2017 Quarterback Free Agency Primer

2017 Quarterback Free Agency Primer

After the combine and before the NFL Draft, the opening of free agency on March 9th is an important date on the offseason calendar of fantasy owners. Changes of scenery can revitalize careers and lead to unexpected value changes in the blink of an eye. Being able to recognize these shifts before the masses can lead to stronger, deeper, and more competitive fantasy teams. That being said, not every free agent signing is bound to pan out. Being able to understand new opportunities and how they will translate or not translate to success is equally as important when evaluating free agent signees.

Looking ahead to this year’s free agent quarterback class, there are some intriguing names, some forgotten names, and some names that may catapult themselves into relevancy. I have tiered the 25 impending free agents into five groups of varying sizes that I will present below. There is also a sixth group of quarterbacks that are heavily rumored to be either released or traded and I saw fit to present them as well, as a change of scenery is likely.

In addition to my tiers and takes on each of the quarterbacks, I have also incorporated Sean Slavin’s projections into my analysis. Sean formulated data for 10 quarterbacks in this class and created their potential statistical outlook over a 16 game season for seven different QB-needy teams. His work is way beyond anything I could’ve done and really allowed me to examine potential landing spots and production in an interesting and quantifiable way. Sean wrote below his own explanation for how he made the projections and does a great job describing his process:

“I recently collaborated with Joshua Lake for an article comparing several quarterbacks, based on results of projections I’ve created. Josh did an excellent job explaining my projection system, so take a minute and check that out here if you care for insight on my methodology. Those were simplistic, as they only accounted for a QB’s individual history and age.

In order to advance these projections to the next level, it was necessary to add in factors related to team-context. I focused on offensive coordinators/systems, identifying how each OC boosted/mitigated passing stats. On top of that, I evaluated a team’s offense & defense and how that would affect game-script and overall efficiency. Based on this analysis, I applied these factors to each quarterback to get a set of projections – one for all of the teams that are likely to be in the QB market.”

The Unproven Tier

This tier is the smallest, yet contains the most unpredictable outputs of the bunch. Both mid-round prospects hailing from the 2013 draft, Mike Glennon and Matt Barkley, may be in the mix to start somewhere in 2017.

Mike Glennon

Back in Week 16, Adam Schefter predicted Glennon could net $13-15 million per year on the open market. That seems like a hefty price to pay, but outside of quarterbacks on their rookie deals and Robert Griffin III, it would make Glennon the lowest paid starter in the league. The North Carolina State product has shown competence in 18 career starts for the Bucs and is shaping up to be one of the better targets in a mediocre QB free agent class. He has been rumored as a potential mid-range starter going back to last April, and given the fact he has no chance of starting in Tampa barring a Jameis Winston injury, I don’t see many situations where he re-signs. The Jets have reportedly shown interest, and since Washington tagged Kirk Cousins, the market for Glennon will surely heat up as March 9th approaches.

However, looking at the projections, Glennon’s 2017 salary may be un-proportional to his fantasy production. His peak point’s value outside of Tampa Bay, 240 in both San Francisco and Houston, is very mediocre within itself and may present a telling view on Glennon’s ceiling as a starter. However it must be taken into account the small sample size he possesses and the fact he has only thrown 11 passes in the last two seasons. The two teams with the largest inklings towards Glennon, the Jets and the Bears, present his two lowest projections for a 16-game season. The low number of passing yards coupled with only 25 touchdowns really limits Glennon’s fantasy outlook. Especially with Alshon Jeffery likely leaving Chicago and Brandon Marshall being released by NY, he will also not have the benefit of an elite playmaker on his side. While the jury is still out due to a small sample size, the projections do not give much confidence into Glennon producing value or legitimate production going forward.

