3 Bounce-Back QBs (2019 Fantasy Football)
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Before we get started, let’s remember that QB is a deep position again this season if you’re playing in a one-QB league. I could reasonably see 18-20 QBs I’d be okay with as my starter when I leave the draft and head into Week 1. However, one way that fantasy owners can take advantage of the competition is to avoid recency bias. We live in a “goldfish” society and usually, people only remember what just happened and lose sight of the bigger sample size.
We all know the big names at the top of the position, but the real money is made in the mid-to-late rounds at the QB position. There will be the hot names, such as Kyler Murray, that will begin to creep up draft boards, but here are three QBs that are due to bounce back after a rough 2018, which could present nice values on draft day.
Jameis Winston (TB)
This former #1 overall pick has had a mediocre run during his first four years in the league. In addition to some off-the-field issues, his on-the-field blunders have led to a make or break season in 2019. After being scheduled to miss the first few games due to suspension last season, Winston was kept on the pine early on due to the play of Ryan Fitzpatrick. After recapturing the starting job, losing it, and getting it back again after Week 12, Winston finished with 2,992 yards, 19 TDs, and 14 INTs.
While Winston’s 17.8 fantasy points per game would have ranked 14th at the position slightly over players like Carson Wentz, Baker Mayfield, and Tom Brady, his 2018 numbers were actually worse than what was on paper. Winston only totaled more than 300 yards in four of his nine starts and only put up more than two TDs twice. The real negative when breaking down Winston’s 2019 numbers is that almost 35% of his fantasy production came in his two starts against the banged-up Atlanta Falcons defense.
Now, for a “bounce back” piece, there’s been a lot of shade thrown around, but don’t worry, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Despite losing both Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson this offseason, he also lost his main competition for starts with Ryan Fitzpatrick leaving for the Dolphins and, most importantly, he gained a new head coach in Bruce Arians. Besides his wicked hat game, Arians is most famous for his motto, “No risk it, no biscuit.” While Arians will leave the play calling to his protégé Byron Leftwich, fantasy owners should expect Winston to be able to sling it around quite a bit this season.
Since 2009, Arians’ offenses have finished in the top 12 six of nine years and finished outside the top 15 only twice. Both of those times were years that Carson Palmer was injured in Arizona. If Arians lifts the reigns and lets Winston continue to take risks, fantasy owners could be in for some very big things. Factor in the lack of a running game in Tampa Bay and a suspect defense and this could be the perfect combination for Winston to have the breakout season we’ve been waiting for. I currently have Winston sixth among QBs heading into 2019 and I expect him to up near the league lead in attempts and yardage this season.
Carson Wentz (PHI)
Not many people had a better offseason than Mr. Wentz. Not only did the Eagles add weapons around him in DeSean Jackson, Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, but long-time LT Jason Peters also announced he’d be returning for another season. Plus, the Eagles let Nick Foles walk out the door.
Oh, and the man got paid! After signing a four-year extension making him one of the highest paid QBs in the league, Wentz is now looking to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2018. After missing the first two games due to injury, Wentz also missed the final three games of the season because of a back injury.
Heading into 2019, all reports have been positive, which could have Wentz in line for a big bounce-back season. Wentz was solid when he was on the field in 2018, averaging 279 passing yards. However, his TD percentage did come back down to Earth, leading to only 21 TDs over 401 attempts. Wentz’s 2017 TD percentage of 7.5% was unsustainable of course, but fantasy owners could see a slight regression back to the mean this season.
With the added weapons and hopes of a full 16 -game season for Wentz, expectations are high this year. This Doug Peterson’s offenses have always been one of the better units in the league, and even with having to swap back and forth between Wentz and Foles last season, the Eagles finished seventh in passing yards and combined for 29 TDs. I could see Wentz putting up those numbers on his own this year with 30+ TDs.
Derek Carr (OAK)
This selection might be less popular than the previous two, but hear me out. We all know the story. After 10 years away from coaching, Jon Gruden returned to Oakland in 2018, and needless to say, things did not go as planned. After trading the team’s biggest stars in Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, the team posted a 4-12 record and struggled in almost all facets of the game, and Carr was not exempt from the poor 2018 performance.
After back-to-back seasons of just under 4,000 yards and an average of 30 TDs, Carr took a step back in 2017. With Gruden coming to town in 2018, many thought Carr could potentially return to fantasy relevance, but in the end, Carr had one of the worst seasons of his career from a fantasy perspective. He put up a career-low TD percentage of 3.4, which ranked 26th among QBs in 2019. Carr also posted only 19 passing TDs, which put the Raiders 25th in the league in passing TDs.
So why should we buy back in? Well, while the TDs weren’t there for Carr, he did have his highest completion percentage of his career and eclipsed 4,000 yards for the first time. Also, while Jared Cook is no longer with the team, the Raiders have added some nice pieces around him with the additions of Antonio Brown, Josh Jacobs, and even Tyrell Williams. The Raiders as a team will probably be bad again, including their defense. However, with the added offensive weapons, and having another year in Gruden’s system, I expect Carr to bounce back in 2019 and put up numbers more similar to his 2015 & 2016 seasons where he finished as the QB14 and QB10, respectively.