Fantasy football rookie preview: Quarterbacks

Fantasy football rookie preview: Quarterbacks

Rookie Analysis

Fantasy football rookie preview: Quarterbacks

Now that we have had some time to digest the NFL draft and its aftermath, us fantasy footballers are excitedly waiting to add some of the rookies to our fake teams. Deciding which players have fantasy worth in 2018 comes down to assessing the likelihood of playing time. The following players are ranked in order of anticipated opportunity and corresponding value.

Rookie previews: RB | WR | TE

(Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

Josh Rosen | Arizona Cardinals | 6-4, 226 | UCLA

YEAR
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT YDS AVG TD
2015
292
487
60.0
3670
7.5
23
11
37
15
0.4
2
2016
137
231
59.3
1915
8.3
10
5
22
-72
-3.3
2
2017
283
452
62.6
3756
8.3
26
10
50
-97
-1.9
2

The caveat here is whether Rosen starts in Week 1: If not, he is above Josh Allen and below Sam Darnold. The former Bruin has better weather, a stronger offensive line, and more impressive targets than Jets and Bills. However, if the Cardinals opt to start Sam Bradford for even a few contests, gamers should downgrade Rosen a smidge.

While Arizona has plenty of reasons to start the veteran and fight for a playoff spot, is Rosen really that big of a drop-off from Bradford? Besides, a game or two may be all it takes before the journeyman is comfortably adorning a training table.

Rosen is the smartest bet for the rookie quarterbacks worthy of a single-year draft choice. Gamers have nothing to lose by spending a late-round pick to make him a backup for an elite starter. Arizona shares a Week 9 bye with Indianapolis, Philadelphia, the Giants, Cincinnati and Jacksonville.

Sam Darnold | New York Jets | 6-3, 220 | USC

YEAR
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2016
246
366
67.2
3086
8.4
31
9
62
250
4.0
2
2017
303
480
63.1
4143
8.6
26
13
75
82
1.1
5

Standing in Darnold’s way from the starting job is a pool of “who cares,” “what if,” and “he’s that old?!” The rookie shouldn’t have too much trouble entering the preseason as No. 2 on the depth chart behind Josh McCown, and finding his way into the starting lineup in the first four weeks of the year is the most likely scenario.

A lack of weaponry is the biggest question mark surrounding Darnold’s fantasy prospects. The likes of Terrelle Pryor, ArDarius Stewart, Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Jermaine Kearse could surprise to a degree, but it won’t be enough to make Darnold a fantasy starter. He ranks slightly higher than Allen, whose virtual assurance as a Week 1 starter is degraded by what looks like an even worse weapons cache in Buffalo. Darnold is draftable as a low-tier No. 2 backup to a stud.

(Timothy T. Ludwig, USA TODAY Sports)

Josh Allen | Buffalo Bills | 6-5, 237 | Wyoming

YEAR
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2015
4
6
66.7
51
8.5
0
0
3
40
13.3
0
2016
209
373
56.0
3203
8.6
28
15
143
512
3.6
7
2017
152
270
56.3
1812
6.7
16
6
92
204
2.2
5

There should be little doubt about Buffalo’s intention to start Allen from Day 1. Short of falling flat on his face in the summer practices, the big-armed rookie is poised to be tossed into the fire. On paper, AJ McCarron blocks his path. It is hard to envision this holding up come Week 1. Regardless, it probably doesn’t matter a great deal. The Bills are a run-first offense with few proven options in the passing game. Allen will need Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones and Charles Clay to play at their best, plus some help from late-round rookies Austin Proehl and Ray-Ray McCloud may also be needed.

Volume alone could propel Allen atop this list. There will be moments of brilliance and more head-scratching throws than gamers care to see. Allen is merely a roster-filler in two-quarterback leagues, but someone surely will draft him in traditional setups based on potential.