G Cmp Att Yds TD Int paPts ruPts Pts Team OC
Mike Glennon 16 309 520 3401 25 12 213 9 221 BUF Rick Dennison
Mike Glennon 16 297 492 3243 25 11 206 9 214 NYJ John Morton
Mike Glennon 16 312 517 3553 26 12 221 9 230 CLE Hue Jackson
Mike Glennon 16 322 533 3536 28 12 231 9 240 HOU Bill O’Brien
Mike Glennon 16 328 537 3553 29 12 232 9 241 DEN Mike McCoy
Mike Glennon 16 317 510 3429 25 11 213 9 221 CHI Dowell Loggains
Mike Glennon 16 316 521 3636 27 12 231 9 240 SFO Kyle Shanahan
Mike Glennon 16 327 517 3631 29 12 236 9 245 TAM Dirk Koetter
Att/G Cmp% Y/Cmp TD% Int% Team OC
Mike Glennon 32.5 59% 11.0 4.8% 2.3% BUF Rick Dennison
Mike Glennon 30.8 60% 10.9 5.0% 2.3% NYJ John Morton
Mike Glennon 32.3 60% 11.4 5.0% 2.3% CLE Hue Jackson
Mike Glennon 33.3 60% 11.0 5.3% 2.2% HOU Bill O’Brien
Mike Glennon 33.5 61% 10.8 5.3% 2.2% DEN Mike McCoy
Mike Glennon 31.9 62% 10.8 4.8% 2.2% CHI Dowell Loggains
Mike Glennon 32.6 61% 11.5 5.3% 2.3% SFO Kyle Shanahan
Mike Glennon 32.3 63% 11.1 5.5% 2.2% TAM Dirk Koetter

Matt Barkley

Injuries to both Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer thrust Barkley into the starting role for Chicago for the last six weeks of the season. With only 49 regular season pass attempts prior, it was a rocky road as the abysmal Bears fell apart through the last few weeks of the season. However, he is still only 26 and had some impressive starts on the road against quality NFC North opponents. His market is a bit unclear at this point and it will be interesting to see what type of value he can generate from teams. If nothing else, he may be re-signed by Chicago if they fail to secure their franchise quarterback this offseason.

However, when you look at his projections, he doesn’t even project as a quality NFL backup. There is not one scenario where he has a TD/INT ratio above one or even surpasses 200 fantasy points. Keeping in mind these may be affected by his incredibly small amount of actual action in the NFL, it still seems clear Barkley is not the answer for any team in free agency. And while he may be brought in to compete for a job, if these stats suggest anything, it’s that there is almost certainly better options available.

G Cmp Att Yds TD Int paPts ruPts Pts Team OC
Matt Barkley 16 295 511 3718 19 26 173 1 173 BUF Rick Dennison
Matt Barkley 16 283 481 3529 18 24 166 1 167 NYJ John Morton
Matt Barkley 16 299 508 3884 19 25 181 1 182 CLE Hue Jackson
Matt Barkley 16 308 524 3865 21 26 188 1 189 HOU Bill O’Brien
Matt Barkley 16 314 526 3877 21 26 189 1 190 DEN Mike McCoy
Matt Barkley 16 310 501 3907 19 24 185 1 186 CHI Dowell Loggains
Matt Barkley 16 302 512 3975 21 26 190 1 191 SFO Kyle Shanahan
Att/G Cmp% Y/Cmp TD% Int% Team OC
Matt Barkley 31.9 58% 12.6 3.7% 5.0% BUF Rick Dennison
Matt Barkley 30.1 59% 12.5 3.8% 5.0% NYJ John Morton
Matt Barkley 31.8 59% 13.0 3.8% 5.0% CLE Hue Jackson
Matt Barkley 32.7 59% 12.5 4.1% 4.9% HOU Bill O’Brien
Matt Barkley 32.9 60% 12.4 4.1% 4.9% DEN Mike McCoy
Matt Barkley 31.3 62% 12.6 3.9% 4.9% CHI Dowell Loggains
Matt Barkley 32.0 59% 13.2 4.0% 5.0% SFO Kyle Shanahan

The Competent Backups

While it is rare to see a top of the line starter hit the open market, the backup quarterback market is often up for grabs come March. In this tier I’ve identified five quarterbacks who I believe have proven their worth in the NFL for what they are, backup quarterbacks that can keep the ship afloat when the starter goes down. They might not be the most sought after contracts, but they provide needed services that can become critical when a starter gets injured.

Both Case Keenum and Matt McGloin have been rumored to test the free agent market in search of better opportunities. Both UDFAs, they have received spot starts throughout the last four years, but have never shown the skills to be consistent starters. Keenum was relegated to third-string duty by the end of the year in Los Angeles and McGloin went down with a shoulder injury after one game of replacing the injured Derek Carr. While both have starting aspirations, the top-heavy rookie class along with better free agents and the growing crop of quarterbacks who may be released likely quells any chance of that happening. A change of scenery is still likely for both, however, and they may be able to settle into comfortable backup roles.

