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SQ Conversations: Fantasy Football Quarterbacks

Bob Donnan- USA Today Sports

Seth and Kyle break down some Quarterbacks you should draft (and avoid) this fantasy season.

Every year, there are both early round quarterbacks who underwhelm their fantasy owners (i.e Cam Newton), and late-round draft fliers who lead their owners to glory (read: Kirk Cousins). While hindsight is 20/20, SQ’s staff writers Kyle Trapp and Seth Greenberg talk about which quarterbacks you should be bullish on come Draft Day, and others you can afford to watch slip to another team.

Kyle: The NFC South has quietly developed into the division of quarterbacks. After all, it’s home to the past two MVPs plus one of the greatest to ever play the game. The fourth member of this elite bunch is a former first overall pick who is being slept on in preseason fantasy rankings. Jameis Winston came into the league in 2015 with high expectations, and he has done nothing to disprove the notion that he’s a franchise quarterback. What QB sticks out in your mind to jump onto people’s radars this year?

Jonathan Daniel- Getty Images

Seth: I do love Winston, and think he has an extremely high ceiling this year. My personal strategy for fantasy football has always been wait on a QB that you can find late in the draft, because in today’s NFL it seems like anyone who takes a snap under center can give you 4,000+ yards and 30+ touchdowns any given season. With Winston currently being taken in the eighth round, you can still fill up your skill position slots before going to get a QB. That all being said, Carson Wentz is my value player at the QB position. So what makes you view Winston as the best value QB1 pick?

KT: Winston didn’t take the huge leap forward people were hoping for in his second year, as his overall stat line was almost identical to the numbers he put up his rookie season. Perhaps that’s the reason why fantasy analysts aren’t especially high on the young signal caller; he checks in at 12th on ESPN’s preseason rankings. However, there are reasons to believe Winston will outperform that ranking, and the most significant of which is the offense he plays in. What makes you a Wentz believer this year? 

SG: Wentz came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, notching three multi-touchdown games and one 300-yard game in his first four games. However, the rookie learning curve hit as he threw just nine touchdowns the rest of the season and finished as the 24th ranked QB (the last QB2 in a 12-team fantasy league). His 3,782 passing yards for a rookie is good for fourth most among passers in their rookie season since 2011, being beat out by only Winston, Andrew Luck, and Cam Newton, three consensus QB1s in any league format. Throw in the Eagles’ signing of wide outs Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to take the top off of defenses, and you have the pieces for Wentz to break into the top 12 among fantasy QBs. 

Now on the flip side of the fantasy coin, does any QB stand out to you as someone maybe being taken too early for your comfort?  

KT: We’ll stay in the NFC South here with a guy I think will be over-drafted this season: the reigning MVP Matt Ryan. Now, this is not to suggest that Ryan will have a bad season by any means; the former BC Eagle has been as consistent as they come since entering the league in 2008. But the thing is, while he has been consistent, it’s been consistently good, not exceptional like he was in 2016. This past year, in his age-31 season, Ryan set a career high in virtually every passing statistic. He reached nearly 5,000 yards through the air, threw 38 touchdowns (six more than his previous career high), and both his QBR and passer rating made huge jumps. It is extremely rare that you see a signal caller take such a dramatic step forward on the wrong side of 30. 

Perhaps most puzzling is Ryan’s apparent improved decision making. He entered the year with a league average career 1.88 TD/INT ratio, and that number jumped to 5.43 for the 2016 season. At this point in his career, it’s fair to wonder if that was an aberration as opposed to a new norm. Additionally, advanced statistics show that the Falcon’s QB was somewhat lucky. According to Football Outsiders’ adjusted interceptions total, Ryan should’ve been on the hook for three more picks. 

But what about you: which QB do you think is being drafted too high for your liking?  

SG: The QB I see getting drafted too early across the board is Ben Roethlisberger. At this point in Big Ben’s fantasy career, you are drafting for the name and not the concrete value. A perennial QB1, Roethlisberger was the epitome of a “feast-or-famine” QB this past season. Not only did he put up three zero-touchdown games during the fantasy regular season (Weeks 1-13), he also only posted a measly 261 yds/1.3 TD average in the three fantasy playoff weeks. That is IF you made it that far in the playoffs with him as your QB since he would have posted just two points for your fantasy team in Week 13 against Buffalo. 

Are there any other reasons you see Ryan as being a guy not worth his ADP value?

KT: In current preseason fantasy rankings, Ryan is viewed as a consensus top five quarterback, a fair assessment for the league MVP and the second ranked player from the previous season. But despite never missing a game in his NFL career, up until last season Ryan had just one top five finish to his name. The Falcons’ QB will almost certainly play to the level of fantasy starter next season, but there are better values available in later rounds. Don’t overpay for a guy who will struggle to match last season’s production. 

What other reasons are there for Big Ben to be a QB you avoid come draft day for any of your fantasy leagues?    

Mike Ehrmann- Getty Images

SG: Of course Antonio Brown is there to create a dynamic pairing with Roethlisberger, but Brown’s receiving stats took up a large chunk of Big Ben’s passing game. Brown accounted for 33% of Ben’s total passing yardage and 41% of his touchdown total. His longevity over an entire NFL season is also a big question mark, as he has played a full 16 game season just twice in the past eight campaigns. Pittsburgh did little to upgrade an offense that heavily features Brown and injury-prone workhorse Le’Veon Bell out of the backfield, and in today’s NFL you fall behind by not making any upgrades. Roethlisberger is currently being drafted as the 10th QB off the board, making him a QB1 choice in a standard 12-team league. I highly recommend staying away from him as there are better choices with greater upside that can help your fantasy team throughout the season. 

Edited by Jeremy Losak, Brian Kang.

What SEC college did Dak Prescott play for before being drafted by the Cowboys?
Created 7/13/17
  1. Mississippi State
  2. Florida
  3. Auburn
  4. Texas A&M

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