An important aspect of being successful at fantasy football is being able to predict what will happen in the future. Or at least try to. … This is an exercise I attempted in Week 14 of last season when I tried to predict which signal callers would be the first twelve drafted in 2016 2QB leagues.
Getting the correct order wasn’t the goal, as that is a fool’s errand. It was more about trying to get a gauge of what the top-12 QB landscape would look like for the 2016 drafting season.
These are the quarterbacks I predicted would be the first twelve drafted in 2016 2QB drafts:
And here is how the top-12 of the 2016 2QB ADP actually shook out:
1. Cam Newton
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Russell Wilson
4. Andrew Luck
5. Drew Brees
6. Ben Roethlisberger
7. Tom Brady
8. Carson Palmer
9. Blake Bortles
10. Eli Manning
11. Philip Rivers
12. Derek Carr
I wound up getting 11 out of 12 correct, with Andy Dalton being my only miss. I thought Dalton’s hot start to his 2015 season (nine top-12 finishes, ten games of 18+ fantasy points) would lead to him being highly drafted. He was the fantasy QB5 at the mid-point of the 2016 season and would have likely finished that high if he didn’t suffer a season-ending injury in Week 13. Through 12 full games, Dalton averaged 20.3 fantasy points per game, which would have tied him with Drew Brees for the fourth-most.
How will the top-12 of 2017 2QB drafts shake out?
If I were to hazard a guess, these would be the twelve quarterbacks I think have the best shot of being drafted as QB1s in 2017:
Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins
Until they retire or regress significantly, Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Luck, Newton, Wilson, and Roethlisberger will be mainstays in the QB1 tier. Although, Newton’s disappointing drop from QB1 and 389.08 fantasy points in 2015 to QB17 and 254.56 points in 2016 could see him fall outside the top-12 in terms of ADP.
With those seven out of the way, that leaves us with five spots to play around with and I went with Stafford, Prescott, Carr, Ryan, and Cousins. Let’s break those five down…
The past two fantasy seasons has seen Stafford finish with back-to-back QB1 seasons: QB9 in 2015 and QB7 in 2016. He actually was the QB5 in total points after Week 8. His finger injury seemed to have a major impact on his late-season production…
Stafford pre-finger injury: 67.2% complete, 21 TD, 5 INT, Lions 8-4
Stafford post-finger injury: 60.2% complete, 3 TD, 5 INT, Lions 1-3
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) January 2, 2017
Will that late season slide impact his 2017 draft stock ala Dalton last season? It’s possible. From Week 1 to 13, Stafford averaged 4.07 fantasy points more/game than he did in from Week 14 to 17, according to the RotoViz Games Split App.
He also scored 16+ fantasy points seven times during that span and was a QB1 (top-12) six times. A nearly 20-point fantasy day in Week 17 might ease the concerns of fantasy players though.
Here’s another situation where injury may play a factor, as Carr suffered a season-ending injury in the penultimate week of the 2016 regular season. Prior to that injury though, Carr was the QB8 in total points and QB10 on a PPG basis through Week 16.
He was near the top of most passing categories as well, ranking 13th in pass attempts and completions, 15th in completion percentage, 14th in passing yards, and seventh in passing touchdowns. Those stats are with Carr missing one game.
Coming off a season where he was the fantasy QB15, Carr’s top-12 ADP was a bit high for some. But not for Bobby Korecky, who penned a guest post on our site believing in Carr and telling us to draft him. Now that he was a top-10 fantasy QB10 in 2016, it’s difficult to think he will be drafted any lower than he was last season. Unless we hear his offseason rehab process took a hit, Carr will most likely be drafted as a QB1 again in 2017.
Unless you’re Anthony Amico, Dak Prescott’s 2016 fantasy season came out of nowhere. Going from third-string back-up (remember, Kellen Moore was slated to be the Cowboys’ QB2) to Opening Day starter to a top-6 fantasy quarterback.
