Overvalued Draft Targets: QB (Fantasy Football)

by Jordan McNamara | Featured Writer
Feb 8, 2018

Josh Allen is talented, but there are reasons to be cautious about him

The NFL Draft is less than three months away, and clear value opportunities are beginning to present themselves. The following are three overvalued quarterbacks.

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Josh Allen (Wyoming)
During Allen’s college career at Wyoming, he averaged 7.8 yards per attempt (Y/A), a touchdown rate (TD%) of 6.51%, and a touchdown to interception ratio of 1.95 (TD/Att.). Allen’s best attribute TD%, which puts him above average for a top half of the Round 1 quarterback. Allen’s Y/A is an above average Round 2 pick, while his abysmal TD/INT ratio is a below average Day Three projection.

Among quarterbacks drafted since 2000, Allen’s metrics put him in the top 30% of TD%., but in the bottom 40% of TD/INT ratio, while his Y/A is just above average (53%).  Allen’s profile points to a quarterback capable of scoring touchdowns, but at high risk, with accuracy problems that cap a genuinely efficient yardage gaining offense.

In looking for comparisons, I selected quarterbacks who fit either 10 percent higher or lower than each of Allen’s marks. The results were Chris Simms and Jesse Palmer, picks 97 and 125 respectively. Simms started 16 games in his NFL career before leaving the league in his late 20s, while Palmer’s most notable success came on The Bachelor.

Allen is likely a better physical talent than he has performed statistically in college. His projected draft position as a Day One pick is a good proxy for that talent, but his comparable Round 1 prospects should cause caution.

Below is a list of Round 1 picks with a TD/INT ratio in the bottom 40% of the model. The pocket passers with success include Carson Palmer, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, and Jay Cutler.

However, there are cautionary tales in terms of misses, with early career washouts like Jake Locker, Christian Palmer, E.J. Manuel, Kyle Boller, and Patrick Ramsey.

The list includes no Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, and only Palmer, Stafford and Ryan improved their TD/INT ratio as professionals. On average, the quarterbacks on the list saw their TD/INT ratio drop by .22.

In other words, you should not expect a quarterback like Josh Allen to see a significant boost in production when the competition gets more difficult. This is especially true for Allen because he would be only the second quarterback from non-power five conferences in the group, after Patrick Ramsey who went to Tulane.

Allen is in the conversation of the top QB in the draft, a position that is not warranted by his college statistics. His supporters will point to his arm strength, but his tape shows consistent struggles with accuracy and ball placement. He will be a project in the NFL and is no better than the fourth rookie quarterback in dynasty drafts.

Luke Falk (Washington State)
Luke Falk had a prolific college production throwing for 14,481 yards and 119 touchdowns in 42 career games. Falk finished with a 68.3 completion percentage, a top 4% finish since 2000. But when you look deeper, Falk has a lot of red flags.

Falk only threw for 7.05 Y/A in college, a bottom 20% result. Combined with his high completion rates, this profile points to a dump off specialist without much threat of a big play.

Falk finished with TD% of 5.79%, which is right at 50% of the model, while his 3.05 TD/INT ratio is in the top 20% of the model. Falk’s numbers Y/A in the Day Three threshold while his TD% is a Round 2, and his TD/INT ratio is an early Round 1 threshold figure.

Sifting the data for 10 percent above and below his Y/A, TD%, and TD/INT ratio returns one comparable prospect: Jacoby Brissett. Brissett was a third-round pick at 91 overall and has flashed at times as a starter, which gives Falk some hope. Yet, Brissett is a better athlete and adds a running element to an offense that Falk cannot.

Falk is in a general conversation with players like Mason Rudolph and Lamar Jackson as the next tier after Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, and Josh Allen. Falk enters the NFL coming from Mike Leach’s Air Raid system, which will be a concern for his transition. He is a bigger name than talent, and profiles as a developmental Day Three pick.

Falk is a low upside QB if he gets a starting job, so he is a player to avoid in one quarterback formats. In superflex or two-quarterback leagues, Falk is no better than a depth option in Round 3 or 4 rookie drafts.

J.T. Barrett (Ohio State)
J.T. Barrett was a star at Ohio State, but he does not profile well in the NFL. Barrett had good metric production, with TD% of 8.6% (top 3%), TD/INT ratio of 3.47 (top 11%), and 7.79 Y/A (top 49%). Those numbers qualify as top half of Round 1, first overall, and Round 2 respectively.

His closest comparable players within 10 percent of each stat are Russell Wilson and D.J. Shockley. Wilson was a Day Two pick who quickly became a fantasy star in the NFL, while Shockley never made much impact.

Barrett’s name will likely circulate in metric circles as a sleeper pre-NFL Draft, but his tape is not NFL quality. Barrett too frequently locks on one receiver and cannot progress through his reads.

These struggles are symptomatic of a quarterback that does not process the game quickly, a bad trait for a quarterback transitioning to the NFL. This was demonstrated when Barrett was snubbed from the Senior Bowl and instead played in the Shrine Game.

If Barrett is drafted he will join only Vince Young, Colin Kaepernick, and Pat White as the only quarterbacks drafted in the NFL with more than 3,000 yards rushing in college. Young and Kaepernick both had fantasy success while White quickly flamed out of the NFL.

A best-case scenario would have Barrett settle in as an NFL backup with rushing upside in spot starts. Barrett’s profile does not warrant a pick in the top eight of the position.

Jordan McNamara is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jordan, check out his archive and follow him @McNamaraDynasty.

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