We are back with the final installment of the Tier Jump Series! (Check out RBs , TEs, and WRs That Can Make A Tier Jump in 2016.) This time, we are looking at one of the most popular positions in the NFL. Today we are talking about the Quarterbacks and who has a shot to jump rank and really create a climb in production and reliability. There are 3 of these passers in mind that really jump off the page that we will dive into more in-depth to discover why the progression will likely occur.
I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this scenario play out before in San Diego, California. Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is back and all of a sudden fantasy football fans are in Deja Vu sans 2013 when this pair of “Old Man Rivers” and Mr. Whisenhunt lit up the fantasy world! The former Tennessee Titans head coach comes back to the West Coast and back at it to help the San Diego Chargers re-emerge as one of the higher prolific scoring teams in the league yet again. Just in 2013 alone with this dynamic duo, the former North Carolina State Wolfpack QB was able to have a great QuarterBack Rating (or QBR) of 74.9 over just last season where Rivers only had a QBR score of 59.4. He was also able to secure 3 additional touchdowns in 2013 of 32 versus last year of 29 TDs. So the familiarity is something we can all say a welcomed commodity there in the AFC West.
Another additional plus is having the fully healthy, and rising star wide receiver, Keenan Allen, back into the lineup. He is coming back from an unusual injury of a lacerated kidney that occurred Week 8 of last season. Just in the first game of the 2015 season, Allen hauled in a remarkable 16 receptions which is the single game record in Chargers history! He had 166 receiving yards as well that day. This goes to show you how great of rapport Rivers has with Keenan in the past few years they have played together. He will be welcomed back greatly with open arms this upcoming year. With the former University of California receiver going out at the halfway mark, Rivers was forced to air it out to other receivers who were brought in that he has barely shared reps and snaps with because of the decimation of injuries at the wideout position. There was also a mass decrease in production from the running game compared to when Whisenhunt was in charge and was able to use Danny Woodhead very effectively in the passing game in 2013. So far with the recent injuries occurring in camp, it’s important that Rivers is able to practice with every receiver and get acquainted and acclimated quickly to what Whisenhunt has in store this year.
Speaking of the run game, the new/returning offensive coordinator is a bit of an RB whisperer. He was able to take the tandem of Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead and put together a successful unit, reducing how many pass attempts Rivers had to throw in 2013 to 544 attempts. Compare that to 661 attempts last season. It kept the 6’5″ passer from making mistakes and his arm fresh throughout the season. Enter second year back Melvin Gordon, who has had a full year to adjust to the NFL level of play coming from Wisconsin University. It’s exciting what Whisenhunt has planned for Gordon and Woodhead considering what he was able to do with his year of great planning and play three years ago. Currently, Philip Rivers can be found at an ADP of the first pick of the 9th round. That’s fantasy gold at a great discount price. Expect a comeback year and a jump up the ranks for Rivers.
Coming back from his inaugural rookie season, “Famous Jameis” is prepped for a stellar performance in 2016. Even in his first year as the starting signal caller for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Winston was able to still go over 4,000 yards passing and had 22 TDs passing and 8 TDs rushing. Now with a year under his belt in the league, the former Florida State Seminole comes in 13th overall at the position from last year’s statistics, which is QB1 numbers. The question now is: “Can he get even better?” The easy answer to this is a simple yes. Let’s take a look why.
Tampa Bay has had some changes this past offseason. With the dismissal of Lovie Smith as head coach and a promotion for then offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, the Buccaneers will be heavily focused on the offense versus Lovie’s mindset of defense and just the run game. With a second year together with star wideout, Mike Evans, who is a target machine, the re-signing of the “Muscle Hampster” star RB Doug Martin, Winston will have not only familiarity with a playbook and returning teammates, but a head coach with the same mindset to get the football in the top playmaker’s hands and stack up a lot of points on the board.
Another impressive thing is that Jameis has done a lot of time and investment in his health and training regimen over the break. He came in fairly overweight at camp last year whereas this year he’s lost over 18 pounds and has a brand new six-pack to show for his hard work. Winston is showing great signs of speed increase not only with his running and quicker footwork but his pivot points and dropbacks have become more crisp, which will surely help with the timing issues he had at times with his receivers. Currently, you can find Winston in the 12th round. That is truly mindblowing that you can sneak someone who is a QB1 that low. That’s also a great steal for those that play in 2-QB leagues where his ADP moves up, but you can still get Winston on the cheap, and focus on the other important positions of WR and RB. The stars are lining up well for the “Famous One” this year. Don’t sleep on him!
