5 QBs to Draft Based on Dynasty ADP (And 3 to Avoid)
Mock drafting with rookies in March isn’t an exact science. Without landing spots clearly defined, it’s difficult to assess players’ fantasy values. However, given the ageism that runs rampant among dynasty owners, it was a bit surprising to see the blatant disrespect to the new kids on the block. Not one rookie quarterback came in above QB23 in TwoQBs’ March startup mocks. Surprisingly, the one prospect who might not be an NFL quarterback was selected first among the rookie quarterbacks: Lamar Jackson.
The Cleveland Browns (twice), New York Giants, and New York Jets hold the first four selections in the draft… for now. Quarterback is a priority for each one of those teams. One could also argue each of those teams is a fantasy football wasteland. Perhaps the importance of age is overshadowed by a team’s ineptitude in real life.
Still, the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl a season after finishing in last place. The Jacksonville Jaguars were a second half away from participating in this year’s Super Bowl. In 2016, the Jaguars went 3-13, tied for the third-worst record in the NFL. When referring to the NFL as a “not for long” league, it’s often painted in a negative fashion.
The opposite can also be true. Bad teams can quickly turn around their misfortune. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team won its division the season after finishing in last place. Investing in players discounted by their actual team’s struggles can be a rewarding strategy.
Using 2QB ADP data from Fantasy Football Calculator over the past three seasons, some of this bias comes into focus. Since 2015, only 10 quarterbacks have gone in the top 12 coming off a losing season. Of course, it’s imperative to note this is redraft data.
|Year (Team Record Previous Season)||QB||Position Drafted||Top-10 Weeks||Top-20 Weeks||End of Year Points|
|2015 (7-9)||Drew Brees||QB5||6||11||7|
|2015 (6-10)||Matt Ryan||QB7||2||9||19|
|2015 (6-10)||Eli Manning||QB10||7||11||10|
|2016 (7-9)||Drew Brees||QB5||9||11||3|
|2016 (4-12)||Tony Romo||QB12||0||0||59|
|2016 (5-11)||Blake Bortles||QB9||4||10||11|
|2016 (6-10)||Eli Manning||QB10||2||8||21|
|2016 (4-12)||Philip Rivers||QB11||3||11||17|
|2017 (7-9)||Drew Brees||QB3||4||12||9|
|2017 (6-10)||Cam Newton||QB10||8||12||3|
It’s also worth noting the one constant in this group. Despite being drafted as a top-five quarterback each subsequent season, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints finished 7-9 every season between 2014 and 2016. Who knew Brees had so much in common with Jeff Fisher? Hopefully, dissecting the March ADP will help us all avoid the same Fisher-like mediocrity. After all, of the 13 passers who finished 2016 on teams with losing records, only Carson Palmer and Mitch Trubisky failed to record a top-10 weekly finish in 20 percent or more of their starts. Trubisky and DeShone Kizer were the only two of that group who also failed to record top-20 finishes in at least 60 percent of their starts.
After analyzing the latest 2QB Dynasty ADP, I’ve highlighted five quarterbacks worth targeting at their current price and three signal-callers you should avoid.
Target Jared Goff (ADP – 20 Overall/QB5)
Speaking of Fisher, remember how the debate between Carson Wentz and Jared Goff was seemingly over before it began? That was before Sean McVay saved Goff from Fisher’s evil grasp. Last year’s performance still hasn’t sold everyone, though. Goff is being taken nearly a half-round after Deshaun Watson and Wentz, despite two intact ACLs.
Sammy Watkins might have gone to greener pastures, but Goff still has plenty of weapons at his disposal. His core group of pass-catchers are all young as well. The 27-year-old Tavon Austin is the oldest receiver on the team. If you want relevant receivers, then the oldest receiver on the Los Angeles Rams is Robert Woods (25). Don’t forget about Todd Gurley either, who turns 24 in August. It seems to be a trend in the Rams organization.
Another trend that developed for Goff last season was efficiency. Despite attempting the 18th-most passes last season, Goff finished top-10 in passing yards and passing touchdowns. Of quarterbacks who started at least eight games last season, Goff was tied for the third-fewest interceptions thrown.
The Rams also used play-action in their passing game, and they used it a lot. As more and more information comes out about the efficiency of play-action from folks like Josh Hermsmeyer and Ben Baldwin, the more it seems like this Rams offense with Goff can flourish in the foreseeable future. Give me the “value” top-five guy who can finish as the QB1.
Jared Goff and the Rams were the Kings of play action in 2017! pic.twitter.com/e2PJk9WKb4
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 15, 2018
Avoid Marcus Mariota (ADP – 24.5 Overall/QB7)
If TwoQBs ever runs a super villain theme, Mariota calls dibs on The Riddler. In his three NFL seasons, Mariota has already missed more games than he has thrown for 300 yards. He has thrown for 300 or more yards in only five games. Just last season alone, seven different quarterbacks accomplished that feat:
In his career, Mariota has 13 games where he has thrown for under 215 yards and had one or zero touchdown passes. He wasn’t getting bailed out through rushing yards either in those games. He only topped 40 rushing yards in three of the 13 games. For a quarterback being selected around the same time as Cam Newton, I think I’d take my chances with Superman over an enigma.
The one potential benefit Mariota has heading towards the 2018 season is his new offensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur. According to Warren Sharp’s personnel grouping frequency, LaFleur ran 81 percent of their plays in “11” personnel while throwing 61 percent of the time last year with the Rams. The Titans were in “11” personnel 44 percent of the time, the second-lowest rate in the NFL last year. Of course, the Titans’ depth behind Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews could be part of the explanation as to why they didn’t utilize three receivers more often. In an alternate universe somewhere, Tajae Sharpe fluff pieces are being constructed.
