“Quarterback is the most important position in fantasy football and if you’re not starting one in your league, you’re doing it wrong. This article is a cheat sheet to find the best quarterbacks to avoid starting in your league.”
The QB position is a tricky one, because there are so many variables that lead to different players being successful. For example, one season Michael Vick could have 2,000 yards, but the next season he’ll have just 1,000 yards. What causes this? As it turns out, it’s a matter of momentum. When a QB is hot, no matter how bad his supporting cast is, he can rack up points. A low-QB expert will often say that the QB’s team has to have a bad season before a good season can come.
Being a fantasy football junkie means you’ve got a lot of information to process before you make your weekly lineup. Add in the fact that you have hundreds of players to compare and millions of dollars to spend on your squads, and it’s no wonder we’re not always sure who’s the right guy to take.
If you haven’t yet chosen your fantasy football squad, we have an urgent message for you: don’t pick Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders!
At the very least, don’t pick the three-time Pro Bowler as your starting quarterback. It can be tempting to take a chance on a steady veteran starter or a talented young quarterback in fantasy football at this time of year. That’s why we’ve prepared a cheat sheet to assist you.
We didn’t include rookie quarterbacks or quarterbacks who are presently competing in a serious competition, such as Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater of the Denver Broncos. The five quarterbacks to avoid picking as your starting based on those criteria are as follows:
Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan (#5)
Matt Ryan has wide receiver Calvin Ridley and rookie tight end Kyle Pitts at his disposal, which is fantastic news. The bad news for Ryan — and his fantasy owners — is that he’s still the same quarterback he’s always been: an aging pocket passer in an era when dual-threat superstars are the norm. Outside of a running score or two, the 36-year-old isn’t going to be of much use on the ground.
Ryan is also hindered by the Falcons’ lack of a dynamic three-down running back. Last year, Mike Davis, who is expected to be Atlanta’s starting running back in 2020, carried for 642 yards and six touchdowns on 3.9 yards per carry.
Ryan was the 18th quarterback off the board in a typical mock draft, according to ESPN’s average draft position (ADP). He’s a great fantasy football quarterback backup who can fill in for a few games. Choosing Ryan with the intention of using him as your primary starter, on the other hand, is a risky move that could backfire.
4. Derek Carr, Raiders of Las Vegas
Derek Carr, an experienced quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders, should not be considered as your starting quarterback in fantasy football this autumn | Steve Marcus/Getty Images
Carr has been great at avoiding turnovers over the last two seasons, throwing 48 touchdowns to only 17 interceptions. He’s an established and capable starting quarterback in the NFL who gets a bad rap because he’s never played in a postseason game.
Carr’s problem in fantasy this year is that there are too many uncertainties about the Raiders’ offensive. To keep Carr upright, Jon Gruden isn’t exactly using the most steady offensive line. Henry Ruggs, a second-year receiver, needs to take a giant stride forward and use his speed to become a terrifying weapon.
Carr was drafted 25th among quarterbacks, behind Trey Lance (22nd) of the San Francisco 49ers and Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Washington Football Team (24th). Carr, like Ryan, should be your top backup, with the hope that you won’t have to start him too frequently.
3. Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff
Goff is a seasoned starter who has already led the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl. What’s going on? Why is he included in this list?
Easy. Goff is no longer a member of Sean McVay’s Rams, and he won’t be padding his stats by throwing to Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods every week. T.J. Hockenson, the Lions’ starting tight end last season, made significant strides, and he’s back in the lineup this year. The third-year Iowa product, however, isn’t enough to overcome the Lions’ primarily inexperienced receivers.
Goff has been the 31st quarterback picked on average in ESPN’s fantasy football leagues. He might be worth a gamble as a free agent after the draft, but even in a 12-player league, there are plenty better quarterbacks to pick from.
2. Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa
Fantasy football gamers are already buying into Tagovailoa’s second-year hype, thanks to viral videos of him connecting with his receivers on precise passes. He had the No. 16 ADP among quarterbacks at the time of publication.
We’re not buying the hype, at least not in terms of fantasy football. Tagovailoa has a good chance of improving in his sophomore season and leading the Miami Dolphins to the playoffs. But it doesn’t mean he’ll help your fantasy squad win the championship.
Above all, the Dolphins require the Alabama product to be an effective game manager capable of throwing for 250 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions per week. In the NFL, this method will win games, but not in fantasy football leagues.
Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield is ranked No. 1 in the NFL.
Mayfield falls into the same trap as Tagovailoa, as evidenced by the data. In ESPN mock drafts, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner was ranked No. 15 among quarterbacks, one position ahead of the Dolphins’ second-year QB.
Last season, Mayfield and the Browns discovered that they didn’t need him to throw for 400 yards or four touchdowns to win games. The Browns will remain a contender in the AFC North if he avoids turnovers and gets running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to wear down defenses.
Mayfield appears to be a good backup, but we wouldn’t take him unless he was available late in the draft. It’s preferable to have Ryan on the bench instead than Mayfield, who has the ability to fluff his stats and throw for over 400 yards in a loss.
ESPN provided all ADP (Average Draft Position) numbers as of Aug. 10, 2021.
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