QB2s to Be Thankful For
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In two-quarterbacks formats, it’s no surprise that our second quarterbacks are often the linchpins to season-long success. According to our redraft ADP data, many quarterbacks drafted as QB2s went behind players being drafted as RB3s, WR3s, and WR4s. This shouldn’t be too shocking, given the perceived depth at quarterback back in August, as well as their overall value compared to other skill positions. However, like every year, there have been some standout performances by the QB2 position.
Please Pass the QB2s
Just in time for everyone’s favorite holiday (clearly founded to celebrate football and food) let’s give thanks to our QB2s. These are the unsung heroes of fantasy football, except on this site, because here we love Alex Smith like we love deep fried turkey.
Offseason ADP: 69.8 (QB11)
Finally, 2018 feels like the year everyone decided to stop sleeping on Philip Rivers. This is evident by his QB11 draft position, following multiple years of being drafted as a mid- to low-end QB2. And what has Rivers done to reward his newfound believers? Deliver. Rivers has posted some of the best numbers of his career, and it doesn’t look like that’s about to change.
What’s really exciting is Rivers’ upcoming schedule, particularly during fantasy football playoffs. In Weeks 13 through 15, Rivers will face the Steelers, Bengals, and Chiefs.
The Chiefs and Bengals have given up the most and second-most passing yards this season (3,526 and 3,061 respectively). All three of Rivers’ playoff opponents are bottom-six in terms average depth of target, ranging from the Bengals’ 8.6 aDOT to the Chiefs’ 9.1 aDOT. This bodes well for Rivers, who carries a passing aDOT of 8.5 and has compiled 2,796 passing yards through 10 starts.
Rivers’ 7.3 percent touchdown rate has helped him achieve his QB10 status despite ranking 20th in passing attempts. Low passing volume, partly due to Melvin Gordon’s rushing impact, might be the biggest hurdle for Rivers to overcome in these final weeks of the fantasy football season. But, given Rivers’ performance thus far, I’m not too concerned.
Offseason ADP: 120.0 (QB23)
Unless you’re a Mitchell Trubisky owner, or maybe a die-hard Bears fan, you may not have noticed how Chicago’s second-year quarterback has been, well, good. Very good, in fact, as he’s fantasy’s QB7 heading into Week 12.
Trubisky’s rise from being viewed as a low-end QB2 to producing QB1 performances has been a bit of a wild ride. In five of his 10 starts, he’s failed to tally at least 15 fantasy points, and, in two of those five games, he scored in the single digits. To balance those disappointing games, Trubisky scored at least 22 points in his other five starts, which included setting career marks for passing yards in games against the Buccaneers (354) in Week 4 and again against Lions (355) in Week 10.
Trubisky has also rushed 51 times for 363 yards and three scores, already eclipsing his 2017 mark of 41/248/2 in four fewer games than he played last year. Trubisky’s ground proudction only trails Cam Newton by 5.1 fantasy points (54.3 to Newton’s 59.4), and Trubisky has 26 fewer rushing attempts. Surprisingly, Trubisky leads all quarterbacks with 363 rushing yards, followed by Newton (354) and Blake Bortles (286).
Looking ahead, it could be rough sledding for Trubisky managers who’ve been enjoying their high-achieving QB2. All three of his matchups in the fantasy playoffs are outdoors in cold weather cities (at the Giants, then home for the Rams and Packers). The Packers currently rank 11th in fantasy points allowed per game to the quarterback position (17.1), while the Giants rank 16th (17.8), and Rams rank 27th (22.1).
Offseason ADP: 95.8 (QB19)
While Dak Prescott might be outperforming his offseason ADP (he’s currently the QB17 heading into Week 12), there’s still the feeling the he’s been a bit of a disappointment in fantasy. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t thrown more than two touchdowns in a game this year, or because he has twice as man zero- or one-touchdown performances as he does of the two-touchdown variety. Whatever the reason, Prescott’s 3.6 percent touchdown rate surely has a lot to do with it.
On the other hand, Prescott’s four rushing touchdowns and 261 yards on the ground have given him an edge in fantasy points over other signal-callers like Bortles, Matthew Stafford, and Eli Manning.
The arrival of wideout Amari Cooper is no doubt a positive for Prescott and the Cowboys, as we’ve seen an uptick in both pass attempts and yards for Prescott since Cooper’s Week 9 arrival in Dallas, more than any other three-game stretch this season.
Weeks 13 through 15 look good for Prescott, as he will face off against the Saints, Eagles, and Colts. The Saints and Eagles rank 30th and 26th respectively in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks (22.7 and 20.7), as well as 32nd and 31st to opposing wide receivers (48.2 and 45.2). These are welcome statistics for a Cowboys’ passing attack hoping to erase a season’s worth of frustration with a couple of solid playoff performances.
Prescott’s managers can also take comfort knowing their QB2 is pacing toward a career high in pass attempts while playing more snaps this year out of shotgun (81.7 percent) than each of his previous two seasons. The intent seems to be there, so let’s hope production will be there as well during his upcoming schedule.
Offseason ADP: 99.6 (QB21)
Few things this football season have been more frustrating than literally anything associated with the Oakland Raiders. Through 10 starts, Derek Carr’s QB21 ranking matches his August ADP, and that’s about as good as the news gets for him.
However, despite Oakland being a black hole (pun very much intended), there’s still reason to hold out hope for Carr’s usefulness as a second quarterback in the coming weeks. Carr’s Week 13 through 15 schedule features the Chiefs, Steelers, and Bengals, which happen to be the same three teams highlighted above as reasons to expect good production from Philip Rivers in the fantasy playoffs.
But if you’re done with Carr following his Week 6 performance against the Seahawks, when he allegedly cried on the field following a sack, you might not be alone. Because, after all…