Unlike those two, the remaining three in this tier have accepted and excelled in their backup roles. Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown, and Landry Jones are all in the upper echelon of backups and will certainly be a positive asset to any team that signs them. The Steelers seem hell bent on re-signing Jones, who has shown competence in his fill-in duty for Ben Roethlisberger over the past two seasons. While he may not be their long-term solution to Big Ben, Jones has certainly proven his worth and should be rewarded with another contract from Pittsburgh.

Brian Hoyer

Hoyer, who is still somehow only 31, has been arguably the NFL’s best backup quarterback over the last few seasons. A broken arm cut short his 2016 season in Chicago, but he should be highly sought after in free agency. Especially for a team like San Francisco or even Chicago, Hoyer would be the ideal “bridge quarterback” for a young quarterback transitioning to the NFL. His projections, assuming he starts 16 games, seem very fitting for the type of quarterback Hoyer is. The lower-end touchdown numbers coupled with an average interception rate perfectly encapsulates the play of Hoyer: a game manger who will get the job done but not do much more. He has one of the lower ceilings of the other 10 projected and if he does indeed get to start somewhere he will not be much more than a bye week streamer or injury replacement for fantasy owners. A reunion in Houston with Bill O’Brien would seem the most intriguing and productive to both Hoyer and fantasy owners.

G Cmp Att Yds TD Int paPts ruPts Pts Team OC
Brian Hoyer 16 317 534 3774 20 8 217 4 220 BUF Rick Dennison
Brian Hoyer 16 303 503 3583 20 7 208 4 212 NYJ John Morton
Brian Hoyer 16 320 531 3943 21 8 226 4 229 CLE Hue Jackson
Brian Hoyer 16 343 546 4216 24 8 250 4 253 HOU Bill O’Brien
Brian Hoyer 16 336 550 3935 23 8 234 4 238 DEN Mike McCoy
Brian Hoyer 16 333 523 3967 21 7 227 4 231 CHI Dowell Loggains
Brian Hoyer 16 332 534 4206 23 8 246 4 250 SFO Kyle Shanahan
Att/G Cmp% Y/Cmp TD% Int% Team OC
Brian Hoyer 33.4 59% 11.9 3.8% 1.4% BUF Rick Dennison
Brian Hoyer 31.4 60% 11.8 3.9% 1.4% NYJ John Morton
Brian Hoyer 33.2 60% 12.3 3.9% 1.4% CLE Hue Jackson
Brian Hoyer 34.1 63% 12.3 4.4% 1.4% HOU Bill O’Brien
Brian Hoyer 34.4 61% 11.7 4.2% 1.4% DEN Mike McCoy
Brian Hoyer 32.7 64% 11.9 4.0% 1.4% CHI Dowell Loggains
Brian Hoyer 33.4 62% 12.7 4.4% 1.4% SFO Kyle Shanahan

Josh McCown

Josh McCown, who is going on his age-38 season, was released by the Browns in February and has been generating interest from a number of teams. While the age may be a slight concern, McCown would still be a quality signing as a backup, especially for a team with a young quarterback. ESPN’s Ed Werder has reported mutual interest between Dallas and McCown, who would be a great mentor for Dak Prescott, especially considering the likely release of Tony Romo and free agency of both Kellen Moore and Mark Sanchez. Like Hoyer, McCown possesses a relatively low touchdown ceiling, but his slightly higher interception rate lowers his potential as a productive asset. While his chances of starting an entire season anywhere are low, he projects best in Denver and San Francisco, two entirely feasible options for the seasoned veteran. Seeing him with Kyle Shanahan or Mike McCoy would be interesting, but if his last two seasons are any tell, McCown may be fit best to hold the clipboard in 2017.

G Cmp Att Yds TD Int paPts ruPts Pts Team OC
Josh McCown 16 294 512 3371 19 14 183 20 204 BUF Rick Dennison
Josh McCown 16 282 484 3211 19 14 177 20 197 NYJ John Morton
Josh McCown 16 304 509 3672 21 14 201 20 222 CLE Hue Jackson
Josh McCown 16 307 525 3506 22 14 199 20 219 HOU Bill O’Brien
Josh McCown 16 312 529 3522 22 15 200 20 220 DEN Mike McCoy
Josh McCown 16 301 503 3399 19 14 184 20 204 CHI Dowell Loggains
Josh McCown 16 300 514 3605 21 14 200 20 220 SFO Kyle Shanahan
Att/G Cmp% Y/Cmp TD% Int% Team OC
Josh McCown 32.0 57% 11.5 3.8% 2.8% BUF Rick Dennison
Josh McCown 30.3 58% 11.4 3.9% 2.8% NYJ John Morton
Josh McCown 31.8 60% 12.1 4.1% 2.8% CLE Hue Jackson
Josh McCown 32.8 58% 11.4 4.2% 2.7% HOU Bill O’Brien
Josh McCown 33.0 59% 11.3 4.2% 2.7% DEN Mike McCoy
Josh McCown 31.4 60% 11.3 3.8% 2.7% CHI Dowell Loggains
Josh McCown 32.1 58% 12.0 4.1% 2.8% SFO Kyle Shanahan

