Fantasy Football 2020: 5 Late Round QBs Who Could Provide QB1 Value

By Tzali Nislick

The quarterback position is arguably the deepest positional group in fantasy football year in and year out. It seems that in the last few seasons especially, there is as much talent as there ever has been for quarterbacks. Of course at the top of the draft there’s Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, who produced two of the highest point totals ever in each of the last two seasons. They’re in a class of their own. And then there’s a strong second tier as well with players like Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray. After them though, the rest of the position is pretty similar in terms of production. Last season the QB10 and QB19 on a points per game (PPG) basis were separated by 1.9 PPG. Those two players were Josh Allen and Ryan Fitzpatrick respectively. Long story short, there’s a lot of depth for quarterbacks and this year is no different. Here are five late round quarterbacks that could scratch their way into the  top-12 conversation this season.


5. Philip Rivers

Divisional Round - Los Angeles Chargers v New England Patriots

This could very well be Philip Rivers’ last year in the NFL. In March he signed a 1-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts after spending his entire 16 year NFL career with the Chargers. While some may think Rivers is washed or too old to provide fantasy value anymore, Indianapolis is actually a prime location to finish out his career. Rivers’ regression last season was in part due to a woeful offensive line that ranked 29th in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. He’ll now be protected by the 3rd best offensive line from a year ago. And while the Chargers perhaps had better pass catchers, it’s not as if Rivers will be bereft of weapons with his new team. The Colts have drafted a pair of second round receivers in the last two seasons, in Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. Frank Reich has said he’s “super pumped” about the former after an injury plagued rookie season and the ladder ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at 6’4″ and 223 lbs. Not to mention the Colts have reliable veterans as well in T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle. If this is Rivers’ final season, it could be a productive one for fantasy football.


4. Gardner Minshew

Gardner Minshew

Am I buying into the Minshew mania? You bet I am. Last season on a terrible, and quite honestly, dysfunctional Jaguars team Gardner Minshew went 6-6 and posted a solid 21:6 touchdown to interception ratio. That was better than Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady and Kyler Murray. He also had the 12th highest passer rating for quarterbacks who started in 12 or more games. He had at least 16 fantasy points in nine of his 14 games played, or 64.29%. That was better than Murray (62.5%), Carson Wentz (62.5%) Brady (50%), Ryan (50%) and Aaron Rodgers (37.5%), all players being drafted ahead of Minshew. Not to mention, the Jaguars weapons aren’t that bad. DJ Chark Jr. broke out in a big way last season, Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole and Chris Conley have all shown flashes of productivity over their careers and Jacksonville drafted two college standouts in Colorado product Laviska Shenault Jr. and Texas product Collin Johnson, who’s 6’6″ and 222 lbs. Also Leonard Fournette caught 76 passes last year. Perhaps Minshew regresses in his sophomore campaign, but all signs point to him breaking out in my eyes.


3. Kirk Cousins

NFL: Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings

Say what you want about Kirk Cousins, but he is one of the most consistent producers at his position since he became a full time starter in 2015. He has completed at least 67% of his passes and thrown for at least 4,000 yards in four of the last five seasons, and last year he posted the best TD% and INT% of his career. Over the last five seasons, Cousins has averaged 280.78 fantasy points per season, which would’ve ranked 9th in 2019. ESPN currently has him ranked 24th coming into 2020. He finished as the QB15 last season despite Adam Thielen being limited to 10 games due to a hamstring injury that hampered him even when he was on the field. And even though Stefon Diggs is in Buffalo now, the Vikings replaced him with LSU standout Justin Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft. There’s a lot to like about Kirk Cousins and I think he’s one of the most underrated and over-scrutinized players in the NFL.


2. Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo

I will not tolerate any Jimmy G slander. In his first full season as a starter, Jimmy Garoppolo went 13-3, guided the 49ers to the Super Bowl, completed 69.1% of his passes, threw for nearly 4,000 yards and tossed 27 touchdowns all while coming off an ACL tear. For reference, here are Garoppolo’s numbers in his first season after tearing his ACL compared to Tom Brady’s first season after tearing his ACL:

Jimmy Garoppolo:

  • 13-3
  • 69.1 completion %
  • 3,978 yards
  • 27 touchdowns (5.7 TD%)
  • 13 interceptions (2.7 INT%)
  • 102.0 passer rating

Tom Brady:

  • 10-6
  • 65.7 completion %
  • 4,398 yards
  • 28 touchdowns (5.0 TD%)
  • 13 interceptions (2.3 INT%)
  • 96.2 passer rating

Brady is also the greatest of all time and had Randy Moss that season. JIMMY GAROPPOLO IS A GOOD QUARTERBACK!!! Phew, I’m glad I got that off my chest. Jimmy G also has arguably the best offensive minded head coach in the league in Kyle Shanahan, arguably the best tight end in the game in George Kittle, a blooming star in Deebo Samuel (who’s expected to return early in the season) and first round wideout Brandon Aiyuk. If Samuel comes back healthy from his foot injury, Jimmy Garoppolo, who finished as QB14 last year, has top-10 potential.


1. Drew Lock

BRONCOS LIONS

Yes, I’m jumping on the Broncos hype train this season but honestly, what’s not to love about them? The offense clicked under Drew Lock it’s as simple as that. Denver went 4-1 once they handed the reigns to their former second round pick, with the only loss coming to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. They averaged 15.9 points per game through their first 11 games under Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen, but averaged 21.4 points per game under Lock. And it’s 26 points per game if you take away the loss to the Chiefs. John Elway made it a priority this offseason to surround Lock with more talent, and he did so by drafting Jerry Jeudy in the first round, KJ Hamler in the second round and signing Melvin Gordon away from the division-rival Chargers. They now join Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant to form a formidable young group of talent that should compete for a playoff spot. When you look at some of the recent second year quarterbacks to breakout like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Carson Wentz, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Drew Lock does the same given Denver’s revamped offense.

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