Mike Fanelli | May 25th, 2020
The 2020 NFL draft is a little more than a month behind us and rookie drafts are wrapping up. With everyone in love with their new shiny rookie players, now is the time to buy low on players coming off a bad year, veterans with something left in the tank, or cheap long shots. For quarterbacks it’s hard to gauge their trade value, whether you play in a single quarterback league or a super flex league. However, we all know playing in a one quarterback league is lame and super flex is the new standard. With that said, I’ve put together 12 quarterbacks who fit into five categories that dynasty fantasy owners should look into trading for, especially if you are hurting at the position.
Discounted Long Shots
Brian Hoyer, New England Patriots
Everyone, including me, believes Jarrett Stidham will be the Patriots starting quarterback come week one. However, after being released by the Indianapolis Colts, Hoyer reportedly turned down more money from other teams to sign with the Patriots. The reason is that Bill Belichick promised Hoyer an open competition for the starting role. Hoyer had just one start over the last two seasons but coming off the bench against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, he put up 14.3 fantasy points despite only playing 79% of the snaps in that game. If you own Stidham, I would see if Hoyer is on the waiver wire and if he isn’t, go throw a low ball offer at the current owner. Everyone excepts Stidham to be the starter, but what if he isn’t?
Josh Rosen, Miami Dolphins
Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter till Tua Tagovailoa is ready to play. This means Rosen better start packing his bags because he isn’t staying in Miami. The only question left for Rosen’s time as a Dolphin is will they release him or find a team willing to part with a late day three draft pick for him. Could Rosen end up in the CFL? Possibly. But what if he ends up in Tampa Bay backing up a soon to be 43 year old Tom Brady? Rosen is only worth trading for in deeper leagues where several backup quarterbacks are rostered. His trade value is next to nothing so assuming he isn’t sitting on the waiver wire, offer the current owner a few FAAB bucks and see if they bite.
Kyle Allen, Washington Redskins
This may seem like a waste as Dwayne Haskins should be the starter all season long. I would be very surprised if Haskins doesn’t start all 16 games for the Redskins this year. However, if Haskins struggles at any point (during the preseason or regular season), Ron Rivera isn’t attached to him. Remember, Haskins was drafted by the previous coaching staff and front office. Meanwhile, Rivera coached Allen in Carolina, praised him, and then gave up an early fifth-round pick to trade for him. Could Rivera be quick to start Allen if Haskins struggles? Yes!
We all know Allen isn’t a franchise quarterback and shouldn’t be viewed as a long term dynasty asset. However, if Allen takes Haskins’ job, he would turn into a bye week filler for your fantasy team next year. Much like with Hoyer and Rosen, Allen is likely on the waiver wire. However, if he isn’t and especially if you own Haskins, offer the current owner a few FAAB bucks and a story about how you have no idea what you’re doing.
Underrated Veteran Options
Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers
The future is Justin Herbert, that’s not up for debate. However, the recent reports that the Chargers considered signing Cam Newton before they ended up drafting Herbert worries me about how the front office feels about Tyrod. However, the Chargers feel like they are a playoff team and Anthony Lynn is a big supporter of Tyrod, as they have a history together from their days in Buffalo. Tyrod is a low risk, game managing quarterback, something the Chargers will want to keep on the field if they are winning games. While low risk, game managing quarterback doesn’t sound very fantasy exciting, Taylor’s rushing ability offers both a weekly floor and upside.
Tyrod hasn’t started a game since week three of the 2018 season for the Cleveland Browns. In the three games he played that year, he averaged 18 fantasy points per game in games he started and finished. During the 2017 season, Taylor averaged 14.8 fantasy points per game, throwing for 14 touchdowns and just four interceptions despite a lack of weapons. With Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and Austin Ekeler on the roster, Tyrod will have plenty to work with. Now back to Taylor’s running game upside. During the 2017 season, Tyrod average 4.5 fantasy points per game on the ground. Don’t be surprised if the Chargers are winning, Herbert spends his rookie year on the bench. Take advantage of the Herbert draft hype and get Tyrod cheap.
