Fantasy Football: What To Expect From Sophomore Quarterbacks
by 19 June 2017, 10:00 AM
There will be three sophomore starting QBs in the NFL next season; will they break out and be great, or will they be busts?
In many instances, an NFL player’s rookie season can be a good baseline for what to expect for his career. Those who experience instant success oftentimes see it carry over from season to season, whereas those who struggle initially may consistently disappoint.
However, that is not always the case. Some players need a year to get their footing in the league, while others fall victim to the dreaded sophomore slump. The 2016 rookie class had its fair share of both excellence and disappointment. In this series, we’ll take a look how those players may fare in their second go-round, relative to last year, and their expectations for the 2017 season.
Rookie quarterbacks are almost always a mixed bag, and 2016 proved to be no different. Considered by many a weak draft class for the position, the lone standout was a Day Three selection — Dak Prescott. However, it is not atypical for many young signal callers to initially struggle to adapt to the speed of the NFL before eventually getting the hang of it. Both Peyton and Eli Manning had more interceptions than touchdowns in their respective debut seasons. Meanwhile, some QBs who’ve had early success have found it to be short-lived (a la RGIII, or Vince Young). There are currently three sophomore quarterbacks locked into starting roles for next season. They all had wildly different rookie years, and each has wildly different expectations going forward.
Bust Likelihood: Moderately Low
The Cowboys struck gold in the fourth round with Prescott, and so did fantasy owners who took a flier on the Mississippi State product. The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year finished the season with over 3,600 passing yards, 23 TDs, and just four interceptions, while adding 282 yards and six TDs on the ground.
Fantasy-wise, he was the position’s sixth-ranked player, and aside from a duo of duds in Weeks 13 and 14 (tragically, fantasy playoff time), he was as dependable as they come. There is some worry that Prescott’s success was just a flash in the pan, and this remains a run-first offense. But the Cowboys’ o-line gifts the QB with a ridiculous amount of time in the pocket (see below), making him a high-floor option who should be able to at least match last year’s production.
Breakout Likelihood: High
Wentz started off hot last year, throwing just one interception through his first five games, before ultimately fading down the stretch, finishing the position’s 24th-ranked option. His stat line of 3,782 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions is nothing to write home about, but the young QB flashed quite a bit of upside at many points during the season. He displayed his athleticism both in and out of the pocket, and made his fair share of pinpoint deep throws.
The Eagles made adding offensive talent a focal point of the offseason, signing Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, and LeGarrette Blount in free agency. With a vastly improved wide receiver corps, Wentz will undoubtedly improve, and his long-term upside is immense. But with that being said, counting on him as your fantasy starter this season is a risky proposition.
Breakout Likelihood: Low
Goff, the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, wasn’t given the reins to the Rams’ inept offense until Week 11, and he didn’t do much to inspire confidence in his time as a starter. He finished with 1,089 yards, five TDs, and seven interceptions across seven starts.
The offense has arguably gotten even worse entering 2017, as Robert Woods will replace Kenny Britt as the de facto number-one receiver. Goff should be able to improve upon the measly 7.6 fantasy points per game he averaged last season, though, and the organization remains optimistic regarding his development. It is highly unlikely, however, that he becomes fantasy relevant this season.
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