We all know the greats at the quarterback position in our day and age of dynasty football. You have your stalwart tenants in Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers, your mobile quarterbacks with major upside on their feet in Russell Wilson and Cam Newton and your oldies-but-goodies in Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger. Sprinkle in a few up-and-comers – Teddy Bridgewater and Ryan Tannehill and you’ve got yourself the makings of a top ten list for 2QB dynasty.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
I think it’s safe to say just about everyone can pick the top 12 QB1’s with the most upside combined with solid youth. But what about the pesky QB2 slot? Some GM’s feel good throwing Josh McCown in there and calling it a day while others are intent on starting both a known talent like Tony Romo and a young gun like Derek Carr. I’m going to attempt to bring you a list of four perennial QB2’s who are poised for a bump to QB1 numbers in 2015 and beyond.
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Maybe not the first name who jumps out at you, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Eli finish 2015 with top ten numbers. We can all pinpoint the reason why – it’s the kid skyrocketing up the ADP charts, Odell Cornelius Beckham. From week seven onward (OBJ’s return) Eli put up exactly top ten quarterback numbers in most scoring formats. In those nine weeks, he dropped 18 touchdowns, completed a career best 63.5% of his passes and threw for over 2,600 yards – those stats were all with his second best receiver on the team being Rueben Randle. Now, Victor Cruz will return (in what form we don’t know just yet), they brought in the rather under-utilized Shane Vereen to reel in passes from Eli and Manning gets another year in the McAdoo system – this a major recipe for success. Just as a note, he plays six games against some of the worst secondaries in the league (all gave up top ten numbers in pass yards and WAS/PHI were top five giving up touchdowns in 2014). Adding to all that he is only 34 years of age, so he has a few more years and even with his terrible numbers in 2012 and 2013, he’s about as secure in a job as you can get in the NFL. I’m willing to bet you can snag him from a less savvy owner for a future second and they would think they walked away with a major win.
Here’s another name on rise, if only in my mind. Bortles is on the cusp of a fantastic fantasy season and here are a few reasons why. It’s actually pretty difficult to cherry pick his stats for this one. They were, in most all metrics, not good. Here is the rub though – he is now surrounded with talent. They brought in Julius Thomas to replace the terrible Marcedes Lewis and while it’s no secret Bortles is no Peyton Manning, JT can be a vital asset to his game. He’s both good in space and a solid blocker. While he might not reach more than ten touchdowns, even seven or eight is a major improvement.
The praise for Allen Robinson knows almost no bounds across the dynasty ethos. When Allen was on the field with Bortles under center, the first year quarterback threw for 1,900 yards and eight touchdowns. At 6’3’, Robinson is already turning heads at training camp and generating a ton of hype. He is poised for a major jump into the spot light with WR1 numbers and Bortles can take him there. Marquise Lee is going to be another sneaky weapon for Bortles. While some had him higher than Robinson during the draft process, Lee is a real PPR threat over the middle and in shorter yardage situations. Adding T.J. Yeldon, the rookie running back out of Alabama, can only stand to improve the entire offense, he is also a solid blocker.
Another year in the system also can’t hurt for Bortles, neither does a slightly improved line. The Jaguars added two tackles in free agency and a guard in the third round of the draft. Bortles was sacked the most of any quarterback last year, giving up 55 sacks, just a guess to say it’s hard to showcase your skills when you are on your back 10% of the time. Overall, many 2QB/Superflex GM’s have him as their QB3 (I know I do) if I have a player ahead of him who’s aging, or much higher in value. I feel comfortable taking the biggest return and rolling Bortles out there. Similar to Eli If I can get Bortles for a second rounder I would. If I could wrangle him for a third round pick, I would be ecstatic.
Stay with me here.
Over the past two years, Eagle quarterbacks have combined for the most fantasy points behind only names like Drew Brees and Andrew Luck. Last year, once he began starting in week nine, Mark Sanchez would end the year as the ….wait for it…12th best fantasy quarterback. Mark Sanchez! And now the Chip Kelly signal caller torch has been passed to the former Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford. In his limited starts for St. Louis in 2013, he was on pace for 25+ touchdowns and over 3,000 yards before an ACL injury. Now he is moving to an offense which lead the league in plays ran and was fourth in total yards last year, giving him every opportunity to succeed there. This is a player who is going in the middle of the seventh round. Snagging a potential QB1 producer here may be insanity. Obviously, the biggest concern (and reason for his ADP location) is the fact he is a major injury concern, which brings me to Sanchez. He is a must own if you own Bradford. However, if there is an injury to Bradford, Sanchez would be fine as a starter in his own right, he just lacks the real upside Bradford can bring. Sanchez did run the offense very well last year. It’s also worth noting, the Eagles were a team with the fifth fewest injuries per Football Outsiders ALG stat (basically the percentage of games altered by injury, or a statistic on the number of meaningful injuries). They had the lowest ALG in 2013 as well. Coach Kelly must be on to something. I think the price on Bradford comes down to how his owner feels about him – he could be a great buy low right now. Don’t sleep on either of these two.
Selected 36th overall by the Oakland Raiders last season, Carr is ready to spring forth as a true franchise quarterback for a franchise on the rise. He easily crushed the other quarterback competition on the team (Matt McGloin and Matt Schaub) and earned the starting job. They really let Carr sling it last year and he attempted almost 600 passes (seventh overall). This year the Raiders have done a lot of work to surround him with weapons. They brought in the still very talented Michael Crabtree and did something which shocked no one – they drafted Amari Cooper. Cooper can walk on the field day one and produce for Carr and Oakland. Add to that one of the better passing backs in the game in Roy Helu. Latavius Murray is no slouch catching the ball, either.
The Raiders still have the most cap room in 2016 and can bring in more vets to improve those around Carr. The 2014 tape shows he has a lot of the tools to become a true QB1 in the league. He looked comfortable in the pocket, can be very accurate in the mid to intermediate passing game and shows he can be a true leader for the team. He might not ever ascend to Peyton Manning or Tom Brady status, but he has upside. He is a player I’m targeting in many places as my youth QB2, but I think given another year, he will be pushing QB1 numbers really hard. In short, I really like what the Raiders are doing.
With their decimated defense, the 49ers team should be playing from behind often in 2015. Carlos Hyde is an excellent passing back and Reggie Bush can also catch his fair share of balls. Keap is said to be “let loose” this year and it’s a situation I will be keeping a close eye on in preseason. Garbage time is still game time.
Bear with me on this one as well. He looked really good in his few starts (two starts for 400 yards and two touchdowns) I think he easily gets the job this year and runs away with it. He may be more of a QB3 with QB2 upside, but I’m still buying. Maybe it’s just because he throws the rock to DeAndre Hopkins.