If only I knew Marty McFly and Doc Brown and had a DeLorean, I would go back to this time in 2019 and spend more energy talking up Lamar Jackson instead of Baker Mayfield. But alas, as far as I know, there is no flux capacitor, and we're stuck with the results of last season.
I liked Jackson a lot as a sleeper in 2019, but I was higher on Mayfield. As we know, Jackson finished as the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback and was the NFL MVP. Mayfield was a flop, and he was among the biggest busts at any position.
I'm hopeful that this season we'll spotlight the right sleepers and breakout candidates at quarterback, as well as tell you the busts to avoid. And that's why you're here.
This is a sample of some of my favorite sleepers, breakouts and busts at quarterback for 2020.
PIT Pittsburgh • #7
Age: 38 • Experience: 17 yrs.
He only appeared in two games last season because of an elbow injury, which required season-ending surgery in September. But he seems to be ready to go in his comeback effort after posting a video of him working out in May. He's 38, and any significant injury at his age is difficult to recover from. But the last time we saw him in a full season in 2018 he was the No. 3 Fantasy quarterback with 5,129 passing yards, 34 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, along with three rushing scores. Granted, that was with Antonio Brown on the Steelers, but I'm excited for this receiving corps with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Washington leading the way, as well as newcomers in Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron. Could Roethlisberger finish as a top-three Fantasy quarterback again? Probably not. But a top-10 finish for a guy you're probably drafting in Round 10 or later is doable, and I'm buying plenty of stock in Roethlisberger this year.
Jared Goff QB
LAR L.A. Rams • #16
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Goff went from the No. 6 quarterback in 2018 to the No. 15 quarterback last year. So what changed? His offensive line regressed, and the Rams struggled to run the ball. He also had Brandin Cooks miss time due to injury, and all of those issues could be a concern again, especially with Todd Gurley and Cooks no longer on the roster. But if you take out four horrific games for Goff last season against some of the top defenses in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Baltimore, where he combined for 12 Fantasy points, he wasn't awful the rest of the year. In those other 12 outings, Goff averaged 22.3 Fantasy points per game, including 23 points at San Francisco in Week 16. I'm hopeful for Cam Akers and potentially Darrell Henderson to be quality replacements for Gurley, but the Rams passing attack might have to carry this offense. Goff offers plenty of rebound potential at a reduced price after Round
Josh Allen QB
BUF Buffalo • #17
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
I had Allen as a breakout candidate before the Bills added Stefon Diggs this offseason, so that addition only enhances his value. Allen will hopefully continue to improve as a passer, but we don't want him to stop running. He was third among quarterbacks in 2019 behind Jackson and Kyler Murray (another breakout candidate this year) with 510 rushing yards, and he led all quarterbacks with nine rushing touchdowns. He needs better passing stats with just 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season, but adding Diggs to a receiving corps of John Brown and Cole Beasley should obviously help. I also expect more from Allen in his third year as he continues to develop, and hopefully he'll attempt more than 461 passes in 2020. Allen has top-five potential, and he's worth drafting with a mid-round pick in all leagues.
Daniel Jones QB
NYG N.Y. Giants • #8
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
When Jones was on last year, he was really on, scoring at least 35 Fantasy points in four of 12 starts. But he also had six games with 14 Fantasy points or less, and that ratio has to change if he's going to become a starting option in all leagues. There are two reasons to like Jones this year. The first is the weapons around him with Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate. That's a stellar group with plenty of upside. The other reason to like Jones is his rushing ability, which might have gone unnoticed last year. He was on pace for 372 rushing yards over 16 games, which would have been good for fifth among quarterbacks in 2019. If he can increase that total and become a more consistent producer -- and cut down on the turnovers (23) -- we could be looking at a steal in Round 10 or later.
BAL Baltimore • #8
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
I love Jackson. He was amazing last year, and he should be special again this season. I have him ranked as the No. 2 quarterback behind only Patrick Mahomes. But this listing is all about his ADP, which is Round 1 on CBS Sports. And I get why that is happening for the reigning NFL MVP. Jackson exceeded expectations last season with 3,127 passing yards and 1,206 rushing yards, while also accounting for 43 total touchdowns. But it's hard to repeat as the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in consecutive years, and the last guy to do it was Drew Brees in 2011-12. Guys fall off due to injury, which was part of the problem for Mahomes in 2019 after dominating the year before. Or it could be poor play since the NFL tends to catch up to groundbreaking things. I'd love for Jackson to dominate again, but there could be some slippage in his stats. As a result, the earliest I would draft him is the end of Round 2 or beginning of Round 3 in one-quarterback leagues (he's a first-round pick in two-quarterback and Superflex leagues). Even Mahomes being drafted in Round 1 is too soon, so I plan to avoid both quarterbacks at that cost.
GB Green Bay • #12
Age: 36 • Experience: 16 yrs.
Rodgers didn't have a good Fantasy season in 2019, but he did finish as the No. 7 quarterback in total points and No. 10 in points per game for quarterbacks who made at least 10 starts. But Rodgers should be considered a borderline Fantasy starter at best this season, and he's only worth drafting with a late-round pick. He only had six games last season with at least 20 Fantasy points, and this offseason has been a nightmare for him when it comes to personnel. Green Bay lost right tackle Bryan Bulaga, tight end Jimmy Graham (although that might be considered an upgrade, especially if Jace Sternberger steps up as a sophomore) and his main receiver acquisition in Devin Funchess, who opted out as a result of the coronavirus. Along with that, the Packers added another quarterback in Jordan Love in Round 1 of the NFL Draft and a third-string running back in A.J. Dillon in Round 2. The latter selection suggests Green Bay wants to run the ball more with Dillon, Aaron Jones and Jamaaal Williams. And what happens if Davante Adams gets hurt again like he did last year? Rodgers could still finish as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback again, but his upside feels capped. He's someone to settle for, instead of target, on Draft Day.