2018 Rookie QB Class Potential Landing Spots and Fantasy Impact

2018 Rookie QB Class Potential Landing Spots and Fantasy Impact

It’s that time of the year. You know, when we all go crazy over college basketball. Oh, what’s that? There’s an NFL draft coming up, too? People are going crazy over rookies? That’s weird. Somehow, I hadn’t heard about that all.

Jokes aside, the term “March Madness” could just as well be about the rookie craze that hits our community every year. Since we are all about quarterbacks here at TwoQBs.com, I thought it would be fun to look at potential landing spots for the rookie quarterbacks. Buckle your seat belts because you’re about to ride the roller coaster of rookie hype and disappointment.

Sam Darnold

Expected landing spot: Cleveland Browns

What it means for fantasy purposes:

Sam Darnold will likely be the number one overall pick in the draft, whether you agree with that or not. Spoiler: I don’t. Darnold is coming off a season in which he passed for over 4,000 yards against the Pac-12 at only 20 years old, but I just haven’t come away impressed from any game I’ve watched of his. I was listening to the Dynasty Life Pod recently, and John Laub compared him to Matthew Stafford. Thinking about it some more, I see the comparison if John means that Darnold tends to force throws that aren’t there.

Now that you know how I feel about Darnold, let’s examine the Cleveland Browns. Despite being the butt of every joke on Twitter, I really like their offense. They have Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, Corey Coleman, Carlos Hyde, David Njoku, a decent offensive line, and a top-four pick after selecting Darnold. Additionally, they have Tyrod Taylor, but that’s a good thing. Darnold will likely need some time to adapt to the NFL.

But for 2018, that means you can’t rely on Darnold for much. Still, if you play in any sort of dynasty or keeper league, he is someone you should be interested in. I have some other quarterbacks in the class ranked ahead of him, but he certainly could end up outperforming them.

Josh Rosen

Expected landing spot: New York Giants

What it means for fantasy purposes:

This tweet tells you how I feel about Josh Rosen:

I don’t necessarily think Rosen has the most upside in the class, but he easily has the safest floor, and I believe he is the best pocket passer in the class. A comparison that I’ve heard (and said myself) is that if Eli Manning and Matt Ryan had a baby, it would be Josh Rosen. I’d gladly take that on the Giants for the next eight to ten seasons.

There’s concern because Rosen missed more than half of his 2016 season with a shoulder injury. Additionally, he’s suffered at least two concussions at the collegiate level. You don’t want your franchise quarterback to retire early due to injury history, but he is more than worth the risk.

That’s not even getting into the offense he’ll find himself on. Pat Shurmur is taking over as head coach, after coaching the Vikings’ offense to the 11th-most yards last season. Hopefully, the Giants will still have Odell Beckham around as well, despite all this nonsense about trading him. Rosen would have Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, too. Whoever lands in this offense is going to skyrocket in value. Don’t forget that Eli is still around, but if the Giants draft Rosen, he will start sooner rather than later.

For this coming season, I wouldn’t expect better than QB2 numbers from Rosen. In fact, I’d likely want him as my QB3 in a two-quarterback format. However, his long-term upside is a mid- to low-end QB1 for fantasy purposes.

Baker Mayfield

Expected landing spot: New York Jets

What it means for fantasy purposes:

There is talk the Jets don’t like Baker Mayfield and traded up to draft Josh Allen. Maybe I’m allowing my opinion of Allen to color me, but I just can’t see the Jets giving up that haul to draft him. Instead, I think Mayfield is the pick, and why wouldn’t he be?

This past season, Mayfield passed for 4,627 yards, 43 touchdowns, and only six interceptions. It’s the second year in a row he’s passed for 40 or more touchdowns while throwing no more than 10 interceptions. The main knock against Mayfield seems to be his size, but that sort of limitation hasn’t stopped Drew Brees or Russell Wilson.

As for the Jets, much like the Browns, they are often the butt of jokes in the football world (quite literally after Mark Sanchez’s infamous fumble). However, they are not quite as bad as everyone thinks. Sure, Robby Anderson has his off-field issues, but Quincy Enunwa was developing well before suffering a neck injury. New York just added Terrelle Pryor as well, which isn’t awe-inspiring, but he had a 1,000-yard season two years ago.