The Draft Busts

The four quarterbacks within this tier were all selected within the first two rounds of the NFL draft. And all four, two from 2011 and two from 2013, have for the large part had zero return on investment for the team that drafted them and are looking to salvage whatever is left of their careers in free agency this spring.

Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert, who both rode the bench for the 49ers this season, have generated very little interest, if any at all, from teams around the league. Both top-15 picks in the 2011 draft, they have largely fizzled out at this point. Ponder hasn’t thrown a regular season pass since 2014 and Gabbert was largely terrible in his five starts in 2016 under Chip Kelly. If they do receive contracts, it will likely be nothing more than a one-year deal in a backup or third-string role.

EJ Manuel, the lone quarterback selected in the first round of the 2013 draft, will reportedly not receive a contract offer to stay in Buffalo. Manuel never really showed any real potential in the NFL and was quickly placed in a backup role once Tyrod Taylor came to town. He should receive offers elsewhere to be a backup, but don’t expect Manuel to be getting a chance to start anytime soon. Geno Smith has had a career filled with ups and downs since being drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft. He tore his ACL in Week 7 this past season in his first game of replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter. With Fitzpatrick a free agent as well, it wouldn’t be surprising to see New York bring back Smith on a short, cheap, “prove-it” contract. Especially considering they only have Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty on their roster, Smith may very well be their best option outside of the draft. He doesn’t present much potential, but if he is fully healthy by training camp and the Jets fail to address their QB needs elsewhere, we may see Geno Smith starting once again.

The Old Man’s Club

Unlike most other positions in the NFL, quarterbacks can see careers ranging well into their late thirties. The five players in this tier, ranging from 33-to-37 years old, are still hoping to extend their careers and keep cashing those game checks. All of these guys are looking towards backup roles in 2017, if they can find a suitor, but may be able to provide valuable teaching for teams grooming a young starter.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, who exploded in 2015 with 31 touchdowns, crashed back to earth in 2016 with a bang. He was one of the worst starters in the league and was really only getting play in the last half of the season because the Jets had no better options. The second year of his contract was voided in February, making him a free agent, and he should be in line to become one of the better backups in the league. At 34, he still has a few years left, but it doesn’t seem as if he will ever return to his 2015 form, much less the form of a quality NFL starter.

In that same boat, Matt Schaub fell off of a cliff during his last season in Houston (2013) and has since transitioned into a backup role due to his inability to be a competent starter. After backing up Matt Ryan in 2016, Schaub has been reported with wanting to follow his OC Kyle Shanahan to San Francisco. He would be nothing more than a bridge quarterback for whoever is tagged as “the guy” in SF, as they are likely to select a quarterback at second overall in the upcoming draft.

Matt Cassel, Shaun Hill, and Kellen Clemens are nothing more than clipboard holders and are likely to either be re-signed or signed by a new team to do the same. None of them have had more than a few spot starts and appearances in the last few years and none are likely to generate much market in free agency. At best, they continue to be second or third-string players who mentor a younger quarterback. At worst, they get released in training camp and never see another contract.

Everyone Else

This tier is the largest, which is symbolic on the overall talent in this class. For the sake of not putting you to sleep, I’ll just list out the eight quarterbacks with a one-sentence blurb on each.

  • TJ Yates: finally recovered from a torn ACL and it’s unclear what interest he is drawing from the Dolphins and the NFL as a whole.
  • Ryan Mallet: still a somewhat competent backup and will likely be re-signed by Baltimore.
  • Mark Sanchez: inactive for a majority of 2016 and is either headed for a continued third-string role in Dallas or will test a market that likely has no interest in him.
  • Thaddeus Lewis: hasn’t seen an NFL snap since 2013 and tore his ACL this past preseason, his career is likely done.
  • Ryan Nassib: never started an NFL game, but has received praise from Eli Manning and will likely stick somewhere as a backup.
  • Ryan Griffin: likely to be re-signed by Tampa and slide into their QB2 role if Mike Glennon leaves.
  • Dan Orlovsky: said he is not returning to Detroit and will likely be signed by another team to hold the clipboard in 2017.
  • Kellen Moore: reportedly the favorite to become Dak Prescott’s backup in Dallas, despite missing all of 2016 with a broken ankle.

