QBs I’m Not Drafting in 2016
I already gave you a list of five quarterbacks I am drafting everywhere this fantasy football season. … So consider this article a mirror image. These are three quarterbacks I don’t expect to own anywhere.
Each of these three QBs is fine, and I wouldn’t mind owning them in a one-man league, but the trouble is their price in the typical 2QB league. I like the quarterbacks alright, but I am not willing to pay the necessary price to get them on my team. (All references to ADP are based on our August 2QB ADP.)
Cam Newton (QB1)
I didn’t like Cam Newton as a draft pick last year, and that worked out dreadfully. So why not double down this year?
After an historic year, Cam stands as QB1 in our 2QB ADP this month. Drafters take him three picks before Aaron Rodgers and ten picks before Russell Wilson or Andrew Luck. I am far from claiming Newton will fall out of the QB1 ranks this season, but he is drafted as the QB1, not just a QB1. I am not confident he’s worth that price.
After four consecutive seasons with touchdown rates of between four and five percent, Cam threw a TD on an incredible 7.1% of his passes last year. Putting it another way, Cam threw 35 touchdowns, as compared to 21, 19, 24, and 18 his other four seasons. 2016 looks like an outlier more than a new normal, so I expect some regression. Fewer touchdowns means fewer fantasy points, and that will slide him back into the pack of elite QBs.
Newton also boosted his rushing production by getting into the end zone more than he had in any season since 2011. Ten rushing touchdowns was twice the number he had in 2014, and more than he’s had in any other season except his rookie year. This is nitpicking at its finest, but if Cam splits the difference this year, he will lose two or three rushing touchdowns, further pushing him down into the pack of elite QBs.
I hate writing this section, because I still wake up in cold sweats remembering my Cam Newton hate last year. But this year it’s purely cost-based. If you can get Cam Newton at a price that treats him as roughly equal to the other three elite options, I am totally fine with him. The trouble is that he’s taken well ahead of them in most drafts. I won’t pay that price.
Ben Roethlisberger (QB6)
Ben Roethlisberger has been in a tier unto himself as the QB6 in our August ADP, 14 picks after Drew Brees but ten picks before Carson Palmer and Tom Brady.
First, Roethlisberger is less consistent than everyone believes. Over the last three years, he has finished outside the top-20 in a full third of his active weeks. Outside the top-20! If I am drafting a QB sixth at his position, I don’t want to expect he’ll be a QB3 for one out of every three games this year.
Second, Roethlisberger will suffer from the loss of Martavis Bryant this year. Bryant’s field-stretching ability changes the defensive gameplan and adds a serious threat from the Steelers’ offense. With him out of the game, Ben hasn’t been nearly as elite.
Third, the price deters me. I remain baffled that Carson Palmer gets drafted a full round later than Roethlisberger in 2QB leagues, and I am more astounded that Eli Manning and Philip Rivers go at least two full rounds later. I do not see reason to be confident Big Ben is worth a QB6 price.
Finally, check out this great Ben Roethlisberger profile by Anthony Amico if you’d like a more lengthy discussion of the risks of Big Ben at his current price.
Blake Bortles (QB9)
I am firmly on the side of Blake Bortles regressing in 2016, falling off his incredible 2015 pace. Check out our guest article by Bobby Korecky, if you want the opposite argument, reasons to draft Bortles. Although Bobby made some persuasive points, I continue to have concerns.
First, I fear Bortles’ dreadful accuracy, having failed to complete even 60% of his passes in either of his first two seasons. He threw 17 and 18 interceptions in those two years, and fumbled an additional 14 times last year. The Jaguars were behind in most of their games last year, and Blake Bortles was to blame for much of that. I fear his tendency to end drives prematurely, keeping his team from spending extended time in the red zone.
Second, I expect the Jaguars’ red zone run/pass ratio to balance out, after a 51:92 ratio last year. The team added Chris Ivory in the offseason, and he looks to be in line for goal line carries.
Ivory-Yeldon continues to look like a true 50:50 split. Ivory better bet for TDs. I don’t think either will be a high-volume pass catcher.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) August 21, 2016
Third, Blake Bortles was last year’s QB7 in points per game, which means he would need to match last year’s performance to return value on his current QB9 price. If he takes a step back at all, the best you can hope for is to break even, and more likely you are taking a loss.