Derek Anderson might have been the worst draft decision of 2008.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Looking back on the past NFL season to evaluate what went right and what went wrong is always a valuable tool. So let's take a look at each of the positions, starting with quarterback, and check performance with expected value which in this case is measured by Average Draft Position (ADP).
Jay Cutler, Philip Rivers, Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, Chad Pennington, Matt Cassel, Matt Ryan, Tyler Thigpen
None of these eight quarterbacks were drafted before the seventh round, yet six of the eight cracked the top-10 in fantasy scoring. It tells me that drafting a quarterback early may not be the right strategy as bargains are to be had if you are willing to wait. Except for Cassel, who may be back to holding a clipboard in 2009, this group should be able to match their performances next year. There are many rumors that Kansas City will draft Mark Sanchez with the third overall pick, but I believe the team will give Thigpen a full season behind center.
Fair Market Value -
Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Joe Flacco, Jeff Garcia, Kyle Orton
There are two distinct groups at the Fair Market Value level - those who were high draft choices and lived up to their billing (Brees, Manning, McNabb) and those that were selected late in the draft and who performed just well enough to make their pick worthwhile (Flacco, Garcia, Orton).
Tony Romo, David Garrard, Eli Manning, Matt Schaub, Jason Campbell, Jake Delhomme, Brett Favre
Led by Romo and Eli Manning, this group failed to live up to expectations. For Romo those expectations were extremely high as he scored the same amount of points as McNabb, but because he was drafted four rounds earlier, he failed to make "the grade." Manning's expectations were probably too high coming off the Super Bowl win and playing on a run-first offense. It didn't help that Plaxico Burress, his best target, self-destructed. Had Schaub been able to get on the field for more than 11 games, he would easily have been able to move up at least one level, but durability is big factor in fantasy football - you can't score points from the sidelines.
Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Matt Hasselbeck, Derek Anderson, Marc Bulger, Ben Roethlisberger
This group demonstrates the danger in picking a quarterback early in the draft. They are prone to injury which is the reason Brady, Palmer, Hasselbeck and Bulger are here. Derek Anderson might have been the worst draft decision of 2008, coming off a 29-touchdown season in 2007, signing a huge multi-year, multi-million dollar contract and then losing his job to Brady Quinn. Roethlisberger, the Super Bowl winning QB who finished as the 21st-best quarterback, is a perfect example of how reality and fantasy are two completely different worlds.
* - Cassel, Thigpen, Collins and Hill were drafted in less than 5% of all leagues.