Cam Newton, Free Agent
Currently Newton is still a free agent and reportedly wants to be a starter. At this point if that’s his goal, he should wait till training camp and see if someone’s starting quarterback suffers a season-ending injury. Speaking of health, Newton has struggled to stay healthy the past few seasons, missing 16 of the last 18 games. If he is healthy and stays that way, Newton is a good fantasy quarterback. During the 14 games he played in 2018, Newton averaged over 20 fantasy points per game while in 2017 he averaged 18.7 fantasy points per game. Newton’s current owner may decide it’s not worth burning a bench spot for a quarterback who won’t be signed anytime soon and be willing to trade him for a future late-round rookie pick.
This Year’s Ryan Tannehill?
Marcus Mariota, Las Vegas Raiders
Speaking of Tannehill, Mariota had his starting job taken from him by a quarterback many believed was going to be a backup. Could Mariota flip the switch and take Derek Carr‘s starting job this year? The Raiders made Mariota the highest-paid backup in the league and stuffed his contract with playing time intensives. Both Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have been on the record as big fans of Mariota’s and remember, neither drafted Carr nor gave him his second contract. If Carr performs poorly or the team struggles to win, Gruden may decide that giving Mariota a shot is the jump start the team needs; similar to Tannehill last year in Tennessee.
While Mariota has struggled to stay healthy during his career, he has been a good fantasy quarterback at times. The problem is, he has historically been very inconsistent. In the five games he started and finished in 2019, Mariota scored over 14.5 fantasy points three times and averaged 12.5 fantasy points per game during that span. While Mariota has never finished a season as a QB1 in his career, the Raiders clearly see something in him given by the size and structure of his contract. Don’t trade for Mariota if the current owner thinks he will be the starter as you will likely end up overpaying. However, if you can get him for a future late-round rookie pick and own Carr, I would highly recommend handcuffing the quarterback.
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints
Is Winston going to take Drew Brees‘ starting job? Of course not, don’t be silly. The only way Winston takes Brees’ job is if Brees losing both his arms and even then its 50-50 that Winston takes over. However, in all seriousness, Brees did miss six games last year with a thumb injury and thankfully the Saints had Teddy Bridgewater to step in and play well. Could Winston do similarly this year if needed? Possibly. Winston had Lasik eye surgery this offseason and hopefully it helps him realize which guys on the field aren’t his teammates. However, even if Winston struggles with the interceptions once again, he is still a good fantasy quarterback.
Last season, Winston finished as the QB5, averaging 18.4 fantasy points per game. While he had plenty of weapons in Tampa Bay like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Winston would now step into an offense with Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jared Cook. In addition to all the weapons, Winston would be playing most of his games in a dome while being coached by Brees and Sean Payton. I don’t buy all this Taysom Hill nonsense and believe Winston very well could turn into the next starting quarterback for the Saints when Brees retires.
The Old Farts
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts
Without a doubt Rivers regressed last season, finishing as the QB18, his lowest finish since 2012. While his age and one year contract make him less appealing, fantasy owners should still look into acquiring Rivers. Recently Colts’ head coach Frank Reich said that they expect Rivers to be a Colt for multiple years. Also, the fact that the Colts traded out of the first round of the 2020 NFL draft and didn’t select a quarterback till the fourth round also suggests the team thinks Rivers has a few years left in him. While he struggled last year, Rivers finished as a top 12 quarterback in five of the previous six seasons.
Last season, Rivers wasn’t the only reason for the Chargers’ struggles on offense. Melvin Gordon, Henry, and Williams all missed games, hurting the supporting cast around him. Furthermore, the offensive line was once again beaten with injuries. Rivers has always worked best with a clean pocket and needs it more now at his age. The good news is the Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the league and plenty of weapons. The Colts spent their two second-round picks on Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr., providing even more evidence that they all in on Rivers and giving him as much help as possible. Combine the rookies with T.Y. Hilton, Jack Doyle, Parris Campbell, Marlon Mack, and Nyheim Hines, and Rivers might have the best supporting cast of his career.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Coming off elbow surgery that limited him to two games last season, combined with his age and it makes sense why some fantasy owners could be scared of owning Big Ben. However, the Steelers have to know that Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges aren’t franchise quarterbacks, and yet they didn’t spend a draft pick nor add someone in free agency. This suggests the Steelers expect Big Ben back at 100% in 2020 and to finish out his contract (which runs through next season).
