Editor’s Note: This article is from a series of #FootClan guest posts highlighting what set Footballers rankings apart.
Since debuting in 2014, The Fantasy Footballers have quickly made a name for themselves in the fantasy football realm thanks to their entertaining podcast and stellar fantasy football advice. In fact, one of their most impactful pieces of advice is their incredibly accurate and constantly adjusted player rankings.
Their award-winning player rankings have helped an abundance of fantasy football players around the world take their fantasy knowledge to new heights, and even led them on the path to capture their league championships. Speaking of championships, of all the positions in the NFL, none is more relied upon than the quarterback. This is one of the reasons why QB rankings are so important in fantasy football.
Read on to take a look at just some of the many things that go into how the Footballers set and adjust their quarterback rankings throughout the season.
For the majority of players, a high level of skill normally translates to on-field success. The more a player produces on the field, the more fantasy points they produce, and in return the higher a player will rank within their respective position. This is also true for QB rankings. In a fantasy world filled with so many outliers, it’s nice to know when you have a player that you can plugin and see them produce up to projected standards. For the most part, a player’s extended run of success in prior seasons is a great initial indicator when considering quarterback rankings.
Players like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers are notable examples of this. For more than a decade, they have lived up to expectations bestowed upon them. Both regularly finish amongst the top point-getters at their position, despite the shuffling of coaches and personnel around them. In return, their fantasy rankings amongst players at their position remain high.
Talent Shines, but it isn’t Everything When it Comes to QB Rankings
Some players have earned their rankings based off of continued success throughout the years. Others come out of the gates so phenomenally and dominate in a way that is almost unheard of, that to doubt them would be an injustice.
Will Patrick Mahomes continue to produce at the same level that he did in the 2018 season? Maybe not, but to think he will plummet to the bottom of rankings at any point in the following seasons would be utterly ridiculous. Certain players enter must-start territory on a weekly basis, cementing themselves within the top tiers of their positional rankings, regardless of matchup. These players are given the benefit of the doubt as viable fantasy options until they prove otherwise.
Other players may ooze with talent, but lack on-field production. Whether due to lack of experience, or being an unfinished project, they haven’t earned their keep amongst the fantasy elites. Unless placed in a prime position to succeed, or presented with a mouth-watering matchup, if a quarterback hasn’t proven to be trustworthy, it will show in The Fantasy Footballers’ QB rankings.
Schematics plays a major role in fantasy football QB rankings. “Quarterback-friendly” offenses, such as the ones run by the likes of Josh McDaniels, Andy Reid, and Sean McVay, have churned out fantasy production yearly, regardless of who’s under center. Certain players undoubtedly take these offenses to new heights, Pat Mahomes being a prime example. Still, Alex Smith and Donovan McNabb did more than enough to help fantasy players capture league championships during their day.
We know, Tom Brady is the GOAT, and no one would argue that the Patriots’ dynasty could have been orchestrated with just anyone under center. Yet that’s not to say that the scheme put in place didn’t make things easier for Brady along the way. Hell, Matt Cassel finished as QB8 in fantasy the year Brady went down with a torn ACL.
New age offenses put their focus on the quarterback making sound and precise decisions and quickly getting the ball in the hands of skill players. If a quarterback has the wherewithal to swiftly read a defense, and the talent around him to rack up yards after the catch, chances are he will be more than serviceable in fantasy corners. Therefore, his fantasy QB ranking will increase.
Speaking of talent around a quarterback, that brings us to our next point. The old argument of “does the quarterback make the wide receiver” or vice versa is meaningless in the end. I would argue if both are pretty good, you’re in a decent position regardless of who may be better. Contrastingly, if you lack skill on one end of the spectrum, the other end will falter as well.
For instance, Ben Roethlisberger has been a fantasy stalwart at the QB position year-in and year-out. He has stacked up numbers for more than a decade as a near shoo-in QB1 on most rosters. In fact, his 340+ fantasy points in 2019 were the best season Big Ben has produced to date, and he finished within the top three at his position in standard-scoring leagues.
