This is the 48th in a series of opinionated fantasy football columns that will be posted daily in July and August, providing fantasy owners with some insights to consider as they prepare for their drafts. You can get an in-depth preview of the upcoming fantasy football season with the purchase of the Yahoo! Sports / Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Football Guide 2010, available now in newsstands and bookstores, or online at PFWstore.com.
The fantasy football world is starting to realize that Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees might be the best quarterbacks in the NFL in some order, but Aaron Rodgers enters 2010 as perhaps the top-ranked fantasy QB out there. He's ranked No. 1 at the position in the PFW/Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football Guide 2010.
Rodgers was a remarkably consistent point producer last season, delivering big statistical performances, even in losses. He had a few less-than-memorable halves but almost never had four consecutive bad quarters on a Sunday.
Rodgers always gives you something. It’s why some consider him a first-round pick.
Now, drafting QBs that early has its drawbacks. Not only are you missing out on a top-tier running back but also a receiver. Assuming the pick is at the end of the first round, you will be picking soon thereafter on the flip, and the pressure will be high to reach for a running back and not take the best player available.
That’s the drawback. But the obvious positive is the fact that if Rodgers is anything close to what he was last season, you will have one of the two or three best scorers in fantasy football.
So, is Rodgers worth a first-round pick?
My philosophy is that no quarterback is, but it might be changing. We’re in a passer’s league, and though a lot of QBs score a lot of fantasy points, few do it with the efficiency or consistency that Rodgers did it with last season.
What you have to start asking yourself is how you’d end up with your first two picks — either taking Rodgers in Round One or going with a running back.
Let’s say you pick ninth in a 12-team league. It’s your pick and Rodgers is still there. You snag him. The top eight backs are gone, and the next six picks are: QB Drew Brees, WR Andre Johnson, RB Rashard Mendenhall, RB DeAngelo Williams, Manning and RB Cedric Benson. So, you could have Rodgers and, let’s say, either Ryan Mathews or Shonn Greene. It would be risky to take a QB first and not a running back second, so WRs Randy Moss and Reggie Wayne likely would be out, and it’s also a risk to take Packers teammate Ryan Grant, leaving yourself exposed on the bye week, so the options are limited.
But if you went instead with Mendenhall or Williams, would you be better off? On the back end, you probably would not get Brees — if you were bent on getting a QB up high — but you probably could land Manning.
Right about where the first round gets foggy is right about where Rodgers enters the picture. He’s good enough to go high, and if the other players in that range don’t excite you, I say why not?
Rodgers and Mathews vs. Mendenhall and Manning. I think I would take the former.
It won’t work out exactly that way in every league, of course, but the concept is the same. If there are no really great backs in the Picks 8-12 range of the first round and you’re really not passing on someone at another position you’ll truly regret, then it’s perfectly understandable to go with Rodgers or Brees at that spot.
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