Tyrod Taylor Is Much Better Than You Think

Tyrod Taylor Is Much Better Than You Think

What are we to make of Tyrod Taylor? After winning the starting job in 2015, Tyrod went racked up a string of QB1 weekly finishes. … And he was one of the best draft values in a year full of late-round quarterback gems. Despite that success, the young player has not shot up draft boards this offseason.

The Bills organization has not committed to Taylor long-term, and no new contract appears imminent. Rex Ryan, the Bills head coach, is an unlikely candidate to increase his team’s emphasis on the pass, so we are not likely to see increased volume out of Tyrod this year. But is all of that a reason to give up on the Bills’ quarterback for fantasy this year?

Our writers combine to place Tyrod Taylor at QB11 in redraft rankings, and we have expressed a fair bit of confidence in his 2016 fantasy potential. Our readers, however, appear less convinced.

Did My BestIn our recent Twitter polls, Tyrod plummeted, losing head-to-head against nine other QBs, finally settling in as QB17.

Rather than toss our hands in the air like we just don’t care, our writers (and one very kind guest) banded together to interpret the results. What gives?

Consider this a defense of Tyrod Taylor, from those who like him a lot more than you do.

Where are you comfortable drafting Tyrod Taylor?

Greg Smith (@gregsauce): This is a tricky question because I tend to wait on quarterbacks in most drafts.  Taylor is my 10th-ranked passer, which probably slots him in the range of picks 40 to 60 overall.  That sounds a little too lofty for my tastes, but I don’t want to draft my lower-ranked QBs in that area either.  With that said, if I can wait and grab Tyrod in the late 5th round or beyond, that seems reasonable.  Alternatively, I’ll do back-flips if I can draft in a room full of our Twitter poll rankers and see Taylor discounted to a price in the QB15 to QB20 range.

Brian Malone (@julesdynasty): I’d be comfortable drafting Taylor anywhere after the top eight quarterbacks.  For 2016, I think he’s just about as safe as Romo, Eli, or Ryan, with a realistic points-per-game floor in the QB18-20 range.  The Bills were 31st in pass attempts in 2015, so there’s little risk of volume drop.  I do expect his rushing attempts to drop, but 90-100 rushes in 16 games is a reasonable projection.  Most importantly, don’t underrate Taylor as a passer.  In 2015, he ranked fourth in adjusted yards per attempt and ninth in net adjusted yards per attempt (which accounts for sacks).

Anthony Amico (@amicsta): I am comfortable drafting Taylor anywhere near the back-end of QB1s in re-draft leagues. Once I get towards the end of the fourth round in 2QB leagues I think I’ll be considering him, but I think he will fall much farther than that. I’m looking to scoop him in the sixth round or later.

Sal Stefanile (@2QBFFB): I thought I would be going into this 2QB drafting season preparing myself for the possibility of having zero Tyrod Taylor shares.

Last season he was an afterthought in many 2QB leagues and was basically free to acquire as either a late-round quarterback or someone who went undrafted. He finished the season as the overall fantasy QB16 (minus Week 17) and was QB8 in terms of fantasy points per game.

I assumed that meant his draft stock would go up, and I would be priced out. I may have overestimated the appeal of Taylor in the 2QB fantasy community though, or I value him much, much higher than many others.

In our TwoQBs.com staff redraft QB rankings, I have Taylor ranked seventh and the readers ranked him 17th. In a semi-recent 2QB mock draft, I snagged Taylor in the eighth round (8.06) as the 19th signal caller take off the board.

While I have him ranked seventh, the market seems to view him as a mid-to-low-range QB2. If he has an ADP of round eight or below, I’ll most likely take him in every draft and would feel quite comfortable with that price. I’m a late-round quarterback drafter for the most part but would feel okay selecting Taylor in round six at the earliest. I would probably pass though, as there will be a bevy of viable signal callers available later on. But that would be the start of my comfort zone.

What is the fantasy floor you are comfortable guaranteeing if Taylor plays all sixteen games?

Tyrod Taylor2Greg: Taylor’s ability to run the ball seemingly builds a solid foundation of fantasy production.  He averaged 6.5 rushing attempts per game in 2015 for 35.5 yards per game.  Down the stretch, though, he ran a lot more.  Over his last 5 games, he averaged 9.6 carries for 55.6 yards per game.  If Tyrod approximates that sort of pace in 2016, his rushing yardage and potential for rushing touchdowns all but guarantee a finish among the top 15 quarterbacks, with top-10 upside to boot.

