The Best QB Picks of 2018 — So Far
*FEATURED IMAGE ARTWORK BY DAVE CHOW – 248-613-0566 – WWW.DAVECHOWILLUSTRATIONS.COM
The majority of entertainment blogs I read this time of year roll out their best of lists for the midway point of 2018. They are quick and easy forms of #content that readers, myself included, enjoy reading. The Ringer’s ‘The Best of TV of 2018 — So Far‘ is one such list I recommend reading. Billions, Killing Eve, Atlanta, Cobra Kai, and Barry are deserving of their mentions. I’d probably add Unsolved, The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Americans, Queer Eye, GLOW, and The End of the Fucking World, if it were my list.
With our 2QB redraft ADP data recently updated, this sparked an idea to see which quarterbacks at their current ADP make for great selections this time of year. ADP will evolve throughout the course of the offseason, but based on drafts going on right now, below you will find the signal-callers I’d target according to their cost…
Russell Wilson – QB2 – 25.5 Overall ADP
Normally I prefer to wait on quarterbacks, even in 2QB or Superflex leagues, but with Wilson going in the mid-second round and 14 picks later than the first quarterback selected (Aaron Rodgers), this feels like a great value pick. Sure, the offensive line is a concern again, as it was last year, but Wilson still took control of the offense en route to finishing the season as the number one scoring fantasy quarterback. Wilson put up some eye-popping stats last season, including nine games of 20+ fantasy points, and he finished tied with Tom Brady and Philip Rivers for the most top-12 weekly finishes (11). There’s not really much to say when it comes to Wilson. He has the talent and upside to score the most fantasy points at the quarterback position, which he did last season, and he’s the one signal-caller I’d target with a very early-round pick.
Matthew Stafford – QB11 – 68.7 Overall ADP
Stafford has started all 16 games since the 2011 season, and in those seven seasons, he has finished as a fantasy QB1 (top-12 at the position) six times — including three straight such performances while playing in offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter’s system. While youngsters like Jimmy Garoppolo are getting all the hype, I’d rather wait on Stafford, who is going 14 picks later than Jimmy GQ and bank on Stafford’s reliability and consistency. He has attempted an average of 625 passes the last seven seasons, finishing in the top 10 each season in that category, with the 565 attempts he threw last year being the lowest number during that span.
Stafford, in an offensive helmed by Cooter, surrounded by a receiving corps featuring Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Kenny Golladay, looks primed to yet again finish as one of fantasy’s top-scoring passers.
Patrick Mahomes – QB12 – 69.6 Overall ADP
All it took for Andy Reid to realize he could move on from my beloved Alex Smith was one start from Patrick Mahomes. A start in which Mahomes had to face the Denver Broncos’ starting defense with the Kansas City Chiefs’ backups on offense. While the overall numbers weren’t all that impressive (284 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception, and 10 rushing yards), he made some plays that showed why he was drafted 10th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
It’s easy to get excited about his prospects when you see passes such as this one against the Titans during the preseason:
You might not believe it, but according to Pro Football Focus, when it came to deep ball passing, Alex Smith led the league last season in yards (1,344), adjusted completion percentage (56.5%), and passer rating (131.4). His 12 touchdowns on deep passes also tied for first. Now, watch the above video again and imagine what Mahomes might accomplish on his deep passes.
There are a lot of positives in Mahomes’ favor as to why he could put up a big fantasy season in his first full-year as a starter. There’s Andy Reid’s history with quarterbacks. According to FF Statistics, a quarterback has finished as a fantasy QB1 12 times in an Andy Reid-coached system. There’s the Chiefs’ 2018 schedule. According to strength of schedule analysis from Connor Allen in our upcoming draft guide, the Chiefs have the ninth-easiest schedule for fantasy QBs. There’s Mahomes ability to score fantasy points on the ground, which is always a welcome bonus. In his last two seasons at Texas Tech (25 games), Mahomes scored a combined 22 rushing touchdowns. Combine all those positives, plus the fact he’ll be throwing to the likes of Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce, and you’re looking at a breakout campaign for the man who paved the way for Alex Smith’s departure.
Marcus Mariota – QB15 – 75.7 Overall ADP
Ever since he debuted with a four-passing touchdown game in Week 1 of his rookie campaign in 2015, we’ve been waiting for Mariota to break into the ranks of the elite fantasy quarterbacks tier. There have been flashes of his immense ceiling — 10 games of 20+ fantasy points in his first two seasons. But even though he finished as the fantasy QB7 in 2016, it feels like he hasn’t quite yet broken into the upper echelon tier. Last season was an underwhelming one for Mariota, with the 19.7 fantasy points he scored in Week 3 being a highlight. And he only finished as a weekly top-12 scorer three times.
