3 Bounce-Back Quarterbacks (2020 Fantasy Football)
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Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to have Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson as our QB auto-start each and every week. It’s one less thing to stress about as we agonize over our starts and sits then switch out players four or five times before kick-off. However, having those QBs may not be realistic if you don’t have them as keepers. You may be able to pull off their first-round draft cost if you have studs at RB and WR to offset the cost of drafting them early.
If you do not have the luxury of being in such a position, fear not. There are plenty of options at the position to stream as a matchup-based option. You can also snag a weekly starter later in the draft, filling the rest of your squad with top-notch, high-upside players early.
Let’s look at three quarterbacks who finished outside of the top-20 who are poised to have a bounce-back year in 2020. The average draft position (ADP) will undoubtedly be near basement level, giving us ample time to fill out our team with better players.
This may seem like low-hanging fruit, but after playing only 10 full games, Brees finished 2019 as the QB22. He had 281 completions on 378 targets for 2,979 yards and 27 touchdowns during those games, playing with a brace on his injured thumb.
Despite the injury and finishing outside of the top-20, Brees dominated while he was on the field, finishing with eight top-12 performances. He was first in pass completion percentage with 74.3% and first in sack percentage at only 3.03%. He was second in passer rating with 116.3 (behind Ryan Tannehill at 117.5) and second in pass completions per game with 25.5. He was also third in the league in touchdown percentage with 7.1% of his throws resulting in a touchdown.
If we average completions, attempts, yards, and touchdown passes from his time on the field, we can add these numbers to his current stats and get a better idea of where Brees could have finished had he stayed healthy all year long.
Brees averages over 10 games: 27 completions per game on 37 attempts, 294 yards, two touchdowns.
Remember, these are averages based on the data of the games in which he played all four quarters.
Were these numbers to hold true across a full 16-game season, he would have finished with 359 completions on 454 attempts for 3,531 yards and 36 touchdowns. In comparison, Lamar Jackson went 265-401/3,127/36 and Patrick Mahomes finished with 319-484/4,031/26.
In addition to his own injury, recent news has come out that Alvin Kamara was playing through multiple injuries during 2019. With a healthy Kamara and the addition of veteran WR Emmanuel Sanders, Brees has a full complement of weapons surrounding him in 2020.
If he can stay healthy, Brees can easily finish within the top-10 this year. With an ADP of 8.07, you won’t have to waste precious draft capital to snag an elite, auto-start quarterback.
It’s always tough for a rookie QB making his NFL debut. In 13 games, Jones finished as the QB23 throwing 284 completions on 459 attempts for 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also threw 12 interceptions and led the league in fumbles with 18.
A rocky start isn’t all that surprising, but the situation in New York was even worse. Per Pro Football Focus, offensive linemen Nate Solder and Mike Remmers combined for 97 pressures allowed, the most in the NFL last season. Jones also saw pressure on 42.5% of dropbacks.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Jones had to pull rabbits out of his hat without having his WR corps, TE Evan Engram, or RB Saquon Barkley on the field at the time. Injuries and poor pass protection plagued the Giants and Jones’ start in the NFL.
On the bright side, he did have six games at QB17 or better and had four games as the QB1 or QB2 despite the mess around him. Next Gen Stats shows that 22.4% of his throws were made in tight coverage, proving he’s not afraid to throw the football. (Of course, his 12 interceptions show that, too.) Despite seeing pressure from a mediocre offensive line, Jones was also able to complete 38.9% under pressure and had 69.4% completion on play action.
GM David Gettleman wasn’t blind to the glaring holes that needed patching in the off-season, most notably picking up three offensive linemen in the 2020 draft. Former Cowboys HC Jason Garrett steps in as the offensive coordinator, giving us hope that Jones can flourish like Tony Romo and Dak Prescott did in Dallas under his coaching.
Jones is surrounded by talent, the trick is making sure they all stay on the field at the same time. Golden Tate adds veteran WR talent in the slot with Sterling Shepard. Darius Slayton is emerging as a speedy, downfield star out wide. TE Evan Engram has top-10 potential if he can stay on the field and, of course, there’s Saquon Barkley in the backfield. Jones has a chance to finish as a high QB2 in 2020, with weeks of QB1 numbers. With an ADP around the end of Round 9, you won’t have to worry about wasting draft capital if you want to take a shot on him.
There were so many things wrong with the Jets last year, it’s hard to know where to begin. Darnold’s finish at QB27 was partly due to contracting mono and missing four games, but it’s not the only reason. I think it’s better if I show just how bad the offense was as a whole.
That’s just plain bad.
Like the Giants, the Jets’ first priority in the offseason was patching the gargantuan holes in the offensive line. Roughly $40 million and an NFL Draft later, the Jets are in a much better position to provide the much-needed pass protection Darnold (and Le’Veon Bell) need to be successful.
Still, there is a long way to go before Darnold can be in the QB1 conversation, but the team is on the right track. In the 13 games he played last year, he completed 273 passes on 441 attempts for 3,024 yards and 19 touchdowns. Of those 19 touchdowns, 10 of them were under pressure, tied for the highest in the NFL. He finished as the QB16 or better in five of his 13 games and four of them were Top-10 performances.
With a better offensive line and a scheme designed with short to intermediate passes, Darnold has the opportunity to finish better than his QB27 finish last year. He is currently going undrafted in many mock drafts so not only is Darnold a bargain, but he could be free off the waiver wire. I don’t think 2020 will be the year we see consistent quarterback play, but he will give you winning weeks in the right matchups. If head coach Adam Gase can up the tempo past that of a snail’s pace, we should see better numbers if the team and the offensive line can stay healthy.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of potential bounce-back QB candidates. My other honorable mentions are Matthew Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, and Ryan Tannehill to name a few. Brees has a chance to finish out his two-year extension with a top-10 bang if he stays healthy. Jones and Darnold are worth a late shot in 2 QB or Superflex leagues and are definitely worth streaming in the right matchups.