As we’ve discussed ad nauseam, in the overwhelming majority of fantasy leagues it makes sense to wait on drafting your quarterback till the later rounds of your draft. If your league only allows for one QB to be played, then there should be more than enough options to go around. On a weekly basis, the differences in totals recorded by Philip Rivers and Eli Manning when compared to Andrew Luck will be much less significant than the differences between Mohamed Sanu and DeAndre Hopkins. So maybe you’re not drafting your QB in the first or second round but you’ve got your eyes on Ben Roethlisberger. If he falls into round 4 you’re going to take him.
Top 5 Lock… Not so Much
I can understand why you’re excited about Big Ben, but don’t reach and draft him early. He’s not a lock to finish top five at the QB position. In fact, since entering the league in 2004 he’s only cracked the top five twice. In 2007 he finished as QB4 and in 2014 he finished as QB5. Granted, he has missed some games in a number of seasons, so point per game rankings might be more appropriate, but consider this – – between ’13 and ’15 he’s only finished in the top 12 of weekly QB rankings in 50 percent of games played. Andy Dalton did so in 47 percent, Matthew Stafford 48 and as a point of reference Aaron Rodgers 61. Further, Roethlisberger goes over 20 points in 36 percent of games whereas Rivers does so in 40 percent. The takeaway here is that over a very large body of work, Big Ben has not greatly differentiated himself from a number of options that you can get many rounds later in your draft.
But the Pittsburgh Offense is Sooo Good
It’s true that he will be working in an offense with the best wide receiver in the league and arguably the best running back. Further, the Steelers offense is formidable and provides him with a variety of options. But the thing is, even in 2014 a year in which Brown and Le’Veon Bell went bananas, he was only able to finish as the QB5 and this was a season in which he played in all 16 games. Heading into 2016, it’s fine to be optimistic about his prospects but we need to keep things in context. Could he finish as one of the best passers in fantasy leagues? Absolutely. Will he? History doesn’t seem to think so.
Finally, it is definitely worth mentioning the difference in Roethlisbergers production and points per game when Martavis Bryant has been on the field. Using the RotoViz Game Splits App, we can see the he has averaged nearly five more points per game when able to look in the direction of Bryant.
If you’re trying to win your league by drafting Roethlisberger early, please reconsider.