Fantasy Football QB Report: Stock Watch
Matt Selz takes a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling in this week's QB breakdown.
We’re heading into preseason games and now is a great time to take a look at the stock of the quarterback position because, let’s face it, it’s the most important position on the field and having one that has a big year can take you far in both fantasy and reality. In general, there isn’t much difference between the ADPs in most of the guys at this position but that doesn’t mean there aren’t players heading in different directions.
Patrick Mahomes , KC – What? How could the reigning MVP of the league and only quarterback being taken in the first-round of drafts be in the rising category? Well it’s simple. His top receiving threat, Tyreek Hill , isn’t being suspended at all for the allegations that have swirled around him since late last year. Having Hill in the fold, along with Kelce, a healthy Sammy Watkins and Carlos Hyde being added to the backfield makes Mahomes just as much of a passing threat as he was last year in the same system that led to a 5,000-yard, 50-touchdown season. Even with Damien Williams now the lead back, the Chiefs proved last year that they aren’t afraid to lean heavily on the passing game to get the job done.
Cam Newton , CAR – Newton came into the preseason with major question marks about his surgically repaired shoulder and the reports of him having to use a new throwing motion this year to protect said shoulder. Well early in camp, some of those concerns are being put to rest as Newton still showed off a very good arm at Panthers Fan Fest. Along with a new hairstyle, the connection between him and Curtis Samuel is still very good as they connected for what would’ve been a 70-yard score in game conditions, with 50 of those yards being covered in the air by Newton’s throw. He still has to take hits in live games and withstand them, however it’s clear that the strength is there and the connection with his wide outs is too. Expect to see his ADP start to rise in the next few weeks as he is currently the 12th QB off the board in snake drafts.
Baker Mayfield , CLE – By now you’ve likely seen the clip of Mayfield chugging a beer while wearing a Lindor jersey at an Indians game a few days ago. That’s not why he’s on the list and Aaron Rodgers isn’t, though in the beer chugging, Mayfield clearly has him beat. He’s on this list because of the chemistry he is showing with Odell Beckham Jr. at camp to this point and for the better grasp of the offense he has in his second year. If you haven’t seen it yet, Colby Conway did a great breakdown of Beckham in the Player Profiles section of the Fantasy Alarm Draft Guide and it illustrates just what Beckham’s addition can help Mayfield with this year. Last year, Mayfield attempted 72 deep passes (those travelling 20 yards or more) and on those attempts he accounted for 1,007 yards, 11 touchdowns, four interceptions, and a 107.6 QB Rating which was seventh-best among full-time starters. With the chemistry he already has with OBJ, it’s hard to see those stats dropping this year and thus raising his value heading into the season.
Matt Ryan , ATL – Ryan has been a bit of a yo-yo the last four years going over 4,900 yards twice and under 4,600 yards twice, including as low as 4,095 just two years ago. Twice he topped 35 touchdowns and twice he went for 21 and 20 touchdowns. A healthy Julio Jones is so crucial for Ryan to reach his upper potentials, but that’s not what Atlanta has at the moment. Jones is nursing a foot injury already, one that hampered him throughout last year, and that doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies for Ryan’s success if he has a weakened Jones to throw to. It isn’t expected to be a lingering issue, but it certainly could get the Falcons passing game off to a slow start in 2019 for sure.
Eli Manning , NYG – Manning hasn’t been a serious fantasy QB option heading into the 2019 season, but now with all of his passing threats nursing various injuries, his stock has continued to plummet. In fact just earlier on Monday, Sterling Sheppard tried to catch a ball from Manning and it went through his hands, aggravating his already injured thumb and resulting in him getting a non-contact jersey placed on him. The loss of Beckham takes away all hope for Manning but now his replacements can’t even get on the field to get their reps with Manning in live action.
Dak Prescott , DAL – Prescott is a polarizing passer depending on the stats you choose to look at and which ones you choose to ignore. Based on traditional passing stats, he’s worse without Ezekiel Elliott behind him or beside him in the backfield, but if you look at EPA and QBR (sometimes), he’s better without Elliott on the field. The Elliott holdout continues, and according to team owner Jerry Jones, it will last months potentially. No matter the metrics you use, that’s not good for the Cowboys offense and in the passing game specifically, Elliott caught 77 passes last year. With no real threat of a running game, Prescott will have to face more defenders dropping back and he’s already not the most accurate passer in the league, so the extra coverage might pose problems for him.
Jury Is Still Out
Philip Rivers , LAC – Rivers is in a similar situation to Prescott with the star running back in the middle of a holdout, and in this case, trade demands. However, the reason the jury is still out on him is simply that he’s proven that he doesn’t need a top-flight back to produce top-flight offensive numbers. If Melvin Gordon is shipped out of town or sits out the whole season a la Le'Veon Bell last year, Rivers has a competent crew of receivers around him and has Austin Ekeler and Josh Jackson who can adequately carry the ball out of the backfield and provide catching ability out of the back field as well. Also keep in mind that the Chargers were 4-0 in 2018 when Gordon didn’t play with Rivers having solid days in all of those as well.
Jimmy Garoppolo , SF – It’s been a few years for the hype of Garoppolo after he was dealt to the 49ers and had some electricity when he played in the back half of the 2017 season. He then missed the whole 2018 season going down with a torn ACL in Week 1, crushing the hopes of fantasy owners who were counting on him and the explosive combination with the speedy Niners wide outs. Now, he is back on the field and fully-cleared to practice and play during training camp and the preseason games. If the connection that was previously there with his wide outs and George Kittle is there, the stock will begin to rise as he becomes a back end QB1 option, if there is some lingering side effects of the knee injury and he just can’t get on the same page, then he becomes a QB2 or Best Ball option for fantasy owners.