VOTED #1 FANTASY FOOTBALL SITE
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
PRIORITY NEWS   MESSAGE BOARDS JOIN   
HOME ARTICLES STATISTICS WEEKLY FEATURES TEAM LINKS NFL RESOURCES  
Looking Back - Quarterbacks
by David M. Dorey
July 15, 2003
 
Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Kicker Defense

In reviewing where we find quarterbacks taken versus where they actually performed, we are looking to see what the biggest mistakes were and who really was a sleeper. Since so many players are injured for varying amounts of time, we'll look at the points per game for each.
Actual Drafted Quarterback NFL PPG
1 5 McNabb,Donovan PHI 22.2
2 4 Culpepper,Daunte MIN 19.6
3 14 Vick,Michael ATL 18.9
4 8 Gannon,Rich OAK 18.2
5 3 Manning,Peyton IND 16.8
6 NA Bulger,Marc STL 16.7
7 11 Bledsoe,Drew BUF 16.1
8 7 Brooks,Aaron NO 15.9
9 10 McNair,Steve TEN 15.6
10 15 Brady,Tom NE 15.3
11 2 Garcia,Jeff SF 15.3
12 NA Kitna,Jon CIN 15.0
13 13 Green,Trent KC 14.9
14 18 Johnson,Brad TB 14.5
15 NA Hasselbeck,Matt SEA 14.2
16 6 Favre,Brett GB 13.9
17 9 Griese,Brian DEN 13.7
18 21 Collins,Kerry NYG 13.6
19 NA Maddox,Tommy PIT 13.5
20 NA Blake,Jeff BAL 13.4
21 NA Pennington,Chad NYJ 13.3
22 19 Fiedler,Jay MIA 13.0
23 16 Plummer,Jake ARI 12.6
24 17 Couch,Tim CLE 12.0
Drafted Actual Quarterback NFL PPG
1 41 Warner,Kurt STL 9.1
2 11 Garcia,Jeff SF 15.3
3 5 Manning,Peyton IND 16.8
4 2 Culpepper,Daunte MIN 19.6
5 1 McNabb,Donovan PHI 22.2
6 16 Favre,Brett GB 13.9
7 8 Brooks,Aaron NO 15.9
8 4 Gannon,Rich OAK 18.2
9 17 Griese,Brian DEN 13.7
10 9 McNair,Steve TEN 15.6
11 7 Bledsoe,Drew BUF 16.1
12 28 Stewart,Kordell PIT 11.6
13 13 Green,Trent KC 14.9
14 3 Vick,Michael ATL 18.9
15 10 Brady,Tom NE 15.3
16 24 Plummer,Jake ARI 12.6
17 25 Couch,Tim CLE 12.0
18 14 Johnson,Brad TB 14.5
19 23 Fiedler,Jay MIA 13.0
20 29 Brunell,Mark JAX 11.5
21 18 Collins,Kerry NYG 13.6
22 46 Testaverde,Vinny NYJ 6.4
23 27 Brees,Drew SD 11.9
24 34 Matthews,Shane WAS 10.1

Picking your quarterback was no easy thing last season if you determined that was the position you needed to get first. Kurt Warner proved the axiom "you just never know" as the Rams turned into sheep for most of the season. Jeff Garcia enjoyed a big 2001 season and was taken quickly in most leagues. Problem was that he spent so much of the offseason enjoying his new-found celebrity with appearances and obligations that he evidently was not completely ready when the season began. His numbers were also hurt by Terrell Owens injury, added to a relatively absent #2 threat to throw the ball.

Favre took an uncharacteristic dip in production but considering where he was taken in most drafts the pain was not too great. In short, what we've preached for years held true - wait on a quarterback unless there is a huge difference in your league scoring and you will not access the top ten quarterbacks fast enough. The only people with buyer's remorse had taken Warner, Garcia and to a lesser degree Favre and Griese. Otherwise you probably were not too affected with your first pick for quarterback.

When we take a look at the actual results, pretty much the same thing holds up. Almost all picks made for quarterback were not the reason you did or did not win. Michael Vick was the nicest surprise, buoyed by his rushing ability and scores and aided by a few very big games (and a few less than great).

Donovan McNabb was playing very well when he was injured. That combined with what Kurt Warner did last season should illustrate the second axiom for quarterbacks - "don't wait too long to get a backup".

Interesting too is that those first three quarterbacks that conventional wisdom placed just outside the starting status by going 13th, 14th and 15th (Green, Vick and Brady) all played as well or better than expected. In the case of Brady, the start was hot and the ending was not.

Overall, it cannot be said too often - do not get in a rush to grab a quarterback and do not wait too long to get a second. Last season appeared that the average drafter had figured out the position pretty well. Let's take a look at the last three year's worth of drafts.

