Three QBs to Remember in 2021 (Fantasy Football)
In the Players to Remember series, we highlight three players at each position that you should be keeping an eye on as we head into draft season. These aren’t players you should necessarily be reaching for, but they are guys you can take can later in your drafts, or even pick up off the waiver wire if they go undrafted. Usually, players highlighted in this series have changed teams or come back from injury and could be a sneaky pick-up that your league mates may have forgotten about.
The Fantasy Footballers believe in the late-round quarterback and frequently discuss which quarterbacks they like on their podcast. Make sure you check out their mock draft episodes to see which quarterbacks they are targeting and when. This piece is taking an even deeper dive into the QB position than simply focusing on later rounds.
Don’t forget, these are not players you absolutely must draft. This article should serve as a reminder of the changing circumstances that could affect the potential future output so you can make the best-informed decisions at your draft.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
This may be low-hanging fruit, but Ryan Tannehill deserves to be mentioned among the quarterbacks to remember in 2021. The Titans have recently added elite WR Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons to their already superstar roster. That alone gives Tannehill a boost for the upcoming season. However, even if Jones had not been traded to Tennessee, Tannehill should still be firmly written on the brain even in a “run-first” type of offense with Derrick Henry.
Tannehill took a giant step forward once he was out from under the heel of HC Adam Gase in Miami. In his last year with Gase and the Dolphins in 2018, Tannehill played in only 11 games and finished as the QB30 with 151.5 points. The following year, he played in just one more game that season but finished as the QB21 with 230.2 points. Once he took over as the full-time starter and Marcus Mariota was shipped off to the Raiders, Tannehill had the best QB finish of his NFL career as the QB7 with a whopping 350.9 points. That equated to eight top-10 finishes and five of those games were in the top-5.
Tannehill was in the middle of the pack among quarterbacks in terms of passing in 2020 and ranked 18th in pass attempts (481), 17th in completions (315), and 15th in passing yards (3,819). However, he was ranked 8th in passing touchdowns with 33 showing that even with an RB like Henry on the team, Tannehill’s arm was still integral to the team’s scoring. He was 12th in red-zone passing attempts (72), 9th in red zone completions (47), and 6th in red-zone passing touchdowns (26).
He also wasn’t averse to using his wheels in the red zone to score touchdowns on the ground, either. He was 4th highest in the league in 10-zone rushing touchdowns by a QB with five behind Cam Newton (11), Josh Allen (7), and Kyler Murray (6). His current ADP is around the 11th Round, which is a steal for a potential top-10 finish. Our own Robert Wilson recently declared Tannehill “The Most Obvious Value in Fantasy Football“.
It warms my heart to see Ryan Fitzpatrick still going strong in the NFL. He has an electrifying presence that galvanizes his team each game and he plays with a type of reckless abandon that is so much fun to watch. Of course, with that style of play, Fitzpatrick isn’t the most reliable of quarterbacks for fantasy, which has earned him the various nicknames of “Fitzmagic” and “Fitztragic”.
Either way, he will be surrounded by new weapons in Washington including WR Terry McLaurin, TE Logan Thomas, and RBs J.D. McKissic and (FFHitman’s personal favorite) Antonio Gibson. They have also added WR Curtis Samuel who will be reunited with his former coach in Ron Rivera from his days with the Panthers.
Not only will Fitzpatrick have a solid supporting cast, but the Washington Football Team‘s offensive line is an upgrade as well. They are ranked 16th, which isn’t incredible, but it is much improved for the QB who was playing with the 30th worst in the league last year with the Dolphins. Despite the poor protection, he still managed to finish as QB1 five times in the nine games he played.
Fitzpatrick should be considered a solid streaming option in single QB leagues and should be looked at in Superflex and two QB leagues. He is largely going undrafted so he can be a late-round stash or pick up from the waiver wire.
Editor’s Note: Can’t get enough Fitzmagic? Read up on 25 Ryan Fitzpatrick Facts to Make You Rethink Your Life.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, I am taking a deep dive at the quarterback position and Sam Darnold sums that up well. There is nothing exciting about Darnold’s play since entering the league three years ago and he has yet to complete a full season. However, some of Darnold’s inability to produce can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the aforementioned Gase and the atrocious offensive line of the Jets.
I could go on and on Gase’s problems as a head coach (as could Jason Moore). I would like to avoid turning this article into a novel so I shall simply point out Tannehill’s success once he got away from Gase as a prime example. His offense’s pace of play is abysmal, as well, ranking 31st in the league only behind the hot mess of the Houston Texans.
The offensive line has been terrible since Darnold started for the Jets and they ranked 25th in 2018, 28th in 2019, and 29th in 2020 according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). In 2019, they were second-highest in pressure allowed in 2.5 seconds or less with 27.5% of dropbacks. In 2020, that number grew to 28%, which was the highest allowed in the league. Darnold was sacked 30, 33, and 35 times respectively since 2018 without even playing a full season.
Another factor that Darnold has had to contend with is the receiving corps. Last year, PFF ranked them second-worst in the league in front of only the Philadelphia Eagles.
Even though Darnold is finally out of New York, the sky isn’t quite sunny for him yet. The offensive line in Carolina isn’t great (31st) and needs work, but he has a much more stable coaching staff and a slew of surrounding weapons to help him. He will also be reuniting with WR Robby Anderson in addition to having RB Christian McCaffrey and WR D.J. Moore. Darnold needs to prove himself this year or he will likely remain a bust.
Darnold is a risky play, there is no getting around that. He can be considered in deeper leagues, possibly in 2QB/Superflex formats, and as a streaming option depending on the matchup and how quickly he can adjust to his new home. He is largely going to undrafted (18th Round or later) but he is one of those players to keep your eye on in case he does start to create some magic. Darnold is still shockingly young and has had nearly everything working against him since he was drafted. Carolina may just the change he needs to become fantasy-relevant.
For more on Darnold, check out Kacey Kasem’s Let’s Not Bury Sam Darnold Yet.