Late Round Quarterbacks With The Highest Fantasy Football Ceilings

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Pittsburgh PA USA Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger 7 throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns during the second half of the game at Heinz Field The Steelers won the game 24 10 Mandatory Credit Jason Bridge USA TODAY Sports

If you’re willing to wait on drafting a quarterback as your fellow fantasy football fiends are drafting their backup signal callers, laughing as your supposed folly, you might as well ignore the fantasy downsides of the available quarterbacks.

Focus on upside – ceilings – instead. The reason is fairly straightforward: the quarterback you draft in the 10th, 11th, or 12th rounds, they’re expendable. They’re cheap, and eminently droppable if and when they crap out. If they hit their fantasy football floor – or plunge below said floor – there’s one and only one question to ask: So what?

I searched rotoViz’s great similarity score app for late-round signal callers with the highest projected fantasy ceiling in 2013. If you’re committed to the late-round strategy, you’re gunning for these guys.

I’ll ramble about late-round options with the lowest fantasy football ceilings next week.

Note: I’m legally required to pay JJ Zachariason 50 cents for every “late round QB” mention. He has lawyers.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Highest projected fantasy points per game: 17.9
Average draft position: 11.02

One thing that jumped out in perusing Roethlisberger’s rotoViz comparables and projections: he threw 35 passes or more in seven games last season, making him less than a volume passer, but more than a guy instructed to hand off the rock in a hyper-conservative offense. Roethlisberger also has the luxury of having the highest fantasy floor among this group of later rounders (15.2 points per game), making him less risky, even if that shouldn’t factor in your decision making.

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Highest projected fantasy points per game: 17.7
Average draft position: 9.12

This projection is based on eight games from 2012, as I stripped out Vick’s injury-shortened Week 10 game against the Dallas Cowboys. Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly is expected to run a run-heavy offense, which might be a problem for an immobile quarterback. Vick, even during his apocalyptic 2012 campaign, scored four fantasy points rushing in four of the eight games used for this projection. Though Vick’s ninth-round ADP doesn’t quite fall into the true late-round quarterback mold, he’ll remain the guy with the most potential among quarterbacks taken in the ninth and tenth rounds.

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Highest projected fantasy points per game: 16.1
Average Draft Position: 14.02

Andy Reid’s pass, and pass some more. When they’re done passing, they pass one more time. Reid’s Eagles offenses averaged 578 pass attempts per year over the last seven seasons – a quantity of throws Smith couldn’t have dreamed of as 49ers quarterback. Smith’s accuracy, his sneaky speed when flushed from the pocket, and his expected (limited) work in this pistol formation, after Kansas City hired pistol innovator Chris Ault, make him a surprisingly high-ceilinged fantasy commodity. Ault, by the bye, once called Smith an “excellent pistol quarterback.”

In short, Smith isn’t horrible at football. See below for details.

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C.D. Carter Fantasy Football Analyst
C.D. Carter is a reporter, author of zombie stories, writer for The Fake Football and XN Sports. Fantasy Sports Writers Association member. His work  has been featured in the New York Times.