Drafted Actual 2000 PPG Drafted Actual 2001 PPG Drafted Actual 2002 PPG
1 4 Manning,Peyton 1 1 Culpepper,D. 1 41 Warner,Kurt
2 3 Warner,Kurt 2 2 Warner,Kurt 2 11 Garcia,Jeff
3 12 Favre,Brett 3 5 Manning,Peyton 3 5 Manning,Peyton
4 24 Mcnair,Steve 4 3 Garcia,Jeff 4 2 Culpepper,D.
5 26 Johnson,Brad 5 14 Griese,Brian 5 1 McNabb,D.
6 14 Beuerlein,S. 6 6 McNabb,D. 6 16 Favre,Brett
7 1 Culpepper,D. 7 9 Gannon,Rich 7 8 Brooks,Aaron
8 5 Gannon,Rich 8 8 Favre,Brett 8 4 Gannon,Rich
9 10 Brunell,Mark 9 13 Green,Trent 9 17 Griese,Brian
10 20 Bledsoe,Drew 10 7 Brooks,Aaron 10 9 McNair,Steve
11 16 Mcnown,Cade 11 21 Grbac,Elvis 11 7 Bledsoe,Drew
12 28 Kitna,Jon 12 30 Hasselbeck,Matt 12 28 Stewart,Kordell
13 21 Johnson,Rob 13 12 Brunell,Mark 13 13 Green,Trent
14 39 Banks,Tony 14 4 McNair,Steve 14 3 Vick,Michael
15 40 Aikman,Troy 15 20 Johnson,Brad 15 10 Brady,Tom
16 25 Plummer,Jake 16 28 Testaverde,V. 16 24 Plummer,Jake
17 7 Griese,Brian 17 16 Collins,Kerry 17 25 Couch,Tim
18 17 Testaverde,V. 18 Dud Johnson,Rob 18 14 Johnson,Brad
19 27 Couch,Tim 19 Dud George,Jeff 19 23 Fiedler,Jay
20 18 Blake,Jeff 20 19 Flutie,Doug 20 29 Brunell,Mark
21 15 Collins,Kerry 21 Dud Bledsoe,Drew 21 18 Collins,Kerry
22 6 Mcnabb,D. 22 23 Couch,Tim 22 46 Testaverde,V.
23 33 Batch,Charlie 23 Dud Vick,Michael 23 27 Brees,Drew
24 19 George,Jeff 24 17 Plummer,Jake 24 34 Matthews,Shane
25 37 Chandler,Chris 25 10 Stewart,Kordell 25 37 Dilfer,Trent
26 9 Grbac,Elvis 26 15 Batch,Charlie 26 47 Wuerffel,Danny
27 2 Garcia,Jeff 27 11 Fiedler,Jay 27 32 Carr,David
28 13 King,Shaun 28 18 Weinke,Chris 28 26 Carter,Quincy
29 41 Smith,Akili 29 Dud Carter,Quincy 29 30 Miller,Jim
30 8 Green,Trent 30 Dud Lewis,Jeff 30 44 Harrington,Joey

For some odd reason, the last starting quarterback (12th) taken each season has failed to make the owner happy. Being the 7th or 8th person to take a quarterback has worked out fairly well the past three years.

Let's take a look at the busts and undervalued players from the past three years:

2000 Busts (Drafted/Actual) considering Points Per Game

Steve McNair (4th/24th) - Played through injuries
Brad Johnson (5th/26th) - 2nd season in Washington was a QB carousel.
Steve Beuerlein (6th/14th) - Drafted too high thanks to torrid ending of 1999
Drew Bledsoe (10th/20th) - Pocket passer who hits every other year.

2001 Busts

Brian Griese (5th/14th) - Not a bad year, but still disappointing. Interceptions up too.
Matt Hasselbeck (12th/30th) - New to team and struggled to learn offense.

2002 Busts

Kurt Warner (1st/41st) - Thumb injury, line injuries, team-wide collapse
Jeff Garcia (2nd/10th) - Not bad but not great. Spent offseason touring instead of throwing.
Brett Favre (6th/16th) - Not bad but not great. Big receiver problems.
Kordell Stewart (12th/28th) - Because Stewart came off a big year.

2000 Undervalued

Daunte Culpepper (7th/1st) - A risk play with big dividends. First year playing.
Brian Griese (17th/7th) - Great receivers, few interceptions, would not last though
Donovan McNabb (22nd/6th) - Look at that guy run. Breakout year.
Elvis Grbac (26th/9th) - Who knew KC would throw?
Jeff Garcia (27th/2nd) - SF settled on a QB and Owens made him a star.
Trent Green (30th/8th) - Stepped in while Warner was hurt. Backup your QB!

2001 Undervalued

Steve McNair (14th/4th) - Okay, so he was healthy again.
Kordell Stewart (25th/10th) - Last hurrah for the runner with great receivers.
Jay Fiedler (27th/11th) - With no rushing game, he had to throw.

2002 Undervalued

Drew Bledsoe (11th/7th) - Took a while for defenses to figure out.
Michael Vick (14th/3rd) - Like Culpepper 2000, only without Moss.

Ends up that overall the drafting is getting better or the players more predictable. Other than Warner's injury plagued drop to the bottom, last season was not an abberation. Most of those top drafted quarterbacks delivered the goods with few exceptions. The only real sleeper quarterback was Vick and he was a risk pick based on running potential.

Notice that many of the busts were pocket passers coming off a career year that were unable to match the prior performance added with the off injured QB who continued to play hurt. The best undervalued players were mostly QBs that ran well (Culpepper, McNabb, Vick. Garcia, McNair and Stewart). The best passers to go undervalued were unable to sustain their high level of play.

The quarterbacks are becoming more predictable and less an area of finding a sleeper.

Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Kicker Defense