Five Quarterbacks I’m Buying Right Now

Bruce Matson

Quarterback is the position that just about everybody tries to fade in drafts or at least try to catch at a value. There are multiple ways to handle the position in dynasty. Superflex is totally different and it includes multiple different strategies and tactics to maximize value at the position.

I’m going to give you five quarterbacks that I’m looking to buy either in startup drafts or through the trade market. Value is very important. I don’t want to overpay for anything. I also stress setting expectations for players when buying them. I’m not guying to trade for Tom Brady and expect him to be on my roster ten years from now. There are different reasons why someone would want to buy a player. Sometimes we find a player who is undervalued who can hold down the fort in your lineup for a year or two. There are also players who we know will increase in trade value and buying them now is just an investment for the future.

Looking for quarterbacks that you can get at a discount compared to what they have to offer could transition into a roster move that helps you build your team to cover bye weeks or allows you to start the best option.

That said, let’s take a look at the five quarterbacks I’m currently buying:

Sam Darnold, QB NYJ

Darnold is a very intriguing quarterback prospect. He ranked sixth amongst quarterbacks with 19.1 fantasy points per game during weeks 14-16, the last three weeks of the fantasy season. During those three weeks he ranked second in the league with an 80.7 adjusted completion rate.

Small sample sizes matter when we are spotting trends in a player’s development. Once we get a large sample size of successful play, the rest of the field will have already taken notice and the player’s cost will increase. It’s important to look for positive trends and gamble when the cost is low. This will mitigate the risk on your investment and will potentially allow you to draw a larger return.

Don’t forget, Darnold was the youngest quarterback ever to start an NFL game. The Jets had one of the toughest schedules in the league last year — not an ideal situation for a rookie quarterback. Young quarterback prospects typically make the largest leap in their development during the first couple of years in their career. For Darnold’s sake, we’ve already seen him increase the quality of his play throughout the season last year, and with another training camp under his belt we should see him take a leap in his development.

All things are looking good for the 22-year-old quarterback. In three preseason games, he has completed 17 of his 25 pass attempts for 211 yards and two touchdowns, equating to a 68 percent completion rate. Considering he’s learning a new offensive system under the watchful eye (pun intended) of Adam Gase and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains, Darnold seems to be transitioning well to the team’s new offensive scheme.

Everything comes down to price. Darnold’s ADP has seen a slight dip since April to his current 165.5 DLF ADP. The uncertainties of the new coaching regime, the addition of rookies into the player pool and the rise of some under-the-radar prospects diluted his value in the off-season, creating a buying opportunity in dynasty. This could be our last chance to buy him at this price point. He will quickly rise the ranks and be a top-ten quarterback in dynasty if he exceeds expectations this season. word image 127

Darnold has the draft pedigree and the ability to be a top-five quarterback in the league. Even if he doesn’t develop to his potential, he should gradually increase in value as his career progresses. I have him aggressively ranked 13th in my dynasty quarterback rankings. I’m valuing his age, first-round draft capital and the flashes of brilliance he’s already displayed into that ranking. I want to strike before the iron is hot, and get ahead of the curve by drafting Darnold while his cost is still at a QB18-20 price tag.

Daniel Jones, QB NYG

The Giants made one of the most controversial first-round draft picks in quite some time when they selected Jones at sixth overall. This was a highly criticized pick, perhaps justifiably considering the amount of perceived talent the Giants overlooked before they made their selection. This created a negative reputation for Jones, causing fantasy owners to devalue him in dynasty drafts.

I myself wasn’t one of the few people banging the drum for Jones. Matter of fact, unless it was a superflex league, I faded almost all of the rookie quarterbacks to take advantage of this year’s deep wide receiver class. However, I’m a big fan of hedging my bets. I assume I’m going to be wrong on some of my player evaluations and I will counterbalance my shares by taking on players I’ve previously doubted to some degree.

According to DLF’s Dynasty ADP, Jones is the 27th quarterback off the board and he’s being selected around the 18th-19th round in start-up drafts with a 221.5 average draft position. He’s basically free at this point in many leagues, and he deserves a shot to be a flier at the bottom of your roster, particularly considering there’s very little risk associated with his cost.

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The Giants are currently considered one of the worst-managed franchises in the NFL. They have made many questionable moves in the last couple of years. Saquon Barkley is still one of the top talents in the league. He is a massive contributor in the passing game, owning a 21 percent share of targets and ranking third in the league with 752 yards after the catch. With Odell Beckham gone, the team will need to rely even more on Barkley. He also accounted for 42 percent of the team’s touchdowns.

Having an elite level check down option in the flat will always boost a quarterback’s fantasy upside. Rookie quarterbacks also are more likely to depend on their tight ends during the early stages of their career. Evan Engram is an up-and-coming prospect who broke out during his rookie season in 2017. According to Pro Football Focus, he finished last season fifth among all tight ends who received 30 targets or more with a 115.6 quarterback rating when targeted.

Luckily for the Giants the 2020 draft class is stuffed to the gills with wide receiver talent. We are talking about the likes of Jerry Jeudy, Laviska Shenault, Jalen Reagor, CeeDee Lamb, Tyler Johnson and many more. They could easily pin their ears back and snag multiple talented wide receivers, helping Jones immensely in the process.