The Other Guys

While they are not official free agents, there is a crop of quarterbacks poised to be released into free agency (or traded) once the new league year begins. Their release signals new eras for these teams, some of whom are beginning to look for their new franchise quarterback and some of whom already posses him. Nevertheless, this tier is undoubtedly the most talented of the six presented before you and offers the most potential starters and fantasy producers.

Tony Romo

A year ago the prospect of Tony Romo being released would have sounded ludicrous. He signed a 7-year mega-deal in 2013 and seemed destined to be in the silver and blue until the day he retired. But fast forward to now and the Dak train is in full go with not even Jerry Jones and his admirable loyalty to Romo stopping it. Turning 37 in April, Romo will likely be released by Dallas and be free to pick his new team. His contract may have to be restructured for teams to sign him, but it seems clear Romo will be starting somewhere come September. According to Ian Rapoport, the Broncos are in the drivers seat for Romo, which isn’t really a surprise. Denver desperately needs to upgrade their quarterback play and Romo would be a perfect fit for the next two-to-three years as they look for a long term solution. Furthermore, it would allow him to play on a true contender and be in the hunt for a Super Bowl ring for the next few seasons.

Can Romo continue to play at a high level after multiple injuries in the past few years? The projections would seem to think so. Romo is projected to throw at least 30 touchdowns wherever he lands, a baseline that would grant him fantasy relevance one again. His projections take a rather large hit in New York, Chicago, and Buffalo, but the smart money is on the fact he doesn’t go to any of those places. Looking at two of his most rumored destinations, Houston and Denver, Romo is projected for 35 TDs, 16 INTs, and 279 points in both scenarios. That seems like an optimistic projection, but it’s not of the question for Romo to be producing like the low-end QB1 he has been for most of his career. His value will be interesting to watch as the season gets closer, but he may be a quality late-round QB if he secures a starting job outside of Dallas.

G Cmp Att Yds TD Int paPts ruPts Pts Team OC
Tony Romo 16 353 554 3979 31 16 253 6 259 BUF Rick Dennison
Tony Romo 16 338 522 3778 31 15 244 6 250 NYJ John Morton
Tony Romo 16 357 551 4158 32 16 263 6 269 CLE Hue Jackson
Tony Romo 16 365 563 4101 35 16 273 6 279 HOU Bill O’Brien
Tony Romo 16 369 563 4093 35 16 273 6 279 DEN Mike McCoy
Tony Romo 16 362 543 4013 31 15 253 6 259 CHI Dowell Loggains
Tony Romo 16 360 555 4255 34 16 276 6 281 SFO Kyle Shanahan
Tony Romo 16 361 534 4233 35 15 278 6 284 DAL Scott Linehan
Att/G Cmp% Y/Cmp TD% Int% Team OC
Tony Romo 34.6 64% 11.3 5.7% 2.9% BUF Rick Dennison
Tony Romo 32.6 65% 11.2 5.9% 2.9% NYJ John Morton
Tony Romo 34.4 65% 11.7 5.9% 2.9% CLE Hue Jackson
Tony Romo 35.2 65% 11.2 6.3% 2.8% HOU Bill O’Brien
Tony Romo 35.2 66% 11.1 6.3% 2.8% DEN Mike McCoy
Tony Romo 34.0 67% 11.1 5.7% 2.8% CHI Dowell Loggains
Tony Romo 34.7 65% 11.8 6.2% 2.9% SFO Kyle Shanahan
Tony Romo 33.4 68% 11.7 6.5% 2.8% DAL Scott Linehan

Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler needs a fresh start. The soon to be 34-year-old has been dealing with a multitude of injuries these past few seasons and has seen his career arc go in the tank right along with the prospects of the Bears as a whole. Multiple reports say the two are going to mutually part ways, either through trade or release in the near future. The Jets have been the loudest rumor in connection with Cutler, which makes sense given his connections with their QB coach and RB Matt Forte. However, with the number of quarterback-needy teams and Cutler’s expected medical clearance in March, his market may extend past the Gang Green.

