3 Quarterbacks to Avoid (Fantasy Football)
As long as you’re only starting one quarterback in your league, waiting to draft your signal caller will likely be the hot strategy. It’s been that way for quite awhile.
While the consistent performers like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady are great to have, the necessity to use a second-to-fourth round pick on one of them just doesn’t seem worth it sometimes. I don’t think anybody out there will be complaining about drafting Rodgers in the third round last season, but seeing nearly-as-productive Matt Ryan go undrafted (2016) in some cases makes you question whether taking a QB that high is ever worth it.
Here are three top-10 ADP quarterbacks that I will be avoiding in drafts this year:
Matt Ryan (ATL): ADP 49 (QB4)
Here’s something Matt Ryan has never done in his nine-year NFL career — throw for 30 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons. Here’s something Matt Ryan did last season — throw 38 touchdowns.
Matt Ryan is being drafted fourth among QBs right now. He’s coming off a monster statistical season fueled by an incredibly high touchdown total as well as a devastating Super Bowl loss. His offensive coordinator last season, Kyle Shanahan, is now in San Francisco and Steve Sarkisian is running the offense this season.
There’s no way Ryan is better than he was last season, and I don’t think anybody out there is going to advocate that he will be. I just don’t see the value in spending a top-five quarterback selection on a guy who you know will regress statistically, and has a well-documented history of being incredibly inconsistent.
In general, a top-five fantasy quarterback is going to throw about 33 or 34 touchdowns in any given season so that’s what you should be anticipating if you draft Matt Ryan as a top-five quarterback. Now’s a good time to note that even the great Aaron Rodgers has only thrown more than 31+ touchdowns in consecutive seasons once in his career (2011-2012).
That type of production in consecutive seasons is generally reserved for the all-timers (i.e. Brady, Brees, Rodgers). Expecting Matt Ryan to enter that company is a mistake.
Derek Carr (OAK): ADP 69 (QB8)
Coming off a breakout 2015, Carr was commonly viewed as a perfect quarterback complement to Tom Brady as Brady’s four-game suspension aligned perfectly with Carr’s very soft early-season schedule. However, Carr proved to be much more than just a Brady complement. If not for a broken fibula in Week 15, Carr would have easily been a top-10 quarterback.
He has now thrown 60 touchdowns over the last two seasons which is impressive, but there’s not much value to be had here as Carr is now being drafted as a sure-fire QB1. The big drawback for Carr is that he has had unusually high touchdown totals for somebody who has averaged just under seven yards per attempt over the last two seasons which is basically Alex Smith/Sam Bradford territory.
Rather unsurprisingly, placing well in this statistic generally leads to productive fantasy seasons, and Carr hasn’t proven that he can be any more than a seven yards per attempt passer. Carr is also projected to have the most difficult schedule for quarterbacks this season. Avoid.
Aaron Rodgers (GB): ADP 20 (QB1)
Avoid Aaron Rodgers. Yeah, I know. Crazy, right?
It is a bit crazy, but this isn’t a prediction that Aaron Rodgers is going to straight-up bust because that is highly unlikely. But is he overvalued? Absolutely.
It is insanely difficult to finish as the league’s best fantasy quarterback in back-to-back seasons and — as I highlighted before — even the great Aaron Rodgers has only thrown for 31+ touchdowns in consecutive seasons once. If he slips to the third round in a standard league, then, by all means, take Aaron Rodgers. However, having to spend a second-round pick on him is too high of a price tag for any quarterback in a standard league.
If I’m using a second-round pick on Aaron Rodgers then I want Aaron Rodgers to perform like Aaron Rodgers did last season: 40 passing touchdowns and 4,428 yards. He needs to be the best fantasy quarterback in the NFL.
Let it be known that 40+ passing touchdowns in consecutive seasons has happened one time in NFL history, and that was Drew Brees in 2011-2012. It should also be noted that Brees was averaging 660 passing attempts during those two seasons while Rodgers surpassed 600 passing attempts in 2016 for the first time in his career.
There isn’t a ton of evidence out there to support Aaron Rodgers not being the top fantasy quarterback once again; this is still the same offense that allowed him to set career-highs in passing attempts, rushing attempts, and rushing yards last season. Ty Montgomery, a former wide receiver, is now the starting running back. Tight end Martellus Bennett has been added to the roster while Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams are all still there. It all sets up for another big season from Rodgers.
Picking Rodgers in the second round will be banking on the prospect that Rodgers will once again throw the ball 600 times which probably isn’t something the Packers want. Their defense was bottom-of-the-barrel last season due to numerous injuries, and that played the biggest role in why Rodgers threw it around so much. The Packers as a team have been much more successful in seasons in which Rodgers has attempted 570 or fewer passes in a season.
Over the last two seasons, the Packers have gone 20-12 in the regular season with Rodgers averaging 37 passing attempts per game. In the four seasons before that, the Packers went 43-13 with Rodgers averaging 33 passing attempts per game. It is in the Packers’ best interest if Rodgers doesn’t set a career-high in passing attempts for the third consecutive season, which is enough to deter me from using a second-round pick on him.