Salvatore Stefanile recaps Week 7 of the 2016 NFL regular season in his weekly 2QB Things We Learned blog, discussing Flacco, Browns Quarterbacks, and Bortles. …
The early-round QB enthusiasts are smiling. Following the Sunday main slates (1 and 4 PM games), the top-two highest scoring quarterbacks were Andrew Luck and Drew Brees. Add Aaron Rodgers (QB4) and three of the top-four quarterbacks had a top-27 overall 2QB ADP.
Only four quarterbacks were drafted in the first two rounds this offseason (Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck). The only other instances this season where the top-two scoring fantasy QBs of the week were a combo of the top-five drafted throwers was Week 1 (Luck/Brees again). The top-four early-round quarterbacks have combined for 10 (out of 21) top-12 finishes through Week 6.
I’m not trying to write a hit piece on the early-round QB draft strategy, although I made my position on the strategy known during the offseason, but I wanted to highlight the return on investment to date for 2QBers who did use a first or second round pick to select a quarterback. Ten out of 21 QB1 finishes equates to 48 percent. Luck and Rodgers are guaranteed top-12 finishes for Week 6, bringing the total up to 12. If Wilson joins the group that numbers jumps up to 13. 12-of-24 is 50 percent and 13-of-24 is 54 percent.
The reason why 2QBers use an early pick on the quarterback position is safety. They don’t want to stream the position each week and want someone they can leave in they lineup every week, no matter the matchup. It’s still early in the season, but so far the numbers must not make the early-round QB backers all too happy. Neither does seeing Matt Ryan as the fantasy QB1 on the season (102.5 overall ADP/QB20). Below are a few more takeaways from Week 7 of the 2016 NFL regular season…
2QB Things We Learned: 2016 Week 7
Hogan the Hero
Last season saw 39 different quarterbacks finish the season with at least one QB1 (top-12) finish. One quarterback achieved the feat without starting the game: Geno Smith. Heading into Sunday Night Football, Cleveland Browns backup signal caller Kevin Hogan joined Smith in such exclusive company.
Thanks to his 104 yards and one touchdown on the ground, Hogan finished the day with 16.40 fantasy points (current QB12 with four quarterbacks left to play as of writing this article). His passing left a lot to be desired though, going 12-of-24 for 100 yards and two picks. The Browns have already started three quarterbacks this year (Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, and Cody Kessler). Add Terrelle Pryor, Charlie Whitehurst, and Hogan, and six QBs have seen snaps under center for the Browns in 2016.
Kessler was knocked out of the game with a concussion and it was the second time this year he wasn’t able to finish a game he started. Kessler now goes into the concussion protocol and the Browns might start their fourth QB of the year if he isn’t ready to go. Or they might not. There’s a chance McCown might be cleared to play in Week 8 against the Jets (and would be put right back into the QB2 streaming discussion).
The Browns’ game of musical chairs at QB is one you will want to monitor during the week, as there’s a chance you might be able to snag a starting QB with a favorable matchup off the waiver wire. With six teams (BAL, LA, MIA, NYG, PIT, SF) on the bye in Week 8 McCown/Hogan might be an in-demand waiver wire commodity.
Just a Regular Joe
It might seem like I only like to pick on bad early-round quarterback calls. That’s not true. One of my top offseason targets was Joe Flacco. That’s the same Joe Flacco that has one top-12 finish out of six games. It will be one out of seven once Week 7 is in the books, as he scored a measly 5.54 fantasy points versus the Jets this week.
Flacco has scored 15+ fantasy points in only two games this year and five where he’s scored 13 or fewer. That’s not the type of production you want out of your QB2. The Jets had become a defense you felt safe starting your quarterback against this year, as the worst QB finish they allowed was QB19, and they allowed three top-5 finishes.
Through the first six weeks, the Jets allowed a passing touchdown to every QB they faced and gave up 2+ in 3-of-6 games. Plus, four-of-six QBs to face the Jets threw for 297+ yards. They also only picked off a combined two passes and went four straight games without an interception. Then Flacco showed up and threw two interceptions and zero touchdowns. He was dealing with a shoulder injury this week, but he was deemed healthy enough to start.
Luckily, the Ravens have a bye in Week 8, and then come back to two favorable matchups against the Steelers and Browns (seven combined top-12 QB finishes allowed out of 12 games through Week 6). In leagues where I don’t own Flacco I’m tempted to throw out a lowball offer, that is if he isn’t dropped this week, because of his next two games. But he has disappointed in favorable matchups this year already and that is something to consider. I wouldn’t blame you for moving on from Flacco the rest of year.
Bye Bye Bortles
Heading into Week 7, the Oakland Raiders had allowed four top-7 fantasy finishes to opposing quarterbacks. Their Week 7 opponent, Blake Bortles had one top-3 finish (his only one in the top-12 out of five games). Although, Bortles did score 15+ fantasy points in two other games. Based on his draft day cost ADP (QB9/55.9 overall) it’s safe to say Bortles has been a disappointment to those that believed he would build on his top-4 fantasy season from a year ago.
A matchup against Oakland was supposed to be one that would help Bortles get right, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Next up on the schedule for Bortles and the Jags are Tennessee, Kansas City, and Houston their next three games. The Lions in Week 11 might be the only easiest schedule left for the Jags, as Buffalo, Denver, Minnesota, Tennessee (again), and Houston (again) round out the fantasy season.
TEN, KC, HOU, BUF, DEN, and MIN all rank in the bottom-12 of fantasy points allowed/game to opposing QBs (ranging from Minnesota’s 11.9 to Tennessee/Kansas City’s 15.2).
If you’ve been holding onto Bortles to this point hoping he’d salvage his fantasy season, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s time to move on. If you can get anything of value in a trade for Bortles you have to do it, as you’re looking at only safely starting him in one of his next nine games.
*Stats used in this article courtesy of FantasyData