By Alex Kurpeski
Each offseason, there are numerous fantasy assets who see their stocks take near fatal hits, landing them in fantasy football purgatory. It may be due to the acquisition of a shiny new rookie at their position or maybe a nagging series of injuries that held them back from their ceiling last season. It may just be that the general public has simply given up on them. Yet these players are ones that can be A. bought for pennies on the dollar and B. used to help you patch together some valuable bench depth and maybe even fill out a flex spot or two. And you should be racing to grab them for your team while they’re still in the clearance bin.
The QB position may have some Diamonds in the Rough
QB Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders:
Carr has been seeing some straight up disrespect from the fantasy community, with many leagues drafting him as a bottom-five QB at an ADP of around 215 overall, mostly due to the fact that the Raiders brought in Marcus Mariota (who lost his job to Ryan F’ing Tannehill last year) to ‘compete’ with him for the starting role. Carr, who has finished as the QB17, QB18, QB19, and QB10 in the last four years, should theoretically improve upon his already impressive numbers from 2019 (4,054 passing yards and 21 TD passes) this year with the additions of pass-catchers like first-round pick Henry Ruggs, fellow rookie wideout Bryan Edwards, running back/wide receiver/quarterback hybrid Lynn Bowden Jr., and veteran tight end Jason Witten. Considering Carr put up the numbers that he did with only one 300+ yard passing game under his belt, his 2019 season is a testament to his game-to-game consistency, even if those games consist of a high-volume of checkdown throws. In the worst case scenario (without an injury), Carr should maintain the status quo with his upgraded cast, thus we can expect him to be a very decent QB2 in superflex leagues, instead of the bottom tier groveler he has been wrongly labeled as. Even if you feel the need to handcuff him with Mariota (you might be better off looking for a QB who can throw beyond 5 yards instead), Carr should be drafted as a top-25 QB at minimum in dynasty and redraft leagues alike.
QB Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots:
There is little known about Stidham from the pro level besides the fact that the Patriots appear ‘comfortable’ with him as their starter this season. Fantasy Football enthusiasts have been far less ‘comfortable’ with Stidham, as the second year signal-caller has been coming off of the board very late in most drafts, with an ADP of 277 as we write this article. For an unknown commodity with a modest draft pedigree and a lukewarm supporting cast, many would say that this ADP is a bit high (and they wouldn’t be wrong). Maybe it’s my Patriot fandom speaking, but I for one believe that Stidham has the chance to be a very decent fantasy QB this year. Call me a homer all you want, but after seeing what the team was able to squeeze out of Matt Cassel in the 2008 season (3,693 passing yards and 21 touchdown passes), I’m in the camp that believes Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels can make any QB look good in their system.
Some standout observations from Stidham’s pre-draft scouting report in 2019 paint the picture of a player with many strengths relevant to the position, as well as a few glaring weaknesses that will be need to be mediated by his veteran supporting cast in New England. Stidham’s 123.2 passer rating on deep throws in his final year at Auburn speaks to his ability to deliver the long ball, something the Patriots offense struggled to do with Tom Brady under-center. Stidham did a good job of protecting the ball in college, throwing just 13 interceptions against 48 touchdowns, a trait that no doubt led the Patriots to believe he would be fit to lead their offense at such a young age. With a 63.6% adjusted completion rate when faced with pressure and an even more impressive 69.6% adjusted completion rate versus the blitz, Stidham remained cool and collected behind a patchwork Auburn offensive line. Considering the Patriots offensive line is among one of the league’s best units, it’s likely that Stidham will have a lot more time to throw than he did for most of his college career. While he limited his turnover-worthy throws in college, Stidham’s conservative QB play also showed a lack of ‘big time’ throws, a result of his working with a depleted receiving core at Auburn. While the Patriots offense roster doesn’t feature the sexiest core of playmakers, steady veterans like Mohamed Sanu, James White, and Julian Edelman should offer the young QB a wide variety of checkdowns in the passing game, with younger, more dynamic options like 2019 first-rounder N’Keal Harry and 2020 third-round tight ends Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene being used to open up the field. He may not be the next Patrick Mahomes, but Jarrett Stidham will have a chance to be a household name in fantasy football next season, especially if he can learn to embrace ‘the Patriot Way’.