More so than veterans mentioned in prior tiers, both Romo and Cutler would be the ideal bridge quarterbacks for teams looking to remain somewhat competent in the now, while also grooming a younger quarterback for the future. However, Cutler’s projections do not leave a lot to be desired. His highest value, at 242 points in Buffalo, New York and San Francisco is mediocre and speaks to his low potential as a whole. The high interception rate negates the average touchdown rate and there are not a lot of situations where Cutler provides value on your fantasy team. Even in Kyle Shanahan’s offense that turned Matt Ryan into an MVP and created the short-lived dominance of Robert Griffin, Cutler is still only projected to throw 24 touchdowns with 15 picks. If that doesn’t sum up the extremely mediocre outlook for Cutler going forward, I don’t know what will.

G Cmp Att Yds TD Int paPts ruPts Pts Team OC
Jay Cutler 16 322 510 4030 23 15 222 20 242 BUF Rick Dennison
Jay Cutler 16 295 482 3483 21 14 196 20 216 NYJ John Morton
Jay Cutler 16 311 509 3833 22 15 212 20 232 CLE Hue Jackson
Jay Cutler 16 321 524 3815 25 15 221 20 241 HOU Bill O’Brien
Jay Cutler 16 327 527 3826 25 15 222 20 242 DEN Mike McCoy
Jay Cutler 16 323 501 3856 22 15 215 20 235 CHI Dowell Loggains
Jay Cutler 16 314 513 3923 24 15 222 20 242 SFO Kyle Shanahan
Att/G Cmp% Y/Cmp TD% Int% Team OC
Jay Cutler 31.8 63% 12.5 4.5% 3.0% BUF Rick Dennison
Jay Cutler 30.1 61% 11.8 4.4% 3.0% NYJ John Morton
Jay Cutler 31.8 61% 12.3 4.4% 3.0% CLE Hue Jackson
Jay Cutler 32.7 61% 11.9 4.7% 2.9% HOU Bill O’Brien
Jay Cutler 32.9 62% 11.7 4.7% 2.9% DEN Mike McCoy
Jay Cutler 31.3 65% 11.9 4.5% 2.9% CHI Dowell Loggains
Jay Cutler 32.0 61% 12.5 4.7% 3.0% SFO Kyle Shanahan

Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod Taylor’s future in Buffalo is uncertain due to the expensiveness his retainment will cost Buffalo over the next two seasons. If they pick up his option on March 11th, he will be owed $30.75 million fully guaranteed over 2017 and 2018. Taylor is a top-15 quarterback in this league and the fact he may be released because his contract is too big simply baffles me. Only 27, and recently cleared from offseason groin surgery, Taylor seems ready to go for another productive season in 2017. The rest of this free agent market is relatively weak, the Bills will likely miss out on the top quarterbacks in the draft, and the only other QB on their roster is the inexperienced Cardale Jones. Recent reports have the Bills slowly leaning towards keeping Taylor, but if he is indeed released, he instantly becomes the crown jewel of this FA class if teams are willing to absorb his salary or work with him on a restructure.

Taylor’s place as the potential top QB in this free agent class is further illustrated by Sean’s projections. His floor of 268 points as a Jet is on par or higher than a majority of the other nine quarterbacks’ ceilings or median projections. Furthermore, his ceiling value of 291 points in San Francisco is second only to Kirk Cousin’s 309 with Jay Gruden in Washington. A combine weekend report that Cleveland is the favorite for Taylor would give him a slight uptick in points potential (276 to 283) and the combination of Hue Jackson and Taylor is certainly alluring. While Cleveland isn’t the most prized destination, Jackson has shown himself as one of the better offensive minds in the game and the combination of Corey Coleman and (hopefully) a re-signed Terrelle Pryor isn’t terrible. Especially if he escapes the traditionally run-heavy offense in Buffalo, Taylor is going to be a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2 in 2017, wherever he ends up.