Baker’s competition would be a 39-year-old Josh McCown coming off an injury and Teddy Bridgewater, who I’m amazed is back on the football field. I’m rooting for Teddy to do well, but I don’t think either option really stands in Mayfield’s way. If Baker is the pick, he has the best chance at impacting rosters in a significant way this season. In terms of long-term upside, I place him just below Josh Rosen, but it’s very close.

Josh Allen

Expected landing spot: Denver Broncos

What it means for fantasy purposes:

Do you think John Elway really likes big arm prospects? It’s probably narcissistic in some way, but I won’t try to get into the Freudian reasons that he does it. It’s just noticeable with Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch, and now likely Josh Allen.

I get it. We love guys who can throw the ball far, but Allen profiles as another project. Sam Nedimeyer, my Afterburners Podcast co-host, was quick to point out Allen didn’t have a ton of weapons to throw to at Wyoming. That’s fair, but lack of weapons didn’t make him throw 15 picks in 2016.

Anyway, back to the Broncos. They just signed Case Keenum to a two-year deal. Many are saying it doesn’t show a belief in Keenum, but he really did well last season for the Vikings. I love this signing for Denver and think he can be their starter for a while.

That would give Josh Allen time to develop behind Keenum, but would the Broncos really want to spend a pick this high on another project after what happened with Paxton Lynch? It’s possible. If they do, it’s hard to say what this team will look like when Allen is ready to take over. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are approaching the ends of their careers, and the Broncos don’t have much behind them.

As you can tell, I’m not nearly as high on this landing spot as I am Rosen to the Giants or Mayfield to the Jets. It may just be a result of not liking Allen, but it also has to do with the Broncos’ limited contention window. Not knowing what their roster will look like when he is ready to take over has me hesitant for both Allen’s short-term and long-term prospects.

Lamar Jackson

Expected landing spot: Arizona Cardinals

What it means for fantasy purposes:

Before anyone makes the joke, no this is not to get the Cardinals some receiving help. Lamar Jackson should be a quarterback after breaking almost all of Louisville’s records, including most total yards in a career with 12,846. The talk of Jackson playing receiver really needs to stop.

Jackson will need a creative offense to maximize his skills. Do you know how many NFL coaches I’d consider creative? I can count on them on one hand.

I’m not sure Mike McCoy fits the bill, although he did manage to turn Tim Tebow into a serviceable quarterback. McCoy was able to adapt his scheme that year to fit better with Tebow’s style of play. At minimum, he isn’t a coach who has only run one offensive scheme.

What gets me excited about this landing spot is the presence of David Johnson. Can you imagine Johnson and Jackson running the option? I’m not sure how opposing offenses would stop that. I’m not sure who the receivers will be by the time Jackson is ready to start, since Larry Fitzgerald likely only has one year left. That said, the Cardinals would have the chance to build their team around Jackson’s strengths.

For fantasy purposes, Jackson may end up starting in 2018. Remember, he would only have Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon in front of him, and Bradford had significant knee problems last season. Mike Glennon won’t get in the way of Jackson starting. Long term, Jackson has the most fantasy upside of any quarterback in the class. The problem is he also has the lowest floor.

Conclusion

I don’t have high hopes for this class impacting the fantasy quarterback discussion right away. However, that’s a good thing. This year’s rookies can learn from the bridge quarterbacks ahead of them and later become the next crop to impact our fantasy rosters for a long time. I’m sure many of these landing spots will change by the time the draft rolls around, but it’s fun to think about anyway. If you want to tell me why I’m wrong about Josh Allen, you can feel free to send me a message on Twitter.


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Bobby Koch

Bobby Koch

Bobby hasn't been playing for decades like some, but after winning his first ever league he couldn't get enough. Finally realizing that dynasty was the only thing that could satiate his fantasy appetite, he's been hooked ever since. He's always happy to talk football, baseball, video games, or comics and can be found @RekedFantasy on Twitter.
Bobby Koch


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