Fantasy Football

2016 Fantasy Football Quarterback Busts: Not How You Drew It Up


2016 Fantasy Football Quarterback Busts

Credit: Brook Ward

As stated in the sleepers column, it’s tough to point out quarterbacks as ‘busts’ in the fantasy world. The position is very stable from year to year. Not much to complain about from the standpoint of fantasy point production from quarterbacks ranked  No. 1 through No. 20.

However, just as I processed the sleepers column, the term ‘bust’ in this column will be relative to FantasyPros rankings. Which quarterbacks are ranked too highly? Why are they overvalued? These questions need to be addressed when dissecting the rankings of the top experts in the fantasy world.

Without further adieu, here are some names I am wary of in fantasy drafts for the upcoming season.

2016 Fantasy Football Quarterback Busts

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Oh no! Golden boy Drew Brees (No. 5 QB) tops my list of fantasy busts this year. You’ve already considered exiting out of this article and watching YouTube videos of cats nonchalantly knocking over priceless vases.

Just wait a minute now, don’t resort to jokes of a catty nature! (Oh my, I’m sorry for that pun.)

Let me introduce Drew Brees and the Superdome – the football equivalent of the Coors Field effect seen by Rockies offensive players. Here’s what the splits look like for Brees over the last three seasons:

2013 - 2015YDS/GTD/GINT/GQBR (AVG)

“So what if he sucks on the road – his home stats more than make up for it!” I hear you, but I have a couple of issues with that thinking. If half of your fantasy regular season lying in the hands of the road-version of Brees, then the rest of your fantasy squad needs to pick up the slack. How can you have such a squad if you are using a sixth round pick on Brees instead of selecting a steady WR or upside RB?

I mean, I would suggest Brees as a perfect candidate for streaming, but that also goes back to the last point. Why draft a QB in the top tier that you would only start half the time when you can draft two or three QBs in the No. 10 to No. 20 ranking range with 10th round picks and later? I can’t draft Brees ahead of Roethlisberger, Palmer, and Manning for these reasons.

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

Credit: Keith Allison

Credit: Keith Allison

Okay, I have to be ‘that guy’ and downplay the hype for Blake Bortles (No. 8 QB) this season.

When Bortles is mentioned amongst the fantasy industry, there is one quote commonly recycled. “He is a better fantasy quarterback than real-life quarterback.”

It makes sense at first given the way most of the Jacksonville games turned out last year. But then, I repeated that thought in my head. Is that supposed to comfort me? I found it counterintuitive – if you are relying on empty statistics from a previous season with no confidence that he grew intellectually, how can you think that season can be repeated?

Yes, he has a great staff around him – perhaps the best cast of skills players in the game. However, his inconsistency prevents the offense from reaching its full potential. Last year, he was in the top 6 in both TD% and INT%. He ranked 29th in 2015 total QBR at 46. Remember how ineffective Peyton Manning was last season? Bortles barely edged out Manning in total QBR at 44.

So how did Bortles perform so well last season? I now know what the key ingredient is in being a better QB in fantasy than in reality – volume. Bortles was 100% volume-dependent last year, which is not a trait I like to see in a QB when I’m drafting. I made the cases for my three sleepers in the other article and noted that they all were in favorable positions of having volume. However, I want to point out that all three of them (Manning, Cousins, Stafford) had a total QBR greater than 60. Even without volume, the cases for those three as efficient quarterbacks are not hard to make.

The same case cannot be made for Bortles without seeing signs of improvement in his third season. I’m not willing to gamble a 7th round pick on a quarterback who could repeat what he did last year if everything goes right when I know I can get a quarterback with a higher floor and similar ceiling a few rounds later.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

2016 fantasy football quarterback busts

Credit: Erik Drost

Hey, another 2015 breakout fantasy stud at the quarterback position! Wondering why the guy you won fantasy championships with last year should be avoided?

Derek Carr (No. 13 QB) showed promise in the Oakland offense last season. With rookie wideout Amari Cooper and steady veteran Michael Crabtree on the receiving end, Carr found himself in plenty of favorable situations. He never depended on volume as Bortles, but he had similar issues in the total QBR department.

His 49 total QBR ranked 25th amongst qualifying QBs last season. The vital part of his success last season was the 5.7% of his pass attempts going for touchdowns. That’s a fairly reasonable percentage for most QBs, but usually a higher percentage correlates with the amount of balance an offense has. To put it nicely, no one confuses the Raiders offense as ‘balanced’. Sure, Lat Murray finished last season as a top 10 RB, but it was purely because he was one of very few who remained healthy for a full season last year.

I’m expecting the TD% to drop considerably this season to a season long total of 27 (plus/minus 1 – gotta give myself some leeway here). That’s not bad, but I have mentioned guys like Cousins and Stafford that I would be more comfortable taking ahead of him. Don’t fall victim to the fluky TD totals.

About Tyler Thompson

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