Baker Mayfield | Cleveland Browns | 6-1, 215 | Oklahoma

YEAR
TEAM
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2013
TTU
218
340
64.1
2315
6.8
12
9
88
190
2.2
3
2015
OKLA
269
395
68.1
3700
9.4
36
7
141
405
2.9
7
2016
OKLA
254
358
71.0
3965
11.1
40
8
78
177
2.3
6
2017
OKLA
262
369
71.0
4340
11.8
41
5
85
310
3.6
5

The No. 1 overall pick in the draft will have his time to shine in the NFL, but will it be early in the year? Will it be at all this year? Head coach Hue Jackson recently admitted he has thrown quarterbacks into the fire too soon to their detriment, so Tyrod Taylor could retain the job as long as all season. Smart money says Mayfield starts at some point in the second half of the year.

Mayfield, should he overtake Taylor, has as host of receivers at his disposal. There is definite upside in the event he earns the job. Monitor the situation throughout the draft season. In best-case scenario, he’s a low-end QB2 based on volume. More likely, he will have DFS-only playability.

Lamar Jackson | Baltimore Ravens | 6-2, 216 | Louisville

YEAR
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
RUSH ATT
YDS
AVG
LNG
TD
2015
135
247
54.7
1840
7.4
12
8
163
960
5.9
73
11
2016
230
409
56.2
3543
8.7
30
9
260
1571
6.0
72
21
2017
254
430
59.1
3660
8.5
27
10
232
1601
6.9
75
18

Jackson obviously is not ready to start in the NFL, and Joe Flacco has a reasonably strong grasp on the job. However, the Ravens will find creative ways to utilize him to take advantage of his speed and elusiveness in space. A handful of plays per game will be designed to get him the ball. Unfortunately, it also will come with added defensive scrutiny. Jackson might prove to have contrarian DFS play in 2018. Perhaps he has a hint of value if Flacco gets hurt or Baltimore is playing for nothing.

Kyle Lauletta | New York Giants | 6-3, 222 | Richmond

YEAR
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2013
16
21
76.2
108
5.1
2
0
3
8
2.7
0
2015
241
391
61.6
3598
9.2
19
15
78
116
1.5
7
2016
220
349
63.0
3022
8.7
24
8
49
-28
-0.6
1
2017
281
433
64.9
3737
8.6
28
12
68
90
1.3
4

Eli Manning is 37 years old but has shown drastic signs of regression in the past two seasons. The Giants bolstered the offensive line, which increases his odds of surviving. Lauletta has Davis Webb as competition for playing time in the even Manning falters or is befallen by injury. There is a massive jump from Richmond to the NFL. Look elsewhere for a wild flier.

(Soobum Im, USA TODAY Sports)

Mason Rudolph | Pittsburgh Steelers | 6-5, 235 | Oklahoma State

YEAR
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2014
49
86
57.0
853
9.9
6
4
14
-33
-2.4
0
2015
264
424
62.3
3770
8.9
21
9
67
-35
-0.5
1
2016
284
448
63.4
4091
9.1
28
4
83
61
0.7
6
2017
297
457
65.0
4553
10.0
35
9
56
29
0.5
10

Rudolph is probably more pro-ready than Kyle Lauletta, though we’ll give Ben Roethlisberger the advantage in likelihood of staying on the field over Eli Manning. Pittsburgh is a better overall team, as well, meaning the chance is far less of Mike Tomlin changing the guard due to the Steelers being out of contention. Rudolph also has to contend with Landry Jones on the depth chart. Consider this a redshirt year for the rookie.

Danny Etling | New England Patriots | 6-2, 222 | LSU

YEAR
TEAM
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2013
PUR
149
267
55.8
1690
6.3
10
7
55
-99
-1.8
1
2014
PUR
89
162
54.9
800
4.9
6
5
33
-5
-0.2
3
2016
LSU
160
269
59.5
2123
7.9
11
5
41
46
1.1
1
2017
LSU
146
242
60.3
2234
9.2
14
2
62
107
1.7
2

Surely Etling isn’t the future of the Patriots, heir apparent to Tom Brady, right? Bueller? Etling barely threw the ball in college and isn’t physically gifted, but he fits a mold Bill Belichick has coveted: Just mobile enough to survive in the pock and safe with the ball. Say Brady is lost to injury, Etling remains unlikely to leapfrog Brian Hoyer with an shot of the playoffs at stake. Nevertheless, Etling still sits without shouting distance of a quarterback entering his age-41 season.

