2017 Fantasy Football Quarterback Preview: Worth the Wait

by Joe Bond
2017 Fantasy Football Quarterback Preview

Quarterbacks. They are the faces of most NFL franchises but are rarely the case in Fantasy Football. This is true, despite putting up more points than other positions, on average, through a full season.

The reason this is the case is the depth at the position. Every week it seems a different and unexpected quarterback blows up for 30 points. There is even a very popular strategy to try and stream quarterbacks every week.

Now to stream effectively, you probably need to own at least two decent quarterbacks, plus pick one up every now and then. However, if you choose the right matchups, you can do it. Yes, it involves a little luck, but the fact that you can do it says a lot about the importance of needing to pick a great one on draft day.

2017 Fantasy Football Quarterback Preview

Can Cam Newton Bounce back?

2015 was an epic year for Cam Newton. He tore through the league throwing for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns, while also rushing for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns. If you’re doing the math at home that is 45 total touchdowns.

2016, however, did not go so great for the returning MVP. Yardage totals declined, but it was touchdowns that were drastically down. Just 19 passing and five rushing. A big reason for this was his inaccuracy and the ineffectiveness of the entire Panthers offense.

This year the Panthers get a huge upgrade in the offense with the addition of Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. I believe this will get his numbers back up and he can be a top-10 quarterback. What will hold him back from repeating that 2015 season is his touchdown totals. I don’t think anybody can expect those kinds of numbers again. Still, he should be a very useful quarterback this season.

Is Jameis Winston a top-5 Quarterback?

Winston is a favorite breakout candidate this season for a lot of people. I don’t see it.

My biggest issue with Winston is the inconsistency. When you look at his 2016 season he only had four games over 20 points. He also had five games less than 15 points.

Can he take a step forward this season? Sure. The Bucs did add DeSean Jackson to the receiving corps, so that is a big help. I’m just not sure it is enough. Jackson is good, but inconsistent himself so there will be plenty of games he does not show up. Which will leave Winston right back where he was last year with just Mike Evans to throw to.

The addition of Jackson may reduce the number of games that Winston seems to go missing, but it won’t get rid of enough of them.

Can Matt Ryan repeat his MVP 2016 season?

The answer is no. However, that does not mean Ryan will have a bad season.

Looking over the past five seasons, Ryan has had good yardage totals, passing for over 4,500 yards. The issues for him have been his touchdowns and interceptions. Over those same five seasons, Ryan has averaged 29 touchdowns and 13.6 interceptions a year. Hardly elite numbers.

Of course, we all know by now that Ryan had himself quite the career season last year, on his way to league MVP. It is unlikely that he repeats that great season, it would be hard for anyone. What you have to have to remember is that despite losing his offensive coordinator, he is not losing any of his weapons from the past season. It is for this reason that Matt Ryan can still be a top-5 quarterback in 2016.

Are any of the Rookies worth drafting?

Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, and Patrick Mahomes. Those are your first-round quarterbacks this year. DeShone Kizer was the only one drafted in the second round.

These are hardly jaw-dropping players that were taken and their situations aren’t that great either.

Trubisky is headed to a Bears team devoid of talent. Mahomes is headed to Kansas City that has an established quarterback in Alex Smith. Yes, we all realize Smith isn’t great, but he should not lose the job to a rookie. Kizer is a project and headed to a Browns team that can never seem to get it right. I will not touch any of them in a re-draft league.

This leaves us with Deshaun Watson. He, in my opinion, is the best quarterback in the draft and went to the best situation. He will have DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Braxton Miller to throw to. This is to go along with Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman to support him in the running game. He is said to be behind returning quarterback Tom Savage, but come on, how long do we really expect that to last?

I still won’t draft him in standard-sized leagues, but I will keep an eye on him as I think the talent and potential is there.

Draft Strategies

The strategy I typically employ is to wait on a quarterback. This usually leaves me drafting a quarterback in rounds eight through 10, taking whatever is left from the top-10 or 12, depending on your size league.

Now occasionally, I will take a QB earlier, but this is only if one of the elite drops to the point where their value is too good to pass up. An example this year would be if Aaron Rodgers drops to the fifth round. It is unlikely, but I’ve seen crazier things happen.