Target Kirk Cousins (ADP – 40.5 Overall/QB13)
Grain of salt with Cousins’ listed ADP. Many of the mocks began prior to Cousins landing in Minnesota. Given the talent he has around him on both sides of the ball, a case (not Keenum) could be made for Cousins finishing 2018 as a top-three quarterback. While he won’t go that high in startups, his ceiling is significantly higher than it was in the beginning of March.
Since he became a starter in Washington, Cousins has averaged 4,392 passing yards per season and completed 67 percent of his passes, with a TD:INT ratio of 27:12. Now he gets to throw indoors for a minimum of nine games per season, making Cousins a happy man. While the career sample size is incredibly small, Cousins saw an increase in completion percentage, QB rating, yards per game, and yards per attempt while playing indoors.
How Cousins handles pressure will determine just how successful he will be in Minnesota. His groundbreaking contract will create pressure, and if you watched the NFC Championship game, you saw an offensive line giving up a lot of pressure, too. In the past, this has been an area where Cousins has struggled immensely.
QB Kirk Cousins' passer rating when kept clean (106.5) dropped 40.2 points when pressured (66.3), good for the 9th-highest dropoff among starters in '17.
If Cousins does go to Denver, the #Raiders should double down on adding more EDGE talent to pressure the QB this offseason.
— Austin Gayle (@AustinGayle_PFF) January 31, 2018
Avoid Tom Brady (ADP – 48.5 Overall/QB15)
Tom versus time. I don’t know whether time is going to score the final knockout punch this upcoming season, but I know Brady’s ADP is way too inflated in dynasty.
For starters, Brady will enter his 19th NFL season at the age of 41. He will do so with a remodeled offensive line that will be without his two starting offensive tackles from Super Bowl LII. It’s also a line with the lowest amount of financial capital invested in it. That might be important, considering Brady just took the ninth-most sacks in the NFL.
Buying Brady in a startup works if you’re going for a win now season in year one. Then again, Philip Rivers is going a full round later than Brady and is four years younger. Unlike the New England Patriots, the Los Angeles Chargers appear to be addressing the offensive line this offseason.
Target Alex Smith (ADP – 63 Overall/QB22)
Hey, if I’m going to be writing here, I have to give some love to the TwoQBs.com (eventual) Hall of Fame member. Even if Salvatore Stefanile appears comfortable moving on, the value of Smith as the 22nd quarterback off the board will surely bring a lot of people back to ol’ reliable. With Wrestlemania coming up, in 2QB and Superflex leagues, consider Smith to be just like the Undertaker. Every year we keep thinking he’s near the end of his (fantasy) relevance, and he keeps proving us wrong.
Washington head coach Jay Gruden could adjust his offense to Smith’s positives in order to keep him around even longer. One of those is an increase of RPOs. According to Pro Football Focus, last season Smith finished as the best deep ball passer in the NFL. Getting to play with Paul Richardson Jr. might help Smith remain on top in that department.
Target Baker Mayfield (ADP – 73.5 Overall/QB24)
The tools on the field are definitely there. The distractions off the field might be there. Risk adversity will be tested when it comes to Mayfield because his ceiling is in the upper echelon of fantasy quarterbacks. Like most rookies, landing spot will also dictate how his ADP shakes up in the upcoming months.
For now though, let’s focus on the absolutes and not the hypotheticals. Below is a list of where Mayfield ranks relative to his draft-eligible peers.
In the 2018 class, Baker Mayfield is:
– 1st in Adjusted YPA
– 1st in Adjusted Completion%
– 1st in QB Rating
– 1st in Completion% Under Pressure (SIS)
– 1st in QB Rating on deep passes (PFF)
– 1st in QB Rating on play-action passes (PFF)
– 1st in QB Rating on non-PA passes (PFF)
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) March 8, 2018
Mayfield’s college results speak for themselves. A two-time Heisman finalist should be enticing. His public intoxication arrest last year only emboldens those skeptical of his maturity. Then there are his actions on the field. The obscene gestures. The profanity. While his emotional outbursts between the hash marks appear to be a cause for concern for the TV pundits, draftniks are quickly warming up to the fact Mayfield has all the tools necessary to succeed in the NFL. Again, there’s a ton of inherent risk with Mayfield, but that’s the price to pay for a ton of inherent talent.
Target Tyrod Taylor (ADP – 139 Overall/QB31)
If you’re looking for high upside and low risk, Tyrod Taylor is your guy based on ADP data thus far. Think of the guys Taylor could be throwing to next season. Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, Duke Johnson, David Njoku, and Carlos Hyde. Somehow, Josh Allen is going two full rounds before Taylor.
It’s certainly within the realm of possibility the Browns draft a rookie quarterback with one of their top-four picks. Assuming Taylor starts in 2018, though, efficiency is the name of his game. Since 1980, Taylor has the lowest interception percentage of any quarterback with 1,000 or more passing attempts and 40 or more games started:
Avoid Sam Bradford (ADP – 154.5 Overall/QB36)
Bradford’s placement here is solely due to his higher ADP than reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Sure Bradford is the “starter” in Arizona. The question with Bradford has always been “for how long?” and it doesn’t pertain to his sleeves.
The question for Foles is a similar one, given Carson Wentz’s injury rehab. However, Foles has been relatively healthy throughout his career. If you’re waiting to snag a quarterback this late, the least they should offer you is a couple games of production. For Bradford, there’s no guarantee he makes it out of training camp in one piece. At least Foles has a realistic shot at starting the season for the defending champs. Advantage: Foles.