Evaluating Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers

Fantasy Football Fantasy Football Strategy

By Staff Writer John Belaska

Colin Kaepernick is the best running quarterback in the league. He should have a better season in 2014 with a health group of wide receivers.

Colin Kaepernick is the best running quarterback in the league. He should have a better season in 2014 with a health group of wide receivers.

           

Last time, we discussed what to look for when trying to decide what running back to add to your fantasy football team. This will be a very similar discussion, but in regards to quarterbacks and wide receivers. These positions are both extremely important to your fantasy team, but for different reasons. Your fantasy quarterback has the potential to bring in more points than any other individual member of your team. It is important to have a good one because you can only start one each week. On the other hand, wide receivers are important for the opposite reason. You will typically start at least two each week. Some league require you to start three and some will give you an additional roster spot to chose between starting a wide receiver or running back.

Thankfully, the quarterback position is the easiest to evaluate. The best way to judge quarterbacks is based on their past performance. There are no real fantasy methods to doing this. It is as simple as just knowing how many yards and touchdowns they threw for in previous years.

The running quarterback is a growing trend in the National Football League. This can be very helpful in fantasy football. In most leagues, rushing yard and touchdowns are awarded more points than passing yards and touchdowns. This means there is a definite advantage to having one of these kinds of quarterbacks.

Basically, when considering which quarterback to get on your team you just need to decide what tier of quarterback you want and how much you are willing to spend to get him. If you want a top three passer, you must be willing to spend at least a second or third round draft pick on him. If you are fine with having someone who is not on that elite level, you can wait for a few rounds.

Peyton Manning is easily the best quarterback in fantasy football and he will demand a very high price tag in fantasy drafts.

Peyton Manning is easily the best quarterback in fantasy football and he will demand a very high price tag in fantasy drafts.

One thing to remember though, since you can only start one, it is never a good idea to be the last owner in your league to pick a quarterback. Try to get a quarterback who is in the top seven. By waiting until everyone else has a quarterback, you are guaranteeing yourself the worst starter at the position of any team in your league.

If you do not decided to draft a top three, or even a top five quarterback, it is highly advised that you be one of the first owners in your league to draft a back up. This ensures you have better chances of landing a good starter each week. You do not want to be the guy who has to pick up a new passer each week off the waiver wire. This never tends to work out well.

Wide receivers are much more difficult to access. In fact, they may be the toughest position to evaluate. This is because there are so many of them and there are multiple factors that affect their performance.

When drafting, be sure to grab at least one wide receiver in the first four rounds. This ensures you will have one very strong player at the position each week. After that you are very open to take sleepers, second wide receivers, or even another stud.

When deciding on a wide receiver, it all comes down to targets and receptions. As we said last time, a reception is a catch. Targets are simply the number of times the quarterback tried to throw the ball to that particular receiver. The more targets a receiver has, the more opportunities he has to put up fantasy points. If a receiver is targets ten times a game and puts up only 40 yards, that can still mean better numbers in the future than a guy who put up over hundred yards on two targets.

Julian Edleman was an absolute monster in PPR leagues in 2013.

Julian Edleman was an absolute monster in PPR leagues in 2013.

This is another one of those positions where it is very important to understand your league’s rules. If you play in a PPR league, you want the guy who gets more catches. A lot of times these guys will not be ranked as high as guys who score and put up tons of yards. This is because most expert rankings are based on standard scoring leagues where receptions are not awarded with fantasy points. If you play in a PPR league, possession receivers are better than the more popular deep threats.

Another rule to note about receivers is what position gets points for scoring a touchdown on a kick or punt return. Some leagues award these touchdowns to the player who brought the ball in for the score; however a lot of leagues will give these points to a team defense. This aspect can great effect both positions. If you play in a league that does give the points to the player who returned the punt or kick, guys who start on offense and special teams have increased value. If your league gives these return points to the defense, wide receivers who return kicks should be seen as more likely to get injured. Remember, more injuries occur on special teams plays than on offense or defense.

Also, look at the quarterback. The better the wide receiver’s quarterback is, the better his chances are of success. This is simply because a quarterback who throws for over 4000 yards has way more yards to go around to his receiver than the quarterback who threw for 3000. One good strategy that has been used countless times is to pair quarterbacks and receiver. This means draft a quarterback and then the best wide receiver on that team. This allows for the opportunity to double your fantasy points every time the two connect. This can backfire in some cases. If the quarterback has a bad week, more than likely your wide receiver did not perform too well either.

As was mentioned earlier, sleepers are a very big part of the wide receiver position. No other position offers more potential break out performances than this one. Throughout the season, many different wide outs will become very hot, and some big time stars will get on a cold streak. This is why you must be checking the waiver wire all the time. The next huge game is always right around the corner and these guys are the ones to do it.

When looking at the wide receiver position, it is important to break the season down in little chunks. Do not look at what they have done throughout the entire season. There will normally be tabs on the stats page of your fantasy league that can break down a player performance to a scale of two or four weeks. Use these when looking at sleepers. Take note of how many targets and receptions they got over this shorter period of time. This will let you know if their break out performance was real or just another day of some doing super well and having no chance of repeating.

Josh Gordon was the biggest breakout star wide receiver in 2013. He is a top three wide out going into this season.

Josh Gordon was the biggest breakout star wide receiver in 2013. He is a top three wide out going into this season.

When you do find a player that has all the credentials of a good break out candidate, pick them up immediately. Do not wait for them to do well and miss the opportunity to grab them. Stash them on your bench. You do not have to start them. In fact, it is better to wait and see what they will do with another game under their belt. Then you can make a better decision when it comes time to consider starting them.

This will conclude player evaluation. We will not delve into tight ends because they can be evaluated the same way as a wide receiver. There will be an article coming later on defenses, and strategies surrounding how choose starters, so we can save that for a later date. We have also gone into talk about when to draft starters for the quarterback, running back, and wide receiver positions. Naturally, this will lead into the next topic. Next time I will talk about when to consider drafting tight ends, kickers, and defenses. This is a very important topic because all of these positions are starter and are normally forgotten about by fantasy owners. This will be something you must read!

Remember, when looking at wide receivers and running backs it is all about how many opportunities they have to touch the football. More opportunities mean more fantasy points. More fantasy points means more wins. Quarterbacks are highly important and can lead your team to success, but you must decide prior to drafting one when you are willing to draft them. This all comes down to what you want your team to look at. This is the time to be thinking about it. Do not go into your draft blind. Know what you are willing to spend on each position. Understanding what makes players valuable is essential in leading your team to a fantasy championship. One of the most important things to remember about fantasy football is that it is based on real football. Understanding how player accumulate stats in real football can give you a really good fantasy football experience.


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