To say most analysts were wrong about Ryan Tannehill as far as production last year would be an understatement. It was very disappointing on my end to draft the former Aggie in the 7th round of my family and friends league only to have him sit my bench for several weeks, and eventually leave my roster while Tyrod Taylor became my bread and butter the majority of the year. Still, even with all the hype slowly melting away, Tannehill was able to still conjure up 24 passing TDs and went for 4,208 yards in the air. He also finished with a respectful 88.7% passer rating. So what is different this year versus last year with the similar hype surrounding the Miami Dolphins and their offense?
Say hello Miami fans to the new head coach in town, Adam Gase. Everywhere Gase has gone to and been the offensive coordinator, the QB production and overall results of the offense have catapulted. In 2013, when Adam was the OC for the Denver Broncos, he was able to break and shatter multiple NFL records and set new precedented numbers to boast. They were able to obtain the most points scored in one season, as well as the new record for touchdowns. Another fun fact is that the soon to be Hall of Fame Quarterback of that 2013 Denver Broncos team, Peyton Manning, visited the Dolphins signal caller to have lunch and to give him insight to how Gase likes to run his ship to help him get ready heading towards training camp and the beginning of the preseason. In 2015, in his only season with the Chicago Bears, coming from the background of a QB coach, Gase was able to help Jay Cutler drastically improve from his previous seasons, going 3,659 yards passing with 21 touchdowns, and bringing his interceptions down to only 11. Needless to say, Adam Gase could be the X-factor this upcoming season to elevate the QB game in Miami.
Another great thing going for Tannehill is the emergence of a solid WR crew. DaVante Parker is now in his 2nd year of the NFL play, steadily increasing his production the last half of the season, with hopes of carrying that momentum into this new season. Currently, Parker has been sidelined with a tweak in his hamstring and has missed a few practices but looks to be ready for the preseason snaps. Parker is said to be the WR1-A on the outside this upcoming year. In his place taking snaps with the first team is newcomer rookie and dynasty football community favorite, Leonte Carroo, from Rutgers University. So far in camp, Carroo has adapted well to the much thicker playbook the Dolphins have for him and has emerged as the possible WR3 option over former free-agent signee Kenny Stills. Carroo can be quite the playmaker as he’s proven in his college career. The last and final piece of the tandem is the PPR hero himself Jarvis Landry. Landry is proven to catch everything in his path. He put together an impressive 110 receptions with 1,157 receiving yards in 2015. He is the WR1-B next to Parker and is very dangerous when running routes over the middle of the field and on the corners. Easily the go-to for Tannehill when trying to complete his first downs and moving the sticks closer to the end zone.
Last but certainly not least is the new signing of the former Houston Texans bell cow Arian Foster. Foster has made a name for himself since coming on to the fantasy spotlight in 2010 as a rookie. He is known for is explosiveness out of the backfield and stellar ability to catch passes and make plays every possession he can get. Unfortunately, Foster has a long trail of injuries because of the massive amounts of wear and tear Arian has taken on over the years playing for the Texans. Luckily he has fully healed from his recent season-ending injury of an Achilles tear this past season and with a recent injury to Jay Ajayi, Foster has dazzled his new coaches with taking over the first team workload. If Foster can make it the entire season without another devastating injury, we may just see Tannehill’s passing yards go up tremendously just having that threat of the Foster now poised to be the starting RB in Week 1. Pay no attention to the depth chart stating Ajayi is the starting running back currently before Preseason Game 1. We all know the smoke and mirrors teams like to play before the real season starts. Foster is the one to eyeball and help Tannehill come fantasy draft day for your league.
Right now the Miami passer can be found on the 10th pick of the 13th round. Though he may not be taken right away in most fantasy football drafts coming up, quite possibly just a flyer at the end of a draft at best, he is definitely and by far a “QB Stream Of The Week” candidate this upcoming season and can be played on favorable matchups. He would be excellent value in DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) games as well for those interested in that kind of play.
Keep in mind that the Ultimate Draft Kit is ever changing as the season gets closer and closer to us. But before updates happen, put these QBs on your radar, get ready for awesome QB numbers on the cheap, and tiers getting jumped multiple times.