Fantasy Football Today

The perils of taking a quarterback early

By Larry Hartstein | Senior Analyst

Our latest 12-team standard mock draft provided another lesson in the perils of taking a quarterback early.

Once I pulled the trigger on Aaron Rodgers in the third round, 29th overall, the lack of quality RB2s put me in a pickle. This format requires you to start two RBs, so RB depth is critical and I don't love mine.

Here's my team:

1. Eddie Lacy (5th overall)
2. Demaryius Thomas (20)
3. Aaron Rodgers (29)
4. Rashad Jennings (44)
5. Victor Cruz (53)
6. Jordan Reed (68)
7. Torrey Smith (77)
8. Jeremy Maclin (92)
9. Hakeem Nicks (101)
10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (116)
11. Donald Brown (125)
12. James Starks (140)
13. Aaron Dobson (149)
14. Rams (164)
15. Mason Crosby (173)

Rashad Jennings jumps out. I was hoping for Ryan Mathews as my RB2 late in the fourth round, but my boss Peter Madden snatched him three picks before me.

Before I defend Jennings, let's see who else was available. Stevan Ridley, Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, Shane Vereen and Toby Gerhart all went in the next seven picks.

Of those, Gerhart and Rice were tempting. Gerhart is better than most people think and should dominate touches on a run-first team. I don't want a committee back at RB2. Rice is leaner and should thrive in Gary Kubiak's RB-friendly scheme, but the legal uncertainty worried me.

Jennings won out because he's the clear-cut starter on a team committed to the power running game. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry, did not drop a pass and was solid in pass protection last year when he won Oakland's starting job.

Of course it's a little early for Jennings – his most recent average draft position is 51, top of the fifth round – but taking Rodgers forced my hand.

Looking back, I could have avoided this quandary by drafting Andre Ellington instead of Rodgers and waiting on a QB. Ellington went one pick after Rodgers, to Jamey Eisenberg. Would you rather have Aaron Rodgers-Rashad Jennings or Andre Ellington-Tony Romo? Romo went in Round 8, Jay Cutler in Round 9 and Nick Foles in Round 11.

It's worth noting that by the time we start drafting for real, rookies will expand the RB pool. Rookie runners made a big splash last year. But that's not going to solve the depth problem I faced in Thursday's mock.

Hear the first 10 rounds dissected on the Fantasy Football Today podcast.

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