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Why QB’s Are More Valuable Than RB’s

For years, you’ve heard the theory from just about every so-called fantasy football expert and you’ve applied them to your fantasy team. Runningbacks are the most valuable position in fantasy football and you must take two backs in your first three picks of your draft. I say you need to abandon that strategy the way LeBron James left

Cleveland
. When you’re playing fantasy football, you need to have a clear understanding of your league’s scoring system. For instance, I play in one league where 10 yards equals one point across the board, regardless of position. Rushing, receiving – and you guessed it – passing as well. That means if a quarterback goes for 300 yards and three scores, you’re looking at position that gives you nearly 50 points that week. In a league like that, quarterback had better be a top priority and a guy like Drew Brees could be the No. 1 overall selection.

But, even if you’re in a league with a standard scoring system, you need to understand this about the NFL – it’s a passing league for the most part. Teams everywhere are incorporating three and four wide receiver sets and spreading defenses out to look for those mismatches. The NFL is a copycat league. Everyone saw the dominance of the 2007 New England Patriots offense where Tom Brady threw for 50 touchdowns and Randy Moss caught 23 of them. My cousin had both players on one team and they literally carried him to a fantasy title. I can’t remember who his backs were and it didn’t matter. And I’m a huge believer in having a quarterback-wide receiver tandem on my fantasy team. Two seasons ago, I had Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald. The result? A fantasy title. Getting double the points when they hook up for touchdowns passes is quite pleasing but the negative is when they’re having an off day, it’s a lost week. That’s why you need to grab a quarterback-wide receiver from a potent passing attack. This year, I highly recommend Tony Romo and Miles Austin from the Dallas Cowboys. Last season, Romo threw for almost 4,500 yards and 26 scores.

Austin
caught 11 of those despite starting just nine games. With a full season under their belt, I expect these two to put up monster numbers, especially Romo. With the drafting of Dez Bryant to go along with Austin, Roy Williams and Jason Witten, I can see Romo going for 4,700 yards and 35 scores. Huge numbers indeed, and that should make him a top priority in your draft regardless of the scoring system.

Austin
could be in line for a 1,500 yard season and 13 scores. And oh, by the way, he’s in a contract year so he has plenty of motivation to cash in, and keep Kim Kardashian happy.

There are very few runningbacks in the league right now who touch the ball 25 times per game. Just about every team now employs the dreaded time-share with two and maybe three backs sharing carries. Chris Johnson of

Tennessee
will likely get the bulk of the carries, but with his smallish frame, can he hold up for an entire season? That would concern me. Yes, he is the top fantasy running back and probably No. 1 on your draft boards. Falcons runningback Michael Turner could be in line for a bounce back year, but is he over the ankle problem? Adrian Peterson tends to get banged around and now has a fumbling problem. And if you look at his yard-per-carry average, it has steadily declined from 5.6 during his fabulous rookie year in 2007 to 4.4 last season. I look at these backs and just about every single big name back has questions. What type of questions do you have about Brees? Not much, if any. You know the Saints are a passing team. You know they have plenty of weapons at wide receiver, tight end and even runningbacks who can catch the ball in Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. Head coach Sean Payton uses them all. And they play indoors. And they play the Buccaneers twice this season. You can pretty much pencil in Brees for 30-plus touchdown passes and well over 4,000 yards. That’s the type of anchor you need to lead your fantasy squad. Outside of Johnson, I don’t have a great deal of confidence in the upper-echelon of runningbacks. In fact, I’m really high on some rookie backs, particularly
San Diego’s Ryan Mathews and

Detroit
’s Jahvid Best. I expect both to make big impacts this season and they should be mid-round sleepers, especially Mathews. He’s a big back with sprinter speed who should have plenty of running lanes to run through because opposing defenses must respect the Chargers’ pass-first offense.

So, should you go quarterback-quarterback in the first two rounds? Absolutely not.   But in recent years, I have found that quarterback-runningback-wide receiver should be your first three picks, and maybe in that order. Your strategy should look like this: grab a quarterback-wide receiver tandem from the same team early and then grab quality backs in the mid-rounds who can put up respectable numbers. I would gladly take Romo-Austin or Matt Schaub-Andre Johnson early and settle for Best or Mathews later.

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