Dynasty League Football

Uncategorized

Back to the “Future”

In late July, I submitted my Building for the Future entry into DLF’s writing contest.  The theory behind my premise was simple:  in dynasty leagues with ten or more teams, there just isn’t enough high-end quality at the quarterback position.  To put it another way, the number of “elite” quarterbacks in the NFL could fit comfortably into one of Peyton Manning’s Buick SUV’s (sorry Joe Flacco, Tom Brady likes his leg room, so you’d better hail a cab).

With that knowledge in mind, it seemed prudent to delve into the possibility and probability that some of the league’s younger quarterbacks could mature into legitimate fantasy stalwarts.  Using a combination of statistics and situation, I attempted to prognosticate just that.  I chose to couple this idea with my penchant for watching Home and Garden Television, leading to the classification of each player’s likelihood of success in terms of varying types of real estate.

However, in the NFL, things evolve seemingly as fast as the changing of the seasons in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”  As such, these player evaluations already need to be adjusted after a mere thirteen weeks of regular season games.  Therefore, the following analysis will display the transformation of my viewpoints, comparing my original opinions in Building for the Future to how I feel now.  So buckle up and do your best Marty McFly impression, because we’re going back to the “Future!”

Mark Sanchez, QB NYJ

Real Estate Value (Building for the Future):  Attached Duplex

Real Estate Speculation (Building for the Future):  “Sanchez could possibly realize his potential in a different locale, away from the bright lights and prying eyes of New York.  If you own him, make sure you own Tebow.  If you’re a believer in his ability, now’s the time for a low-ball offer.  Sanchez could be a reasonable QB2 or bye-week replacement down the line.”

2012 Statistics:

Games

Pass Yards

Pass YPG

Comp. %

Rush Yards

Total TD’s

Total Turnovers

QB Rating

12

2436

203

55.0

12

12

18

71.4

 

Current Value:  Imagine you’re playing a game of backyard football with your buddies, and you make a stupid play that causes some chuckles and good-natured ribbing.  Now imagine you did the same thing, only it involved running into someone else’s backside, fumbling the ball, and oh yeah, it was visible to the majority of cable subscribers in the country!  Could you wash that figurative (and possibly literal, given the anatomy) stink away?

That’s the problem with Sanchez.  Not only is he not producing (negative turnover differential and bottom-three QB rating), but his cumulative efforts over the past few years have earned him an aura of failure.  As his uninspired play nearly caused him to lose his job to third-string quarterback Greg McElroy, it’s safe to say Sanchez has likely fumbled away his opportunity…lineman-posterior optional.

Futures Market:  The only things keeping Sanchez’ value afloat are his first-round pedigree and the fact that the Jets’ (lack of) skill players have set him up for failure.  While his 2013 salary ($8.25 million) is guaranteed, it’s all but certain he won’t finish his career in New York.  At this point, he’s only worth rostering in deep two-quarterback leagues in the hope that he might one day revive his career in a less dysfunctional environment.

Josh Freeman, QB TB

Real Estate Value (Building for the Future):  Top-Floor Apartment with a View

Real Estate Speculation (Building for the Future):  “Freeman is worth rostering due to his upside.  He will likely never be more than a low-end QB1, but like Sanchez, could serve as your QB2 or bye-week replacement.”

2012 Statistics:

Games

Pass Yards

Pass YPG

Comp. %

Rush Yards

Total TD’s

Total Turnovers

QB Rating

12

3003

250

55.9

99

23

9

92.1

 

Current Value:  Unlike Sanchez, Josh Freeman has bounced back from a poor 2011 campaign, shedding turnovers like he shed extra pounds.  Indeed, with the exception of completion percentage, “skinny Josh” has improved his numbers across the board.  More importantly, Freeman’s play has translated to the win-loss column, as the Bucs’ comparative record (4-12 in 2011, 6-6 in 2012) has flip-flopped more than a politician’s viewpoints.  Finally, he’s managing to do all this behind an injury-plagued offensive line that lost prize guard Carl Nicks early in the season.  Something about new coach Greg Schiano’s tutelage is agreeing with Freeman, and his value is arguably back to where it was during his breakout sophomore season.

Futures Market:  Tampa’s offense is armed with elite weapons in running back Doug Martin and receiver Vincent Jackson, and has received improved play from schizophrenic breakout-then-bust receiver Mike Williams.  As the maestro directing this orchestra of offensive output, Freeman’s value should continue to rise into low-end QB1 territory.  While he’s by no means a classic “buy low,” you might not be able to acquire him cheaply after another season like this.

