2 Overvalued and 2 Undervalued Dynasty QBs
Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Eric Moody. You can follow him on Twitter @EricNMoody.
Are you familiar with the economic term opportunity cost? It refers to a benefit one could have received, but gave up as a result of another course of action. This concept can be applied to fantasy football. The one position you do not want to overpay for is quarterback. Here are the top 10 quarterbacks from 2017, their average draft positions (ADP), and how they finished the season:
|No||Pick||Name||Pos||Team||Overall||Std. Dev||High||Low||2017 Finish|
Now, you’re probably thinking about what running backs or wide receivers you could have had on your roster and the impact they could have made on your fantasy team if you waited until the middle-to-late rounds to address the QB position. Alex Smith, Blake Bortles, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger all finished the season as top-10 fantasy passers. Jared Goff, Blake Bortles, and Case Keenum were excellent values last season, especially in 2QB or Superflex formats, and finished just outside of the top 10. This article will share two quarterbacks who are overvalued and two who are undervalued, with context on why you should or shouldn’t target them in dynasty formats based on our current 2QB Dynasty ADP.
OVERVALUED DYNASTY QUARTERBACKS
CAM NEWTON, CAROLINA PANTHERS — ADP: 24.5 OVERALL, QB8
Success or failure in fantasy football for Cam Newton has always been defined by his rushing ability. His rushing yards and rushing touchdowns accounted for nearly 40 percent of his fantasy points last season, and he rushed for 700 or more yards in a single season for the third time. He has accumulated 4,320 career rushing yards. The only other quarterbacks with more career rushing yards are Michael Vick (6,109) and Randall Cunningham (4,928). The 28-year-old Newton has only missed three regular season games, but how long can he stay on the field after setting a career-high in rushing attempts last season (139)?
Accuracy has always been an area of opportunity for Newton. He completed a career-low 53 percent of his passes in 2016, and 59 percent in 2017. It’s no coincidence Newton had a negative passing fantasy points over expectation (paFPOE) these last two seasons. Passing Fantasy Points Over Expectation, as defined by RotoViz, is when you take the player’s actual fantasy points and subtract out the Expected Points.
Newton’s QBR in 2016 and 2017 (48.0 and 49.6 respectively) were the worst of his seven-year career. This is an area where new Panthers offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Norv Turner will attempt to help Newton improve. Turner has a history of developing young signal-callers.
It would be prudent for the Panthers to address the wide receiver position in free agency and the draft. The team traded No. 1 receiver Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills and promoted Devin Funchess last season. A shoulder injury limited Funchess’ production and the Panthers could never find consistency at the No. 2 receiver spot given the injury woes of second-round draft pick Curtis Samuel.
Can Newton find success in 2018 in spite of all these changes? It is possible, but are you willing to use the necessary draft capital to make it happen? Hope is not a winning fantasy football strategy.
ANDREW LUCK, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS — ADP: 22.0 OVERALL, QB6
Andew Luck’s most productive season was 2014, when he averaged 297.6 passing yards per game and finished the season with the highest passing fantasy points over expectation (paFPOE) of his career. Will Luck ever reach his true potential? Three things have perhaps derailed his once promising NFL career: the Colts’ offensive line play, the number of hits he’s taken, and his shoulder injury.
|Season||Team||Pass Pro Rank||Sacks||Adjusted Sack Rate||QB Hits|
The Colts’ pass protection rankings from Football Outsiders outside of 2013 and 2014 were not stellar. Their offensive line gave up a high number of sacks and ranked top-three in hits allowed in four of the past five seasons. Luck endured quite a bit of punishment up to this point of his career. What would prompt you to jeopardize one of the biggest assets of your NFL franchise, an asset the Colts front office signed to a six-year, $140-million dollar contract back in June 2016? This type of negligence is the equivalent of buying the new iPhone without purchasing a hard shell case for it. Bad things are bound to happen.
Luck has had pain in his right throwing shoulder since Week 3 of the 2015 season, resulting in two missed games that year. He continued to play on this unstable shoulder for the entire 2016 season. Jeffrey Budoff MD, a writer at RotoViz, wrote a very sobering article regarding the severity of Luck’s shoulder injury. Here is an excerpt from that article:
I believe that Luck has proven that nonoperative treatments aren’t currently effective for him. In my opinion, what Luck needs is to return to the operating room for an examination of his shoulder while he’s under anesthesia to detect any residual instability. This would be followed by an arthroscopic re-evaluation of his shoulder and debridement of any remaining rotator cuff tendinopathy. If the biceps is thought to be problematic, an open tenodesis, which is stronger and allows for quicker rehabilitation than an arthroscopic tenodesis, could be performed. But then again, nobody’s asked me.
