Sunday, April 19, 2015

RB or QB: Who should you draft first?

I have been obsessing over the fact the Tom Brady went second in my one league and 24th in the other.

RB or QB: Who should you draft first?

Where should Tom Brady be drafted? (AP Photos)
Where should Tom Brady be drafted? (AP Photos)

I have been obsessing over the fact the Tom Brady went second in my one league and 24th in the other.

Frank Gore went 11th in one and 26th in the other. Tony Romo went 37th in one and 54th in the other. And how about Knowshon Moreno? He went 24th in one...61st (!!!) in the other. But nothing stood out quite like Brady. From a top-two pick to the brink of the third round?

Then I started to wonder if one was too high, or was the other two low. Could they be both at the same time? Madness!

This led me to question who has more value at the top of the draft, running backs or quarterbacks. Based on the point projections I spell out below, a quarterback will yield you more point over the course of a season.

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That doesn't mean they're more valuable. Makes sense, right?

Let's examine:

First, let's take a look at Tom Brady. According to ESPN.com, he is projected to score 322.3 fantasy points this season. That's more than Adrian Peterson, more than Chris Johnson, and more than Arian Foster. In fact, it's the third high projection overall. Just Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees top Brady.

Therefore, the argument can be made that he getting him with the 24th pick is an absolute steal.

Not so fast. That is the ultimate question of fantasy: Which positions are most valuable?

At quarterback, there are five players projected to score within 50 points of the top performer, Aaron Rodgers (348 points). When you expand that to 100 points, the list grows to 12.

When you do the same comparison at running back, there are 6 backs within 50 points of Arian Foster (294 points), the top projected running back, and 17 within 100 points.

While the top 7 projected players are all quarterbacks, it is beyond the top teir where you see the real depth at quarterback. There are 21 quarterbacks projected to score over 200 points this season, while there are 17 running backs projected to score over 200.

I know, that's a lot of numbers to keep straight. Don't worry, no need to remember all of them. Just remember this: While Tom Brady is expected to score top-tier points, there are more quarterbacks out there that will get you points than there are running backs.

So while he was somewhat of a steal at the 24th pick, he was definitely a reach at No. 2.

Evidence: The owner who took Brady at No. 2 overall got DeAngelo Williams with his second-round pick. The owner who took Brady in the second round had already taken Adrian Peterson in the first round.

If he had just taken Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, or Foster with his first pick, here is a list of quarterbacks he could have taken in the second round: Matt Schaub, Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan.

Here is a look at how the first two rounds of each draft played out:

Exibit A - Brady in the second round.

ROUND 1
ROUND 2

1 Adrian Peterson, Min RB
2 Ray Rice, Bal RB
3 Arian Foster, Hou RB
4 Jamaal Charles, KC RB
5 LeSean McCoy, Phi RB
6 Chris Johnson, Ten RB
7 Rashard Mendenhall, Pit
8 Michael Vick, Phi QB
9 Aaron Rodgers, GB QB
10 Andre Johnson, Hou WR
11 Frank Gore, SF RB
12 Roddy White, Atl WR

TEAM 1
TEAM 2
TEAM 3
TEAM 4
TEAM 5
TEAM 6
TEAM 7
TEAM 8
TEAM 9
TEAM 10
TEAM 11
TEAM 12

13 Calvin Johnson, Det WR
14 Darren McFadden, Oak RB
5 Larry Fitzgerald, Ari WR
16 Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac RB
17 Michael Turner, Atl RB
18 Greg Jennings, GB WR
19 Drew Brees, NO QB
20 Steven Jackson, StL RB 
21 Hakeem Nicks, NYG WR 
22 Mike Wallace, Pit WR
23 Philip Rivers, SD QB
24 Tom Brady, NE QB

TEAM 12
TEAM 11
TEAM 10
TEAM 9
TEAM 8
TEAM 7
TEAM 6
TEAM 5
TEAM 4
TEAM 3
TEAM 2
TEAM 1

Exhibit B - Brady with the second pick.

ROUND 1 ROUND 2

1 Adrian Peterson, Min RB
2 Tom Brady, NE QB
3 Arian Foster, Hou RB
4 Ray Rice, Bal RB
5 Aaron Rodgers, GB QB
6 LeSean McCoy, Phi RB
7 Andre Johnson, Hou WR
8 Chris Johnson, Ten RB
9 Jamaal Charles, KC RB
10 Michael Vick, Phi QB
11 Drew Brees, NO QB
12 Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac RB
13 Rashard Mendenhall, Pit RB
14 Darren McFadden, Oak RB

TEAM 1
TEAM 2
TEAM 3
TEAM 4
TEAM 5
TEAM 6
TEAM 7
TEAM 8
TEAM 9
TEAM 10
TEAM 11
TEAM 12
TEAM 13
TEAM 14

15 Larry Fitzgerald, Ari WR
16 Peyton Manning, Ind QB
17 Roddy White, Atl WR
18 Greg Jennings, GB WR
19 Matt Forte, Chi RB
20 Michael Turner, Atl RB 
21 Steven Jackson, StL RB
22 Philip Rivers, SD QB
23 Calvin Johnson, Det WR
24 Knowshon Moreno, Den RB
25 Peyton Hillis, Cle RB
26 Frank Gore, SF RB
27 DeAngelo Williams, Car RB
28 Mike Wallace, Pit WR

TEAM 14
TEAM 13
TEAM 12
TEAM 11
TEAM 10
TEAM 9
TEAM 8
TEAM 7
TEAM 6
TEAM 5
TEAM 4
TEAM 3
TEAM 2
TEAM 1


Verdict:
While drafting Brady at 24 seems like a steal, it is more closely aligned to where he should be picked than taking him second overall. Wait on your quarterback and get elite talent high in the first round. There will be plenty of quarterbacks left when it snakes back around.

 


Matt Mullin is a sports producer at philly.com. You can reach him by e-mail at mmullin@philly.com. Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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From football to baseball, Fantasy Island is your stop for all things fantasy, with a Philly spin. Reach Matt at mmullin@philly.com.

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