Sam Bradford, QB STL

Real Estate Value (Building for the Future):  The Creaky Victorian

Real Estate Speculation (Building for the Future):  “Towards the end of last season, it appeared Bradford began to imagine defensive pressure at every turn.  It’s no guarantee that he’ll ever calm down in the pocket, as poor offensive lines have permanently scarred other highly drafted quarterbacks, such as David Carr.  If you own him, hold him or try to trade him to a believer.  There are just too many question marks here to be confident in his long-term prognosis.”

2012 Statistics:

Games

Pass Yards

Pass YPG

Comp. %

Rush Yards

Total TD’s

Total Turnovers

QB Rating

12

2668

222

60.8

100

15

10

83.8

 

Current Value:  2012 has seen a measured improvement in Bradford’s play, but it’s more along the scale of inches than miles.  In fact, it could be argued that the most notable statistic in the table above is that Bradford has played in all twelve games this season, temporarily shedding his injury-prone label.  He has the Rams’ offensive line to thank for that, as they’ve allowed 1.1 fewer sacks per game than in 2011.

With that said, Bradford’s stats are still not in line with what they should be for a former overall #1 pick.  He’s improved across the board, but is still barely averaging a touchdown per game.  While he’s more valuable than at this point in 2011, this house is still in a state of disrepair.

Futures Market:  If Bradford was an answer to a Jeopardy question, the category would undoubtedly be “Challenging Quarterback Projections.”  On one hand, he has the necessary physical traits and a cast of theoretically talented young players in receivers Chris Givens and Brian Quick, as well as running back Daryl Richardson.  He’s also been hampered by having three offensive coordinators in three years.  On the other hand, despite the excuses, he just hasn’t produced.  So while I expect Bradford to continue to get better, he’ll likely never be more than a bye-week replacement.

Tim Tebow, QB NYJ

Real Estate Value (Building for the Future):  Attached Duplex

Real Estate Speculation (Building for the Future):  “Don’t you get the impression that coaches are always going to give this guy a chance?  He’s a legitimately good person, and a proven winner.  While unorthodox, Tebow offers QB1 upside due to his running ability.  Hold for now, and sell high after a few big games.”

2012 Statistics:

Games

Pass Yards

Pass YPG

Comp. %

Rush Yards

Total TD’s

Total Turnovers

QB Rating

10

39

3.9

85.7

87

0

0

89.9

 

Current Value:  Currently, Tebow is the type of house you can afford with bad credit and no down payment.  In addition to his nearly invisible usage in the Jets’ offense (illustrated in the table above), the coaches actually gave more consideration to starting the afore-mentioned Greg McElroy, a third-stringer, than they did to starting Tebow!  He has done nothing this year to warrant fantasy consideration or relevance.

Futures Market:  Much like Evander Holyfield continuing to box, dynasty owners of Tebow need to learn when it’s time to call it quits.  Those in shallow leagues are wasting a roster spot on him, and despite what I said in Building for the Future, it’s hard to see him contending for a starting spot if he can’t even crack the Jets’ inept lineup.  If you can get something (anything) for him, do it.

Jake Locker, QB TEN

Real Estate Value (Building for the Future):  The Mansion

Real Estate Speculation (Building for the Future):  “Buy, buy, buy.  Locker oozes potential, and is surrounded by one of the elite skill position groups in the NFL.  He has QB1 upside, but should be paired with a veteran while he continues to develop.”

2012 Statistics:

Games

Pass Yards

Pass YPG

Comp. %

Rush Yards

Total TD’s

Total Turnovers

QB Rating

7

1473

210

56.6

162

8

11

77.0

 

Current Value:  I suppose it would be way too easy to make a reference to “The Hurt Locker” here, huh?  Unfortunately, injuries have been the main storyline thus far in his 2012 season.  Locker dislocated his non-throwing shoulder in a week one tilt with the Patriots, and re-injured it a few weeks later culminating in a lengthy absence through the Titans’ week 11 bye.

When he was under center, the results have been mixed.  He hasn’t played as well as he did in limited action last year, often displaying accuracy woes that would make Jake Plummer cringe.  Locker has, however, mixed in a few big plays, as well as the running ability that helps make his dynasty prospects so tantalizing.  It’s been theorized that former offensive coordinator Chris Palmer (recently fired) has been holding the offense back, so the final four games of the 2012 season under Dowell Loggains could prove predictive for the future.

Futures Market:  While Locker hasn’t yet lived up to the “mansion” moniker I bestowed upon him in July, it’s too early to rule him out completely.  The Titans’ offensive line has been decimated by injury (four out of five starters on IR), and top playmaker Kenny Britt is still rounding into form after successive knee surgeries.  If you own Locker, he’s a solid stash.  If you don’t, I’d send out a lowball offer in hopes he could be acquired on the cheap.  Like a volcano, Locker’s potential is dormant, but still there.

