With the abundance of young blood introduced into the NFL’s quarterback position the past couple of seasons, it’s easy to wonder who’s going to continue to rise and who will fall. The rising stars of the NFL’s future includes; Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr, Brock Osweiler, and unproven rookies Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, so a lot of potential for sure. Here we will provide two picks you can feel comfortable taking and two picks to stay away from when it comes time to drafting your fantasy football quarterbacks. So here we go…
-Is my top pick for safest young quarterback moving forward for many different reasons. The first, in which no one talks about is the fact that Oakland spent a small fortune on beefing up their offensive line during the off-season. Throw in a dynamite wide receiving corps of young stud Amari Cooper and resurgent veteran Michael Crabtree, he has some very appealing options that are more then capable of handling heavy workloads during a grueling NFL season. Not to mention, a running back who’s got explosive potential out of the backfield in Latavius Murray, who forces defenses to respect the Raiders run game enough to open up the passing game more down field and give this offense the near perfect mix of what you look for in a high powered fantasy point whoring offense.
Derek, who practically lived at the Texans facility when older brother David Carr was supposed to be the Texans “franchise quarterback”, was introduced to a NFL locker room much younger than your traditional NFL players in the league. David’s greatest career accomplishment certainly wont be as the first overall draft selection, but more as a coach for his kid brother Derek who, appears to have soaked up all the advice as he could and it’s going to pay off in a big way.
-Before his rookie campaign kicked off, Winston was doing an interview called “Rookie Confessional” for NFL.com and was asked, “Who are you most looking forward to playing in 2015?”, the rookie, who had not even taken an NFL snap yet made everyone watching instantly go wide eyed with disbelief upon revealing his answer saying, “The player I’m most looking forward to play against has to be, probably J.J. Watt,” Winston said. “We play them Week 3 in Houston I believe. It’s going to be a fun matchup right there!”.
Considering his opponent, he avoided being sacked and even ended Watt’s 7 game streak of at least one sack or more which dated back to the 2014 season. Although the bucs lost that game to the Texans, Winston made his mark with his quick decision making (regardless of right or wrong), fast release, and ability to avoid taking sacks in the pocket, which made him look like an elite NFL quarterback in training.
Out of the quarterbacks that played all 16 games in 2015, Winston took 27 sacks which tied him for 4th fewest in the league for sacks taken, which is pretty incredible considering his rookie status and his average o-line play in pass protection. He also had a sack percentage (percentage of time sacked when attempting a pass) of 4.8 which was good enough for the 6th ranked QB in the NFL but the interesting twist here is that the quarterbacks who ranked higher than Winston in both statistics mentioned above, had an Offensive line rated very comfortably in the top 10 for pass protection in 2015. The Bucs ranking? An average Joe 14th overall.
– Bortles had an awesome fantasy line last year, which was largely inflated by the fact that the Jaguars were terrible on defense and had little to no success in the run game. With TJ Yeldon proving, he is nothing more than a platoon running back which led the Jags to sign a very solid veteran who is also really good when used in moderation in Chris Ivory. The run game is looking more and more like it will eat into the game plan this year and that will come at Bortles fantasy expense.
Out of the quarterbacks who started all 16 games last season, Bortles was the second worst in completion percentage bettering only Jameis Winston at 58.6%. Bortles, who was drafted almost 4 years ago, threw almost 100 more attempts, plays in a high octane offense under Gus Bradley that relied on high Volume passing to stay in games last season and the biggest xfactor of them all? Bortles threw all of 59 passes the entire 2016 season when the Jaguars had the lead. Yikes!
Along with a revamped defense its widely speculated that the Jags won’t be getting blown out as much this year so based on the current game trends he is my number one choice for biggest regression this year amongst the young QB’s.
– Mariota has the tools you look for in an NFL qb, he has the poise, he has the tough ability to get over a bad play he made very quickly and has overall elite athleticism for the QB position. However, the history of the quarterback who runs also shows there are very few who actually can do it for long periods of time. The main reason why he is here on this list is the simple fact that Tennessee’s o-line has been absolutely terrible, ranking 32nd in overall line play for 2015. They did add a few average pieces to their offensive line to try to improve that dead last ranking, but adding guys like Ben Jones doesn’t exactly strike fear into opposing defenses.
The Titans also added DeMarco Murray and drafted Alabama stud running back Derrick Henry in the NFL draft a couple months ago it appears that Tennessee is going to run the ball more in 2016 in order to protect their franchise qb from injury.
He got banged up in his rookie season and missed 3 games due to injury, largely because his o-line failed to protect him. Mariota took 38 sacks in 12 games and had a 9.0 sack percent rating (times sacked per pass attempt), a rating bad enough for dead last amongst NFL quarterbacks. Robert Griffin III had a 7.1 rating his rookie season with 31 sacks and had an even lower sack rating in 2014 at 13.7, where injuries and mindset have led the once elite prospect to where he is today, just an afterthought and perhaps his last opportunity in the qb grave yard that is the Cleveland Browns.While I do believe in the man (Mariota), it is the situation he is in that will hinder his growth in 2016.
Author: Shaun “the don”