Three QBs to Remember in 2020 (Fantasy Football)
In the last installment of the players to remember in 2020, let’s take a look at three veteran, late-round quarterbacks. These players are usually available to draft in the 12th Round or later and may even be going undrafted altogether.
After this crazy offseason, I have found myself taking two quarterbacks in my drafts just in case. Any one of these three quarterbacks has the potential to be a streaming QB or even your starter depending on how the season the progresses.
1. Philip Rivers – Indianapolis Colts
First, let me explain. I know that host Jason Moore has not yet found it within himself to forgive Rivers after his abysmal season last year. I even wrote a Make Up or Break Up about Rivers earlier in the offseason. I want to be very clear that I am including him in this list of QBs as a streaming option for the 2020 season. He is going undrafted in many 12-team leagues and could be worth a stash to prepare for a worst-case-scenario this year.
If you are like Jason and just can’t stomach having Rivers on your roster in any capacity, I completely understand. Last year was absolutely awful for the Chargers and especially for Rivers. He had his second-most interceptions in his career, which was also third-most in the NFL behind Baker Mayfield (21) and Jamies Winston (30). He threw only three more touchdowns than he did interceptions, which was the third-fewest ever in his career as a starter.
So, why even mention Rivers at all?
Let’s not forget that while 2019 was atrocious, Rivers has been a successful fantasy QB a majority of the time throughout his career. Since 2011, he has had seven top12 appearances. As bad as last year was, he still finished as the QB15, knocking on the QB1 door. Head coach Frank Reich has been singing Rivers’ praises all through training camp and he seems to fit into the offense as only a veteran truly knows how to do.
As for his new team, Rivers will throw behind the best offensive line in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. This will give him more time to make better decisions in the pocket and hopefully cut down on interceptions.
The offensive weapons around him are nothing to sneeze at, either. T.Y. Hilton (when healthy) is an elite WR1 talent, with Paris Campbell and Zach Pascal looking to improve as they mature in the NFL. The Colts also added two significant rookies in the 2020 draft in WR Michael Pittman Jr. and the RB phenom in Jonathon Taylor. Veteran TE Jack Doyle is yet another piece available for Rivers to target.
Again, I wouldn’t plant my hopes in Rivers as a weekly starter, but he should see some QB1 opportunities as a matchup-based starter or bye-week filler.
ADP: 17.01 or undrafted
2. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s easy to dismiss the Pittsburgh Steelers in fantasy after the 2019 season. After Roethlisberger went down in Week 2 with a season-ending injury, backups Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges rotated under center while making their NFL debuts. Add injuries at nearly every position, and the Steelers faced an uphill battle all season long.
The circumstances were less than ideal for everyone involved. WR Juju Smith-Schuster transitioned out wide as the WR1 with Antonio Brown no longer with the team. RB James Conner dealt with another rash of injuries later in the season and the team had to rely on rookie WR Diontae Johnson and sophomore James Washington who came into the 2019 season with 42.1% catch rate.
2020 should be an entirely different year for the Steel City. While we can’t stat out all 16 weeks for Roethlisberger from 2019, we can look at his many years as their starter. In 2018 he led the league with 675 pass attempts, 452 completions, and 320.6 yards per game. He threw for 5,129 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions.
Roethlisberger saw 11 finishes as a top12 QB out of 16 weeks in 2018 and was a top10 QB in eight, finishing the year as the QB3.
Of course, he did have Brown as his WR1 in 2018 and no RB Le’Veon Bell, which may have added to the necessity in throwing the football. While Johnson is no Brown, he was drafted to be that talented field stretcher and compliment Smith-Schuster who is being moved back into the slot where he dominates. Despite the quarterback ineptitude, Johnson had 59 receptions on 92 targets for 680 yards, and five touchdowns averaging 11.5 yards per reception with a 64.1% catch rate. He is more than talented enough for Roethlisberger to build chemistry with in 2020.
If the skill positions can stay healthy (including Big Ben) we could be looking at a similar performance as 2018. You can get Roethlisberger as late as 13th Round or later to pair with your starting QB. He may even become your starting quarterback as the season progresses. He has the talent plus the weapons around him to produce for fantasy.
3. Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions
If you have followed any of my work or heard me on any podcast, seeing Stafford’s name on this list will come as no surprise. I battled for him in our Fantasy Court Series and I also declared him as “My Guy” for 2020.
Let’s be honest, though. The Lions are, well… the Lions. They aren’t sparkly or shiny or have a plethora of Super Bowl appearances or victories under their belts. That has never seemed to matter to Stafford who pours his heart and soul (and body) onto the football field every weekend.
Before we talk about the 2019 season, let’s look at Stafford’s prior history as the Lions’ starting QB since 2011. Since that time, he has not missed a single game, thrown no fewer than 363 completions, and his worse completion percentage playing all 16 games was 58.5% in 2013. He also had six top10 QB appearances and the Ballers have Stafford in their top10 list for 2020.
Last year, Stafford was on pace for a record-setting year. He threw 187 completions on 291 attempts for nearly 2,500 yards and 19 touchdowns. Again, in eight games. He finished as the QB6 or better in five of those weeks. If we stat out his projected 2019 season based on these numbers, he would have blown out both Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson in terms of passing volume with 364 completions, 535 attempts, 4,998 yards, and 38 touchdowns.
We will never know what could have happened in 2019, but we do know that Stafford is healthy and has talented weapons around him. The offensive line still needs work, so that will be an uphill battle, but adding rookie RB D’Andre Swift gives Stafford even more opportunities in the passing game.
Stafford is being drafted around the 12th Round, and I have no problem waiting until then to grab him as my starter.