Luke Falk | Tennessee Titans | 6-4, 215 | Washington State

YEAR
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2014
156
243
64.2
1859
7.7
13
7
36
-70
-1.9
1
2015
447
644
69.4
4561
7.1
38
8
82
-115
-1.4
3
2016
443
633
70.0
4468
7.1
38
11
66
-68
-1.0
0
2017
357
534
66.9
3593
6.7
30
13
67
-147
-2.2
0

As long as all goes according to plan, Falk won’t see the field in 2018. Marcus Mariota obviously has the starting gig on lockdown, and the Blaine Gabbert is embedded as the primary backup. It would take too much to go wrong to get Falk into the first-string lineup.

(Robert McDuffle, USA TODAY Sports)

Logan Woodside | Cincinnati Bengals | 6-1, 213 | Toledo

YEAR
TEAM
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2013
TOL
21
41
51.2
240
5.9
1
0
6
16
2.7
0
2014
TOL
186
297
62.6
2272
7.7
19
8
52
78
1.5
3
2016
TOL
289
418
69.1
4129
9.9
45
9
37
-40
-1.1
0
2017
TOL
248
382
64.9
3758
9.8
28
5
46
65
1.4
1

The seventh-round pick is buried on the depth chart at this point. Woodside has a realistic chance of ascending to the No. 3 job to enter the season, which does fantasy owners zero good in 2018.

Tanner Lee | Jacksonville Jaguars | 6-4, 218 pounds | Nebraska

YEAR
TEAM
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2014
TULN
185
336
55.1
1962
5.8
12
14
36
-125
-3.5
0
2015
TULN
143
276
51.8
1639
5.9
11
7
23
-162
-7.0
0
2017
NEB
246
428
57.5
3143
7.3
23
16
30
-97
-3.2
2

Only Cody Kessler stands between Lee and Blake Bortles. Given the contract extension Bortles signed in the early offseason, it seems extremely unlikely Lee will come anywhere near the starting lineup in 2018 without the entire offense collapsing.

Mike White | Dallas Cowboys | 6-5, 224 | Western Kentucky

YEAR
TEAM
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2013
USF
93
175
53.1
1083
6.2
3
9
14
-43
-3.1
0
2014
USF
122
242
50.4
1639
6.8
8
7
29
-85
-2.9
0
2016
WKU
280
416
67.3
4363
10.5
37
7
29
-74
-2.6
0
2017
WKU
342
521
65.6
3826
7.3
24
7
58
-223
-3.8
6

Backup quarterback Cooper Rush looked awfully sharp in 2017 preseason action, and the offense is firmly belonging to Dak Prescott. Translation: White is an interesting prospect but in an awful situation for 2018 production.

Alex McGough | Seattle Seahawks | 6-3, 214 | Florida International

YEAR
TEAM
CMP
ATT
PCT
YDS
AVG
TD
INT
ATT
YDS
AVG
TD
2014
FIU
138
274
50.4
1680
6.1
14
10
97
92
0.9
4
2015
FIU
269
420
64.0
2722
6.5
21
8
88
95
1.1
3
2016
FIU
167
286
58.4
1891
6.6
13
11
45
117
2.6
4
2017
FIU
231
354
65.3
2791
7.9
17
8
77
214
2.8
5

Assuming McGough makes the final roster, he has a reasonable shot at directly backing up Russell Wilson. The current reserves include Austin Davis and Stephen Morris. Yeah, those future Hall of Famers…. McGough has no immediate worth without Wilson going down for the year.

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