However, things in Pittsburgh will begin to look vividly different from years past. Ben managed to remain fantasy-relevant without Le’Veon Bell in 2018. Now, Antonio Brown, who has averaged more than 114 receptions and 11+ TDs over the past six seasons, has also abandoned ship. This leaves the Steelers hungry for playmakers. Pittsburgh may have JuJu Smith-Schuster to fill the WR1 role left abandoned by Brown, but they are left with a handful of unproven, albeit talented, commodities to fill out the depth chart.
Any team would be hard-pressed to improve when losing arguably the top two players at their respective positions. In return, it will also be difficult for Roethlisberger to produce on par with 2018 season’s statistical output moving forward. All in all, this will likely lead to a dip in his QB rankings.
Strength of Schedule
All quarterbacks are human, some more so than others. While you may be resistant to taking a top-level talent out of your starting lineup, the Footballers will help you make the proper call when it’s time. Certain defenses simply bode terribly towards a quarterback’s fantasy value. If a scouring defensive unit has mopped the floor with their past six opponents, chances are this week’s matchup will also have their struggles against the unit.
A great example of this would be Andrew Luck in 2018. At one point in that season, Luck was on a record pace, accumulating eight consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes. That is until it came to a screeching end against the Jaguars. In that game, he would go on to throw for zero touchdowns and compile a whopping eight fantasy points. Better judgment should have told you that Jacksonville would be a risky matchup at best. With The Fantasy Footballers’ quarterback rankings, you won’t have to rely simply on your better judgment.
Editor’s Note: Check out some late-round QBs worth targeting at the end of your drafts.
Matchups are Key
Every year there are a handful of defenses that are a complete crapshoot. As the season goes on, which units these will be becomes ever the more evident. The Footballers will take this into consideration when setting their QB rankings. If a quarterback is presented with a great matchup, it may at times outweigh previous success or personal skill level. While the elite at the QB position may be set in stone at the top of rankings, a mid-tier signal caller could see his QB rankings jump exponentially based off of a luscious matchup.
QBs Quick on their Feet can Become Fantasy Elite
It’s predominantly clear that Tim Tebow didn’t have the passing tools to stick around the league, yet he still managed a respectable 15 ppg in his lone season as Denver’s starter. This is due to scoring systems that favored rushing yardage rather than yardage compiled through the air. While the majority of fantasy leagues only grant one point to quarterbacks per 25 yards of passing, the same leagues will hand out one point for just ten yards gained on the ground.
Players such as Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson will see their names constantly climb quarterback rankings throughout the season for this reason. Just as long as they continue churning out yardage on the ground. Find out where Murray and Jackson are ranked the Ballers QB Rankings Part 2 Podcast.
Simply put, a quarterback’s feet can make him a viable fantasy option well before he becomes a reliable starting quarterback in the NFL.
6 Points > 4 Points
Once again touching on scoring formats, in most leagues, quarterbacks leave points on the board every time they toss a touchdown through the air. While all other skill positions gain six fantasy points when they cross the goal line on a passing play, QBs get docked two points compared to their receiving counterparts. That is, unless they decide to tuck it down and run it in themselves.
Entering year nine, Cam Newton still struggles with accuracy and reading secondaries, yet he still serves as a capable fantasy starter in most weeks. One of the main reasons for this is that he has compiled 58 touchdowns on the ground over his career, the most by any QB in the Super Bowl era. Of those 58 touchdowns, each counted as six points added to his fantasy total. Newton, who at times in his career has served as Carolina’s go-to goal line back, has converted his nose for the end zone into fantasy gold, averaging nearly 20-ppg during his Panthers’ tenure.
Of the six top scoring quarterbacks in fantasy football in 2018, four of them are legitimate threats on the ground. This is a trend that will likely continue throughout the years as more mobile quarterback enter the NFL and are placed within college-like spread schemes.