Shawn Siegele owns three Main Event titles in the National Fantasy Football Championship. Creator of the contrarian sports website Money in the Banana Stand, he acts as Lead Redraft Writer for PFF Fantasy and contributes to RotoViz.
One season after you absolutely had to take a quarterback in the first round of your fantasy draft, it’s suddenly chic to talk about Late Round QB, invariably in hushed voices that invoke caps or perhaps redactive ellipses.
But here’s the catch. Nobody is really talking about Late Round QB. It’s a myth in search of a mythology. With last year’s rookie signal callers swarming over the NFL landscape like the Visigoths sacking Rome, the league suddenly sports exactly 12 relatively equal QB1 candidates. It’s a cake walk where everybody gets dessert in the end.
The 12th quarterback off the board is a guy who finished as QB7 a year ago and put up 45 points during championship weekend. That quarterback is Tony Romo. You may not be able to win with Romo in reality, but you can in fantasy. (You wouldn’t be able to win with him in fantasy either if you let Jerry Jones manage your team.) We’ve reached the point where quarterbacks are roughly as valuable as kickers.
At least that’s one way of looking at it. Quarterbacks are a lot cheaper this year, but Romo is still being drafted with the 85th overall pick. To select him, you have to give up someone like Cecil Shorts, Rashard Mendenhall, or Mark Ingram. Meanwhile, the list of historical quarterbacks to return elite QB1 value after being drafted outside the first 100 picks is too long to fit in this column.
Late Round QB in its full splendor requires eschewing the high floor/high ceiling crowd. It’s a strategy demanding the fervor of a True Believer. Put your faith in the right late round committee and you will win a fantasy title. And if you find you can’t believe, try locating an Electric Monk to believe it for you.
Disclaimer: Not all sleepers are trendy breakout candidates. A surprisingly high number of these players are veterans on the brink of massive bouncebacks or career seasons.