Veteran Quarterbacks to Target in Dynasty Leagues (2021 Fantasy Football)
Veteran quarterbacks have typically gotten tossed to the wayside like expired leftovers in redraft or dynasty leagues every year, only for some of them to emerge as valuable starters at season’s end. The likes of Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were living proof of that, as they outplayed their ADPs in 2020, both of them finishing as QB1s. But the list of veteran quarterbacks who hold value doesn’t begin and end with just Rodgers and Brady.
Seeing what we witnessed in 2020 and what we know moving forward, these three experienced signal-callers should be on your trade radar in dynasty leagues.
Tannehill is the perfect example of a quarterback who has benefitted from a change of scenery. After being freed from the shackles of Joe Philbin and Adam Gase — his head coaches during his time in Miami — Tannehill immediately thrived with the Tennessee Titans in 2019, and he hasn’t looked back.
Following a strong finish to the 2019 season, Tannehill ended 2020 as the QB7. Tannehill would also conclude this season with 2,294 completed air yards, which was the ninth-most at the position. The former college wide receiver in college — because not enough people mention it, right? — was the only quarterback who had fewer than 500 passing attempts to be in the top-10 of completed air yards in 2020. On top of that, Tannehill proved he can contribute on the ground with a career-best seven rushing touchdowns.
Tannehill’s efficiency in the offense can partly be credited to Arthur Smith’s offensive scheme, which maximized play-action and Tannehill’s athleticism. Despite losing Smith as his offensive coordinator, Tannehill should continue to flourish as the Titans’ starting quarterback. A.J. Brown, Jonnu Smith, and a lethal rushing attack led by Derrick Henry are more than enough to make Tannehill a strong option in dynasty. That said, the impending free agency of Corey Davis could become an issue.
Like Tannehill, Cousins also plays in a predominantly run-centric offense. In the past two seasons, with Kevin Stefanski and Gary Kubiak at offensive coordinator, Minnesota’s offense has revolved around Dalvin Cook. Cook finished with career-highs in carries (312), rushing yards (1,557), and rushing touchdowns (16) with Kubiak calling plays in 2020.
However, Cousins still managed to put together a strong-but-overlooked season in his third year with the Vikings. After a somewhat slow start, he ended 2020 with a thunderous bang. There were only five other quarterbacks to finish with more fantasy points from Weeks 10-16 than Cousins. His strong finish helped him settle in as the QB11 in fantasy football when it was all said and done.
While Cousins isn’t necessarily a quarterback you want on your team in real life, he makes for a solid fantasy football option. Like Tannehill, Cousins will have a new offensive coordinator calling plays in 2021 following Kubiak’s retirement, which could lead to more passing attempts. And if the Vikings do air the ball out more, Cousins has an ideal situation with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Cook, and Irv Smith Jr. at his disposal. Buying Cousins for a relatively low price right now could pay dividends for your fantasy teams.
Injuries have definitely been a glaring concern for Matthew Stafford in the past two seasons with the Detroit Lions. Even though he started in all 16 games for the team last year, he was far from fully healthy during the regular season. Immediately after a season-ending back injury that led him to miss eight games in 2019, Stafford dealt with several ailments in 2020. Nevertheless, the tough-nosed, gunslinging quarterback managed to record the eighth 4,000-yard passing season of his underrated career.
Chucking the ball downfield is something that Stafford has never shied away from, as he averaged 8.7 intended air yards per attempt in 2020, good enough for fifth-best among quarterbacks. That statistic becomes even more impressive when you consider he didn’t have Kenny Golladay available for 11 games. While Stafford can still throw with the best of them, his health will determine whether or not he can succeed in the latter portion of his career. On the plus side, his recent injury concerns could lead Stafford managers to part with him for cheap.
Despite the Lions hiring a new head coach in Dan Campbell — or Dan Cannibal apparently — Stafford is reportedly on his way out of Detroit. A trade involving Stafford definitely increases his stock in fantasy, especially if he’s traded to a quarterback-friendly team that already has weapons in place for him. If Stafford can avoid the injury bug next season (and moving forward), he’ll be worth acquiring in dynasty leagues for the right price, regardless of where he lands.
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