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Drafting Your Backup Quarterback

Picking your starting quarterback is usually an easy thing for a fantasy football team owner to do. Usually you have a good feeling about a player, or you just let one of the top tier guys fall to you in the middle rounds. Picking a backup quarterback, on the other hand, is something most guys treat like toilet paper; anyone will do. Here are few things to consider when drafting your backup and guys that would make good complements to your starter.

The Top Guys – Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers – are going to be the top guys on just about everyone’s lists. These are the guys that put up big numbers and have virtually no risk. Vick is the only dangerous one, but his upside is so great that someone in your league is going to take him early. If you’re drafting one of these guys, it’s because you don’t want to make a decision about your quarterback all season, and should look towards the very late rounds of your draft to take your backup quarterback.

The Lower Starters – Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub and Eli Manning. These guys either carry some risk of injury, or just haven’t been putting up those gaudy, stud quarterback numbers people have been looking for. If you’re drafting one of these guys it’s probably between Rounds 5-10, because you didn’t like any of your other options available at the time. When drafting one of these guys, make sure your backup is the opposite type of player as your starter. If your starter carries a lot of injury risk, draft a guy that is solid because he just doesn’t score a ton of points from week to week. This way if you need to start him for a few weeks, you’re probably not going to lose because of your backup. If your quarterback is solid, but just doesn’t have that wow factor, draft a backup with tons of upside but has a history of going down sometime during the season.

The Quarterback Free Fall: The quarterback free fall is a strategy that could work to your advantage this year. You wait until the late rounds of your draft (Rounds 11-16) and you draft a couple of backup quarterbacks. Before that, you stack up on early-round running backs and wide receivers. If you do choose this strategy I suggest taking both of your quarterbacks in back-to-back rounds on the short side of your drafting swing. This way the chances of someone stealing your sleeper quarterback picks is less likely.

In my book this year, the Top 10 quarterbacks are easy to pick out of the group. The backups are more subjective to different people’s opinions of upside and potential.

Aaron Rodgers

Backup to take: Matthew Stafford

Rodgers has been fantasy’s No. 1 or 2 quarterback the past three years. The guy is as solid of a quarterback pick as Peyton Manning, only this guy is seven years younger. If you’re drafting Rodgers it’s probably in the first or early second round. You took the guy because you didn’t want to have to worry about your quarterback except for his bye week. The guy you should take as Rodgers back up is Stafford. Stafford has shown flashes of his No. 1 overall pick value, but the guy can’t stay on the field. The chances of Rodgers going down are slim, and if Stafford shows the he can be healthy and productive, you could have some trade bait on your hands for the late season.

Peyton Manning

Backup to take: David Garrard

Manning is now football’s Iron man since Brett Farve left the game. The guy hasn’t missed a start since he entered the league. You take zero risk when drafting Manning, so his backup should carry the same zero risk. Garrard is a guy that doesn’t have that wow factor, but is steady and has quietly been just outside starter range for fantasy. Garrard could be plugged into your lineup and pick up right where Manning leaves off, and still get you into your playoffs.

Tom Brady

Backup to take: Matt Cassel

Brady looked back to his normal self this past season, so drafting him doesn’t carry much risk. For his backup why not take his old backup in New England with Cassel. The only time you’ll need to start Cassel is for Brady’s bye week, when Kansas City plays at Oakland (more than likely without Nnamdi Asomugha).

Michael Vick

Backup to take: Joe Flacco

Drafting Vick is a risky pick, given his injury history. With Vick you’re going to have to spend slightly higher pick on your backup, to make sure you have a good solid one who stays healthy. A perfect guy who fits the bill is Flacco. Flacco is viewed as a guy who is just outside starter material, but has been steadily improving and doesn’t get hurt. Take Flacco higher than you think he should go to make sure you secure his services for when you need him.

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