Do Not Draft List: QB (Fantasy Football)
The quarterback position in fantasy football is very different than the real NFL. Fantasy teams that rely on the top players at the position are not necessarily better off than those teams that wait to fill the position.
That being said, let’s take a look at quarterbacks to avoid at their current cost. I selected quarterbacks from the early, middle and later tiers.
Carson Wentz (PHI) – ADP 60, QB6 & Deshaun Watson (HOU) – ADP 45, QB2
I’m putting Wentz and Watson together because the reasoning behind them is the same. I don’t draft players coming off ACL injuries suffered later in the season. I’ll take Allen Robinson this year because he suffered his injury three snaps into last season. I drafted Keenan Allen last year and would’ve drafted Jordy Nelson the year he tore his ACL in the preseason. If he weren’t suspended, I’d be all for drafting Julian Edelman as well.
I don’t care about all the reports about “how good a player looks.” I stick with a set amount of recovery time needed to feel comfortable drafting a player. One of my favorite resources is this one from Jason Phelps of Sports Injury Predictor. According to the article, the biggest takeaways regarding the chance of re-injury in soft tissue injuries are the number of occurrences and days since recovery — the highest risk being a soft-tissue injury within the last 9.5 months. For me, if a player suffered the injury after October of the previous season, then they show up on the “Do Not Draft” list, which is the case for both Watson and Wentz.
Jared Goff (LAR) – ADP 102, QB13
It’s a bit surprising that Goff’s ADP isn’t a little higher, but he still makes the DND list. Goff was a product of a perfect set of circumstances last season. The same five Rams started each game on the offensive line. Jeff Fisher was gone, and Sean McVay brought in an explosive, new offense. Goff was given more time to throw than basically any quarterback in the league. Looking at some NFL advanced stats, Goff was among the leaders in time to throw among quarterbacks in 2017 with 2.93 seconds per attempt, and the only quarterback among the top five who couldn’t buy himself time with his mobility. Despite all this time to throw, Goff posted mediocre rates in average air yards per completion and average intended air yards per completion.
I don’t view the Rams’ offensive performance in 2017 as sustainable in the same way that the Falcons’ offensive performance in 2016 wasn’t sustainable. Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur jumped ship to the Titans after one season which means that Aaron Kromer will serve as the Rams’ run game coordinator while Shane Waldron serves as the pass game coordinator. Regardless of that interesting alignment of coordinators, there’s no question that this is head coach Sean McVay’s offense. With a full season of Goff on tape in McVay’s offense, expect defenses to adjust and to bring the pressure on Goff who has never shown the ability to perform well under pressure, nor does he have the mobility to escape it. The Rams unusually healthy offensive line was indeed a significant factor in keeping the pressure off of Goff, and the Rams do return all five starters to the offensive line in 2018, but expecting another season in which the o-line remains completely intact is probably not a reasonable expectation.
Derek Carr (OAK) – ADP 130, QB19
Unless you play in a two-QB league, you probably aren’t drafting Carr to be a starter this season, so it’s not going to break your season if you do draft him. However, there’s plenty of Derek Carr bounce-back talk with new head coach Jon Gruden. I like the prospects of a bounce back much more for Marcus Mariota and Dak Prescott than I do Carr, who is being drafted right around them. Simply put, I don’t think Carr is very good, which I wrote last year around this time.
Coming into 2017, Carr had thrown 60 touchdowns over the last two seasons despite averaging under seven yards per passing attempt, which is Sam Bradford/Alex Smith territory. Carr busted as a QB1 last season, finishing as the 19th overall QB. Those who used a top-five quarterback selection on Carr were thoroughly disappointed with his 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and 3,500 passing yards as all three stat categories highlighted significant regression from his 28 touchdowns, six interceptions, and 3,900+ yards in 2016. As for the yards per pass attempt statistic, not much changed for Carr who still averaged just under seven yards per pass attempt at 6.8 yards per attempt — good for 20th among qualified QBs.
If Gruden can get Carr to throw the ball downfield, much more than a bounce back could be in the cards, but Carr has never proven the ability to do so effectively even in his productive fantasy seasons. With Michael Crabtree now in Baltimore and being replaced by Jordy Nelson, Carr is losing his top red-zone target and getting someone who has never had any success without Aaron Rodgers throwing him the football. Carr will be a quarterback that I continue to avoid in 2018.