Don’t Ignore Brett Hundley
Here at TwoQBs, we love us some garbage-time quarterbacks, those players who rock the preseason and the final minutes of blowout regular season games. … We salivate over the QBs who hold the clipboard and wear the earpiece every Sunday, the ones who sit and learn from the vets, hoping for their shot. For me, that quarterback is Brett Hundley. I loved Hundley as a prospect, and after the initial gut-punch of a Green Bay draft selection, I talked myself back into Hundley as a fantasy stash.
I know, I know: The quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers has zero value unless and until Rodgers suffers an injury, so do not get me wrong. Brett Hundley is about to get praised, but you should not even consider him if you need likely production this year. Hundley makes a strong 2QB dynasty stash, and I like him in incredibly deep redraft leagues where every starter and several backups are rostered. I don’t like him in my 10-team home league with five bench spots.
So what’s to like?
Brett Hundley the Prospect
I place a high value on a prospect’s college accuracy. From 2000 through 2013, only 25 quarterbacks had been drafted with a 59% completion rate or lower, and only five of those managed a professional rate higher than 60%. In other words, most inaccurate QBs will not improve their accuracy in the NFL.
Hundley compares well to some recent NFL draft picks when we look at various ways of evaluating their college completion percentages. He threw well when trailing, inside the red zone, and across his entire college career.
If we add another layer of analysis, we can look at efficiency in addition to accuracy. Adjusted Yards per Attempt (AYA) evaluates per-attempt efficiency by looking at passing yards, touchdowns, and interceptions. The higher the number, the more efficient a quarterback was.
At least as of 2013, the average NFL starter had an AYA of 8.7 in their final college season. Brett Hundley posted an 8.6 in his final season at UCLA, right in line with the average for an NFL-caliber passer. For reference, Colin Kaepernick (8.6), Andy Dalton (9.9), and Russell Wilson (11.8) are three recent QBs drafted outside the first round with AYA numbers similar or better than Hundley’s. Aaron Rodgers’ was 8.5, but he was taken at the end of the first round.
I mention draft stock, because I must admit concern that Brett Hundley fell to the fifth round of the NFL draft. Draft stock is strongly correlated to NFL opportunity. For quarterbacks, a top-40 NFL pick gets near-guaranteed opportunity, but few selected outside the top 40 get a real shot. I suppose that each year he remains in the league, Hundley has a chance to see the field, but history and statistics say he starts behind the curve based on his draft spot.
Brett Hundley the Dual Threat
Rich Hribar coined the phrase “Konami Code” when talking about the added fantasy advantage of starting a quarterback who gets you points with his rushing as well as his passing. Brett Hundley is a quarterback in that exact mold.
At the combine, Hundley tested exceedingly well for a quarterback, grading out in the top percentile in most athleticism categories:
Those measurables did not surprise anyone who saw him play in college. Hundley was incredibly consistent, rushing 159 or 160 times every one of his three college seasons, adding 9, 10, and 11 touchdowns those three years. He was incredibly inefficient his first year, averaging 2.2 yards per carry, but in his final two seasons he upped that number to over 4 yards per carry.
Mobile quarterbacks like Hundley provide a safety net to their fantasy owners, because their rushing ability adds several fantasy points each week even if they struggle to throw the ball. Hundley fits that mold, and that athleticism adds to my interest if he ever gets a chance to start.
Brett Hundley the Preseason Wunderkind
In his first professional action, Brett Hundley crushed the competition. He finished the 2015 preseason with a 69.2% completion rate, 9.69 yards per attempt, and a TD-to-INT ratio of 7:1. Wow! Of course, I should have put “professional action” in air quotes, because those throws came in the preseason and typically against deep backups on the opposing team.
After that fantastic preseason, the Packers made Brett Hundley a game-day inactive for every one of their eighteen games last year. Scott Tolzien served as the backup, and Hundley never suited up. Tolzien left during free agency after the season, leaving Hundley as the presumptive backup in Green Bay. The fact that Green Bay felt comfortable making Hundley their second-string quarterback this offseason intimates that they may see potential in him, consistent with their quarterbacks coach’s comment that Hundley could become “a solid starter” some day and head coach Mike McCarthy saying he, “has a bright future.”
Obligatory Conclusion Paragraph
I love me some Brett Hundley, and I know I shouldn’t. The odds of his becoming fantasy relevant are incredibly low. I liked him coming out of college, and I talked myself back into liking him after the Packers drafted him in the fifth round of the NFL draft. He had college accuracy and efficiency consistent with those of an average NFL starter, and he excelled in his preseason opportunities. Hundley holds no value as long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy; but he is a player I have been holding at the bottom of my dynasty rosters, and I will consider adding him in very deep redraft leagues where all starters and several backup QBs are rostered.