Guest Post: Fantasy Football: Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow?

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - MAY 24: Tim Tebow #15 and Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets work out at an organized team activity at the Atlantic Health Training Center on May 24, 2012 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Jonathan Bales is the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft. He writes for the New York Times, Pro Football Focus, FFF Today, and RotoWire.

Fantasy Football for Smart People is an in-depth analysis of fantasy football draft strategy. The book provides advanced material for experienced fantasy football owners and "bottom line" analysis for novices. It is not a collection of player rankings or projections for 2012, but rather an assessment of various draft strategies and fantasy football tenants. The book will be a solid foundation from which you can improve as an owner to dominate your draft.

Jonathan kindly offered to write a guest post on the fantasy value of our Quarterbacks ahead of the new season for us here at Gang Green Nation:

With recent rumors that the New York Jets might replace quarterback Mark Sanchez with newly-acquired Tim Tebow in the red zone, Sanchez’s already-falling fantasy football stock took a lethal blow. Sanchez threw a career-high 26 scores in 2011 and, by nearly all accounts, the youngster has improved in each of his three seasons in the NFL. Nonetheless, it’s the new guy in town—the one who many believe can resurrect the team that’s surely superior than their 2011 8-8 record indicates—who is worthy of a spot on your fantasy roster. Here’s why. . .

· Tebow is a better fantasy quarterback than real-life quarterback.

Sometimes the best players in the NFL post big-time fantasy points, i.e. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Other times, players’ fantasy value exceeds their actual worth. Tim Tebow is the epitome of that. Now, I’m not saying Tebow is a poor football player; it’s just that he obviously has some limitations as a quarterback. Can he be a starter in the NFL? I think he can, but right now, he’s not a top-tier guy.

Despite that, Tebow has the ability to record top-tier fantasy points. I did an article over at Pro Football Focus detailing why quarterback rushing yards are underutilized by fantasy owners. While writing my book Fantasy Football For Smart People, I found that quarterback rushing yards are actually the most consistent stat in football.

Continue to read after the jump:


On average, 80 percent of a quarterback’s rushing yards carry over from year to year, with the rest regressing toward a league mean. In comparison, there is only a 0.50 strength of correlation for running back rushing yards. This makes players like Cam Newton and Tim Tebow more valuable than your average signal-caller.

In many ways, you can look at Tebow as a running back who will rack up passing yards and touchdowns. If fantasy owners draft Brandon Jacobs and other "touchdown vultures," why not look at a guy who should score double-digit red zone touchdowns and have an opportunity to post points through the air?

· Sanchez costs way too much.

At the time of this writing, Sanchez and Tebow are getting selected at almost the exact same spot in fantasy drafts (29th and 28th among quarterbacks, respectively). Even if you project Sanchez to score more points than Tebow, Sanchez shouldn’t be on your radar. In the late rounds, your goal as a fantasy owner is to maximize upside. Whereas you want to select safe players early, you should actually seek volatile players with high ceilings late in your draft.

If everything goes right for Sanchez in 2012, he might be a good No. 2 quarterback on your team. Since you’ll be drafting him as a backup anyway, there’s little chance that Sanchez outperforms his draft spot by a wide margin.

In comparison, Tebow has legitimate No. 1 quarterback potential. If he throws for only 75 yards, rushes for 70 yards and scores a touchdown on the ground, he’d score the same number of fantasy points as Sanchez passing for 250 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Simply put, Tebow has more ways to score. His average game is the same as Sanchez’s elite game from a fantasy perspective.

· Tebow could end up starting.

On top of that, there are now rumors that Tebow could wind up starting by midseason. While I don’t necessarily buy into that, that sort of upside is exactly what you want late in your fantasy draft.

Think of your choice between Sanchez and Tebow as if the players were stocks (which they kind of are, from a fantasy football angle). While traders generally want to acquire safe stocks when the price tag is large, when risk is low, traders seek a high ceiling. If you’re trading with $1 million, there’s no sense in investing $1,000 in a stock with little volatility. You want that stock to be as volatile as possible to acquire the greatest potential value. Similarly, when risk is minimized in the late rounds of your draft, you want the player whose range of potential fantasy scores is as great as possible.

That player is Tim Tebow.

*We would like to thank Jonathan for his article, the book is a must read for football fans but especially fans wanting to dominate their fantasy league*

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