12 team draft which isn’t bad at all. Most of the top tier skill position guys will be gone, and you’ll probably have a decent amount of your slots filled, making Brady a perfect candidate here. It’s not like there’s a ton of amazing options here anyways, with guys like Logan Thomas or one of the Tampa Bay running backs also being taken around this pick.
2. Matthew Stafford
Stafford is in a similar situation as Brady. He’s a proven talent, (although he hasn’t had a top fantasy season since 2017 where he finished QB 7) and now he’s on easily the best team he’s ever been on. He’s got a top five receiving tandem in Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp and a fantastic offensive line. His defense isn’t something to be trifled with either. They may get him more possessions and better field position than he’s used to.
His ADP is right next to Brady as well. He was just QB 15 last year, but again he’s got a major team upgrade. He was also QB 4 two years ago in points per game, but only managed eight games. He’s riskier than Brady, going in the same round, and I don’t think he’s got quite the ceiling. That’s the difference from Stafford being a solid value and Brady being a slam dunk. QB is a position you can wait on, so I wouldn’t take Stafford any earlier than this, but he’s on a similar level as guys like Justin Herbert and Dak Prescott who are going 20-30 places higher.
3. Daniel Jones
Jones is going extremely late, with his current ADP having him undrafted. Jones is definitely a questionable talent, and finished a very unplayable QB 24 last year. Honestly though, his supporting cast alone should put him in a drafted slot. His ceiling is much higher than guys like Derek Carr or Ryan Fitzpatrick, who are being drafted above him. Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton and Saquon Barkley are a top weapons group. That doesn’t even include Sterling Shephard, Kadarius Toney and Evan Engram.
Daniel Jones doesn’t have to do much more than get the ball to his playmakers to be useful, and he’s got so many options now. Not only that, but he’s in the weakest division in the NFL, with two defenses that are projected to be in the bottom half of the league. Just like with Stafford and the Rams, the Giants defense should be a good unit as well, which helps with field position. Jones also has some value with his legs, which tons of people being drafted far ahead of him don’t at all. Jones is a prime example of someone I’m not excited about talent wise, but his situation is so good. He at least deserves to be on the bench, and he’s got solid potential as a streaming option.
4. Cam Newton
Newton does have a risk of being replaced by Mac Jones eventually, and it is something to keep in mind. His current draft spot at 169.2 though means you aren’t losing anything by drafting him really, and he’s got some real potential to be a contributor while he’s playing. Through the first few weeks until he got Covid, Newton was a legit fantasy QB. Newton will always have value with his legs, and he scored 12 times on the ground. Running value is consistent value, and Newton provides more with his legs than anyone not named Lamar Jackson.
Newton also has the best upgraded supporting cast in the league next to Daniel Jones. He went from N’Keal Harry and Ryan Izzo to Nelson Agholor, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. His passing numbers can’t get worse than what they were last year, and should improve a decent amount with a much better squad around him. Combined with his running, Newton can easily be a streaming option.
5. Kirk Cousins
Cousins is currently being drafted as QB 19, and in the 150’s overall. In the last five years, Cousins has finished QB 5, QB 6, QB 13, QB 18 and QB 11. Basically, only one year was Cousins unusable. Last year, he was a QB 1, and he’s returning his top offensive options in Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook. Proven talent, returning cast, there’s no reason he can’t easily perform like he did in 2020. Putting him this low is kind of disrespectful to be honest. He’s got a low ceiling (although he’s been a top five QB before) but he’s also got a fairly high floor.
He’ll definitely be usable in a solid number of matchups, and not to sound like a broken record, should be an effective streaming option if not better. Guys like Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence and Baker Mayfield are going far above Cousins, and he’s got a much higher floor than all of them, and realistically a fairly similar ceiling. His supporting cast is good and he’s a solid QB in his own right. You can do much worse in the 13th round.