The 2014 season may go down as the worst year ever for the first five picks in fantasy football drafts.
Let's assume your league went LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte and Eddie Lacy at the top of the draft. They have combined for 810 yards and one touchdown through three games, giving them 87 fantasy points based on standard scoring formats (1 point for 10 yards, 6 points for a touchdown).
Now add up the points for Andrew Luck, who could have been drafted somewhere in the seventh round. He has scored 95 points in leagues with standard CBSSports.com and Yahoo scoring formats. Peyton Manning, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler aren't far behind.
The disparity between one mid-round pick and half of the entire first round demonstrates how undervalued quarterbacks are in an era when injuries to running backs are rampant and rule changes provide greater leeway to the QB position. It also raises the question about whether preseason quarterback rankings should be given higher value in the future to reflect the trend.
Quarterback is also a position where you can find some value on the waiver wire and through trades as the season unfolds, something that is even more necessary now that bye weeks are upon us. Here are five QB plays to consider:
KIRK COUSINS: His gem turned in for Washington against Philadelphia (427 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT) has created a quandary for fantasy owners because it's impossible to know if the game was an anomaly or a sign of great things to come. If you have the roster spot and question marks at quarterback, why not take a flier and grab Cousins?
WILSON AT HOME: How is this for a QB strategy? Draft Russell Wilson and start him only when Seattle is at home and find a suitable second option during the Seahawks' road games. You pretty much know what you're going to get from him at home: 250 yards, 2 TDs, 40 to 50 yards on the ground, not many interceptions. If you could bank on that for eight games and scrounge for points in the other weeks, it might work.
KAP AND TRADE? Colin Kaepernick can be obtained at a bargain-basement price on the trade market after a rough 1-2 start for San Francisco. If you think the 49ers will pull out of this funk, get their house in order and surge in December, it's worth going after him at a cheap price. Remember, San Francisco was 1-2 last year at this point, but the team reeled off winning streaks of five and six games to finish strong. But if you think the poor start is a harbinger for a bad 2014 season, then stay away.
JOE FLACCO: The Super Bowl-winning quarterback has never been much of a fantasy producer, but Flacco is a viable option as a bye-week replacement or a spot matchup play. The Ravens are passing even more in their new Gary Kubiak system, so don't be surprised to see Flacco put up some big numbers at various times in the year as he becomes more comfortable in the offense.
TWO-QB LEAGUES: In a nod to the growing number of two-QB leagues, the carousel is spinning even more forcefully heading in to the fourth week. Last week we talked about how Blake Bortles and Mike Glennon were lurking in the state of Florida, and both will be starting this week. The next wave: Keep an eye on the situations for the Titans (Charlie Whitehurst/injured Jake Locker), Jets (Michael Vick/ineffective Geno Smith), Dolphins (Matt Moore/ineffective Ryan Tannehill, who isn't getting a strong vote of confidence from his coach) and Panthers (Derek Anderson/Cam Newton, who was hurting badly in Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh).
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