“Fantasy Football’s fourth best Quarterback”. These words don’t sound as inspiring or as exciting as they would if we’d take out one word, “fourth”. We all want the best quarterback, yet we’d all be happy with the fourth best quarterback as well because if we had them, then quarterback would be one of the positions on our fantasy teams we wouldn’t be worrying about from week to week. Who are the fourth best quarterbacks over the last two seasons and which is most likely to achieve a position near the top again? Well, both are former first overall selections in their draft class!
In 2005 Alex Smith was selected first overall out of Utah, by the San Francisco 49’ers. Not many of the 2005 draftees are even still in the league especially in positions on our fantasy teams, and after being selected first, Smith has been an afterthought to another quarterback selected later in the first round – Aaron Rodgers. Smith has probably even been an afterthought to third round draftee, running back Frank Gore. However, in 2011 Jim Harbaugh was named the new head coach of the forty niners and Alex Smith’s career finally saw an upswing. He passed for 3,000 yards for the first time in the NFL, and though he only posted a modest 17 TD’s, this was against just five interceptions, and the result was a 13-3 record.
The following year, 2012, Smith was injured and missed six games which lead to playing time for his eventual replacement, Colin Kaepernick, and his own trade to the Kansas City Chiefs. In Kansas City Smith built on his success under Harbaugh and continued to be a reliable quarterback who didn’t turn the ball over. After four quality seasons with the Chiefs an aberration occurred, Smith broke the 4,000 passing yards in a season mark for the first time in his career with 26 TD’s against only five interceptions. These numbers put him as the fourth best quarterback in 2017. Will he repeat the success? Not in Kansas City, as the coaching staff has once again decided to go with the younger, shinier, more exciting version of an NFL quarterback, but possibly in Washington where a coaching staff is happy to have him.
What lead to the career year in Kansas City and can it be duplicated in Washington? His number of passing attempts of course were up, over 500 for the first time in his career, but also he was throwing the ball farther down the field. This was mainly to two targets, Tyreek Hill a dynamic young receiver with exceptional speed and Travis Kelce an athletic pass catching tight end. Washington possibly offers more. Already with an injury to their expected starter at running back, Smith’s passing attempts should be comparable or exceed last year’s 505 attempts. They have an athletic pass catching tight end in Jordan Reed, who when healthy is among the league’s best at the position and seems to have fixed chronic foot problems with offseason surgery, and a quality backup in Vernon Davis. They have a speedy receiver who is great at running after the catch in Jamison Crowder, but not quite on the level of Tyreek Hill. However, in Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson added, Smith will have a better overall group of receivers to target on game day. Smith currently is only being drafted as a backup quarterback with a 12th round ADP, which sounds about right after a fantasy career of only being relevant for one season. I don’t think Smith will finish as the fourth best fantasy quarterback again this season, but I do think a top 12 finish is attainable in his current situation in Washington and Smith will once again be a fantasy relevant quarterback in 2018.
Now on to 2016’s fourth best quarterback. He was the first overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, out of Stanford, of the Indianapolis Colts, and until an injury late in his 2016 season there was no doubt he was the best quarterback of his draft class which also included Russell Wilson. Andrew Luck tallied the fourth most fantasy points for quarterbacks in 2016, and this wasn’t even his best season. He was expected to be a mainstay at the top of the quarterback rankings, but then a shoulder injury and missing the entire 2017 season.
In early drafts this year most owners were skeptical Luck would see the field this year after being told by Colt’s management in 2017 that Luck would be ready to play by week one and again hearing the same this year. He wasn’t even throwing a football yet. Then slowly time passed, Luck was cleared to begin throwing and his ADP started to rise. Then we heard reports he was looking great in training camp practices and he played in an actual preseason game, and his ADP continued to rise. In week two of the preseason, he took a big hit from Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens and didn’t break. He now sits with an early seventh round ADP in 12 team drafts. This ADP doesn’t reflect where he would be being drafted if there was never a shoulder injury, but it does once again display owner confidence in Luck.
Luck has never had the greatest weapons to target on his Colts’ teams, but he has the ability to make the players around him better. T.Y. Hilton is his best option, but Luck will make use of whoever’s open, or maybe even when they’re not open. His offensive line is a work in progress, but better than the line they have put on the field over the last few years. The questions are will Luck finally learn not to take so many unnecessary hits, is his shoulder as strong as before the injury and will the shoulder hold up. There are many fine quarterbacks in the NFL and Luck has a lot of competition to get back to the fourth spot or higher, but if he does take less hits and the shoulder holds up there is no doubt he is one of the best at his position in the league and a spot among fantasy football’s elite quarterbacks is within his reach.
Check back next week for another article on one or more of our 2018 quarterback options and as always good luck this fantasy season!
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel and Kyle Amore live on Sunday August 19th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #133 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts live August 16th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #89 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will take a close look at some possible ADP steals in our drafts this season.
My guest this week is Andy Macuga. He is the former Head Football and Baseball Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. out in the San Diego area. Andy is also a 6 year veteran of Major League Fantasy Sports leagues and a frequent radio guest.