Matt Hicks, Staff Writer
To assess the value of each player, I took their average draft position (ADP) and subtracted their final position ranking (POS Rank) for the 2017 season. I’ve provided a chart for each player, and broken down why they finished where they did.
|Player||Team||2017 ADP (ESPN)||2017 POS Rank (ESPN)||Value|
- Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP 21*, POS Rank 4**)
Smith shocked the fantasy world when he went from conservative game manager to dynamic difference maker. Smith had an ADP that left him undrafted in 2017, but quickly proved those who had faith in him (humble brag) with a 368 passing yard and 4 touchdown game to open the NFL season against the Patriots. Things got better from there, and Smith recorded a career highs in passing yards (4,042), touchdowns (26), QB Rating (104.74), and turnover ratio (26:5). Smith’s success has been a long time coming, he deserves to be at the top of this list.
- Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP 17, POS Rank 5)
Wentz finished as QB 5 on the season, even though he played just 13 games due to injury. Wentz had huge yardage in his rookie season (3,782) and was on pace to finish very close to that; what made the difference was his playmaking ability. Wentz threw for 33 TDs, the second most of any QB, while throwing just 7 interceptions. That was a huge increase from the 16 touchdown, 14 interception rookie season that kept his draft stock low.
- Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers (ADP 18, POS Rank 8)
- Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (ADP 21*, POS Rank 12)
Few people believed in Goff preseason, I did though. He proved the rest of the fantasy community wrong, throwing 296-477 (62.1%) for 3,804 passing yards. What made the difference was his drastic turnover improvement in a more efficient offense, throwing 28 touchdowns to 7 interceptions, compared to his 5 touchdowns to 7 interceptions in 7 games in 2016.
- Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP 21*, POS Rank 13)
- Case Keenum, Minnesota Vikings (ADP 21*, POS Rank 14)
- Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (ADP 5, POS Rank 1)
Wilson has finished as a QB1 every season since he’s been in the league, but this season he finally reached fantasy glory; finishing as THE QB1 in 2017. Wilson proved that dual threat quarterbacks provide the most value; throwing for 3,983 yards and rushing for another 586 yards. He also had 37 combined touchdowns (34 passing) to his 11 interceptions.
- Cam Newton, Carolina Panther (ADP 6, POS Rank 2)
Newton had a huge bounce back year; going from QB17 in 2016 to QB2 in 2017. His increased production came primarily from an additional 395 rushing yards and 3 additional total touchdowns. I invested in Cam this season, and it paid off huge for me; and anyone else who did as well.
- Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (ADP 20, POS Rank 16)
- Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (ADP 9, POS Rank 6)
- Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (ADP 10, POS Rank 7)
Stafford finished as QB7 for the second season in a row, and finished as a QB1 for the third straight season. This consistently underrated quarterback had the 3rd most passing yards (4,446) and the 4th most passing touchdowns (29) in 2017.
- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (ADP 13, POS Rank 10)
- Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (ADP 19, POS Rank 17)
- Tom Brady, New England Patriots (ADP 2, POS Rank 3)
This may be the most interesting statistic in this article. Tom Brady, the man touted by man as the top MVP candidate, performed 1 spot below his average draft position. Brady still had an incredible season; going 385-581 (66%) for 4,577 yards and 32 touchdowns, to 8 interceptions. Brady finished as the top pocket passer, but his fantasy value is capped by his inability to gain significant rushing yards and touchdowns.
- Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (ADP 8, POS Rank 11)
Prescott was drafted, on average, ahead of Wentz, Stafford, Cousins, Rivers, Smith, and Goff amongst other quarterbacks who performed better than the 11th ranked quarterback. Prescott’s disappointing season came with 343 less passing yards, 1 less touchdown, and 9 more interceptions than in 2016.
- Drew Brees, New Orleans (ADP 3, POS Rank 9)
Brees had his lowest passing yards (4,334) since 2005 (3,576) and his lowest touchdown total (23) since 2003 (11). Brees’ lack of fantasy production, however, should not be seen as a lack of success; his QB rating (103.87) was his best since 2013 (104.66). Instead, we should credit his disappointing fantasy performance to New Orleans’ unpredictable success in the run game with Kamara and Ingram.
- Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (ADP 11, POS Rank 18)
- Eli Manning , New York Giants (ADP 16, POS Rank 23)
- Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (ADP 12, POS Rank 22)
Winston failed to live up to his high preseason hype, even with a plethora of potent weapons at his disposal. Winston threw for 586 less passing yards and 9 less touchdowns than he did in 2016. Winston also failed to live up to the narrative that he’s a dual threat player; rushing for just 135 yards on 33 attempts, for one touchdown.
- Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (ADP 4, POS Rank 15)
Ryan is widely considered the biggest bust of the 2017 fantasy season. His performance, however, was very similar to every season of his career other than 2016. He proved to us that the additional 859 passing yards and 18 touchdowns he threw in 2016 were an anomaly. Moving forward Ryan can be a decent fantasy option, with a QBR of 91.36, if he is drafted in an appropriate draft position.
- Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (ADP 7, POS Rank 19)
Carr finished the 2017 season as the worst value for a quarterback that did not suffer a major injury. Carr threw for just 3,496 yards; which was 437 less yards than 2016. Carr also threw for 6 less touchdowns (22) than he had in 2016, and 10 less than he had in 2015. He threw 13 interceptions, which is 7 more than in 2016, however, he threw for 13 in 2015 and 12 in 2014. Carr will continue to be a flashy pick because of his big arm, and now he has a new coach and likely offensive system for 2018. You need to proceed with caution, however, because 2016 is the anomaly statistically, not 2017.
- Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (ADP 12, POS Rank 32)
- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (ADP 1, POS Rank 29)
- Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (ADP 15, POS Rank 67***)
*21 is the number given for any quarterback with an ADP of 170; which signals that they were drafted in the majority of leagues
**POS Rank=Position Rank, as determined by total fantasy points via ESPN standard scoring
***67 is the number given for any quarterback who failed to record any fantasy points
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