Through Week 16, Prescott was the QB6 in total points (284.5) and QB7 in points per game (19). It was a rookie fantasy season that reminded us of Cam Newton (QB3 in 2011) and Robert Griffin III (QB5 in 2012). The only difference being they were both first round picks in their respective draft classes and had loftier expectations placed on them. Prescott was a fourth-round pick who was named starter thanks to a Tony Romo injury.
While Prescott’s preseason was impressive, it was still the preseason, and we weren’t sure what to expect out of him when it mattered the most. But he delivered, finishing as a top-12 fantasy QB ten times through Week 16. Only Aaron Rodgers (11) had more top-12 finishes than Prescott last season. If you compare him to the man he replaced, he did a pretty good job. Only six times in his career has Romo played 15 or more games and his highest fantasy output was 295.34 points. Prescott scored 286.88 in his rookie campaign.
It’s the Dak Prescott show in Dallas now and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Prescott go from a 2QB ADP of QB29 in 2016 to one in the top-12 or even top-10 in 2017.
How high will Matt Ryan be drafted in 2017 is a question we’ll try to answer all offseason long. After being drafted as the QB20 last offseason and finishing as the fantasy QB2 (behind only Aaron Rodgers), Ryan’s draft stock will soar immensely.
Whether you want to pay the price for someone who regressed so positively in touchdown percentage is a question for another day.
Cam Newton's TD rate in 2015: 7.1%
In 2016: 3.7%
Matt Ryan's TD rate in 2015: 3.4%
In 2016: 7.1%
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) January 2, 2017
There was a reason why Ryan was touted as a late-round pick and it’s more than likely he will be labeled a draft day avoid this year for the opposite reason. Going from throwing 21 touchdowns in 2015 (second-lowest output of his career) to throwing a career high 38 touchdowns will make some drafters hesitate in wanting to pay up for a career year.
However, we can’t deny that Ryan had a fantastic 2016 season, throwing for career highs in: completion percentage (69.9), passing yards (4,944), and passing TDs (38). He also throw a career low seven interceptions. His 347.46 fantasy points were a career high and it was only the second time in his career he scored 300+ fantasy points.
The last time he scored 300+ fantasy points he was the QB7 and then dropped to QB15 the following season. Even if Ryan fails to live up to his QB2 season there is no way he isn’t drafted in the top-12 of 2017 2QB drafts. In fact, it would not surprise me to see recency bias make him a top-5 drafted quarterback. We’re not that far removed from his 2015 2QB ADP of QB5.
Since taking over the starting gig from Robert Griffin III in Washington, Cousins has put up back-to-back top-8 fantasy football seasons, finishing as the QB8 in 2015 and the QB5 in 2016. During his two-year starting stint he has averaged 18.5 fantasy points.
With his ascension to the starting throne happening so late in 2015, Cousins went virtually undrafted that season. However, his QB1 season led to him being drafted as the QB15 on average this past offseason. While not quite a QB1, drafters were hesitant in using a high pick on a player with a one-year resume. Now that’s he produced at a high fantasy level in two straight seasons he’s made the case to be drafted as a QB1 in 2017.
Every year we talk about how deep the quarterback position is in fantasy football. 2017 will be no different. Take a look at some of the names I left off my list:
Tyrod Taylor – QB7 (total points), QB8 (PPG)
Marcus Mariota – QB9 (total points), QB12 (PPG)
Colin Kaepernick – QB15 (PPG)
QBs with a better TD:INT ratio than Colin Kaepernick (4:1)
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) January 2, 2017
Not to mention Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Blake Bortles, Eli Manning, and Jameis Winston. Add those names to my original list of 12 and we’re 21 quarterbacks deep. Tell me again why you don’t want to play in 2QB leagues?
Now that the 2017 fantasy football season is upon us we’ll debate which quarterbacks are worthy of being drafted in the QB1 tier and which ones are being overdrafted. Eventually we’ll have some 2017 2QB ADP to argue over. Until then, enjoy the 2QB offseason.
Stats used in this article courtesy of FantasyData