Dynasty Quarterback Deep Dive: Benchmarks and Application

George Kritikos


After the last part of the series examined some key rules of figuring out quarterback value, we now get to the most important rule that will help in your annual dynasty drafts and trade strategies. Also, let’s take a look at rookie and young quarterbacks and see where their potential lies.

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Rule 4: College completion percentage and college quarterback rating are indicators of rookie success

Between combine workouts, private workouts and college careers, there are a lot of data points to digest. In an effort to simplify things, two statistics have shown strong correlations to NFL QB fantasy stats – completion percentage & college quarterback rating. Quarterback rating is not surprising since it encompasses so many statistics into one calculation. Completion percentage is interesting as it utilizes one simple efficiency measure, yet was the second most significant statistic. So what does that mean for this year’s crop of quarterbacks? Well, using the rules above, let’s look at this year’s rookie crop and focus on quarterbacks selected in the fourth round or earlier in 2014.


This is telling me Blake Bortles is a risk as his quarterback rating and completion percentage are not on par with other top quarterbacks drafted. Meanwhile, I would forego Logan Thomas and Tom Savage as their stats don’t seem to correspond with future success. If I had to rank the rookies for this year, here would be my order (colors separate each tier):

dive2Bridgewater edges out Manziel given he has Norv Turner in his corner and a young receiver in Cordarrelle Patterson who is more reliable (re: not suspended) than the more proven Josh Gordon. Garoppolo to me is a sleeper at the position who fell into an interesting situation. It reminds me of Aaron Rodgers’ landing spot in Green Bay where an aging veteran has had great success, but is nearing the end of his career. The weapons and system in New England gives him the advantage over Bortles, who was less successful in college and has a lot of young, but unproven receivers. Taking a shot on him will require patience and a large bench as he may take two to three years to have an impact. Derek Carr gets knocked more for his landing spot in Oakland than his talent as there are few young position players that have potential to make an impact. Savage has the better college pedigree and while he doesn’t have the better team around him like Thomas, a situation can improve while talent tends to stay the same.

So, based on this information, are there other young backups or inexperienced starters who are worth a look as a free agent or trade target?

Mike Glennon, TB – Picked by Tampa Bay in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Glennon had an opportunity to start and had his share of ups and downs. While he limited turnovers (only 9 INTs in 12 games), Glennon threw for only 200 yards per game and completed fewer than 60% of his passes. Lovie Smith didn’t like what he saw either and Josh McCown is now the starter with new weapons in Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Glennon struggled with accuracy in college (58.5%) and his quarterback rating (130.7) suggests a game managing role in his quarterbacking future. At best, this is a third quarterback on your team if he ever regains a starting role. Dynasty potential: Low

Case Keenum, HOU – Undrafted quarterbacks tend to fare poorly in the NFL, but Keenum had a chance to start in Houston and managed to exceed expectations, however low they may have been. Ryan Fitzpatrick is now the starter, essentially working with the same group of receivers Keenum utilized last year. His senior year showed a return to pre-injury form with a high completion rate (71.0%) and quarterback rating (174.0) which suggests a fantasy starter level quarterback. Unfortunately, his draft resume and current nomad status with Houston will limit his upside. Keep an eye on Keenum if Fitzpatrick struggles, which is likely, as he is capable of more than what he showed last year.Dynasty potential: Low to Medium

EJ Manuel, BUF – The only first round quarterback in 2013, Manuel had the highest fantasy points per game of any rookie in the draft class. While he loses long-time receiver Stevie Johnson, gaining both Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams upgraded the receiving corps. Given Manuel’s higher completion percentage (68%) his last year of college, expect his accuracy to improve. However, his middling college quarterback rating (156.1) suggests his scoring upside will likely be limited to that of a bye week starter. Dynasty potential: Medium

Ryan Nassib, NYG – He may be sitting third on the depth chart, but Nassib is the current long-term option for the Giants at the quarterback position. He was a fourth rounder in 2013 and Eli Manning hasn’t looked like a plus starter in the last few years. There are a good number of receiving options on this team including recent first rounder Odell Beckham. However, his low completion percentage (62.4%) and pedestrian quarterback rating (143.3) in college suggests a run at starter would most likely translate to a low-end fantasy backup. Dynasty potential: Low

Brock Osweiler, DEN – He certainly has the pedigree as a second round pick and is backing up a veteran quarterback in Peyton Manning and in an offense that could be very rewarding. However, his last year at Arizona State saw mediocre completion numbers (63.6%) and a subpar quarterback rating (140.5). Manning’s presence limits him in the near-term and his inconsistent college career suggests he will likely underwhelm as a starter. Dynasty potential: Low

Geno Smith, NYJ – A second round pick who many had at one time pegged to be a shoe-in for the first round, Smith endured a tough year filled with interceptions and offensive ineptitude. The addition of Eric Decker gives him a legitimate receiving threat while the Jace Amaro pick at tight end could pay longer-term dividends. Given his high completion percentage (71.2%) and above average quarterback rating (164.6) coming out of college, it’s not unreasonable to believe Geno can become a weekly fantasy starter. Now is the time to trade while the stock is low. Dynasty potential: High

All stats provided by Pro Football Reference and Yahoo Sports unless otherwise noted.

Next, we will continue the series looking at running backs. Also, stay tuned for free modeled projections for your upcoming fantasy football season.