Risk management is fundamental to any fantasy football strategy. Hey, no one wants to endure heartbreak. To help owners avoid sob sessions we’ll unveil our top bust candidates position-by-position throughout the week. Tuesday’s topic: Quarterbacks.
Andy – ANDREW LUCK (110.6 ADP, QB9). You shouldn’t need an expert to tell you that a quarterback who missed an entire season following surgery to his throwing shoulder is a bit of a risk. All the offseason news on Luck has been relatively positive to this point, but we need to be open to the possibility that his arm strength might never return to 2014 levels. Risk of re-injury is a thing here, too.For me, the worst thing about drafting Luck in anything other than an eight or 10-team league is that you need to burn another pick on a quality backup QB. Luck’s draft price has spiked to the point that he’s not some inexpensive flier any longer. No one’s rooting for him to be a fantasy (or real-life) bust, but we should prepare for the possibility.
Brad – JIMMY GAROPPOLO (113.3 ADP, QB11). Wealthy, handsome and talented, Jimmy G might as well be a Hollywood star dressed in shoulder pads. Deep down we’re all envious of the man in some form or fashion; many self-proclaimed fantasy “experts” included.Though I’m infatuated with the quarterback’s skill set (I’ve trumpeted him since his record-setting days at Eastern Illinois), the hype machine has spun out of control. At his QB1-level ADP, a noteworthy profit margin is highly unlikely.
Why? Yes, his stable of weapons is more than serviceable. Multiple franchises would kill to roster Marquise Goodwin, Pierre Garcon, Jerick McKinnon and George Kittle. His 8.8 yards per attempt, QB9 finish over the season’s final five weeks and 67.4 overall completion percentage are also convincing. However, several secondary measurements suggest brand inflation. His No. 18 or worse ranking in red-zone and deep-ball completion percentages along with a 38 percent success rate on all throws according to Sharp Football Stats sound the fire alarm.Again, discounting Garoppolo’s abilities long-term isn’t recommended. He’s good, but in this return-on-investment business, he’s a money drain. It’s doubtful he outperforms the likes of Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers or even Marcus Mariota this season. He’s my QB13.
Scott – DESHAUN WATSON (ADP 72.68, QB3). This fade is no fun. I feel like I’m cancelling Christmas, shutting down amusement parks, declaring pizza illegal. No one wants to root against Deshaun Watson.
But common sense must rule. Watson’s wonderful explosion last year was all of six games; defenses have had an offseason to consider his game and plan against it. He’s coming off from a torn ACL (his second such injury), and even if his recovery is smooth, the Texans might prefer to keep Watson a little more buttoned up this year, expose him less to risky plays. Perhaps that will come at the cost of some effectiveness.
The Texans offensive line is dicey, the defense on the mend after a lost year. Those both work against Watson. And last year’s 9.3 percent touchdown rate is obviously going to tumble, it’s just a matter of how far.
If you want to draft Watson, you also have to pay a fun tax; this is the first year he’s been a strong draft candidate, so there’s some “shiny new toy” appeal baked into his price. In perhaps the deepest quarterback pool in fantasy football history, Watson’s ADP is chased into expectant areas. Heck, some of my colleagues have him No. 1 at the position — again, a six-game player coming off a major injury. This is a hero pick I cannot endorse. I’ll root with my heart, not with my head (and certainly not with my wallet).
Matt – JARED GOFF (ADP 127.3, QB14) It’s difficult to pick a true quarterback bust because the position is so correctly devalued across fantasy drafts. By and large, the fantasy market is sharp when it comes to pricing the signal-caller spot. While the discrepancy between Jared Goff’s ADP and his slot in my rankings (QB14 to QB17) isn’t all that large, for me, he falls in a tier with players like Mitchell Trubisky, Dak Prescott and Eli Manning. That’s much more conservative than his draft position ahead of players like Matt Ryan, Patrick Mahomes and Marcus Mariota, all of whom make for better fantasy passers in 2018.
Goff just enjoyed a strong rebound season under the literal quarterback whisper of Sean McVay. However, if the Rams offseason plans come to fruition, the conditions will look quite different in 2018. The team went all-in on defensive stalwarts and will look to control games more often. That could beef up the Rams already high 45.2 percent run play percentage (ninth-highest) and slow down their 27.9-second pace of play, fastest in the NFL. Neither change would be good news for Goff, who is already staring down some touchdown regression after throwing more scores on behind the line of scrimmage throws than any other 2017 passer.