Blaine Gabbert, QB JAX

Real Estate Value (Building for the Future):  Building Condemned

Real Estate Speculation (Building for the Future):  “It would be disingenuous to completely rule out Gabbert becoming a viable fantasy quarterback.  However, his poor pocket presence may not be fixable.  Gabbert should only be rostered in the deepest of two-QB leagues, and even then, take what you can get for him.”

2012 Statistics:

Games

Pass Yards

Pass YPG

Comp. %

Rush Yards

Total TD’s

Total Turnovers

QB Rating

10

1662

166

58.3

56

9

9

77.4

 

Current Value:  Similar to skydiver Felix Baumgartner, Blaine Gabbert’s stock fell precipitously in 2012 (though, in fairness, Baumgartner started 24 miles above the Earth; Gabbert metaphorically began at the top of a step-ladder).  He was placed on injured reserve prior to the Jaguars’ week twelve game, and has since seen Chad Henne throw for 817 yards in the last three games with a 7:3 touchdown to turnover ratio.  For those keeping track, that’s almost half of Gabbert’s passing output and nearly 80% of his total touchdowns…in only 30% of the games.  This is the same Chad Henne who wasn’t even offered an extension by the Miami Dolphins this past off-season.  If you want an accurate depiction of Gabbert’s current dynasty value, lift the lid on your garbage can and take a whiff.

Futures Market:  The only (and I do mean ONLY) excuse that proponents of Gabbert could make is that he hasn’t had stud running back Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield for the majority of the season.  However, that hasn’t mattered for Henne, who has also gotten receivers Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III, as well as tight end Marcedes Lewis, involved.  The bottom line is Gabbert is dead weight on your roster, and if you can get anything for him via trade, you should immediately quit your job and get into the sales profession.

Christian Ponder, QB MIN

Real Estate Value (Building for the Future):  Top Floor Apartment with a View

Real Estate Speculation (Building for the Future):  “Said to have ‘advanced light years’ during the offseason, Ponder is someone to stash on your roster as a developmental quarterback.  Improvement in the passing game, coupled with moderate rushing yardage, gives Ponder high-end QB2 or even low-end QB1 upside.”

2012 Statistics:

Games

Pass Yards

Pass YPG

Comp. %

Rush Yards

Total TD’s

Total Turnovers

QB Rating

12

2305

192

62.5

183

15

15

79.4

 

Current Value:  It’s been a tale of two seasons for Ponder, leaving owners to ponder exactly what happened?  Through the first six games of the season, he averaged 239 yards passing with a 9:4 touchdown to turnover ratio, and his quarterback rating exceeded 83.2 five times.  Since then, Ponder has been held to under 200 yards passing four times (under 100 twice).  He’s also had a negative turnover differential, and has had five games with a quarterback rating of 74.8 or below.

What gives?

The Vikings have (wisely) made superhuman running back Adrian Peterson the focal point of the offense, and swiss-army knife Percy Harvin has missed time (and was recently placed on injured reserve).  Free agent acquisition Jerome Simpson hasn’t panned out, and rookie receiver Jarius Wright also hasn’t had many meaningful contributions.  This cumulative effect has led to Ponder essentially bringing a knife to a gunfight on a weekly basis, and doing his best Jerry Maguire impersonation to Vikings management:  “Help me…help you!”  His dynasty value remains unchanged from last year.

Futures Market:  Ponder has flashed skills at times this year, even being the last quarterback in the NFL to throw an interception.  Unfortunately, he’s had a few too many games with fantasy production that would make Blaine Gabbert snicker.  Regardless, the Vikings have shown no desire to give backup Joe Webb a shot, and seem to realize that Ponder has been playing against a stacked deck.  Ponder is a solid hold, and similar to Jake Locker, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to attempt to pry him from disgruntled owners.  I still believe Ponder offers mid-to-high end QB2 upside for the future.

Andy Dalton, QB CIN

Real Estate Value (Building for the Future):  The Quaint Cottage

Real Estate Speculation (Building for the Future):  “He’s worth rostering as a bye-week replacement (or low-end QB2 in a two-quarterback league), but may lack the physical tools to join the ranks of the elite.  If you own him, hold tight, as his value should only increase.”

2012 Statistics:

Games

Pass Yards

Pass YPG

Comp. %

Rush Yards

Total TD’s

Total Turnovers

QB Rating

12

2980

248

63.4

98

27

15

91.3

 

Current Value:  I first re-evaluated the Red Rifle in my Quarterly Report, stating that while he’d shown improvement, it could be in part due to the ease of his early schedule.  While it’s true that he’s since regressed in terms of passing yards per game and completion percentage, Dalton is still on pace for 36 total touchdowns.  His quarterback rating is also ten points higher than what it was last year, good for a top-12 ranking amongst qualifiers.