G Cmp Att Yds TD Int paPts ruPts Pts Team OC
Tyrod Taylor 16 286 477 3229 18 7 187 89 276 BUF Rick Dennison
Tyrod Taylor 16 274 449 3066 18 7 180 89 268 NYJ John Morton
Tyrod Taylor 16 289 474 3374 18 7 194 89 283 CLE Hue Jackson
Tyrod Taylor 16 295 484 3326 20 7 199 89 288 HOU Bill O’Brien
Tyrod Taylor 16 299 484 3319 20 7 199 89 288 DEN Mike McCoy
Tyrod Taylor 16 293 467 3256 18 7 187 89 276 CHI Dowell Loggains
Tyrod Taylor 16 292 478 3453 20 7 202 89 291 SFO Kyle Shanahan
Att/G Cmp% Y/Cmp TD% Int% Team OC
Tyrod Taylor 29.8 60% 11.3 3.8% 1.5% BUF Rick Dennison
Tyrod Taylor 28.1 61% 11.2 3.9% 1.5% NYJ John Morton
Tyrod Taylor 29.6 61% 11.7 3.9% 1.5% CLE Hue Jackson
Tyrod Taylor 30.2 61% 11.3 4.2% 1.4% HOU Bill O’Brien
Tyrod Taylor 30.2 62% 11.1 4.2% 1.4% DEN Mike McCoy
Tyrod Taylor 29.2 63% 11.1 3.8% 1.4% CHI Dowell Loggains
Tyrod Taylor 29.9 61% 11.8 4.1% 1.5% SFO Kyle Shanahan

Colin Kaepernick

Ian Rapoport reported that Colin Kaepernick is expected to opt out of his deal once the new league year begins and will become a free agent. Kap appeared in 12 games for San Francisco in 2016, throwing for 16 touchdowns to only four interceptions. The reports of his bad play have been grossly overstated and he is still one of the most talented quarterbacks out there. The 49ers have been absolutely putrid the last two seasons and all the drama surrounding Kaepernick off the field has put a cloud over his above average performance on it. While the potential of Kaepernick and Kyle Shanahan is alluring, the rest of San Francisco’s roster is incredibly weak and he is likely to land in a better situation wherever he goes.

He also seems poised to enter 2017 as a quarterback sleeper that could provide awesome value as your late-round QB2 in a 2QB league. Expectedly, Kaepernick has the second-highest rushing projections behind Taylor and would benefit in a more modern system that incorporates the read-option and using the quarterback as rusher in general. None of the OCs on the list has had a runner with Kaepernick’s, ability save for Shanahan with Robert Griffin, but they could certainly tweak their system if he shows competence. His highest potential points ceiling in San Francisco is out of the question, but if he lands in Denver or even Cleveland he still projects as a productive fantasy option at a relatively cheap price.

G Cmp Att Yds TD Int paPts ruPts Pts Team OC
Colin Kaepernick 16 258 452 3010 18 7 176 67 243 BUF Rick Dennison
Colin Kaepernick 16 247 426 2858 17 7 169 67 236 NYJ John Morton
Colin Kaepernick 16 261 449 3145 18 7 183 67 250 CLE Hue Jackson
Colin Kaepernick 16 269 463 3130 20 7 190 67 257 HOU Bill O’Brien
Colin Kaepernick 16 275 466 3145 20 7 191 67 258 DEN Mike McCoy
Colin Kaepernick 16 265 443 3035 17 7 176 67 243 CHI Dowell Loggains
Colin Kaepernick 16 264 453 3218 19 7 191 67 258 SFO Kyle Shanahan
Att/G Cmp% Y/Cmp TD% Int% Team OC
Colin Kaepernick 28.2 57% 11.7 3.9% 1.6% BUF Rick Dennison
Colin Kaepernick 26.6 58% 11.6 4.0% 1.6% NYJ John Morton
Colin Kaepernick 28.1 58% 12.0 4.0% 1.6% CLE Hue Jackson
Colin Kaepernick 28.9 58% 11.6 4.3% 1.5% HOU Bill O’Brien
Colin Kaepernick 29.1 59% 11.5 4.3% 1.5% DEN Mike McCoy
Colin Kaepernick 27.7 60% 11.5 3.9% 1.5% CHI Dowell Loggains
Colin Kaepernick 28.3 58% 12.2 4.2% 1.6% SFO Kyle Shanahan

Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo’s future is perhaps more unpredictable than any other quarterback in the league right now. It seems as if every day the news on him flips; one day he is being traded and the next he’s expected to stay in New England. It’s nearly impossible to gauge what’s going to happen with him with all of the conflicting reports and at this point we will just have to wait and see if he actually gets traded. He becomes a free agent in 2018, and if Brady can continue to play at a high level, it would be very un-Patriot like to not squeeze value out of Jimmy G via trade before he walks next spring. Looking at our projections, Garoppolo has the potential to be a 30-touchdown guy if given a full opportunity. Linking him up with Bill O’Brien in Houston seems like one of the best options and he would almost certainly provide more production than Brock Osweiler. One thing to be on the lookout for is if New England OC Josh McDaniel takes a head-coaching job after the 2017 season. Garoppolo would already be familiar with the playbook and would be the ideal free agent signing for a new head coach looking to establish himself and his offense.

