QBBWW Part 5: QBs to Target and Avoid for Week 1
It’s officially drafting season, and if you’re keen on the little quarterback by waiver wire (QBBWW) system I’ve discussed ad nauseam, your sights should be set squarely on signal callers with big, fat, juicy Week 1 matchups.
It’s been sung before, but it can’t be said enough: streaming quarterbacks – or any position, really – should be your fallback position, your backup plan for when top-tier quarterbacks go fast and furious through the first four or five rounds of your draft.
It’s when a couple stragglers from the consensus top-12 quarterbacks drop into the middle rounds – this happens in most expert drafts – that you seize on the opportunity to gobble up a big chunk of gleaming value and take that guy as your starter.
Otherwise, take a late-round quarterback or two and exploit favorable matchups, never hesitating to pluck a one-week stud from the dungeon of your league’s waiver wire.
I’ve used 4for4’s Hot Spots – a grid highlighting strength of schedule – to identify two streamable signal callers I’m targeting for Week 1, and two guys I’m avoiding.
Adjusted fantasy points (aFPA), it should be noted, have been adjusted from last season to account to offseason acquisitions and losses.
The QBBWW golden child, still being drafted toward the back half of the 12th round, goes to Jacksonville for his first real go-round as the Chiefs’ signal caller. Smith, for the first time, will be a volume thrower with considerable talent around him, and he’ll face a Jaguars’ defense that allowed 17.7 adjusted fantasy points (aFPA) per game in 2012 – fourth worst in the league.
Jacksonville used five of its eight 2013 draft picks on defensive backs, including Johnathan Cypien, who is considered a potential future star who is – to put it kindly – proving rather raw in training camp. Jaguars defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker said in May that this year’s secondary is “no question” the greenest group he’s ever coached. Take advantage.
The guy who, very quietly, threw the ball 544 times in 2012 gets the often-moribund Chargers’ secondary in Week 1. San Diego allowed 16.5 aFPA to opposing quarterbacks last season, and there’s no reason to believe the team has made giant secondary upgrades since then. The Chargers’ cornerbacks and safeties were also roasted by wide receivers through much of last year, giving up 21.9 aFPA per contest.
The Chargers, who gave up nine multi-touchdown games to quarterbacks in 2012, still don’t have a true No. 1 cover guy. The Texans have Andre Johnson and rookie stud DeAndre Hopkins. Schaub, who can be had at the end of the 11th round, could be in for a dandy season opener.
My love of Cutler has some of Twitter questioning whether Smokin’ Jay has hired me as his head of public relations in fantasyland. I’m officially advising against Cutler as a Week 1 plug and play option, just to throw you off the scent.
On a more serious note: The Bengals’ secondary was fantastic against opposing signal callers in 2012, allowing a measly 12.9 aFPA per game, fifth best in the NFL. The Bengals allowed zero or one touchdown pass in an astounding 12 games. The game is in Chicago, which may be a slight upgrade for Cutler, but I think there are better streaming plays for Opening Day.
Cincy’s top cover man, Leon Hall, is coming off a torn Achilles tendon, so keep an eye on reports of any sort of setbacks for Hall this preseason. Otherwise, be wary of Cutler here.
Tannehiil, whose overall schedule is among the softest of any NFL quarterback, starts 2013 with a bit of a doozy, going against a Browns’ secondary that allowed 12.9 aFP against quarterbacks last year, appearing dominant at times during home games. Tannehill, it should be noted, has looked lackluster through most of training camp, according to Dolphins beat writers.
The Cleveland secondary held seven opponents to less than 210 yards in 2012. Top cornerback Joe Haden came into form as a top-flight cover man, and I’d expect him to shadow Tannehill’s new No. 1 pass catcher, Mike Wallace.