Fantasy Football Draft: Valuable Late-Round Quarterbacks

By Marcella Surra
Marcella Surra

QB Matt Ryan
In 2011 and 2012, QB Matt Ryan averaged 4,448 passing yards and 30 TDs. The following season, fantasy football owners expected even better numbers from Ryan with the return of all-pro TE Tony Gonzalez and a lightning-fast WR Julio Jones. However, Ryan lost top WR Julio Jones in Week 5 as a result of a broken foot and the rest of his season was somewhat in jeopardy of a complete collapse. Because defenses honed in on Roddy White and contained Tony Gonzalez, Ryan had some very spotty games with some weeks producing very low numbers, leaving fantasy owners frustrated and disappointed. Amazingly, by the end of the season, Ryan still found a way to reach 4,515 passing yards and 26 TDs. With the return of Julio Jones, Ryan’s consistency will improve and his numbers will be what they used to be. Ranked artificially low, Ryan is a great value in the late rounds.

QB Matthew Stafford
After five years in the NFL, Matthew Stafford has shown great improvement and success. No doubt, having WR Calvin Johnson, the best receiver in the league, has helped. However, this season Stafford is getting even more help with the acquisition of WR Golden Tate from Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks. With two great receivers and pass-catching running backs, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, Stafford will have plenty of passing options. With a healthy team, Stafford is likely to surpass last season’s numbers with more yards and TDs. Given the saturation of good quarterbacks in the league this season, Stafford is being drafted in round five or later, which makes him an excellent pick-up.

QB Robert Griffin III
After two cringe-worthy seasons, one with a late season-ending ACL tear and the other with coaching drama, it’s hard to imagine that the once highly-hyped RG3 ranked any higher than he is now. Nonetheless, RG3’s situation has improved greatly since last season. For one, the coach who benched him for no apparent reason, former head coach, Mike Shanahan, is now gone. Plus, the Redskins were able to add DeSean Jackson to the team after the Eagles released him for reasons other than athletic performance. Last season, Jackson hauled in 1,332 receiving yards and 9 TDs, with an average of 16.2 yards per catch. Moreover, he had eight catches of 40-plus yards.

Needless to say, Jackson is a great addition to WR Pierre Garcon and TE Jordan Reed, both of whom helped RG3 put up great rookie numbers his first year in the league. With an even better team, head coach, and healed leg, Griffin has great potential for a breakout season. He is currently being drafted in round six or later.

QB Nick Foles
Last season, in 2013, under Chip Kelly’s new, dynamic offensive scheme, as a somewhat unknown quarterback, QB Nick Foles did the unbelievable. He threw 27 TDs (8th most among QBs) with only 2 interceptions, plus 3 rushing TDs, for a total of 30 TDs in only 13 games. His passing yards weren’t very high, his 2,891 passing yards were on the low side, but his 119.2 QB rating was one of the best in the league. Last season, in week 9, against the Oakland Raiders, Foles scored 7 TDs! Can you imagine the fantasy points! Chip Kelly’s dynamic offensive scheme makes Foles a potentially valuable quarterback and certainly adds to the appeal of drafting Foles, especially since he is available in the late rounds.

QB Tony Romo
There is no doubt Tony Romo has the team and talent required for an amazing fantasy football season. He has one of the league’s elite red-zone receivers in WR1 Dez Bryant and also has a talented WR2 in last season’s rookie, Terrance Williams, who managed to haul in 44 catches for 736 yards and five touchdowns. Moreover, he has an all-pro tight end in Jason Witten and a pass-catching running back in DeMarco Murry.

On paper, Romo should be ranked with the likes of Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. After all, Romo has posted 90 touchdowns in the last three seasons and with his talented crew, he’s expected to post another 30 TDs. So why is he ranked so low and why is he being drafted in the late, late rounds, sometimes as a QB2? The main concern with Romo is that he has had a series of health issues, which in fantasy football means trouble.

In 2008, Romo broke his finger in his throwing hands and also broke a rib in a season-ending loss to the Eagles. Then in 2010, he suffered a broken clavicle in a Monday Night Football game against the Giants. More recently, in December of 2013, Romo underwent back surgery to repair a herniated disc. While injuries are not uncommon in the game of football and Peyton Manning was able to make a stellar return after undergoing multiple neck surgeries, at the age of 34 years-old, most people are hesitant to draft Romo much higher than round seven for fear of another injury. Although a risk, Romo has the potential to be one of the league’s top quarterbacks as long as he and his wide receivers stay healthy. He might be worth a pick-up in the late rounds if you’re in a tight spot.