Fantasy Roundtable: Second Tier Quarterbacks
Welcome back to another edition of the Fantasy Roundtable here at Fighting Chance Fantasy! By now you know the deal. We pose a question to some of our staff as well as some of our really smart and well respected friends in the fantasy football world to give you the best information for you to form your own opinion. Or heck, if you like one contributor to this column more than the others you can just steal their opinion as your own. So let’s get right down to today’s question!
After the first few quarterbacks go off the board, who is your favorite target out of Cam Newton, Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, Carson Wentz?
Joe Bond, Fantasy Six Pack (@F6P_Joe)
If you had asked me a week ago I would have said Carson Wentz. The season he had in 2017 was amazing. Throwing for 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, despite missing the last three games of the season with a torn ACL. However, that injury is one of my issues with him. He is currently eight months into his recovery and until recently there was nothing but positive news about him returning Week 1. Now Coach Pederson is saying things like he "can't say" if Wentz will be ready and "it’s up to the team doctors". Mix that with the fact that Wentz was super efficient with a 7.5 percent TD rate, and it’s safe to say there is regression coming. I like Wentz and am an owner of him in a dynasty league, but there is just a lot of risk surrounding him returning the value where you drafted him.
Cam Newton is awesome but super inconsistent and Kirk Cousins just still does not feel like that top notch QB despite a very nice landing spot in free agency.
That leaves me with the ever dependable Drew Brees. Will he bounce back to his near or above 5,000 yards and 35 touchdowns a year? No. However, I don't believe for a second that Brees has suddenly become a low to mid 20 touchdowns a season player.
Last year the Saints run game was exceptional with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, and it should be again, just not as good. It is rare that a team can support two top-10 running backs each week like the Saints did. I think the running backs take a step back, some thanks to the suspension of Ingram, and Brees bounces back to be somewhere in the middle of the guy we got last year and the player we got in years past. That makes him a fine pick for my quarterback after the first few come off the board.
Kacey Kasem, Fighting Chance Fantasy (@thekaceykasem)
I would probably be happy with any of those guys, but I’d pick Kirk Cousins over them all. I’ve always been a fan of Cousins, and this year is no different. I am even more excited about him this season after he signed a deal with the Minnesota Vikings during the off-season. Cousins has an excellent supporting cast with Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Kyle Rudolph. I do believe he is going to be able to spread the ball out and can continue to be a number one quarterback.
With all of the weapons Cousins has at his disposal, I believe he will continue to be a passing threat. He has thrown for 25+ touchdowns in each of the last three seasons with Washington. Look for those numbers to at least repeat themselves this year, if not get better. Cousins is also underrated as a rusher. He rushed for 179 yards last season on 49 attempts. The former Washington quarterback also rushed for four touchdowns. In 2016, he had four rushing touchdowns as well, and in 2015 he rushed for five touchdowns. He may not give you Cam Newton or Russell Wilson rushing numbers, but he’s going to give you enough to help your fantasy team. He also put up 4,392 passing yards while with Washington as well as 27 touchdowns, so the man loves to throw the ball.
Basically, I believe in Cousins this year, and I wouldn’t mind taking him as my number one quarterback. He’s solid and not someone you will have to worry about on a week to week basis. You can get him in the mid-rounds, and feel confident about your choice.
Mike Alexander, Friends with Fantasy Benefits (@Roto_Wan)
When it comes to quarterback play the most important thing to me is consistency. In a best ball draft, sure, Cam Newton is a great option. He will rush for TDs in five or so games to boost his passing totals. If you've ever owned him in season long, however, you understand the maddening ride of guessing whether it's a boom week or bust week. Norv Turner will also be taking over as Offensive Coordinator. How will those two mesh?
Cousins has been a remarkably efficient QB, considering Washington hasn't pushed his attempts above 550 outside of 2016. He's in Minnesota now, and while I do think new OC John DeFilippo will bring out the best in Cousins, I do worry about the overall offensive philosophy. The Vikings rushed the ball 49% last season. One of the highest in the league. It's hard to post great QB numbers without volume.
Now, Drew Brees may be the face of NFL QB consistency, but the most consistent thing last season was the team's preference to lean on their rushing attack. Brees was still very steady. He hardly cracked the twenty point mark after their defense started to right the ship in Week 5, though. He's another year older and you have to think Sean Payton has factored that into dialing his attempts down from the mid 600's to 537 last year.
The man you want for reliability week in and week out is Carson Wentz. Will his TD rate remain at 7.5%, despite lower than expected yardage totals? Probably not. Even if you regress him to a 6% TD rate, he projects to throw 33 TDs over 550 attempts. That's probably a realistic floor. He may use his legs less, another popular critique. Very possibly. Wentz rushed for zero touchdowns last season and that could easily turn into a total of one or two this year. While his 299 rushing yards from 2017 are a healthy 13 games total, a third of them came in only two games. He was still the most consistent QB in many other weeks. I'll take my chances on the QB that gets to face the NFC East twice and AFC South.
Steve Rapin, Fighting Chance Fantasy (@fantasygeek37)
This will probably come as no surprise to my Fighting Chance partner, Ryan, but after the top few quarterbacks are off the board, I’m locked and loaded in targeting none other than Cam Newton. While I like Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins, and Drew Brees, each has some questions going into 2018. Wentz is coming off a major injury, Cousins has joined a new team, and Drew Brees is coming off one of his worst statistical seasons in a long time. It’s strange to say, but Cam may be the safest option of the group.
Newton has played in a full 16 games in five of his seven seasons, and in those five years he has never finished lower than the fantasy QB4. Yes he takes hits, but he’s only missed a total of three games in seven years, so I’m not very concerned about health. He struggles with accuracy, but considering he averages over 600 rushing yards each year and never rushed for fewer than five touchdowns, I love the high floor he provides. Finally, the Panthers drafted DJ Moore in the first round to go with Devin Funchess, they have Greg Olsen coming back from an injury-plagued season, and also have one of the best receiving backs in the league in Christian McCaffrey. The plate is set for Newton to have a fantastic fantasy season in 2018.
Ryan Hallam, Fighting Chance Fantasy (@fightingchance)
The man that I have ranked as my number four quarterback is none other than Carson Wentz. The Eagles quarterback took a gigantic step forward in 2017, when he more than doubled his touchdown total from his rookie season, while cutting his interceptions in half in three less games. Wentz looked like a grizzled vet last season, incredibly comfortable in the pocket, and totally in control of the offense. He has a deep threat in Alshon Jeffery, a great hands receiver in Nelson Agholor, one of the best tight ends in the game in Zach Ertz, and a couple of running backs who are adept at catching passes.
He did suffer a torn ACL in December last season, but reports have all been good. Sure, the coach came out and said it would be up to the doctors when he plays. DUH! But we are still nearly two months away from Week 1, and he wouldn’t be doing 7-on-7 drills if the team was THAT concerned about his health. Don’t let coach speak in July stop you from drafting one of the great new crop of NFL quarterbacks. Wentz is going to be a star for a long time, and a great fantasy draft choice.