The reason I wait is because I would much rather load up on running backs and wide receivers. The fact is those positions have a much greater bust rate than quarterbacks. Also, the difference between quarterbacks on a per game average is negligible. Looking back at 2016, the No. 12 QB versus No. 1 QB there is a difference of 6.3 points. This difference is even less when you look at the No. 6 QB and No. 20 QB, which is just 3.8 points per game.

If you compare this to running backs, you get a much different result. The difference between the No. 1 RB and No. 12 is eight points. So, in my opinion, I would much rather take my chance trying to land the top players at running back, than reaching on a quarterback that won’t be much different than one I take three rounds later.

You can try out all different types of drafting strategies by using the Fantasy Pros Mock Draft tool. There you can draft in just minutes against computers, modeled after the rankings of the best in the industry.


Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Wilson, in most leagues, is still being drafted as a top-6 quarterback and by the sixth round. I think there is one reason for this. We are remembering him from 2014 and 2015 when he was one of the best quarterbacks in both Fantasy and the NFL.

Last year was bad for Wilson. Yes, mired by injuries, but I think there is more to it than just that. The offensive line has worsened over the years. This plays a big part in keeping a quarterback upright. If he can’t stand, he can’t throw.

I also think the lack of a real running game last year hurt him. The Seahawks and Wilson thrived off the play-action pass. Without it, they became exposed last season. Think about it, Wilson threw almost 80 more times last season, but had 15 fewer touchdowns that he did in 2015.

This amount of passing touchdowns was more like it was in 2014. However, that season he had over 800 yards rushing and six touchdowns to help. As we’ve seen from multiple running quarterbacks, those types of stats are hard to rely on year after year.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

This one is pretty simple for me. I simply cannot draft a quarterback who we know with almost absolute certainty will miss games during the season. In this 13 year career, Big Ben has played 16 games just three times.

The games that you know he will be out for are fine, you can plan for those. It’s those games that he gets hurt in that crush you. Those happen way too often for me to want to trust him as a top-10 quarterback in the draft.

Now some of you may be playing in best ball formats where you draft two quarterbacks. In those leagues, I am all over Big Ben. He can put up some monster weeks with the talent he has around him on the field. Pair him up with a safer quarterback and you should be good to go.


Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

Mariota is a favorite of mine this year. He was spectacular in his sophomore season, most of the time. He stumbled down the stretch some, which kept him out of the top-12 at season’s end.

Last year he did this with Richard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, and Delanie Walker. This year he gets a big boost to his receiving corps by the additions of Eric Decker and rookie Corey Davis. This will help Mariota take that next step to become a reliable quarterback every week in the NFL.

According to ADP numbers, he is going the 13th quarterback taken. I’ll say this in all of the mock drafts I have done he has not fallen past QB 10, probably because I take him. I think this is a steal even at 10.

Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

I don’t get why there is so much hate on Tyrod. Does anybody realize he finished as the No. 8 quarterback in 2016? This was without Sammy Watkins most of the season too. He was also 14th in 2015, his first season as a starter. Knowing that, you would probably be surprised to know his ADP is sitting at 20.

Look I get it, he is a scrambling quarterback, so there is risk involved here. I’m not saying draft him as your starting quarterback and expect to rely on him the whole season.

The reason I would draft him is if I took one of the last quarterbacks in my draft who I was not as confident in. Tyrod is a good quarterback in this scenario because he has a high ceiling each week. You can plug in if your drafted starter does not work out and feel good that you can get those top quarterback numbers you need.

Update Post Sammy Watkins and Jordan Matthews Trades

Tyrod's value, in my opinion, does take a hit a little with this move. Now the Bills have nobody to stretch the field. Instead, they essentially have three slot receivers with Matthews, Anquan, Boldin and Zay Jones. We have seen him succeed without Watkins before, so he is still a slight steal at his more current ADP of 16, but not nearly as much.

2017 Fantasy Football Position Previews
QuarterbacksRunning BacksWide ReceiversTight Ends

For more F6P preseason coverage please visit our 2017 Draft Kit section.

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