There was a ton of excitement surrounding Mariota in fantasy circles last year, and his final 2QB redraft ADP had him as the ninth quarterback taken, with an overall ADP of 45.6. He finished as the fantasy QB18. A lot of that had to do with coaching and the former Titans staff not utilizing Mariota to his full potential. Out with the (Mike) Mularkey and in with the potentially excited offense of coordinator Matt LaFleur, who last season was the OC under Sean McVay for the Rams. A Rams offense, you will recall, that saw Jared Goff finish as the fantasy QB9.
A Mariota who is the focal point of an offense, in a system with playmakers such as Dion Lewis, Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews, Taywan Taylor, and Delanie Walker should easily surpass his ADP of QB15. And for my fellow rushing quarterback enthusiasts, Mariota is also only one of four quarterbacks with 60 or more rushing attempts in each of the last two seasons.
Mitch Trubisky – QB21 – 103.8 Overall ADP
Alex Smith – QB22 – 108.1 Overall ADP
I’m lumping Trubisky and Smith together because they’re being drafted one after another, and they make for a great quarterback duo to target if you plan on waiting to draft signal-callers.
So, yes, there was that game in which Trubisky attempted only seven passes, completing four of them, and he scored fewer than 10 fantasy points in his first four games and 11 or fewer points in eight of his 13 starts last season. But there were some highlights: He scored 14+ points in a game four times, he finished as a top-12 scorer at his position three times, and the Bears fired John Fox, replacing him with former Chiefs playcaller Matt Nagy. The Bears also revamped their offense, signing Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Trey Burton, and they drafted Anthony Miller in the second round. And Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen are still around. Everything is in place for Trubisky to have a breakout sophomore campaign ala fellow recent top-two draft picks Carson Wentz and Jared Goff.
I would be remiss if I wrote an article on which quarterbacks to draft and didn’t mention Alex Smith. If we exclude Week 17, Smith finished as fantasy’s second-highest scoring quarterback last season behind Russell Wilson. One thing we know about Alex Smith is that he is always a bargain and a reliable fantasy producer. In five years as the starter in Kansas City, Smith beat his ADP every season and put up a combined 32 top-12 finishes.
— Salvatore Stefanile (@2QBFFB) April 28, 2018
Now he joins a pass-friendly Washington offense that saw Kirk Cousins put up three straight top-10 finishes, including two back-to-back QB4 performances.
Lamar Jackson – QB28 – 141.4 Overall ADP
If you believe Joe Flacco won’t be the Baltimore Ravens’ starting quarterback all season long, such as is my belief, drafting Jackson as your QB3 or QB4 makes too much sense. Jackson put up video game numbers during his three years at Louisville — 9,043 passing yards, 69 passing yards, 4,132 rushing yards, and 50 rushing touchdowns. In 38 games, those numbers average out to a combined 346.71 yards and 3.13 touchdowns per game. Phew. Only one draft saw Flacco selected ahead of Jackson, so it seems fantasy players are betting on Jackson being the better fantasy producer of the two. The Ravens have shown no indications they plan to bench Flacco for their flashy upside first-round rookie signal-caller, but be it due to injury or ineffective play, there’s a strong likelihood Jackson could see significant snaps under center. Remember, a total of 56 different quarterbacks started at least one game last season, so you want to stash high-ceiling players such as Jackson on your bench in 2QB/Superflex leagues.
Tyrod Taylor – QB31 – 150.8 Overall ADP
Just like my beloved Alex Smith, I will never be able to quit Tyrod Taylor. TwoQBs.com is an official supporter of Tyrod Taylor and always will be. As long he’s a starting quarterback in the NFL, Taylor will always be a quarterback I will want to roster — mainly because of his production via the ground.
In his three years as the starter in Buffalo, Taylor averaged 94 rushing attempts and 525 rushing yards, and he scored at least four rushing touchdowns in each of those three seasons. Even though DeShone Kizer was jerked around by Hue Jackson in his rookie campaign last season, he still managed to run the ball 77 times — fourth-most attempts at the position. Kizer ranked just behind Taylor in rushing attempts (84 to 77) and rushing yards (427 to 419), but he did manage to score one more rushing touchdown (5 to 4) and had a higher rushing yards per attempt (5.4 to 5.1).
Combine Taylor’s ability to score points on the ground and playing in an offense that is loaded with talented players at each position — Duke Johnson, Carlos Hyde, Nick Chubb at RB, Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, Jeff Janis at WR, and David Njoku, Seth DeValve at TE — the new Browns starting quarterback has the chance to become a fantasy producer in 2018. Only three quarterbacks (Josh Rosen, Joe Flacco, and Sam Bradford) have a lower ADP. Yes, the concerns of Baker Mayfield starting, and starting soon, are there, but as of right now, Taylor is penciled in as the Browns’ starting quarterback and he’s being drafted as a fantasy QB3 in 2QB and Superflex leagues. Take advantage of the discount while you can.