2019 Fantasy Football Booms and Busts: Quarterbacks
For the 2019 fantasy football season, HTN contributor Coty Van de Byl discusses booms and busts for RBs, WRs, and QBs in a three-part series.
This boom should almost seem obvious. With the addition of Odell Beckham Jr to the group of offensive weapons such as Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and, later this season, Kareem Hunt, Baker Mayfield is due for a great season. With more firepower, you can expect Mayfield to throw for more passing yards, more touchdowns and fewer interceptions due to the increased number of options he has on offence. These are all greenlights for any fantasy quarterback. Although Baker Mayfield is projected to be outside of the top 10 quarterbacks for the upcoming season, this projection may prove to be a blunder when the season finishes as Mayfield is a viable QB1.
Even without playing in the first two games of the season last year, Mayfield still ranked 16th in terms of total fantasy points. Mayfield also is guaranteed to score double-digit points as he scored more than 10 points in every game last year except for his first game in week 3. Now with his rookie season under his belt, Mayfield has become one of the faces of the Cleveland Browns franchise. Expect the offensive play-calling to compliment Mayfield’s play style this year which will result in more overall production for the quarterback, and more fantasy points for those who draft him.
Between the end of the 2017 season, and the 2018 season before his injury, we have not been able to see much of Jimmy Garappolo since his departure from New England. Garappolo is projected to be a top 10 quarterback for the 2019 season and this is the perfect ranking for him. Despite his sporadic appearances as a starting quarterback over the past three seasons, each time Garappolo hits the field, he generates offensive production and finishes with a modest quarterback rating (QBR).
For fantasy owners, this means consistency and a dependable starting quarterback. With the abilities George Kittle displayed last season, this is great news for Garappolo. If his top two receivers, Goodwin and Pettis, do not handle the majority of the load, Bredia and Kittle can help ease the pressure off of the receivers, and most importantly Garappolo. With ample offensive targets and assuming he stays healthy, Jimmy Garappolo is a great quarterback to draft outside of the top five.
Dak Prescott was inconsistent for fantasy owners in 2018 to say the least. Averaging only 17.87 points per game last year, Prescott scored 20 points or more in only six of the 16 games he played, while scoring less than 10 points in three of them. Fantasy quarterbacks should almost never score less than 10 points even on a bad day. Prescott was ranked 13th among quarterbacks for average points per game and 10th in terms of total points for the 2018 season. This means that in most fantasy leagues, particularly larger ones, Prescott should be one of the last quarterbacks selected as a starter. This should remain true for the 2019 season.
One large factor impacting Prescott’s upcoming season is his teammate Ezekiel Elliott holding out from the Cowboys. Without Elliott, Prescott’s record is only 4-4. Also, according to former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bobby Carpenter, Prescott’s play-action passing is 30% better when Elliott is on the field. So if Elliott continues to hold out, this is not a good sign for Prescott or fantasy owners who planned on drafting the quarterback. Prescott will not be as productive and is likely to remain inconsistent without his number one offensive weapon. Due to his inconsistency, middle-of-the-pack fantasy rankings, and lackluster performances without Elliott, at most Prescott should be a backup quarterback on your fantasy team this year.
With a touchdown to interception ratio of just over 1:1, with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last year, Jameis Winston should not be on anyone’s big board as potential starter or even a backup quarterback. Ranking 15th among quarterbacks for average points per game with 17.80, this is nothing special. The top 20 quarterbacks scored 17 points or more on average last year. So depending on the size of your league, Winston should be on the waiver wire for the majority of the season and only used in desperate situations.
Similar to Dak Prescott mentioned above, Winston is also a very inconsistent fantasy quarterback. In the 11 games he played last year, Winston fell below 10 points three times and broke 20 points five times. Using an inconsistent quarterback in fantasy football is simply not sustainable. Especially in crucial head-to-head matchups toward the end of the season, the last thing you want is to worry whether or not your quarterback is going to produce. There are many other choices for your quarterback this coming fantasy season and even if your starter goes down or is on a bye week, there are likely better options that Jameis Winston.