Anthony: Taylor averaged 19.7 fantasy points per game last season in four point per passing touchdown leagues. He was even better than that after the Bills’ bye week. If he plays all 16 games, I think he hits 300 fantasy points pretty easily.

Why do you think the community ranks Tyrod Taylor so low?

Greg: Josh and I discussed this on the 2QB Experience Podcast, but I imagine that many participants in our Twitter polls are dynasty-oriented fantasy players, given their activity on Twitter in the dead months of the NFL offseason.  With Buffalo’s hesitance to give Taylor a strong vote of confidence, I think dynasty owners have soured on him a bit for fear he will lose his job after 2016.  Tyrod is also battling the stigma of playing for Rex Ryan, a coach who does not typically inspire elite quarterback production.

Anthony: The community right now is trying to figure out if Taylor is actually good. He was a sixth-round pick of the Ravens five years ago, and this was his first time making a true NFL impact. However I don’t really think any of this matters. Taylor produces fantasy points when he is on the field, and that is all that I care about.

How much does the possibility of low passing volume worry you in the Rex Ryan offense?

Greg: Low volume doesn’t concern me too much as long as Tyrod can be somewhat efficient.  His rushing ability sets a stable floor of production, and he has solid weapons in Sammy Watkins, LeSean McCoy, and Charles Clay.  If Taylor can capitalize on his red zone opportunities, the fantasy points will come.

Anthony: Not even a little bit. Taylor was a QB1 last season with the Bills owning the second-lowest pass attempt total in the NFL. I’m not really sure that total can go any lower than the 29 attempts per game it was at last year, especially because I don’t see the Bills’ defense improving at all in 2016. Taylor ran for 568 yards and four touchdowns last season, and that is the real reason you want him.

Sal: It doesn’t really bother me at all. It didn’t hurt him last year, and it doesn’t this year. Tyrod Taylor isn’t the type of quarterback you draft thinking he’ll be a high-volume passer.

We know Rex Ryan prefers the ground and pound approach, and with LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams solidified as a threatening 1-2 punch at running back, the Bills are built to be a run-first team. I don’t see that changing much.

The Konami Code is real, kids.
The Konami Code is real, kids.

I am not worried because you draft Taylor for his #KonamiCode appeal more than his passing volume. His rushing prowess leads to fantasy points, and fantasy points earned from running can sometimes outweigh those achieved from throwing, especially if you play in leagues that award four points per passing touchdown (and six to rushing scores).

Last season, Taylor scored 252.22 fantasy points (minus Week 17). Of those 252.22 fantasy points, 69.7 came from rushing. That’s an extra 4.4 fantasy points per game from the ground. If we deduct those 69.7 fantasy points, all of a sudden, Taylor goes from the overall fantasy QB16 to QB24 (182.51 fantasy points). But those rushing points do count and are quite valuable.

Taylor’s #KonamiCode skills take him from a low-range QB2 to a mid-range/high-end QB2 at the worst, meaning you shouldn’t be worried about low passing volume.

Writer’s Choice: Give me something unique on Tyrod.

Greg: I didn’t go deep, but I dove into some of Tyrod’s first half vs. second half splits from 2015.  Here are some positive trends I found in his small sample of 14 games:

  • 66.1 completion % in 2nd halves vs. 61.4% in 1st halves
  • 11:2 TD:INT ratio in 2nd vs. 9:4 in 1st
  • 8.77 Y/A in 2nd vs. 7.26 in 1st
  • 109.2 passer rating in 2nd vs. 90.3 in 1st

This shows me, at least to some extent, that Tyrod and the Bills are adept at making adjustments at halftime.  It bodes well for them being able to make similar adjustments for success in 2016 vs. common opponents/schemes they faced in 2015.

Anthony: For those wondering just how good Taylor is, here is a mind-numbing statistic: In the history of the NFL, there are only five quarterbacks to run the ball 90 or more times in one season and have an adjusted yards per attempt over eight. They are: Cam Newton, Russell Wilson (done it three times), Robert Griffin, Frank Filchock (who only threw the ball 89 times, I’m assuming as a part of some old-school Delaware-style offense), and Taylor. I honestly don’t think you can have a season like that if you aren’t talented in some way. Tyrod is here to stay, ladies and gentlemen, and he should be treated more like a dual-threat maven than a scrub who found lightning in a bottle.

Joshua Lake

Josh has spent more than a decade in 2QB leagues, focusing on the bottom of the barrel when it comes to fantasy quarterbacks. His research focuses on quarterbacks, and he tries not to pretend he knows anything about the other positions. You can find him on Twitter at @LakeTwoQBs.

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