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Mid-Season Mock Draft: The Quarterbacks

Recently, I conducted what I called a mid-season dynasty mock draft. I invited some experts and fantasy fanatics from the Twitterverse to take part in this mock for a couple of reasons.

First, we are all dynasty addicts and we are not trying to hide that. Many of us here, from staff members to the most active posters on the DLF forums participate in mock drafts as early as December and then throughout the offseason. It’s just what we do. My primary goal for this mock though was to gauge how individual player value has changed in the few short weeks since the season began.

We all know of a few players who have seen their values soar with surprising breakout performance and we are all too aware of the players who have disappointed and have earned a permanent seat on our fantasy bench, or worse. But, there are some subtle gains and losses in player value that may not be quite as obvious.

Let’s back up to the beginning.

I set up the dynasty mock with some basic scoring rules including four points for passing touchdowns and one point per reception for all players. I also chose to use very flexible lineups in order to allow owners to choose the strategy that fit them best. In this league, each team would start one quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end, with an additional three flex positions among running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. While our lineups also require a kicker and a defense, owners were not required to select those as part of this mock draft.

As I mentioned, I gathered eleven other dynasty lovers to fill our league, including our own Jarrett Behar, The FF Ghost, Steve Wyremski and Andy Miley. Also included were some staff writers from other sites such as FootballGuys.com and ProFootballFocus, and the draft was underway. With plans of conducting more dynasty mocks later in the season, I knew this active group would fly through the draft and that is just what happened. Our twenty round draft was complete in about a week and the data study began.

In oder to get a good understanding of how individual players value has changed, I used Bryan Fontaine’s dynasty mock draft data, which was collected throughout the off-season, and compared that to this draft. While I realize comparing one draft to a collection of drafts is not completely reliable, it can provide us with some useful data going forward. Because a position run in a single draft can greatly affect how players are valued, I chose to compare how players were ordered by position, rather than comparing average draft position as a whole. For example, Aaron Rodgers was selected, on average, as the QB1 in the off-season mock drafts and was also chosen as the QB1 in our mid-season mock. From this, we can conclude that Rodgers’ value, as compared to other quarterbacks, is unchanged.

In this article, I will explore quarterback value and focus on the risers and fallers when it comes to dynasty value. Here is a look at the quarterbacks selected in our mid-season mock.

Name

Offseason QB Draft Postion

Mid-Season Mock Draft Position

Change in Draft Position

Aaron Rodgers

QB1

QB1

0

Cam Newton

QB2

QB2

0

Matthew Stafford

QB3

QB3

0

Drew Brees

QB4

QB7

-3

Tom Brady

QB5

QB9

-4

Eli Manning

QB6

QB8

-2

Robert Griffin III

QB7

QB4

+3

Andrew Luck

QB8

QB6

+2

Michael Vick

QB9

QB18

-9

Tony Romo

QB10

QB16

-6

Matt Ryan

QB11

QB5

+6

Philip Rivers

QB12

QB15

-3

Peyton Manning

QB13

QB14

-1

Ben Roethlisberger

QB14

QB10

+4

Jake Locker

QB15

QB11

+4

Jay Cutler

QB16

QB13

+3

Andy Dalton

QB17

QB17

0

Josh Freeman

QB18

QB22

-4

Sam Bradford

QB19

QB19

0

Matt Schaub

QB20

QB23

-3

Joe Flacco

QB21

QB12

+9

Ryan Tannehill

QB22

QB20

+2

Carson Palmer

QB23

QB28

-5

Christian Ponder

QB24

QB21

+3

Tim Tebow

QB26

QB32

-6

Alex Smith

QB28

QB31

-3

Brandon Weeden

QB29

QB24

+5

Blaine Gabbert

QB31

QB30

+1

Russell Wilson

QB33

QB27

+6

John Skelton

QB34

QB29

+5

Colin Kaepernick

QB39

QB26

+13

Nick Foles

N/A

QB25

N/A

For the purpose of this article, we will mostly ignore the players with little (+/-1) or no value change, though it is surprising to see Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert being chosen higher now than he was in the preseason. Anyway, on to the risers and fallers.

Risers

Name

Offseason QB Draft Postion

Mid-Season Mock Draft Position

Change in Draft Position

Colin Kaepernick

QB39

QB26

+13

Joe Flacco

QB21

QB12

+9

Matt Ryan

QB11

QB5

+6

Russell Wilson

QB33

QB27

+6

Brandon Weeden

QB29

QB24

+5

John Skelton

QB34

QB29

+5

Ben Roethlisberger

QB14

QB10

+4

Jake Locker

QB15

QB11

+4

Robert Griffin III

QB7

QB4

+3

Jay Cutler

QB16

QB13

+3

Christian Ponder

QB24

QB21

+3

Andrew Luck

QB8

QB6

+2

Ryan Tannehill

QB22

QB20

+2

Nick Foles

N/A

QB25

N/A

Few of these are surprising to most active dynasty owners as it is common knowledge that rookies Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have moved near the top of most dynasty rankings. It is actually somewhat of a surprise that both were still chosen behind Matthew Stafford, considering the early season struggles of the Lions quarterback.

A common thread among several of the risers is their rookie status, Along with Luck and Griffin, also improving their dynasty value among quarterbacks are rookies Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson and Nick Foles. Often, many owners are reluctant to choose a rookie quarterback ahead of most veterans until they can see them in action in the NFL. Because of this, it is very common for rookie signal callers to gain value early in the season, even if they are performing as an average quarterback.

