After plenty of blood, sweat and beers, another fantasy season is in the books. It's time to reflect on the year that was and look ahead to what's on the horizon for 2016. As any degenerate gamer knows, fantasy football thoughts are always at the forefront. Monday's topic: Quarterback.
Every year, new lessons are learned. Subsequently, what New Year's resolution, player specific or in general, will you adhere to at QB in light of experiences gained this past fall?
Brandon – Middle class of NFL quarterbacks has expanded so much that it makes no sense to draft a QB until the late, late rounds of your draft if you miss out on one of the few difference maker QBs early on - I'd say that elite group constitutes 6-7 signal callers head into '16, depending on how you feel about Andrew Luck. If you don't land one of those guys, you might as well stream the position, playing the match ups as you would with a defense.
Brad – PLAY THE PATIENCE GAME. Full disclosure, I was the guy preaching to buy into the high floors of Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers back in August. Though steeped in logic, that advisement completely bombed. Next year, I'll aim for Blake Bortles, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Ryan Fitzpatrick or a discounted Luck in the middle rounds.
Andy – I knew this one already so it's kind of like cheating, but NEVER EVER NEVER EVER DRAFT A QUARTERBACK FIRST OVERALL. It never works out. Remember how Cam was a terrible selection just four months ago? And Bortles wasn't draft-worthy? And Ryan Fitzpatrick was a punchline. Well, fantasy managers who own those guys were competing for titles, and the Andrew Luck crowd was finished in Week 12.
Liz – QUICKS. Five of the top ten most scoring fantasy QBs are also ranked among the top ten in terms of rushes. A signal caller’s escapibility and willingness to scamper for first downs should be as big of a part of his fantasy profile as his weapons and arm strength.
Scott – I've been a wait-on-QB player for my entire fantasy run, but I'm becoming more open-minded to taking a second option if I see early upside. That sort of angle gets you to Blake Bortles this past year. And for the love of all things holy, let's try to make Superflex (or two-QB leagues) more of a common thing next year.
Dalton – Like always, just wait on this position. Even in a year in which almost no running backs panned out, taking a quarterback early still wasn't worth it. The safest players to draft were Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers (and even as a no QB early guy, I wouldn't have argued this). Go figure.
What passing prospect, presumably set to enter the 2016 NFL Draft, are you most excited about?
Brad – PAXTON LYNCH. Memphis product possesses plus arm strength, strong pocket poise and above average mobility, a Blake Bortles type. His 28:3 TD:INT split and 69.0 completion percentage are indicators he'll transition well. Landing spot is everything, but the probable top-15 overall pick is the best of the QB bunch.
Andy – None. Pass. I'm good. I'll take one of the sophomore QBs, thanks. Let's revisit this question in a year, when we can discuss DeShaun Watson.
Liz – PAXTON LYNCH. Accurate arm. Slick wheels. Baller name.
Scott – Rookies quarterbacks aren't my thing. As talented as Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are, they barely made a ripple on the fantasy landscape. The 2012 crop isn't walking through that door. I'm not going to talk myself into anyone.
Dalton – Quarterback is ridiculously loaded, and I can't imagine a rookie coming from this class breaking the top-25 in year-end value, let alone being taken seriously in fantasy drafts.
Brandon – PAXTON LYNCH, will bring questions to NFL as he played in spread system against mostly sub-par competition (at Memphis), but there is no question about his size and arm strength - they both easily check the NFL boxes. And despite his bigger frame, he's got plus mobility.
The Bold and the Disputable. Describe one nutty, but completely plausible, prediction at QB for the 2016 season.
Andy – MATTHEW STAFFORD is a top-three fantasy QB next season. His physical traits are still off the charts, and his receiving corps is outstanding. When a new coach takes over (Adam Gase, maybe?), that offense is going to pop.
Liz – DREW BREES and Sean Payton get sent to the Dolphins in a package deal next year. The Saints franchise QB finishes his career and begins retirement in sunny South Florida.
Scott – MARCUS MARIOTA doubles his rushing yardage and rushing touchdowns in his second season.
Dalton – KIRK COUSINS, who has a 73.2 completion percentage while getting 9.3 YPA and a 16:2 TD:INT ratio (with three rushing scores) over his last seven games, finishes as a top-five fantasy QB. He's continuing to improve, and imagine if DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed happen to stay healthy.
Brandon – RGIII is the opening week '16 starter for the Houston Texans.
