Ryan Fucking Tannehill: Superflex Superstar

Ryan Fucking Tannehill: Superflex Superstar

The trade deadline in most fantasy football leagues is this week and that got me thinking about the state of the quarterback position in fantasy and which signal-callers might become 2QB or Superflex league winners. For the well-traversed multi-quarterback aficionado, the turnover at quarterback is nothing out of the ordinary. To date, we have seen 48 different quarterbacks start at least one game this season, with Ryan Finley’s starting debut to make it 49. If Jacoby Brissett can’t go in Week 10, Brian Hoyer will make it a whopping 50. That doesn’t even include Andrew Luck’s preseason retirement, which seems like forever ago in NFL years. Fourteen teams have had to turn to a backup quarterback this season, with three of those squads churning out three different starting quarterbacks. With seven weeks left in the 2019 regular season, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see even more backup throwers step up and step into starting lineups.

Being able to forecast which current QB2s could potentially become QB1s might be the difference between missing the playoffs and hoisting a fake championship trophy in your 2QB and Superflex league. Who are some backups you may want to keep tabs on in 2QB or Superflex leagues? Eyeing passers on teams who may rest starters for a playoff run or losing teams wanting to evaluate youngsters are good targets. A few examples of such scenarios include the Baltimore Ravens (Robert Griffin III), Denver Broncos (Brett Rypien or Drew Lock), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ryan Griffin), Cleveland Browns (Garrett Gilbert), Miami Dolphins (Josh Rosen again?), and San Francisco 49ers (Nick Mullens). A few examples of unheralded Week 16 fantasy performances from the past include Jeff Driskel (17.42 fantasy points/QB13 in 2018), Brandon Weeden (21.1 fantasy points/QB6 in 2015), and Shaun Hill (17.6 fantasy points/QB11 in 2015). You never know who the next backup quarterback to become a relevant fantasy starter for your squad and lead your team to fantasy glory will be. A pro-active add now (if you have the room on your bench) is a worthy and low-risk investment.

With that out of the way, I want to put the spotlight on an already-former-backup-turned-starting quarterback who could be a true fantasy league-winner in multi-quarterbacks leagues: Ryan Timothy Tannehill III, aka the artist formerly known as Ryan Tannemeh. Since replacing an ineffective Marcus Mariota at quarterback in Tennessee, Tannehill has been one of the most productive fantasy quarterbacks. In his three starts (Weeks 7 to 9), Tannehill is the sixth-highest scoring quarterback during that span, averaging 20.5 fantasy points per game. The Titans quarterback has multiple 300+ yard performances and has scored at least two total touchdowns in each of his three starts. He has scored no less than 19.2 fantasy points in any of those three contests—Matthew Stafford and Lamar Jackson are the only other quarterbacks to score at least 19 fantasy points in each of their last three starts. (His 38 yards on the ground and rushing score in Week 9 versus the Panthers reminded us of his #KonamiCode appeal from his 2014 Top-10 fantasy QB season, in which he had a streak of five straight games of at least 35 rushing yards and finished that season with the fifth-most rushing yards by a quarterback).

When planning for the playoffs you want to ensure that not only do you have quality fantasy players in your starting roster but that those players are set up for success with cushy matchups. One tool that really put me on the radar of Tannehill is 4for4.com’s Playoff aFPA Matchup Planner. For those of you unfamiliar, aFPA stands for Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed by position and is 4for4’s signature strength of schedule metric that removes schedule bias from the equation.

So, what exactly did I find? When looking at quarterbacks with the best playoff schedule (Weeks 14 to 16), Ryan Tannehill is tied with Daniel Jones for the best aFPA playoff schedule at quarterback. To date, Tannehill’s playoff opponents (Oakland, Houston, New Orleans) have allowed an average of 24.0 aFPA fantasy points, with the Raiders ranking 32nd in aFPA and being the most generous to quarterbacks in 2019.

When fine-tuning your fantasy squad for the playoffs and making moves to solidify the quarterback position, your first instinct is to target a surefire QB1. Rather than overpay for a stud QB1 like Lamar Jackson or Gardner Minshew II, depleting your roster of valuable high-end assets in the process, consider making a more reasonable offer for Ryan Tannehill instead. There’s a high probability he’s a team’s QB3, having been added from the waiver wire scrap heap mid-season as a bye-week replacement or injury fill-in, meaning his current owner may not view him as a long-term asset, or even consider starting him in the most important weeks of the fantasy season. Use that to your advantage and secure a potential playoff Superflex Superstar in Tannehill.

*Stats used in this article courtesy of 4for4 and FantasyData.


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Salvatore Stefanile

Salvatore Stefanile is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and has been playing fantasy football since his high school days. He is a proponent of 2QB fantasy football leagues and his work has been featured on XN Sports, RotoViz, and Rotoworld. His writing on 2QB fantasy football leagues earned him the FSWA award for 'Best Fantasy Football On-Going Series' in 2013. He earned a second FSWA nomination in 2015. You can follow him on Twitter @2QBFFB

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