Fantasy Football

2018 Fantasy Football Quarterback Spotlight


With week two in the books, I thought I would take time to assess what’s going on under center among three tiers of quarterback play in the NFL. These tiers will be The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

There is no position more important in football, and I plan on examining three quarterback situations that have found their way to SportsCenter for one reason or another.

2018 Fantasy Football Quarterback Spotlight

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The Good

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

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This section should really be called “The Incredible”. There is no mystery that Mahomes has been on fire since starting the season. His 10 touchdowns are the most in NFL history to begin a career and he doesn’t show signs of stopping. My goal here is to use numbers to point you at the reason for success at the position and to use these concepts as a springboard for good fantasy football decision making going forward.

Patrick Mahomes has only been sacked twice so far. This means that his line is working, he is elusive, and he has the time to make things happen.

The Kansas City Chiefs are the fastest team in the NFL; but can you run further in two seconds or five seconds? The time they have to allow for the play to develop is crucial, and they maximize their opportunities with players who can make plays and get the ball downfield.

The Kansas City Chiefs are second in the league with 7.44 yards per play. They have only run 109 plays from scrimmage, tied for third from the bottom of the NFL. With 80 total points, they lead the NFL in scoring, and they have the fewest turnovers in the NFL all because they make the time with the football count.

Going forward Mahomes is projected with the ninth-toughest strength of schedule by FantasyPros. If the team can continue to maximize their routes and continue to protect the quarterback, the sky is the limit for this dual-threat monster.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Here is another surprise at the Quarterback position to begin the 2018 NFL season. The seemingly weak Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-0 to begin the season, most recently defeating the defending Superbowl champions.

Similar to the situation in Kansas City, Tampa Bay has the second highest point total in the NFL with 75. Fitzpatrick leads the NFL with a 151.5 passer rating including 810 passing yards and a 78.7% completion rate (only Drew Brees and Derek Carr have higher).

Tampa Bay is averaging a league-leading 13.4 yards per pass attempt with only one interception and two sacks on the season so far. They are also the fourth-least penalized team and do a good job of creating mismatches all over the field. Combine that with a league-leading 482.5 yards per game, and this offense is a force to be reckoned with.

Going forward Tampa Bay is projected to have the 13th-easiest strength of schedule per FantasyPros, but Jameis Winston is due back from his suspension. I think this friendly promotion of competition is exactly what Fitzpatrick and the Buccaneer play-makers need to keep momentum, especially at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. Sit back and enjoy.

The Bad

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

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Yikes. Even with the curse of a new head coach in the Motor City, the Lions have left a lot to be desired. They are 0-2 after losses to the Jets and 49ers to open the season. They have two linemen injured and face the New England Patriots at home in week three.

What I see from Matt Stafford is not so much an issue with passing, as he is sixth in the league with 629 pass yards. The issue is the Lions are third to last in the league in rushing yards with only 137.

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I think this aspect of being one dimensional in the offense causes a lot of problems with predictability. Detroit is 30th in the league in rush yards per game at just 68.5, which sets up a defense to take away your strength and keep the point total down. For this reason, Matt Stafford ranks 28th in the league with a passer rating of 70.6 despite him being sacked only twice to open the season.

Going forward the Lions need to establish the run early and often. By no means is Matt Stafford a BAD quarterback, but this one-dimensional situation is never a recipe for QB1 fantasy production.

Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears

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Monday night was definitely a better night for Trubisky as he picked up his first game with multiple touchdowns to add to his first win of the 2018 season. The Bears do a good job of rushing, they do a good job of changing up plays, and they try to get everyone involved to keep the defense off balanced. These are good things. The issue here is efficiency as much as it is good decision making.

The Bears are third worst in yards per pass attempt at 5.4 and 29th in the league with just 340 total passing yards. If we compare the Bears to the Chiefs or Tampa Bay we begin to see the dangers of not expanding the play downfield to make things happen. Trubisky has been sacked six times and has thrown two interceptions to start the season and holds a passer rating of 80.

While the team has a plus-1 turnover ratio to start the season, expanding the field will provide them a tremendous boost as they utilize their offensive weapons the way they do. Allen Robinson was targeted 14 times against Seattle as Trubisky threw the ball 34 times for 200 yards. Seven different receivers had catches is encouraging and shows that Trubisky simply needs to build on his confidence in airing the ball out more.

Going forward the Bears have the 10th toughest strength of schedule per FantasyPros. The Bears did a fantastic job on defense containing Russell Wilson as the addition of Mack and other solid pass rushers, the Bears will undoubtedly provide the offense with more opportunities to score. I am encouraged, but I need to see more going forward to add him to my fantasy rosters.

The Ugly

Sam Bradford, Arizona Cardinals/The Buffalo Bills

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I am going to group these two teams together because they have a lot in common. They both stink. They are also both bottom two in NFL in the following categories:

  • Passer Rating
  • Passing Yards per game
  • Points per game
  • Total points

The list goes on, but you get the idea. Arizona has new head coach Steve Wilks in to replace Bruce Arians and the Buffalo Bills have Sean McDermott in his second season with the team after making the playoffs last season is a very top-heavy AFC.

Both teams have new quarterbacks starting this season and things have not gone well. The one stark difference I see between these two teams is that Buffalo has allowed 11 sacks so far, that’s second most in the league, to Arizona’s three. That statistic surprised me a lot actually, but it doesn’t change the fact that both offenses are bad.

Darren Urban reports that Steve Wilks wants to try David Johnson in the slot to get him more touches. In addition, Buffalo News reports that Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier are going to “collaborate” on the team’s defensive calls going forward. I like to see that changes are being made, but it will take a while for it to translate to offensive and team success.

Personally, I own “zero” Bills players and am kicking myself for drafting David Johnson at the top of the draft. Both these teams haven’t figured out how to move the ball effectively and consistently, and the new personnel always add to the learning curve.

Both teams need to improve offensive efficiency totals going forward, to be trusted for fantasy football. I no longer have DJ as a top-tier fantasy back, albeit his amazing ability to make plays on a daily basis.



Overall, remember to try and look at why these stud or dud quarterbacks are playing the way they are to make a decision going forward. I hope this helps shed some light on the current situation, and while we are fresh into the 2018 season it is never too early to look at the numbers.

Check out the rest of our 2018 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.”

About Christopher T. Luft

Christopher Luft is from Connecticut and graduated from Providence College with a BS degree in Biology. He went to Optometry school at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and completed an ocular disease residency at the Wilmington, Delaware VA. Chris loves to cook, spend time with his wife, practice and study jiu-jitsu, and of course, fantasy sports.

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