Dynasty Stock Report: QB Edition
Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and the ageless wonders Tom Brady and Drew Brees, had extremely successful seasons in 2016. As a result, three of those four teams are playing deep into the NFL playoffs. It’s obvious the Quarterback position is critical to an NFL team’s success, but depending on your league scoring or settings, it may not be as critical to your fantasy team’s success.
Regardless, the QB position is among the highest scoring positions in any fantasy league and also can produce some of the most consistent, productive players to invest in as dynasty assets. This article will focus on quarterbacks you should Buy, Sell, and Hold this offseason.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers – Heading into the 2016 season, Cam was QB1 in DFW startup ADP….What a difference a year makes as he finished 2016 just outside the top 12 (QB14)! Everyone can agree that Cam struggled this past season. He particularly struggled with accuracy as his completion percentage dipped to a career low of 52.9%. When we look at his career stats, however, we do see some anomalies. One of those is his staggering passing TD total from 2015 (35) compared to a fairly consistent range (19-24) we see from him in all other years. Taking this into consideration, Cam’s 2016 passing TD total of 19 should not be a surprise to us. Other stats that jump out are his rushing yards; His career average heading into 2016 was: 641 yards, 9 TDs. In 2016, he had rushing production of 359 yards, and 5 TDs – this was a surprise! So…what does this mean for Newton’s “real” value. It means he’s not likely to be the QB1 we saw in 2015, but he’s also not likely to be the QB14 we saw in 2016 (due to a drop off in rushing production). Realistic expectations for Cam are QB5-QB7. If you’re able to buy him now for his QB14 price – I would absolutely encourage you to do so.
Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots – As rumors beging to spread regarding the likelihood the Patriots trade Jimmy G, the window to buy him may be closing. That being said, if you are able to pay a price in line with his startup ADP (QB34)…it’s absolutely a gamble worth taking. Garoppolo has shown good poise, decision making, and a lightning quick release, in his limited action with the Patriots. This may be enough to lure a QB desperate franchise (Browns, Bears, 49ers) to trade for him. If that happens, you have to love the gamble of paying a modest price to acquire a young QB.
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys/ Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears – Both of these veteran signal callers had forgettable 2016 seasons (2015-2016 for Romo), but they’ve both been fantasy relevant in the not too distant past…and both could be on new teams in 2017. Romo carries an enormous $24.7 million cap hit in 2017 for the Cowboys, in what appears to be a backup role. This has all the makings of a negotiated restructure/ sign and trade. Similarly, Cutler carries a hefty $16 million cap hit for the Bears – but only $2 million is guaranteed if he is cut. That leaves us with two experienced QBs on the market. Let me ask a rhetorical question…Can we think of two teams that are a solid QB away from making a potential run at the Super Bowl? I can: the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans. What would happen to these players value if they were to suddenly be paired with Demaryius Thomas/ Emmanuel Sanders or DeAndre Hopkins/Will Fuller? Buy now!
Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans – Just sell.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks – Wilson entered 2016 as the QB4 in DFW startup value. He finished 2016 as the QB16. Let me repeat that – QB16! Despite a disappointing season, his value seems to have miraculously remained stable (unlike Cam Newton). With fairness in mind, I’d like to go through a similar exercise to the one we did with Cam…”When we look at Wilson’s career stats, we see some anomalies. One of those is his staggering passing TD total from 2015 (34) compared to a fairly consistent range (20-26) we see from him in all other years. Taking this into consideration, Russell’s 2016 passing TD total of 21 should not be a surprise to us.” A possible reason we have an inflated perception of Wilson’s value is because we feel he’s been very good for the past two seasons. This is impacted by another outlier – his rushing production. Wilson’s career average for rushing yards is: 538 yards and 3 TDs. We already have identified a jump in 2015 production for an uncharacteristic passing TD total…well, there’s also a jump in 2014 production for rushing production that was above his “norm”. In 2014, Wilson had 849 rushing yards and 6 TDs. The end result was two consecutive years of production 2014-2015 where we saw higher than average results. What is the reality? It’s what we saw in 2016. Wilson wasn’t saved by a big jump in passing TDs or rushing stats this past year…and he just might be the player that finished as QB16.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers/Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints – These guys define “steady”. If you own them, never let go. Let’s take a look at Rodgers’/ Brees’ finishes since 2008:
2008: Brees, QB1 & Rodgers, QB2
2009: Brees, QB2 & Rodgers, QB1
2010: Brees, QB3 & Rodgers, QB2
2011: Brees, QB1 & Rodgers, QB2
2012: Brees, QB1 & Rodgers, QB2
2013: Brees, QB2 & Rodgers, QB26 (Injured)
2014: Brees, QB3 & Rodgers, QB2
2015: Brees, QB6 & Rodgers, QB12 (Jordy Injured)
2016: Brees, QB2 & Rodgers, QB1
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans – Mariota was valued at QB8 heading into the 2016 season, he finished 2016 as the QB13. Considering his age (23), stellar OL, and strong running game – he has stability around him. He’s also showing signs of statistical progression as his passing TDs increased from 19 in his rookie season to 26 in his sophomore campaign. The biggest reason I would hold Mariota is a strong inclination that the Titans will invest highly in a WR in this year’s draft. Considering we’ve seen statistical improvement from Mariota with only modest changes to his receiving corps (Rishard Matthews), it’s entirely possible his game could be taken to the next level with the addition of a Mike Williams or Corey Davis. The Titans own the 5th and 18th overall picks in the first round – if one of those turns into Williams or Davis…look out!