Brad – Provided Mike Evans undergoes that much needed hands transplant during the offseason, JAMEIS WINSTON takes a leap similar to Bortles in his sophomore season and cracks the QB top-10 in per game average. There's lots to like about Winston's situation -- average TB D, useful weapons, his willingness to call his own number near the goal-line.
What quarterback will you vigorously chase in drafts next year? What round do you expect to acquire his services in 12-team drafts?
Liz – NONE. I’m not vigorously chasing QBs. If he’s still on the board in the fifth round, however, I’d happily roster AARON RODGERS.
Scott – I'm pretty cool on the position, but I'm curious to see what a sophomore MARCUS MARIOTA can do if the Titans locate a legitimate coach. And I'm also eager to see whay TYROD TAYLOR might be able to do with additional volume.
Dalton – Few are more agnostic about this position than I am. I'll let the draft room dictate whom I draft at QB, because I'm not taking one before round seven at the absolute earliest. I hope my guy KIRK COUSINS falls that late for some reason. But there will be plenty of alternatives if not.
Brandon – BLAKE BORTLES. He should only get better in Year 3, perhaps even watchable. Great talent, great weapons, but still not completely respected in fantasy circles. I'll take him in any draft where he's still available after six QBs have come off the board - not sure which round that will typically be because QB draft flow is tough to predict.
Brad – BLAKE BORTLES. Made noticeable strides across the board in Year 2 posting improvements in QB rating, TDs, INTs and YPA. With a pair of young and very talented wideouts (Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns), a useful tight end (Julius Thomas), respectable ground game and sketchy D, he's likely to finish inside the top-five in per game yet again. He'll be a bargain in Round 6/7 of 12-team drafts.
Andy – DEREK CARR is my guy, and I bet I won't have to chase him too aggressively. He threw 30-plus TD passes at age-24, his receivers are beasts, and he's only going to improve. He's going to be dirt-cheap next season, yet his setup is excellent. Definitely a top-10 QB in 2016.
List your QB top 16 for '16.
Scott – 1) Ben Roethlisberger, 2) Andrew Luck, 3) Cam Newton, 4) Aaron Rodgers, 5) Russell Wilson, 6) Carson Palmer, 7) Tom Brady, 8) Drew Brees, 9) Andy Dalton, 10) Blake Bortles, 11) Tony Romo, 12) Derek Carr, 13) Matthew Stafford, 14) Kirk Cousins, 15) Eli Manning, 16) Marcus Mariota
Dalton – 1) Ben Roethlisberger 2) Aaron Rodgers 3) Andrew Luck 4) Cam Newton 5) Russell Wilson 6) Tom Brady 7) Carson Palmer 8) Drew Brees 9) Blake Bortles 10) Kirk Cousins 11) Andy Dalton 12) Derek Carr 13) Matthew Stafford 14) Philip Rivers 15) Eli Manning 16) Marcus Mariota
Brandon – 1) Cam Newton, 2) Aaron Rodgers, 3) Ben Roethlisberger, 4) Tom Brady, 5) Russell Wilson, 6) Blake Bortles, 7) Carson Palmer, 8) Andrew Luck, 9) Drew Brees, 10) Tony Romo, 11) Derek Carr, 12) Andy Dalton, 13) Eli Manning, 14) Philip Rivers, 15) Matt Ryan, 16) Kirk Cousins
Brad – 1) Cam Newton, 2) Andrew Luck, 3) Big Ben, 4) Aaron Rodgers, 5) Blake Bortles, 6) Tom Brady, 7) Carson Palmer, 8) Russell Wilson, 9) Drew Brees, 10) Jameis Winston, 11) Matthew Stafford, 12) Tony Romo, 13) Andy Dalton, 14) Marcus Mariota 15) Derek Carr, 16) Kirk Cousins
Andy – 1) Cam, 2) Ben, 3) Rodgers, 4) Luck, 5) Brady, 6) Russell, 7) Palmer, 8) Brees, 9) Bortles, 10) Dalton, 11) Stafford, 12) Carr, 13) Eli, 14) Jameis, 15) Cousins, 16) Mariota.
Liz – 1) Ben Roethlisberger, 2) Aaron Rodgers, 3) Russell Wilson, 4) Cam Newton, 5) Tom Brady, 6) Blake Bortles, 7) Drew Brees, 8) Andrew Luck, 9) Andy Dalton, 10) Matthew Stafford, 11) Derek Carr, 12) Carson Palmer, 13) Eli Manning, 14) Kirk Cousins, 15) Jameis Winston, 16) Marcus Mariota
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