Joshua Abbe | August 29th, 2019
With the shocking retirement of Andrew Luck, the quarterback position has thinned a little bit at the top of the draft board. In this fantasy battle, I’m looking at two players who should be targeted at their ADPs if fantasy players want a top quarterback. Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers are two of the best fantasy quarterbacks in the league. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Watson is being drafted at pick 5.03 as the QB2 while Rodgers is going pick 5.11 as the QB3. So let’s dig a little deeper on who I favor.
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Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Coming back from an ACL injury he suffered as a rookie, Watson returned in 2018, throwing for outstanding 8.2 yards per pass attempt and rushing for an average of 5.6 yards a carry. Reaching 4,165 yards passing and 26 touchdowns while throwing only nine interceptions, Watson added 551 rushing yards to finished QB4. Texans threw the ball 56% of the time last year. Having the best wide receiver in the game in DeAndre Hopkins, who didn’t drop a target that touched his hands, while getting back two healthy receivers in Will Fuller V and Keke Coutee, combined with newly acquired Duke Johnson in the backfield, Watson has all the weapons he needs for a big passing season. Mix in his running ability Watson is great value at his ADP.
The downside of being a Watson owner is no secret, it’s dealing with the horror of an offensive line. In 2018, Watson was sacked a league-high 62 times. A whopping average 3.8 sack a game. While the Texans spent their top two draft picks on offensive tackles and signed some veterans in free agency, this unit is still very concerning. Factor in Lamar Miller tearing his ACL in their third preseason game means Watson has less help in the backfield with blitz pick up or as a check-down option.
Injuries have hurt their depth at the wide receiver position. Coutee consistently struggles to stay on the field while Fuller hasn’t had a complete season since his rookie year in 2016. After those two guys, talent runs thin. With a lack of consistently healthy weapons other than Hopkins, combined with a questionable at best offensive line, Watson is at risk to put up some really bad fantasy games this year and could potentially get hurt and miss time as well.
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Coming off a disappointing season by his own standards in 2018, Rodgers threw for 4,442 yards and 25 touchdowns. Yet, he only threw two interceptions in 597 attempts on the year. Packers were second in the league in passing attempts a game with 40 passes and ranked first in passing play percentage with 68% for 2018. Rodgers only had six top-10 fantasy weeks last season. Enter in a new head coach in Matt LaFleur with a boost of confidence and Rodgers is primed for a comeback year.
As offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans, LaFleur called passing plays over 55% of the time throughout his years with the respective teams. Rodger’s receiver depth lead by elite receiver Davante Adams along with a solid duo of Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. In the backfield with Aaron Jones, Rodgers has the weapons to produce another high-end QB1 season.
There aren’t many kinks in Rodger’s game, though the 35-year-old has dealt with his slew of injuries over the last couple of years. He missed the majority of the 2017 season with a broken collarbone and battled an MCL sprain throughout the 2018 season. Takings Rodgers is in 2019 comes with injury risk. Already dealing with back tightness, there might be cause for concern to begin the season.
Throw in the new head coach, there will be an adjustment period when the season starts. Mix in not taking a snap in the new offense during the preseason, we don’t know how long it’ll take Rodgers to catch a groove. The lack of depth at wide receiver and running back adds some risk if an injury were to occur. Rodgers took a dip in completion percentage last season, dropping to 62% while his off-target rate was 18%, making him the eighth worst in the league for 2018.
When it comes to draft time, the quarterback for me is Watson, because of the dynamic perspective of passing and rushing he offers compared to Rodgers. Plus, the amount of possible garbage time points or playing in a shootout with the Texan’s defensive struggles, gives me confidence in taking Watson here at his ADP. In some of the recent drafts I’ve done, Watson has fallen as late as the seventh round, excellent value for him.
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