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Fantasy Football Quarterback Busts: Josh Allen, C.J. Stroud, Dak Prescott (2024)

Writing about players to avoid/potential busts is one of my favorite annual topics in fantasy football. It’s far too easy to fall in love with every player, but realistically, you can’t afford to have equal exposure to every player, especially those high up on the draft board. You need to be more critical and sometimes bearish compared to the consensus on certain player average draft positions (ADPs).

Before the 2023 season, I published two pieces addressing this strategy: Fantasy Football Bust Guide: Draft Strategy & Advice (2023) and Players to Avoid (2023 Fantasy Football). These articles significantly helped position me to sidestep potential pitfalls. In this comprehensive piece, we’ll integrate insights from both articles to help you construct your 2024 list of fantasy football fades.

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Fantasy Football Quarterback Busts

Josh Allen (QB – BUF)

Do we love Josh Allen losing his top two WRs from last season? How much should we expect from a group consisting of Curtis Samuel, Keon Coleman, Khalil Shakir, Mack Hollins and Marquez Valdes-Scantling?

Or the fact that Buffalo was one of the healthiest offenses last season? We saw Mahomes struggle immensely in 2023 with a new cast of WRs to work with. Obviously if Allen continues to score rushing TDs at a high rate – 51 total TDs scored last season – he can and will be back in the conversation as the fantasy QB1. But to be so bullish on him to draft him as the first QB off the board with other elite QBs going one round or two rounds later? That’s what makes me hesitant to pull the trigger.

It’s also worth noting that when Joe Brady took over the offense last season, they featured running back James Cook much more and focused on the running game. Went from +4% pass rate over expectation to -3%. Allen posted his lowest passing TD rate (5%) and passing yards per game (253.3) since 2019 as a result.

Brady has already spoken on how this will be Allen’s offense, with Stefon Diggs completely out of the picture. But how much he can shoulder during a 17-game stretch – specifically coming off his highest rushing TD output of his career – creates some doubt with the amount of projection we have for the 2024 Bills.

C.J. Stroud (QB – HOU)

Laid out the case for Stroud as a QB to avoid during the introduction, headlined by the lack of rushing he has to offer combined with his price as super-hyped second-year QB.

I just see so many other QBs with similar fantasy football potential that go much later. Even considering Stroud led the NFL in passing yards per game and TD-to-interception ratio. Mahomes led the NFL in passing yards per game in 2022. Daniel Jones led in the TD-to-interception ratio. Both were busts last season.

Drafting Stroud as a fringe top-5 fantasy QB based on TD passing efficiency – typically something that isn’t super sticky year over year. – isn’t full proof. Again, despite his amazing accolades in Year 1, he was still UNDER 19 points per game. Stroud had 2 top-6 finishes last season (also happened to be top-3). Burrow also had 2 top-6 finishes despite 6 fewer games played.

Now I will preface this by reiterating that I still want exposure to the Texans offense. The fact that they should be much healthier, they added WR Stefon Diggs and kept their OC Bobby Slowik suggesting this offense shouldn’t take any step back. But they might not take a huge step forward.

Still, Stroud could just be that good. Therefore, I can’t with good conscience encourage avoiding the Texans offense entirely.

Although they may have lost a key offensive contributor in Shane Day this offseason. Wrote about it above how Day served as a senior offensive assistant for the Texans in Stroud’s first season.

I also have some concerns with the Texans going from being on the hunt, to becoming the hunted. The Houston Texans have the 7th-most difficult schedule in 2024 after facing the 6th-easiest schedule in 2023. No team has a harder schedule compared to last season than the Houston Texans.

Again, who is the best real-life QB on the planet? Patrick Mahomes. And who was a bust in fantasy football last season? Patrick Mahomes.

Dak Prescott (QB – DAL)

Is 2023 probably the best we will see from Prescott? It’s possible. Although according to expected fantasy points, he still left A LOT on the table. 1st in expected points per game. 4th in points per game overall.

As I have already come to grips with during the intro, Prescott was a QB I was vehemently “fading” last season, and I was flat-out wrong. But he’s done this act before.

In 2021, Prescott averaged 21.1 points per game. 4,700 yards and 38 TDs. In 2022, Prescott was horrible and was barely a fantasy QB1. QB13 in points per game. But then he bounced back BIG in 2023: 21.3 points per game in 2023. 4,922 yards and 39 TDs.

2023 was the perfect storm. The defense underwhelmed versus expectation and Prescott greatly benefitted from Tony Pollard’s inability to score rushing TDs. He led the NFL in passing TDs in 2023. Can be a fantasy QB1 again? Sure. But for him to be at the very top again, I am very skeptical. Betting on Mike McCarthy doing the right thing is something that doesn’t work in my opinion in the long run.

And there’s no denying that he must be elite from a passing perspective again, without any rushing to fall back on. Keep in mind that Dallas likely won’t be as fortunate from an injury perspective. Should anything happen to CeeDee Lamb, Prescott would be in big trouble. There’s a severe lack of WR depth behind Lamb on the roster. Brandin Cooks is getting older, and the Cowboys are just hoping Jalen Tolbert can ascend to the No. 3 role.

Keep in mind that Dallas had one of the healthiest WR rooms last season.

But I’ll admit the price to draft Prescott isn’t bad. At the start of the offseason, I expected Prescott to be drafted much higher than his current QB7-9 ADP range. Still, I am not sold that he is so much better of an option than several other QBs going after him.

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