G Cmp Att Yds TD Int paPts ruPts Pts Team OC
Jimmy Garoppolo 16 338 524 3664 27 10 235 2 237 BUF Rick Dennison
Jimmy Garoppolo 16 324 493 3479 26 9 226 2 228 NYJ John Morton
Jimmy Garoppolo 16 342 521 3828 28 10 244 2 246 CLE Hue Jackson
Jimmy Garoppolo 16 353 536 3810 30 10 255 2 257 HOU Bill O’Brien
Jimmy Garoppolo 16 360 540 3828 31 10 256 2 258 DEN Mike McCoy
Jimmy Garoppolo 16 347 513 3695 26 9 234 2 237 CHI Dowell Loggains
Jimmy Garoppolo 16 346 525 3918 29 10 255 2 257 SFO Kyle Shanahan
Jimmy Garoppolo 16 354 513 4062 30 9 264 2 266 NWE Josh McDaniels
Att/G Cmp% Y/Cmp TD% Int% Team OC
Jimmy Garoppolo 32.7 65% 10.8 5.1% 1.9% BUF Rick Dennison
Jimmy Garoppolo 30.8 66% 10.7 5.3% 1.9% NYJ John Morton
Jimmy Garoppolo 32.5 66% 11.2 5.3% 1.9% CLE Hue Jackson
Jimmy Garoppolo 33.5 66% 10.8 5.7% 1.8% HOU Bill O’Brien
Jimmy Garoppolo 33.8 67% 10.6 5.7% 1.8% DEN Mike McCoy
Jimmy Garoppolo 32.1 68% 10.6 5.1% 1.8% CHI Dowell Loggains
Jimmy Garoppolo 32.8 66% 11.3 5.6% 1.9% SFO Kyle Shanahan
Jimmy Garoppolo 32.1 69% 11.5 5.8% 1.8% NWE Josh McDaniels

What About Kirk?

One last note: Kirk Cousins was franchise tagged by Washington, therefore eliminating the potential of his departure for one more year. However, he has been involved in trade rumors, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he does indeed leave Washington. Cousins has had two above-average seasons in a row and is establishing himself as a long-term starter in this league. The projections back up this claim, as Cousins has the highest ceiling of the 10 QBs, along with a consistently high floor. His high volume along with above average efficiency is key in his sustained production through 2017 and beyond.

G Cmp Att Yds TD Int paPts ruPts Pts Team OC
Kirk Cousins 16 362 577 4138 23 13 233 29 263 BUF Rick Dennison
Kirk Cousins 16 356 558 4039 23 12 231 29 260 NYJ John Morton
Kirk Cousins 16 366 574 4324 24 13 243 29 273 CLE Hue Jackson
Kirk Cousins 16 378 591 4303 26 13 252 29 281 HOU Bill O’Brien
Kirk Cousins 16 385 595 4324 27 13 254 29 283 DEN Mike McCoy
Kirk Cousins 16 371 566 4173 23 12 234 29 263 CHI Dowell Loggains
Kirk Cousins 16 384 577 4754 27 13 272 29 301 SFO Kyle Shanahan
Kirk Cousins 16 401 586 4818 28 12 280 29 309 WAS Jay Gruden
Att/G Cmp% Y/Cmp TD% Int% Team OC
Kirk Cousins 36.0 63% 11.4 4.0% 2.2% BUF Rick Dennison
Kirk Cousins 34.9 64% 11.3 4.2% 2.2% NYJ John Morton
Kirk Cousins 35.9 64% 11.8 4.2% 2.2% CLE Hue Jackson
Kirk Cousins 36.9 64% 11.4 4.5% 2.2% HOU Bill O’Brien
Kirk Cousins 37.2 65% 11.2 4.5% 2.2% DEN Mike McCoy
Kirk Cousins 35.3 66% 11.2 4.0% 2.2% CHI Dowell Loggains
Kirk Cousins 36.0 67% 12.4 4.6% 2.2% SFO Kyle Shanahan
Kirk Cousins 36.6 68% 12.0 4.8% 2.1% WAS Jay Gruden

Benton McDonald

Benton is an avid fantasy football player who has been playing superflex since 2013 and writing about fantasy since 2014. Benton is currently in his last semester of high school and plans to attend journalism school beginning next fall. He can be found all times of the day on twitter @BentonMcD_


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