Nearly all the risers on this list are young quarterbacks, including Colin Kaepernick, who has shown some bursts in situational plays as the backup in San Francisco, making him the biggest riser. It is interesting to note he was actually taken ahead of starting quarterback Alex Smith in our draft. I would agree with this evaluation, as Smith offers little upside and can not be relied upon as a fantasy starter. Other youngsters gaining value are John Skelton, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder.

Some veterans outperforming their preseason projections and therefore rising up the boards are Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler. While some of these players have not been overly impressive, it is likely that they are rising at the expense of some of the struggling quarterbacks that we will address next.

Fallers

Name

Offseason QB Draft Postion

Mid-Season Mock Draft Position

Change in Draft Position

Michael Vick

QB9

QB18

-9

Tony Romo

QB10

QB16

-6

Tim Tebow

QB26

QB32

-6

Carson Palmer

QB23

QB28

-5

Tom Brady

QB5

QB9

-4

Josh Freeman

QB18

QB22

-4

Drew Brees

QB4

QB7

-3

Philip Rivers

QB12

QB15

-3

Matt Schaub

QB20

QB23

-3

Alex Smith

QB28

QB31

-3

Eli Manning

QB6

QB8

-2

This group of fallers is not quite as predictable as many of these players are having outstanding seasons early in the 2012 campaign. Veterans like Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Tom Brady and Matt Schaub are all playing well. Their value is only dropping as compared to other quarterbacks due to the outstanding play of younger signal callers like Luck, Griffin and Ryan.

Other veterans and long time top passers such as Michael Vick, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers are letting their owners down and seeing their value take a hit as a result. Vick, with the rumors he could lose his starting job to unproven rookie Nick Foles, takes the biggest hit falling from the QB9 all the way to the QB18.

Finally, some other players falling down the ranks include New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow. Those drafting him this off-season likely expected him to overtake starter Mark Sanchez, and while that is still possible, we have seen no signs that it is coming soon. The final three fallers are starters Carson Palmer, Josh Freeman and Alex Smith. A big year was expected from Palmer, but his receivers have struggled to stay healthy and Palmer’s numbers have taken a hit. Freeman has flashed the occasional big game, but his upside seems to be as a backup fantasy quarterback. I already mentioned that Smith’s backup was chosen ahead of him, giving a good indication of his value in dynasty leagues.

Missing in Action

You may have noticed some quarterbacks not mentioned in any category above. That is because some starting quarterbacks were left undrafted, giving us a clear view that they have little or no value in dynasty leagues. Many of these players would fall under the “roster clogger” group I mentioned in a previous article. Below is a list of players that had been chosen in most or all of the preseason dynasty mocks, but were left on the waiver wire in our mid-season version.

Name

Mid-Season Mock Draft Position

Matt Flynn

QB25

Ryan Fitzpatrick

QB27

Ryan Mallett

QB30

Mark Sanchez

QB32

Matt Cassel

QB35

Brock Osweiler

QB33

Kevin Kolb

QB34

Again, there are few surprises among this small group. Since the preseason mocks were completed, Matt Flynn and Kevin Kolb both lost their starting jobs with their teams. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sanchez and Matt Cassel are still holding down their starting position, but some combination of their struggling offense and poor fantasy numbers meant these players were undeserving of a roster spot in our twelve team, twenty man draft. Finally, young backups Ryan Mallett and Brock Osweiler were left undrafted as well. While these players have done nothing wrong this season, their value is still going in the wrong direction. This could be due to the string play of the older starters ahead of them, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. It could also be a sign that during the season, fantasy owners are not as concerned with  mining for project quarterbacks as they might be during the off-season.

In the next installment, I will take a look at the running backs selected in our mid-season mock and how their value is changing in the early portion of this 2012 NFL season.

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Ryan McDowell
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robertdhenley
10 years ago

dont know how u can move flacco up so much and left dalton at same position, dalton has looked better then flacco, and flacco only plays good at home, on the road he has 1 td and something close to 50% completions, that doesnt soung like the 12th qb to me

you also have brees and brady rank #7

Enrique Ortega
10 years ago

Not sure what to think of this article. Newton and Stafford still 2 and 3 in a dynasty mid season draft with as much as they have slowed and struggled… Really? Over Matt Ryan and RG3…. No thank you. Also as the other poster commented you have two #7.

10 years ago

Was the direction to the drafters to pretend it was preseason 2013? (So ignore what value you get for the remainder of this year.) Or was it “If you knew what you know now, how would you have drafted in the 2012 preseason”? It’s quite different because of guys like Brady and Peyton.

Reply to  Ryan McDowell
10 years ago

Wow. Then Brees and Brady were vastly under-drafted IMO. I hope these sentiments hold up in to next year. I’ll be trading for them everywhere I can.

Reply to  Ryan McDowell
10 years ago

I wouldn’t take him over any of them given that it appears I don’t need to! If this draft represents the consensus POV, I’d wait and wait on him in a start-up and happily grab him in about the fourth or fifth round. That to me would represent extreme value. My goal is always to maximize the value of every pick and it appears that Brady/Brees may represent tremendous value opportunities next year. Give me 2RB/2WR or 1RB/3WR and then Brees. I’ll start off that way any time.

Reply to  Ryan McDowell
10 years ago

And let me add to that – this is why an article like this is helpful. Apparently I would have reached a bunch on Brees/Brady.

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