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QB Options: Looking Beyond The Superstars

 

By David Rosenthal (@BuckAv)
Writer for Dynasty Football Warehouse

There are a handful of truly elite fantasy football quarterbacks out there. However, most of us aren’t fortunate enough to own an Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck. But even those who are still need someone worthwhile off the bench for bye weeks and in case of injury.

While everyone wants to find the next big star, there are still some veterans out there that can be obtained at a price that does not match their current level of production. Let’s take a look at a few options.

ANDY DALTON

Current ADP: QB17 | Current DFW Ranking: QB17 | 2013 Finish: QB3

Dalton quietly put together a very impressive 2013 campaign and has improved every year he has been in the league. While there is a good chance last season will be his career peak (at least from a fantasy perspective), Dalton is still a quarterback worth obtaining.

In A.J. Green he has the luxury of working with one of the most elite wide receivers in the game. And Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill form a young, solid duo for him out of the backfield. Despite his talented surroundings and a top-5 QB-finish last season, Dalton can still be had at mid-QB2 prices.

He is currently being drafted behind two rookie quarterbacks (Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel) as well as Tony Romo (who is much older and finished as the QB13 last year). Even with an expected drop in production under new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, Dalton is still being undervalued and disrespected in fantasy circles  which makes him a very worthy target for fantasy owners.

BEN ROETHLISBERGER

Current ADP: QB21 | Current DFW Ranking: QB15 | 2013 Finish: QB8

Big Ben has slid off the national radar  from both a fantasy perspective and otherwise  as the Steelers have fallen out of regular Super Bowl contention. While it is certainly true that at 32-years-of-age he is on the downside of his career, Roethlisberger has a decent core of players around him (although he could use a solid secondary receiver to step-up alongside Antonio Brown). And he still possesses the size and strength to gain a few yards on the ground whenever necessary.

He isn’t likely to have the longevity of a Peyton Manning, but he has enough years left in him to remain a worthwhile fantasy asset for at least another three or four seasons. A regression in his production is certainly possible in 2014, but Roethlisberger is still likely to be a low-end QB1 that can be obtained at low-end QB2 prices.

PHILIP RIVERS

Current ADP: QB18 | Current DFW Ranking: QB14 | 2013 Finish: QB6

Other than a down year in 2012 when he finished the season as the QB18, Rivers has been a top-ten fantasy quarterback every year since 2008. At 32-years-old he likely has the bulk of his playing career behind him, but there doesn’t appear to be any cause for concern about a decline in his playing ability. And while the names may have changed, he is still surrounded by some noteworthy offensive weapons.

After throwing for a near career high 32 touchdowns in 2013 (he completed 34 TD passes in 2008) a regression from Rivers in that department is to be expected. However, his yardage statistics are likely to remain consistent enough that any decline in his fantasy production should be relatively minor.

Rivers should be able to maintain performance as a top-ten fantasy quarterback for at least the next few seasons. And the expected emergence of tight end Ladarius Green would only serve to further solidify that statement.

RYAN TANNEHILL

Current ADP: QB19 | Current DFW Ranking: QB21 | 2013 Finish: QB11

Tannehill may be the biggest risk on this list, but he also happens to be the youngest. Miami fans have been waiting for a breakthrough season from him since he entered the league, but as more and more time passes without that happening, more and more begin to question whether or not a superstar future lies ahead for him. But fortunately for fantasy owners, a player does not have to be a superstar to be worth starting.

The young signal caller finished 2013 as a QB1 despite being surrounded by mediocre talents, and two poor performances to finish the season. If Miami can provide Tannehill with more offensive weapons he should be able to maintain his low-end QB1 value for a significant number of years. The offseason addition of Knowshon Moreno was an attempt to move in that direction, but his recent knee surgery is a current hindrance to any value he might have otherwise brought to the team.

The biggest concern is a matter of how long will the Dolphins be willing to start Tannehill if that breakthrough season never comes about. He seems safe for 2014, but at this time it is a possibility the team could bring in another young option to compete in future years.

*Read more about Ryan Tannehill and the 2014 Miami Dolphins here.