With that said, Dalton is edging dangerously close to Ryan Fitzpatrick territory in terms of late-season efficiency.  He has now failed to throw for more than 230 yards since week ten, falling off a statistical cliff that even Wile E. Coyote would shy away from.  So even though Dalton has overcome his fear of beating playoff-bound teams (victories over the Giants and Redskins), it’s tough to endorse him as more than a high-end QB2.

Futures Market:  Dalton started off the season with a fire reflective of his hair color, but has since settled in as more of a matchup play.  However, he’s clearly improved since his rookie season, and it would be inadvisable to sell while his value is still on the rise.  I’ve softened my stance about Dalton’s upside, but am still not a firm believer that he possesses the physical tools and consistency to join the ranks of the high-end weekly starters.  Consider him a high-end QB2 with upside.

Colin Kaepernick, QB SF

Real Estate Value (Building for the Future):  The Fixer Upper

Real Estate Speculation (Building for the Future):  “You should really only own him if you’re in a deep (or 2QB) league where you also own Alex Smith.”

2012 Statistics:

Games

Pass Yards

Pass YPG

Comp. %

Rush Yards

Total TD’s

Total Turnovers

QB Rating

9

888

99

65.1

298

7

3

96.7

 

Current Value:  In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, “Boy, that escalated quickly.  I mean, that really got out of hand fast.”  Due to starter Alex Smith’s concussion against the Rams, Kaepernick got his first career start in a mid-November clash with the Monsters of the Midway.  All he did is lead the 49ers to a 32-7 victory over a perceived NFC power.  After officially being named the starter, Kaepernick has sported a per-game average of 227 yards passing (and 40 rushing yards) with a 4:1 touchdown to turnover ratio.

The bottom line is that he’s done enough to relegate Smith, who quarterbacked the 49ers to the conference championship game last year and still sports a top-three quarterback rating, to the bench.  Coach Jim Harbaugh clearly isn’t messing around with his handpicked second-year signal caller, and neither should you.  Due to the combination of his strong arm, accuracy and running ability, Kaepernick offers high-end QB1 upside.

Futures Market:  It’s become clear that my original assessment of Kaepernick is equivalent to constructing a building, and needing to retrofit it only a year later.  Unless he gets hurt or completely faceplants, the starting job is his for both the short and long-term future.  He’s done enough that 49ers beat writers are speculating the team will eventually release Smith outright, as he’s only due a guaranteed $1 million in 2013.  If you want to acquire Kaepernick, do so now before his price “escalates quickly.”

Revised Rankings

The critiques of the quarterbacks listed above have been demolished and re-zoned, and now it’s time to evaluate the “properties” once again.

Tier 1 – The High-Rise

Colin Kaepernick:  Sample size be damned, one player clearly towers above the others.  Kaepernick’s blend of athletic ability and situation vaults him to the head of the pack.

Tier 2 – Beachfront Timeshares

Josh Freeman and Andy Dalton:  These are the guys who can look good on any given weekend, but you’re not sure if you want to own them for an entire year (or more).  However, with a few more sunny weekends getaways, you could probably be talked into a long-term investment.

Tier 3 – Expansion Pending

Jake Locker:  This is the equivalent of applying for an expansion permit, but having to wait, and wait, and wait some more before you finally get approved.  Locker continues to offer QB1 upside, but we’re still waiting.

Tier 4 – The “Realtor Special”

Christian Ponder and Sam Bradford:  This is the type of apartment where the realtor gets you in and out within five minutes so that you don’t hear the obnoxious sound of a train rumbling past.  Ponder and Bradford have both been hampered by situation, but the translation of physical ability to on-field play has been intermittent at best.

Tier 5 – Abandoned Properties

Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow:  Sometimes you just need to pack up and leave.  Sanchez and Tebow both need a change of scenery, but even then offer little to no upside.

Tier 6 – Building Razed

Blaine Gabbert:  When your team performs better with a castoff from the Miami Dolphins leading the charge, it’s possible your career is demolished.  Gabbert doesn’t even necessarily possess backup-level talent, and is a waste of a roster spot.

In Conclusion (For Now)

Much like listings in the housing market, quarterback rankings must be constantly evaluated.  Depending on the daily and weekly minutiae, yesterday’s fixer upper can become today’s high-rise in the blink of an eye.  At the end of the day, proper consideration of “market trends” can dictate whether you’re making smart investments, or mortgaging the future of your team.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27

2 Comments
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Eric MacKenzie
9 years ago

I still think your former “mansion” is on the verge of being condemned, but otherwise I pretty much agree with the assessments here. I’m still holding out hope for Sanchez out of stubborness, but I recognize the odds are heavily against me.

To Top