The NFL landscape has transformed into one that gives quarterbacks the clear advantage. Take for example a seemingly mediocre Ryan Fitzpatrick. A lower-round backup for most fantasy footballers, but in 2010 he still posted a productive 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns. The fact is you don’t have to go with a name brand quarterback in the first rounds, because you can still get production for less. If you choose to go with other positions in the first few rounds, or you are operating under a two-quarterback system, consider these lower round options to strengthen your team.
Matt Ryan –
While he is in a tough division, the Atlanta Falcons have one of the easier roads with a strength of schedule rank of 19. They also have the Ryan-to-Roddy White connection. Last year White caught 10 touchdowns and had 1,389 yards from a honed in Ryan. When applied to the athletically enhanced wide receiver core thanks to the addition of rookie Julio Jones, the Falcons are primed to light up the scoreboards.
Matt Cassel –
In 2010 he ranked eighth in the NFL for touchdowns. That number is set to drastically improve with the addition of first round wideout, Jonathan Baldwin. His arrival coupled with the elusive Dwayne Bowe, and the bolstered offensive line means that the Kansas City Chiefs are looking to offensively dominate in an already defensively weak AFC West.
Matthew Stafford –
While he is injury prone, he has natural, raw skills at the quarterback position. In only three games played in 2010, he recorded 535 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception. Against the New York Jets defensive powerhouse, Stafford put up a 94.7 passer rating proving that he can slice through any defense. With a freakishly tall Calvin Johnson, and a speedy rookie wideout in Titus Young, the Lions offense is finally ready to start pleasing fantasy owners.
Tarvaris Jackson –
The Seattle Seahawks made the playoffs with a losing record in 2010, which means only one thing – the NFC West is terrible. Jackson is reuniting with his old offensive coordinator so there won’t be any learning curve. Jackson is also a threat in the running arena. In 2007 he rushed for 260 yards and three touchdowns. He brings with him Sidney Rice, a wiry, but catch-happy receiver who is destined to make his mark in a dismal NFC West.
Sam Bradford –
New offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels prefers the pass more than the run. In each of his years as coordinator in New England, as well as his head coaching tenure in Denver, McDaniels chose to pass more than run. The Rams acquired a decent wide receiver in Mike Sims-Walker, and addressed an offensive need with multiple wide receiver picks in the draft. Bradford threw for more than 3,500 yards in his rookie season, and is ready to make the leap in fantasy production this year.
Josh Freeman –
In 2009, Freeman’s rookie season, he threw 10 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. With just one NFL offseason he drastically improved his numbers by throwing 25 touchdowns to just six interceptions in 2010. He also has the ability to avoid oncoming rushes and get positive yards with his feet. Now entering his third season with a young, but gelling offensive group, Freeman is looking to make some noise.
Cam Newton –
While he is highly touted by some people as the next coming, he is still playing for the Carolina Panthers, who stink. To top that, the Panthers have the hardest strength of schedule in the league this year, and with an aging Steve Smith, Newton will have to throw the ball to himself to get any kind of production this season.
David Garrard –
The reason Jacksonville moved up to grab Blaine Gabbert is obviously because they don’t believe in Garrard, and neither should you. With a tough NFL schedule this year, and Jack Del Rio on the verge of losing his job, a nod to Gabbert is imminent during the season, leaving you scrambling to replace an already poor performing Garrard.
Jay Cutler –
With the loss of one of the Chicago’s best go-to receivers, tight end Greg Olsen, Cutler is forced to throw to a mediocre core of catchers to include the lazy, butter fingered Roy Williams. In a division well known for its defensive efficiency, and an offensive line that still has question marks, the moody Cutler will likely suffer a depressing, lackluster
Colt McCoy – T
he Cleveland Browns are making strides toward success, but it’s still too early to draft an unproven quarterback like McCoy. With the likes of Baltimore, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh on their docket twice a year, the young and still untested McCoy will have a tough season.
Matt Hasselbeck –
He is an older quarterback that is susceptible to injury. He also has to learn a brand new offensive scheme in a lockout condensed period of time. With Chris Johnson holding out for a new contract, Hasselbeck will have a tough time finding the essential run/pass balance needed to keep an offense on the field in the National Football League.
Any quarterback from Washington, Cincinnati or Miami –
They aren’t good. Stay away. It’s just that easy.