QB Tyrod Taylor, Los Angeles Chargers:
Justin Herbert may be the Chargers’ QB of the future, but Tyrod Taylor is still the team’s present. People forget that Taylor is a former Pro Bowler, one who finished as the QB8 in 2016 and the QB16 in 2017 despite playing on a Bills offense that was severely lacking in the talent department. The last time we saw Taylor as a bridge QB, it did not last very long, as he ceded the starting role in Cleveland to 2018 first overall pick Baker Mayfield just a couple games into the season. Herbert’s ascension to the starting role for L.A may not be as abrupt as Mayfield’s, given the steep learning curve that is anticipated for a passer transitioning from Oregon’s screen-heavy shotgun-based offense to a more traditional NFL offense. Taylor is no world beater, but if he is given the chance to start numerous games for the Bolts, he may very well be a super sneaky fantasy asset. With his upside as a runner, Taylor is a player with top-10 matchup-based potential. He may not start for very long, but the games that he will play in will lead to some very viable opportunities to produce points in 2020. You can find Taylor on the scrap heap in many leagues due to the hype surrounding Herbert as the sixth overall pick from this year’s draft. However, his value (even as a third or fourth QB) could potentially be the add-on to swing some much needed early season trades in your favor.
QB Kyle Allen, Washington Redskins:
How much should we read into the fact that Ron Rivera (Allen’s coach in Carolina last season) in his first month running the Redskins decided to trade for Allen (who started the majority of the Panthers games in 2019) to backup 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins (who in 7 starts threw 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while completing just 58.6% of his passes)? It’s also worth noting that Allen, a former 5-star recruit out of high school, accounted for 17 touchdown passes while throwing for over 3,000 yards as the defacto starter for Carolina last season (although he spiraled hard following a 4-0 start), not too shabby for an undrafted free agent. Allen is not a starting caliber QB by any means, but who is to say whether Haskins is either? With the starting gig up in the air, Allen is a player worth owning in any dynasty format, just in case he is able to wrestle away the starting role from Haskins. Considering the chemistry he showed with D.J Moore in 2019, Allen could very well lean on second-year wideout Terry McLaurin in a similar way, should he earn some spots for the Skins. To land a starting QB (regardless of quality) in a superflex format is incredibly valuable, so rostering Allen into the preseason may very well pay dividends for the more patient owners out there.
QB Robert Griffin III, Baltimore Ravens:
If you believe in “The Madden Curse” then you have a pretty good idea why RG3 finds himself on this list. As the understudy to reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson, Griffin is a player who sits just one injury away from a starting role on an offense tailored to his own strong suits. While the former No. 2 overall pick is a major downgrade from Jackson, the rushing upside and dedication to opening up easy throws that OC Greg Roman’s offense allows could make him a very valuable fantasy asset in case of injury. With 421.7 total fantasy points last season in standard formats, Jackson was the league’s highest-scoring fantasy QB by a decent margin, in large part due to a re-designed Ravens offense that saw the AFC North champs rely heavily on the tight end position, targeting the position on over 50% of passing downs (the only team to target TEs on over half of their throws last season). Griffin has never been known as a deep ball thrower, even in his younger days, so the Ravens’ tendencies to focus on intermediate passes should complement him very well as a contingency plan. Thus, RG3 is a perfect stash in deep dynasty leagues and a must have QB handcuff if you’re a Jackson owner.
Are there any Quarterbacks you’re stashing in Dynasty leagues? Let us know and make sure to follow us on Twitter @3CoSports for daily sports content!
Edited by Angel Maldonado Tejada