2019 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Quarterback busts
Don't make the mistake of taking a quarterback too early. The Fantasy Football Today podcast gives you their bust candidates to avoid for 2019.
The most obvious way to screw up a draft pick is by taking the wrong quarterback. There are so many with the potential to be reliable starters, including a pretty significant number with elite upside, that reaching for just another guy can be costly.
When looking for players to avoid at quarterback, a few patterns will emerge. You generally want to avoid guys who don't run, but play on teams that want to run the ball. You also probably want to avoid chasing last year's outlier performances, as well as guys who lost significant weapons in the passing game without replacing them.
Our staff bust candidates are mostly pulled from those archetypes. These players may not ruin your season — it's always easy to find a streamer to slide into your lineup at QB — but they could be a big waste of a pick.
Here's who you'll be hearing from:
- Jamey Eisenberg, CBS Fantasy Senior Writer
- Dave Richard, CBS Fantasy Senior Writer
- Heath Cummings, CBS Fantasy Senior Writer
- Ben Gretch, CBS Fantasy Editor
- Chris Towers, CBS Fantasy Senior Editor
We tend to get nostalgic about players who have been stars over a long period of time, and then we ignore their flaws. Brees is a great example of that. He's a Hall of Fame quarterback who has been an elite Fantasy passer since coming to New Orleans in 2006, and his resume is impeccable. He was even the No. 8 Fantasy quarterback in 2018 with 3,992 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions, as well as 22 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. The passing yards should stand out to you because it's the only time he's been below 4,000 as a member of the Saints. He also attempted just 489 passes, the fewest for him since coming to New Orleans. Remember, in 2017 he only had 23 touchdowns, and he was the No. 11 Fantasy quarterback that year. I expect him to finish closer to that than in the top five, but he's the No. 7 quarterback off the board based on his ADP in June. That's just too soon.
Based on ADP, Roethlisberger is the No. 11 quarterback off the board. Even that is too soon for my liking. I expect him to struggle as a Fantasy quarterback with Antonio Brown gone. That's 104 catches for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns on 168 targets traded to Oakland. While I'm hopeful for guys like Donte Moncrief, James Washington, Diontae Johnson and Vance McDonald to step up with Brown gone, that production is tough to replace. Sure, JuJu Smith-Schuster is a rising star, and James Conner is a solid pass catcher out of the backfield. But Brown has been the man for the Steelers, and his absence makes Roethlisberger a risky Fantasy option, even if he still has an expected high volume of passes in 2019. I'm only drafting Roethlisberger as a No. 2 quarterback this season, and it's risky to consider him a No. 1 passer in most leagues.
Jared Goff QB
LAR L.A. Rams • #16
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
I won't haggle with you if you unearth Goff in Round 10 or later. But his early August ADP is 77th overall and <i>rising</i>. I'm worried about how defenses will go about attacking him and the Rams offense after the Patriots pressured him like crazy in the Super Bowl. I'm concerned the Rams offensive line could be worse without two starters from last year. And is it too much to ask of Goff to shoulder the load of this offense if Todd Gurley isn't 100 percent? If you draft him, it better be after 100th overall.
No Antonio Brown, no bueno. Brown represented at least 25% of Roethlisberger's yardage and 29% of his touchdowns in each of the past six years. Replacing that is an insurmountable order for the Steelers. JuJu Smith-Schuster is going to be great, but it's the lack of other explosive options that will keep Roethlisberger's numbers afloat. Here's the clincher: Before Roethlisberger had the good fortune of passing to one of the best receivers of this era, he had three top 10 Fantasy finishes in nine years, all outside of the top five. That was with wideouts like Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes.
Russell Wilson is a phenomenal quarterback, one of the best in the NFL. But he was extremely fortunate to be a top-12 quarterback in 2018, and you shouldn't bet on it happening again. Wilson's Seahawks played slow and run-heavy last year, which resulted in just 427 pass attempts for him. To compound matters, his 67 rush attempts were the fewest of his career. So how did he do it? Touchdowns. Wilson threw a touchdown pass on 8.2% of his attempts, an absurd rate. For his career he's at 6.0%, the 10th highest mark of all time. If all you do is normalize his touchdown rate to his career mark, Wilson loses nine touchdown passes from 2018. That would have dropped him from the No. 7 quarterback to No. 15. Maybe he throws a few more passes. Maybe he runs more. He'll have to do one of those things just to be a starter in Fantasy. He isn't someone you should be reaching for.
Brees' 489 pass attempts in 2018 was by far the fewest of his time in New Orleans. And it had very little to do with him not playing Week 17. The first problem is the Saints have been trending more run-heavy for the past two years. Their defense is young and improving, so I wouldn't expect that to change. The second problem is that Brees comes off the field for Taysom Hill too often. Hill only threw seven passes in 2019, but he ran the ball 37 times, scored two touchdowns, and played too much in the red zone. Brees needed a 6.5% touchdown rate to finish as the No. 8 quarterback in Fantasy in 2018. That's a full point above what he's averaged in New Orleans. Take away five touchdowns and he falls to QB12 in a standard CBS league. And it's not just his passing touchdowns that will fall, he ran the ball into the end zone a career-high four times last year. Don't bet on that happening again.
Matt Ryan QB
ATL Atlanta • #2
Age: 35 • Experience: 13 yrs.
Quarterback is the position I'm least comfortable with the term "bust," and that's certainly true of Matt Ryan. Ryan has thrown for 4,500 yards in six of the last seven seasons, and with Tevin Coleman in San Francisco and Calvin Ridley emerging, a philosophical shift could offset some of the expected pass attempt regression from a 2018 that saw Atlanta's defense decimated by injury. But Ryan provides little rushing value, and even his recent spike seasons have shown an upside shy of typical overall QB1 levels. That makes his QB6 cost untenable for me.
Much like Ryan, this is about cost. To take a top-10 quarterback on Draft Day means to sacrifice real draft equity, so he has to have difference-making potential. Brees, once the gold standard for elite Fantasy upside, now has a different profile as the 40-year-old leader of an offense much more willing to run. There's also Taysom Hill, the gadget red zone weapon who's likely to steal some high-value snaps. Even as Brees keeps breaking completion percentage records and doesn't look to have lost any ability, his Fantasy profile is no longer worth a QB7 draft cost.
GB Green Bay • #12
Age: 36 • Experience: 16 yrs.
There hasn't been any point where Rodgers has been bad, but over the past four seasons, he's only really been a difference maker for Fantasy once, in 2016 when he led all quarterbacks in Fantasy points per game. Otherwise, he has finished 11th, fifth and 11th. He's never going to ruin your season, but if you are taking a quarterback early, you need them to be a significant difference maker. With a new offensive system and the potential for a dip in passing volume, there's just no guarantee Rodgers will stand out from the crowd.
In CBS Fantasy leagues, Wilson was just 10th in Fantasy scoring last season, and that was with the highest touchdown rate of his career. The problem is, the Seahawks' ideal season probably sees him below 450 pass attempts, which means he has to be elite in terms of efficiency to even be a top-12 quarterback. He is arguably the most efficient quarterback in the NFL, so it's not off the table, but the most likely outcome seems him barely return surplus value this season. That's not enough at this position.
So which Fantasy Football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which RB2 can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Andrew Luck's huge season, and find out.
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