Plan of bypassing the top QBs? Try pairing
Ben Roethlisberger with Jay Culter late in your draft.
The concept of late-round quarterback pioneered by NumberFire’s
JJ Zachariason is a logical theory that many owners use to load
up on valuable skill position players early while waiting on quarterbacks
late in drafts. Fantasy football is a game of acquiring as much
value as possible, and it makes sense in most cases to wait on a
deep position like QB, with replacement level value often available
on the waiver wire.
I would argue that the late-round quarterback theory does not
work well in deep leagues with large benches, especially those
similar to my league of record in which numerous players draft
their second QB before the end of the tenth round. Also, I believe
drafting a stud like Aaron Rodgers in the early third round is
a smart move based on the fact that the market has incorrectly
valued multiple players in that round.
But I digress. The intent of this article is not to prove whether
or not JJ’s theory is correct. The intent of this article
is to share my favorite tandem of quarterbacks for late-round
QB drafters who are looking for top 5 value at a bargain price.
As the title of this article suggests, the quarterback tandem
of Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler is a calculated strategy
that all owners who pass on a QB early should consider in drafts
The road struggles of Big Ben are not a breaking new take in
the fantasy community and anyone who suffered through Ben’s awful
road games last year, including his 167-yard, zero-TD gem Week
11 at Cleveland, know full well how frustrating owning the Pittsburgh
quarterback can be. But they also know the ridiculous upside Big
Ben provides at home, especially with a healthy Le’Veon
Bell and a loaded receiving corps that now includes his top
deep threat, Martavis
ProFootballFocus’ Scott Barrett pointed out in the following
chart just how drastic the home/split woes have been for Big Ben
over the past three seasons, with the two-time Super Bowl Champion
averaging just over 10 more fantasy points per game at home.
Home/Away Splits - FPts/G
To overcome this extreme variance in splits, it makes sense to
target a streamer off the waiver wire to plug in your roster when
the Steelers go on the road against difficult opponents, including
Week 1 at Cleveland, Week 3 at Chicago, Week 4 against the Ravens,
and Week 6 against the Chiefs.
Although streaming the position is an option, it makes more sense
to use the last pick of your draft on a second QB like Jay Cutler
that is otherwise going undrafted, as Cutler has attractive matchups
during those first four Big Ben away games. The Dolphins host
the Bucs and the Saints in weeks 1 and 4 respectively, while going
on the road in attractive matchups against the Jets and Falcons
in weeks 3 & 6.
Of course, Smokin’ Jay Cutler earned his nickname for a
reason and carries the risk of throwing interceptions and making
boneheaded throws. Despite the risk, Cutler is surrounded by three
good receivers, a red zone tight end threat, a talented running
back, and one of the best offensive lines of his career. In his
current situation, it would not surprise me to see Cutler sneak
into the top 12 of fantasy QBs this season, and his early season
schedule makes him a viable road replacement for Big Ben.
For those asking what to do in the second half of the season,
Joe Flacco and the Ravens have a schedule that pairs well with
the Steelers’ final two road games of the year, highlighted
by a tough fantasy Super Bowl tilt Week 16 at Houston. It may
make a few readers squeamish to think of rolling out Joe Flacco
with the title on the line, but a home game against the lowly
Colts doesn’t get much more appealing.
Selecting a top three quarterback before the end of the fourth
round is a typical draft strategy that I use based on the fact
that I value the consistent production that Rodgers, Brady, and
Brees offer owners willing to give up the draft capital. For those
who feel the opportunity cost of drafting a QB early is too great,
the combination of Big Ben and Smokin’ Jay Cutler is a sneaky
way to get top 10 QB fantasy production at a tenth-round price.