Roethlisberger finished the 2018 season as the QB3 and the QB10 in 2017. While some may have concerns about Big Ben without Antonio Brown, it’s not like AB’s career has been so good without Roethlisberger. The Steelers have plenty of young wide receivers for Roethlisberger to work with. JuJu Smith-Schuster has been productive with Roethlisberger and despite having two of the worst quarterbacks in the league throwing to him last year, JuJu still managed to score 13 or more PPR fantasy points per game in almost half of his games. Between JuJu, Diontae Johnson, and new additions Eric Ebron and Chase Claypool, Big Ben has plenty of weapons to help him return to his top 10 quarterback play.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
As I mentioned early, Fitzpatrick is the starter till Tua is ready to play and that is expected to be at some point this season. However, coming off a major injury and the lack of offseason workouts/camp, Tua will likely start the year on the bench. Because of that, Fitzpatrick is likely to be the starter for the first part of the season. When Tua takes over is anyone’s guess but with the Dolphins likely out of the playoff picture come early November, the team may decide that it’s time to play the rookie. The latest I think Tua takes over is week 12 after the Dolphins’ week 11 bye as teams try to give their rookie quarterback the extra way to prepare for their first start.
If you have multiple quarterbacks with the same bye week or several quarterbacks with early byes, Fitzpatrick could be a cheap stop-gap option. Last season, Fitzpatrick finished as the QB17 despite playing 100% of the snaps in just 10 games. He averaged 20 fantasy points per game in those games while scoring 18.5 or more in 70% of those games. If you own Tua, I would add Fitzpatrick to guarantee you a starting quarterback all season long. Even if you don’t own Tua, trading a late-round rookie pick for Fitzpatrick should give you solid production early in the season.
Bounce Back Young Pups
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
I know this is going to get a lot of hate but hear me out. Goff’s job isn’t under any threat as the backup quarterbacks are two guys you’ve never heard of. Furthermore, Goff can’t be released for anything less than $30 million dollars in dead cap till 2023. For better or worse, the Rams are stuck with Goff. While Todd Gurley is gone (you decide if that’s good or not), the Rams drafted Cam Akers with their first pick. Hopefully, a healthy 1-2 punch of Akers and Darrell Henderson, will bring balance back to the offense. If the offensive line can stay healthy, Goff will be better protected and should play better in the pocket.
Some might have concerns with the Rams trading Brandin Cooks but they drafted Van Jefferson in the second round to replace him. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods is the most underrated wide receive duo in the league, while Tyler Higbee broke out late last season. Goff finished as the QB13 last year, QB7 in 2018, and QB12 in 2017 in his three seasons with Sean McVay. Goff’s semi disappointing 2019 season has made fantasy owners overreact. He has consistently been a QB1 under McVay and is still in an offense with plenty of weapons around him.
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
I’ll be honest, I don’t feel confident in recommending this. Baker is in a make it or break it season as his two biggest supporters, Freddie Kitchens and John Dorsey, are no longer with the team, and their replacements have no loyalty to Baker. With the additions of Austin Hooper, Jack Conklin, and Jedrick Wills Jr., Mayfield has arguably one of the best supporting casts in the league. There are no more excuses for Baker, it’s now or never. There is a double edge sword with Mayfield. He has all the tools around him to succeed but will he do it?
Despite starting all 16 games and the addition of Odell Beckham Jr., Mayfield finished as the QB20. In his rookie year (with just 13 starts and no OBJ), Mayfield finished as the QB16. The biggest difference between the two years is turnovers. Last year Mayfield had just 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions compared to 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions as a rookie.
Was he trying to do too much? Yes. Was he sacked much more often? Yes! In fact, Mayfield was sacked just 1.8 times a game as a rookie. However, that jumped up to 2.5 per game last season. The bottom line is simple with Baker. If you loved him after his rookie season, trade for him, he has all the tools around him to succeed. However, if you were bullish on him after his rookie season, I would avoid the risk. Baker is the ultimate boom or bust trade candidate.
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