Watching Ben Roethlisberger's video last month of him throwing to his teammates got me excited to draft Roethlisberger this season in his comeback from last year's elbow injury. He's one of several high-upside quarterbacks you can draft late in most leagues that should have top-10 upside.
As we saw in 2019, like we typically do most seasons, waiting on a quarterback is the best way to build your Fantasy team. We've been talking about this for years, but 2019 put this theory on steroids.
Depending on the Average Draft Position data you look at — we'll use Fantasy Football Calculator for this exercise — some of the quarterbacks selected after pick No. 100 overall included Kyler Murray, Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott and Josh Allen. Those quarterbacks all finished in the top 10 last year in leagues with six points for passing touchdowns (Prescott was No. 2, Winston was No. 5, Allen was No. 9 and Murray was No. 10).
Our job, as always, is to find the next quarterback or group of quarterbacks to accomplish that goal this season. We did that on Tuesday's episode of Fantasy Football Today, and we also discussed sleepers for each of the other positions. Listen below and be sure to subscribe for non-stop Fantasy football content.
I'm going to use the CBS Sports consensus rankings from me, Dave Richard and Heath Cummings to look at quarterbacks who are being ranked outside of the starters in a 12-team league. The quarterbacks we have ranked as top-12 guys are Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Murray, Russell Wilson, Prescott, Deshaun Watson, Allen, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford.
Everyone else is fair game. And here are seven quarterbacks who I'll be waiting for on Draft Day that could produce significant results by the end of the season.
Roethlisberger only appeared in two games last season because of an elbow injury, which required season-ending surgery in September. But as the video he posted showed us, he seems to be ready to go in his comeback effort. 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 and Diontae Johnson 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 12 or later is doable, and I'm buying plenty of stock in Roethlisberger this year.
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, and his offensive line should improve with the addition of first-round rookie Andrew Thomas. 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, we could be looking at a steal in Round 10 or later.
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 in Round 10.
The biggest concern I have with Burrow is his ability to play well early in the season based on a shortened offseason due to the coronavirus. Hopefully, if training camp is on time and normal, that won't be a concern at all. And Burrow likely needs A.J. Green (ankle) to be on the field for 16 games to reach his ceiling. Burrow was amazing last year at LSU with 5,671 passing yards, 60 touchdowns and six interceptions, along with 368 rushing yards and five touchdowns. We don't know how quickly he'll adapt to the NFL, but you should like his chances to succeed. Along with Green, the receiving corps is stacked with Tyler Boyd, John Ross and Tee Higgins, as well as Joe Mixon in the backfield. The offensive line also should be improved with left tackle Jonah Williams (shoulder) healthy after missing his rookie year in 2019. Burrow fits the bill of the type of late-round quarterback you're looking for — an ability to run and a potentially high-volume passing attack. He's going in Round 12, which is amazing value.
I think we all keep waiting for the Jaguars to replace Minshew as their starter, but it seems clear now that he'll be their guy. And he played well at times in his rookie campaign in 2019, scoring at least 20 Fantasy points in eight of 14 appearances. He averaged a respectable 19.3 Fantasy points per game, and he was fifth among quarterbacks with 344 rushing yards. The Jaguars could be chasing points every game based on their rebuilding defense, and Minshew got new weapons to use with rookie receiver Laviska Shenault, running back Chris Thompson and tight end Tyler Eifert. Along with D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook and Leonard Fournette, Minshew should have enough talent around him to help to make him a surprise starter in all leagues. If he went from 19.3 Fantasy points per game to 20.3 points then he would have been on the cusp of being a starter in 2019 already. And he's a free space on Draft Day since you can get him with your final selection, even after taking a DST and kicker.
The Browns have given Mayfield everything he needs to improve this season after a disastrous sophomore campaign in 2019. He got another weapon in the passing game with Austin Hooper, who joins Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The offensive line was upgraded with Jack Conklin and standout rookie Jedrick Wills. And the coaching staff should be better with Kevin Stefanski replacing the seemingly inept Freddie Kitchens. But Stefanski might not let Mayfield get back to the level of Fantasy quarterback we saw in 2018 when he averaged 21.0 points per game, which dipped to 17.1 points last year. The Browns will lean on their ground game with Chubb and Hunt based on Stefanski's track record as a playcaller in Minnesota. As a result, Mayfield is lower on my list than some of these other quarterbacks. However, should Mayfield approach 550 pass attempts, then he could be a star. I'll draft him with a late-round pick, but I'm only cautiously optimistic.
If we were guaranteed to get Taylor as the Chargers' starter for close to 16 games then I would have him ranked near or inside my top 12. He has that kind of upside. The talent on the Chargers' roster is great with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler, and the offensive line should be much improved with offseason additions of Trai Turner and Bryan Bulaga. Taylor also has proven he can run the ball with two seasons on his resume of at least 568 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. But, as we know, the Chargers have Justin Herbert waiting as their quarterback of the future after selecting him at No. 6 overall in the NFL Draft. And Herbert could start at any point in the season, which is why you're only drafting Taylor with a late-round flier in all Fantasy leagues. But should the Chargers surprise us and stick with Taylor, he's going to be a popular waiver-wire addition this year in all formats.