Instead Luck, who is said to be fairly headstrong, went to Europe to seek treatment. Probably for a stem cell injection. This is not a positive development. Stem cells have no proven efficacy for anything yet, let alone problems in the throwing shoulder of an elite athlete. This is the injured players equivalent of a Hail Mary. But, as you know, most Hail Marys fail. You can ask Ryan Tannehill how great stem cells worked on his partially torn ACL that subsequently fully ruptured, causing him to miss the entire season.
Budoff also mentioned he’s unsure if Luck will be ready for the 2018 season, or if he will ever be healthy. This is unfortunate considering the pairing of Luck with new Colts head coach Frank Reich could be viewed as a match made in fantasy football heaven, given Reich’s track record grooming quarterbacks. Budoff went on to mention how the ripple effect of Luck’s injury situation could impact his throwing accuracy, arm strength, stamina, confidence to throw into tight windows, and willingness to risk further contact by running out of the pocket. How confident are you catching a falling knife without getting cut? This is how you should view drafting Luck at his current ADP.
UNDERVALUED DYNASTY QUARTERBACKS
ANDY DALTON, CINCINNATI BENGALS — ADP: 76.0 OVERALL, QB25
Can Andy Dalton bounce back? He finished as the QB17 last season, QB12 in 2016, and is only two seasons removed from having the highest passing fantasy points over expectation of his career (paFPOE).
New Bengals quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt was hired to fill a vacancy the team had since Week 3 of the 2017 season, when former QB coach Bill Lazor was promoted to offensive coordinator (after Ken Zampese was fired). After watching the last two seasons of game film Pelt believes Dalton has the “potential to be an elite player in the league” and believes it’s the Bengals’ “job to challenge him to get to that next level.”
In 2017, the Bengals offense ranked last in yards per game (280.5). Compare to 2016, when the team produced 356.9 yards per game, which ranked 12th. Two areas the front office should immediately address in free agency and the NFL Draft are offensive line and wide receiver. Improving the O-line is especially important because it’s negatively impacting the entire offense and Dalton’s quality of play.
|Season||ALY||ALY Rank||OFY||OFY Rank||Pass Pro. Rank||Sacks||Adjusted Sack Rate|
A team with a high ranking in Adjusted Line Yards (ALY), but a low ranking in Open Field Yards (OFY) leans heavily on its offensive line to make the running game work. A team with a low ranking in ALY, but a high ranking in OFY is heavily dependent on its running backs to break long runs and make the running game work. Last season, the Bengals offense ranked 29th in rushing attempts per game with 23.6 and ranked 31st in rushing yards per game with 85.4.
On top of that, Dalton has limited receiving options. The Bengals offense has struggled to find playmakers outside of A.J. Green after losing Mohammed Sanu and Marvin Jones in free agency. The front office needs to address the wide receiver position.
If the Bengals front office makes better decisions and upgrades Dalton’s supporting cast, he will be in a much better position to bounce back in 2018, potentially providing fantasy owners with high-end QB2 to low-end QB1 value.
BLAKE BORTLES, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS — ADP: 101.5 OVERALL, QB28
Bortles set a career-low in turnovers last season with 16, after averaging 21 his first three NFL seasons. He has displayed tremendous growth and development since 2015. Bortles finished last season as the QB13, despite numerous injuries to his wide receivers, including No. 1 WR Allen Robinson.
Bortles recently signed a three-year contract extension for $54 million through the 2020 season, which could be worth up to $66.5 million with incentives. The contract includes $26.5 million in guaranteed money, but is structured in a way that allows the Jaguars to be tied to Bortles for only a few seasons. He needs to statistically produce in the short term to earn another career defining payday.
The Jaguars’ front office has the cap flexibility to provide Bortles with additional receiving weapons in 2018. The offense will still revolve around the running game, which led the NFL in 2017 with 33.1 rushing attempts and 141.2 rushing yards per game, but he can still put together solid numbers with a limited number of pass attempts per game. Bortles finished the 2017 season with 0.67 fantasy points per touch, tying him with Ben Roethlisberger for 14th among all quarterbacks. Bortles’ current ADP of QB28 would shatter his three-year fantasy finish average of QB9.
There are many overvalued and undervalued quarterbacks every fantasy football season. In 2QB or Superflex leagues, finding value at both quarterback slots can provide you a significant weekly advantage. What did you find most useful in this article? Please leave a comment below, or better yet, reach out to me on Twitter @EricNMoody. Until next time!