In three preseason games, he completed an immaculate 83.3 percent of his passes for 369 yards and two touchdowns. Yes, it was against inferior competition, but he demonstrated the intangibles needed to be a starting quarterback at the NFL level. Expectations were at basement level going into the preseason, but Jones displayed enough talent in those contests to make him a potential breakout candidate in 2019.

He will soon be the team’s starting quarterback and even though it may not be glamorous, he will still produce fantasy points on Sundays. He’s currently dirt cheap in startup drafts and on the trade market. He’s a safe prospect to have at the end of your bench, since he will more than likely increase in value within the next year.

Philip Rivers, QB LAC

Rivers finished as a QB1 in four of the last five seasons. In those five seasons, he passed for an average of 4,457 yards and 31 touchdowns per season. The 37-year-old quarterback looks to add to his remarkable career by going unnoticed with another low-end QB1 season.

It looks like Melvin Gordon’s holdout is going to go deep into the season. The team is expected to rely on Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson in the run game during his absence. It’s not being advertised but the team will also rely more on Rivers’ arm. The team had a 51 percent run rate on first down and a 42 percent overall run rate last year. With Gordon out of the lineup those numbers will definitely trend more toward the pass.

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Somebody needs to call Stephen A. Smith because Hunter Henry is back. The Chargers started the 2018 season trying to pepper tight ends, Virgil Green and Antonio Gates like they did with Henry the previous season. That strategy didn’t work and as you can see from the graph listed below the team began to target other pass catchers on the field as soon as week five. In 2017, Henry saw eight games where he received five targets or more. In other words, Rivers got his security blanket back.

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Mike Williams is another pass catcher in the offense that can help fuel Rivers’ fantasy production. He led all receivers on the team with a 134.4 quarterback rating when targeted. With Henry back in action and Williams posting up on defensive backs at the catch point, Rivers is expected to have one of the best receiving corps of his career, throwing spirals as tight as a bolo tie on Easter Sunday. Don’t forget about Keenan Allen who caught 97 passes for 1,196 yards last year. He’s still one of the best receivers in the league.

It’s all about expectations when it comes to drafting him in startup drafts. We know he doesn’t have much time in the league and he could retire after any season. However, he’s still productive and can be a key contributor to a playoff run. His consistent production is enough to get a team over the hump if they are solid at running back and wide receiver.

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His 203.33 DLF ADP marks him as QB25 in startup drafts, making him an amazing value. If you don’t expect to have him on your team for more then three years, then he’s a safe investment. Rivers isn’t your guy if you need a quarterback prospect for the long-term. Unless something out of the ordinary happens, he is set for another productive season.

Nick Foles, QB JAC

Foles signed a four-year $88 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars back in March. He will be with the team for the next few years. With the Eagles in 2018, he passed for 1,413 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 72.3 percent of his passes. As we all know the year prior, he helped lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.

The Jaguars signed offensive coordinator John DeFilippo this off-season. He was the offensive coordinator for the Vikings for the majority of last season. What makes him an interesting piece to the puzzle is that he dialed up a 66 percent pass rate through weeks 1-14 with the Vikings. If he continues to lean on the pass in Jacksonville, then Foles could be a candidate to surpass 600 pass attempts. If this happens and Foles is halfway efficient he has a chance at being a top-ten quarterback in fantasy.

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According to DLF’s ADP, Foles has gone undrafted in all six mock drafts which means his value is so low that he doesn’t have an ADP for the month of August. In July, he was selected on average at 227.33. He’s a cheap serviceable quarterback that can provide value to your team for the next couple of years. He’s a great backup to use for bye weeks, or a great option to have if you want to play the matchups from a committee of quarterbacks. The fact that he’s borderline free and he might have an unexpectedly large workload could make him a diamond in the rough this season. If not, there’s no loss, he will still provide QB2 value throughout the majority of the season.

Andrew Luck, QB IND

Luck just recently announced his retirement. His dynasty stock has dropped to an all-time low. He will more than likely not suit up for 2019. The door is open for him to comeback somewhere in the near future. It’s not guaranteed but a return to the game is definitely in the realm of possibilities.

Like when Calvin Johnson retired a few years ago, dynasty owners are going to want to hold Luck on their rosters for as long as they can before they decide they need cut ties from him to create roster space for another player. Dynasty owners will have a QB1 in their back pocket if Luck decides to come back.

If there’s enough roster space and you know for sure you can hold him on your team for a year and a half without the loss of a roster spot damaging your ability to build your team for the future then he should be a player on your radar. His price tag will depend on his current owner. You might be able to get him for a second-round rookie pick or a young prospect like DeSean Hamilton. If anything, kick the tires to see what happens. This might be a deal that might happen during the middle of the season when you can unload an aging veteran to take a shot at Luck. I guarantee his value is all over the place and he’s worth taking a shot on to see if you can reel him in on the cheap. Don’t overpay for him. Do what feels right for your team just in case he doesn’t come out of retirement.

bruce matson