2QB Things We Learned: 2016 Preseason Week 3

2QB Things We Learned: 2016 Preseason Week 3

Week 3 of the preseason is usually treated like a dress rehearsal for the regular season, especially when it comes to the quarterback position. … Teams with offseason battles tip their cap as to who will be their Opening Week QB1. Take the Denver Broncos, for instance. Head Coach Gary Kubiak gave the nod to former seventh-rounder Trevor Siemian in Week 3, which lead to speculation he would be the team’s starter. There was even some rumblings Mark Sanchez could be released as a cap casualty.

With Week 1 just around the corner and 2QB drafts in full swing, any bit of information we can get in terms of depth chart movement helps. Siemian, for example, has gone undrafted in our 2QB mocks, and while you don’t need to burn a pick on him, you can add him in a pinch if you’re stuck at QB2 early in the season. We can also map out a scenario where Paxton Lynch takes over in-season, making him a waiver wire speed dial candidate.

Now that we have some clarity on the Denver Broncos quarterback situation let’s dive into other takeaways from Week 3 of the preseason that might have an impact on upcoming 2QB drafts and the season as a whole…

2QB Things We Learned: 2016 Preseason Week 3

1. Dat Dak Show: S01E01

It’s kind of hard not to talk about Dak Prescott. Again. He kicked off this installment in Week 1 and our own Anthony Amico laid out the case as to why he is super high on Prescott’s 2QB prospects in light of Tony Romo’s back injury. As we know, Romo is out 6-10 weeks, leaving Prescott as the likely Week 1 starter.

The fourth-round rookie Prescott has been nothing but spectacular this preseason:

It’s preseason so we need to temper our expectations, but Prescott does have potential to become a late-round difference maker in 2QB leagues. Back in my XN Sports days I researched the value of rookie fantasy signal callers. The study found that 14 rookie QBs from 2001 to 2012 finished as top-24 quarterbacks in their freshman campaign. Also noteworthy was that 12 of the 14 rookies were real life first round picks (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, David Carr). The two non-first rounders? Russell Wilson and Andy Dalton, who were still drafted within the first three rounds.

What about the subsequent three seasons since the study was first published? From 2013 to 2015, six more rookie QBs finished with a top-24 fantasy season: Geno Smith, Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston. Those six were either drafted in the first round or second round. So, for those of you keeping score at home, that’s a total of 20 rookie QBs with a top-24 finish since 2001, each selected within the first three rounds of the NFL Draft**.

**(Editor’s Note: Due to a spreadsheet error, Chris Weinke was omitted from this list. He finished as the fantasy QB19 his rookie season and was drafted in the fourth round, making him an outlier in the study. #SorryChrisWeinke)

Will Prescott, a fourth round draft pick, break the trend? He does check some boxes that could make him an outlier. He has…

  • a bonafide WR1 to throw to in Dez Bryant
  • a potential rookie phenom to take pressure off him in Ezekiel Elliott
  • a steady veteran presence at tight end in Jason Witten
  • arguably the best offensive line in the NFL
  • and a favorable schedule

If we look at Pat Thorman‘s excellent QB strength of schedule grid, Prescott has nine favorable matchups from Week 1 to Week 13. Of course, if Romo’s recovery is on target, Prescott might not be under center for the whole season. That’s something to keep in mind as Prescott mania reaches a fever pitch.

Still, Prescott finds himself in a better situation than any rookie QB and is in a more appealing scenario than some veterans. While I’m not as high on Prescott as Amico is, I did move him up to QB24 in my rankings and would feel comfortable drafting him as a QB2. While his current 2QB draft day cost is nil, he’s sure to shoot his way up the draft boards this week.

One more note before moving on, we know how valuable running QBs are in fantasy, and going over his collegiate resume, Prescott amassed 2,521 rushing yards and 41 scores on the ground in his four-year career at Mississippi State. Let me grab my NES controller and punch in the #KonamiCode. Prescott has the potential to be a difference maker in 2QB leagues; don’t be afraid to take a flier on someone who might be the next Tyrod Taylor.

2. Cleveland Streaming

Twitter is a fantastic fantasy football resource and is probably my number one research tool. Be it interacting with followers, finding educational articles to read, or “stealing” stat nuggets for later articles, Twitter has become invaluable over the years. I don’t have enough time in the day to keep track of all things NFL or fantasy football, but luckily Twitter can keep me abreast of relevant events and information I need to know. Case in point, the above tweet from Seth Yates of RotoGrinders.

As someone who is known to stream a quarterback or two, matchup analysis plays a large role in my weekly streaming research. When Seth tweeted out how bad the Browns defense has been this preseason I wanted to dig a little deeper.

Based on my research from last season, the Browns defense allowed ten top-12 finishes to opposing fantasy QBs in 2015 (if we include Week 17). If we exclude the final meaningless game of the season, the number is 9-of-15 or 60 percent of their games. The quarterbacks to finish as QB1s against the Browns from Week 1 to Week 16 were: Derek Carr, Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton (twice), Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, and Alex Smith.

Only four quarterbacks finished outside of the top-20 of weekly scorers when facing the Browns last season (Marcus Mariota, Peyton Manning, Nick Foles, and Matt Schaub), with Foles being the sole quarterback to finish outside the top-24. According to Yahoo! Fantasy, the Browns allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs last year (20.36/game).

If we take a look at the box scores from Cleveland’s 2016 preseason games we find a few notable performances:

  • Week 1 – Joe Callahan: 16-of-23 for 124 yards and 1 touchdown (one half)
  • Week 2 – Matt Simms: 10-of-13 for 136 yards and 1 touchdown (three second half drives)
  • Week 3 – Jameis Winston: 16-of-25 for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns (one half)

What does this mean for streamers? The early part of the season sees the Browns face four potential QB2 streamers: Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, and Kirk Cousins (depending on how your draft played out). If the preseason is any indication, the Browns will be a defense to pick on all year long. When deciding which LRQB to draft or who to stream in-season the tie-breaker could be seeing the Browns as opponents on the schedule.

*Stats used in this article courtesy of Yahoo! Fantasy, FantasyData, Pro-Football-Reference, and ESPN

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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