One of the most interesting dichotomies between fantasy football drafts and the actual NFL Draft involves the QB position. In the NFL Draft, if teams want to draft a bona fide starting franchise QB, not only are they highly unlikely to find one outside the first round, but outside the top-10 picks as well. On the flip side, when it comes to your fantasy draft, you can wait as long as possible to draft a legitimate starter at QB. And in no year does that sentiment ring truer in fantasy than this year. In most mock drafts I’ve done, I’ve been waiting until rounds 9 or 10 to draft a QB…and you’ll be giddy when you see how many good signal-callers are still available at that juncture of your draft. Thus the focus of the third and final edition of our 2018 Fantasy Deep Dive series will be QB’s that can be absolute bargains for your fantasy team on draft day. And to help us break down those QB’s and a lot more QB-centric fantasy topics, is there any guest more appropriate than my man Mark Schofield? Nobody, and I mean NOBODY outside the NFL, knows more about QB’s than Mark, whose work you can find at InsideThePylon.com, Pro Football Weekly, The Score, mattwaldmanrsp.com, and many other places!!
Mark’s Twitter handle: @MarkSchofield
- Drew Brees’ ADP is the lowest its been in a decade. Last season, thanks to arguably the NFL’s most lethal run game, Brees wasn’t forced to throw as much as he had in the past, and only posted 23 TD passes as a result. However, given the fact the Saints have an infinitely tougher schedule (6th hardest in the league according to notable football numbers analyst Warren Sharp), Brees is expected to throw the ball more, making him a prime candidate for positive TD regression. How reasonable is it to expect Brees to throw for 30+ touchdowns this season? In which round would you consider taking Brees at the earliest?
- Two other big positive TD regression candidates are Matt Ryan and Marcus Mariota. Matty Ice is entering year two in Steve Sarkisian’s offensive system and the Falcons added another weapon to their high-powered offense in Calvin Ridley. Mariota, on the other hand, gets a fresh start under new Titans OC Matt LaFleur, a Kyle Shanahan disciple who was Falcons QB coach in 2016 (when Matt Ryan won MVP) and Rams OC last season (when Jared Goff experienced his massive sophomore leap). Which of those two QB’s are you higher on from a fantasy perspective this season and why?
- Two QB’s that might be overvalued are Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. Last season, Russell Wilson accounted for 37 of the Seahawks’ 38 offensive TD’s and Deshaun Watson had a jaw dropping TD rate of 9.3%. This season, Russell Wilson’s OC will be Brian Schottenheimer who runs a run-first scheme and of the nine NFL offenses he’s coordinated, just one of them finished 16 or higher in total offense, while seven finished 20 or worse. Also, the Seahawks lost Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson in free agency. As far as Deshaun Watson is concerned, that 9.3% TD rate is virtually certain to drop and there are concerns that defensive coordinators will figure him out causing him to go through sophomore growing pains. Is Watson or Russell Wilson more likely to experience minimal drop-off from last season?
- Kirk Cousins couldn’t have landed in a better place than with the Vikings. Most signs point to a career year for him In Minnesota, he’ll be playing indoors regularly, he’ll be surrounded by the best offensive weapons he’s had in his career, he’ll be a defense that will likely give him more short fields to work with, and he’ll be coordinated by John DeFilippo, an acclaimed QB guru whose MASTERFUL work developing Carson Wentz as Eagles QB coach these last two seasons cannot be ignored. On the flip side, the Vikings still want to be a run-oriented offense and their OL isn’t a good pass-blocking unit and just lost starting LG Nick Easton for the season. Considering all those factors, is a career-high in TD passes still very realistic for Kirk Cousins in 2018?
- Another interesting QB to target in the later rounds is Jimmy Garoppolo. He has shown a lot of promise in his seven career starts, and is in a fantastic, innovative system with Kyle Shanahan. However, as I alluded to when talking about Deshaun Watson earlier, teams tend to start figuring out a QB’s tendencies after seven or eight games. In an interview a few days ago, Tony Romo reportedly said that there a “very high up” Patriots source told him that he believes that defenses will completely figure out Garoppolo this season. Knowing how smart the Patriots are at evaluating quarterbacks, that comment gives me a bit of pause on drafting Garoppolo. Do you think Garoppolo will get exposed this season and be unable to recover, or do you trust Kyle Shanahan to help take Garoppolo to that next level amidst some inevitable growing pains this season? Are you comfortable drafting Garoppolo to be the starting QB on your fantasy team?
- Question from @Jahawkins87: Concerning Patrick Mahomes, what round is too early to draft him, in which round will he be a steal, and where do you think he’ll rank among QB’s in total fantasy points at the end of the season? The prospect of him having several multi-INT games is the biggest thing holding me back personally from drafting him as my starter. Is such a concern enough for you to draft Mahomes as your backup instead?
- Speaking of second-year QB’s, there is also a lot of excitement around Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears have, in my opinion, created the best possible ecosystem for him to take a sizeable step forward this season and thrive in the long run. How high are you on Trubisky this year compared to the long term, and is he a viable fantasy asset in a re-draft format, a keeper format, or both?
- Based on team, scheme fit and coaching, which rookie QB would you be most willing to draft in a dynasty or keeper league?
- Buy Or Sell: Jared Goff, Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, Alex Smith, Case Keenum, Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton
Thank you Mark…and that’s it for today here on Sports Krunch, but we’ll be back with more next week…so stay tuned! Meanwhile, be sure to check out the episode archive as well as my blog at SportsKrunch.com!! And if you enjoy these podcast episodes please consider leaving us an iTunes review and donating to our Patreon at Patreon.com/SportsKrunch so we can improve our iTunes ranking and afford to produce even more shows with awesome guests like Mark.
For Mark Schofield, our producer Chris Brodhead, this is David Kromelow saying so long, and as usual, stay awesome!!!