Fantasy Draft Stock Report: Lamar Jackson should be picked as a Top-5 QB

The following are quarterbacks whom I have ranked significantly higher and lower compared to their ADP (average draft position). For my running backs, go here.

STOCK UP (I like more than ADP)

Lamar Jackson (My Rank=QB4 vs. ADP=QB20)

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This ADP might be the strangest of all for me, as here’s a quarterback who just set the NFL record in rushing attempts in a season (*) while starting just seven games as a 21-year-old rookie, yet he’s not even being drafted as a top-15 QB. While that’s a testament to how deep the position is, few can match Jackson’s upside given his rushing ability (the cheat code for fantasy QBs). He led all quarterbacks in fantasy points per dropback last season, setting an all-time record in the process and a good distance from No. 2 on the list, Patrick Mahomes.

*It took Michael Vick just 123 attempts to run for 1,029 yards in 2006!

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Jackson isn’t going to keep running quite as much as he did last year, but this recent scamper in the preseason suggests he’s not going to be overly conservative, either. Accuracy will remain an issue, but it should be much improved in Year Two, and it’s less important in a system that produced the most receiver target separation in the NFL after Jackson took over last season (and Mark Andrews is an emerging legit weapon). New OC Greg Roman has a history of producing big fantasy stats from running QBs, and the Ravens have what projects as the most favorable run schedule in football. There’s risk with Jackson in Superflex formats, but in standard leagues, I don’t understand why he’s not being drafted as a top-five QB, given his upside.

Jimmy Garoppolo (My Rank=QB10 vs. ADP=QB21)

He was intercepted on five straight passes during Wednesday’s practice, so his ADP is likely moving down. It’s not the first shaky practice report about Jimmy G, who’s also recovering from ACL surgery, so the drop is understandable — especially with a QB who’s not going to add anything with his legs. Still, Garoppolo is second in YPA (8.5) and fourth in passing success rate over eight starts with the 49ers, and the last time a QB entered the season fully grasped in Kyle Shanahan’s system, he won MVP. The YPA suggests a TD explosion could occur, and SF runs a fast-paced offense with emerging weapons and is in a division that could suddenly feature shootouts with Arizona and LA in a quarter of its games. Jimmy’s gonna put the moves on the NFL.

Josh Allen (My Rank=QB13 vs. ADP=QB22)

His reckless play is likely going to lead to injury at some point and he’s not going to record a league average YPA, but the Firebaugh product sure is fun to watch, and he’s going to score a ton of fantasy points with his current style. Allen was the No. 1 fantasy QB over the final six weeks last season (and ranked sixth in fantasy points per dropback on the year) and will be helped by the continuity of having the same OC and a favorable-looking fantasy schedule.

Deep threat John Brown was an ideal signing for the all-or-nothing Allen, who’s either chucking it deep or tucking to run more often than not (not always ideal for the Bills but arguably perfect for fantasy owners). Allen’s five carries inside the five-yard line were the second-most among quarterbacks (Dak Prescott had eight) last season, and he was a rookie who made just 11 starts.

Others I like more than consensus: Kyler Murray, Jameis Winston, Sam Darnold

STOCK DOWN (I like less than ADP)

Fantasy Football Draft Kit
Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Andrew Luck (My Rank=QB15 vs. ADP=QB5)

Just when his shoulder injury was seemingly behind him, Luck is dealing with a mysterious high-ankle injury that has been bothering him for three months and has his Week 1 status in question. A healthy Luck has MVP upside, but quarterback is also loaded with options (namely those who run) who possess a bunch of potential, and there’s simply no reason to invite an injury headache when so many other things are bound to eventually go wrong. The vague status here sounds less than encouraging, especially with the team’s history with Luck. After barely practicing all offseason, Luck is a bigger risk than his ADP indicates (even if it’s dropping some). The Colts finished first in offensive pace last year and added more weapons at receiver during the offseason, so Jacoby Brissett is suddenly on the fantasy scene in Superflex leagues.

Russell Wilson (My Rank=QB12 vs. ADP=QB6)

The Seahawks ranked last in passes per game last season and enter 2019 with the same offensive plan and system (with two very effective running backs) in place to win games. Wilson is terrific in real life, but he attempted just 206 passes over the final eight games last season (Ben Roethlisberger attempted 203 passes in December) and ran the ball a career-low 67 times in 2019 (he ran for one TD or fewer in three of the last four seasons).

No matter how good Wilson is, his TD% is one of the safest bets to regress in 2019, and with no projectable reason to expect a big increase in volume, it’s tough to treat him as an elite QB being mostly a game manager on one of the most run-heavy teams in football. Moreover, after averaging 103 rush attempts over his first four seasons, Wilson has averaged 78 over his last three, and it’s a trend likely to continue.

Drew Brees (My Rank=QB16 vs. ADP=QB8)

He’s 40-years-old and more of a caretaker at this point of his career, as New Orleans has enjoyed great success since becoming more of a run-heavy team. Brees managed just 6.7 YPA with a 7:5 TD:INT ratio over the final six games last year (playoffs included), and while maybe it was due to playing injured or just small sample noise, it could also be a major red flag that the decline phase is here. The Saints ranked in the bottom-10 in pass attempts per game last season, so even if Brees returns to his prime, his lack of volume (and even more importantly, any rushing ability) gives him far lower fantasy upside than at least a dozen passers in 2019, yet he’s still being drafted aggressively.

Others I like less than consensus: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Mitchell Trubisky

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