Picking or paying for a top tier QB is foolish, as anyone who follows J.J. Zachariason should know by now. The class of quarterbacks in the league right now might be the deepest ever.
So, how do we narrow down our choices and create value for ourselves at other positions? First, we avoid the temptation to dive in to the bidding war on the first tier of quarterbbacks. And second, we research and stare at data until our eyes bleed.
These QB’s may not be the sexy names but they could be the guy(s) that win you your league:
Alex Smith – Redskins
Alex doesn’t get nearly enough credit for what he does. Labeled as a ‘game manager’ he does much more as he proved last year, elevating his game within the right scheme.
This year he should have another quality set of position players to do much of the same. He’s got two solid tight ends in Jordan Reed, when healthy, and Vernon Davis as his backup. He’s got an exciting young receiver in Josh Doctson who can elevate and get the ball along with Jamison Crowder and newcomer Paul Richardson, and then rookie running back Derrius Guice and talented pass catcher Chris Thompson.
It certainly will be interesting to see how offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh uses these weapons but over the last few years he’s gotten a lot out of Kirk Cousins and there’s no reason to believe he can’t do the same with Alex.
Washington has an above average offensive line with Pro Football Focus ranking them as the 12th best in the league. While that’s close to the middle of the pack in the NFL, they are a better pass blocking group than run blocking which bodes well for Smith.
Their schedule this year is pretty good as well against 2017 pass defenses facing some lowly competition like the Colts, Packers, Bucs, and Titans. They have a tough spot in week 15 against the Jaguars but by and large their schedule makes for a nice streaming option with Alex Smith.
Phillip Rivers – Chargers
Rivers might be the biggest name on this list, currently around QB10, so while reaching may not be the best word, you will most likely need to grab him sooner in your draft if you want him.
He may have lost Hunter Henry this season but that offense still has an incredible amount of talent with high expectations. Keenan Allen is back and healthy, as is Melvin Gordon, and they still have change of pace running back Austin Eckler and second year wide receiver Mike Williams who was injured most of last year but was one of the top talented wide receivers in his draft class.
The chargers are another team with great pass blocking which should give Rivers enough time to find his recievers and rack up fantasy points.
Playing in the AFC West means they’ll face some tough competition twice in the Chiefs and the Broncos once (unless you play in to week 17). But they do get to face some cupcakes including the Browns, Bengals, and Bills. In week 14 they see the Bengals and in week 16 the Ravens making Rivers a potential playoff starter for you.
Case Keenum – Broncos
It seems like no one is on the Demaryius Thomas / Emmanual Sanders bandwagon anymore after a lack luster showing with subpar quarterbacks the last couple of years but I believe that’s about to change. Case Keenum was fantastic last year for the Vikings and while part of that could be scheme, you still need talent and accuracy to execute. Keenum found a way to get all his receivers involved for big yards and we all witnessed a breakout year from Adam Thielen. Case will have another great core of position players again this year and I look for him to continue his solid play.
The Broncos schedule vs 2017 pass defenses is good and they have a great potential playoff schedule facing the 49ers, Browns, and Raiders in weeks 14 -16. They’ll also see the Ravens, Jets, and Bengals this year. You may not ride Keenum all year but he’s a great QB2 or waiver wire watch for those weeks where his schedule is favorable.
Blake Bortles – Jaguars
Poor Blake Bortles get ragged on each year for his perceived “garbage points”. Even if this were true, points are points in fantasy and sometimes outcomes on the field don’t correlate to fantasy football. Last year however, Bortles threw for nearly 3,700 yards with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. What’s a little sneaky is he had over 300 yards rushing with another 2 touchdowns.
Blake and the Jaguars return their core for 2018 but lose Allen Robinson, who was hurt most of 2017, and Allen Hurns while adding Donte Moncrief. Even with the lack of a perceived #1 receivers we saw guys like Margis Lee break out last year and Leonard Fournette has a year under his belt. Their defense being what it is, the Jaguars should be in a position to let Blake Bortles relax in the pocket and not feel to much pressure to win the game by himself.
The Jaguars will obviously see the Colts and Titans twice each along with matchups against the Jets, Giants, and Bills making Blake another nice streaming play. They’ve also got a top 10 offensive line, opening up holes for the running game and giving Bortles enough time to find his receivers downfield.