Three Quarterbacks You Can Trust in 2016
The QB position is the deepest it has ever been. Last season 40 different QBs had top 12 weeks and 30 QBs finished in the top 5 at least once. Even amongst this plethora of QBs, it remains important to know which signal callers you can trust on a week in week out basis.
If you’re familiar with this “trust” series, you know that a trustworthy player is one you can rely on to finish with starter worthy numbers each and every week. Here are some QBs worthy of the designation.
2015 was a tale of two seasons for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense as a whole. Their bye week perfectly divided the season into two 8 game halves. Before the bye, Wilson finished as a top 12 QB just once. However after the bye, he finished as a top 12 QB in all 8 games, including 4 top 5 finishes. This can be attributed to a shift in offensive play calling after the loss of Marshawn Lynch to injury. Lynch has subsequently retired leaving the play calling focused squarely on Russell Wilson. I expect his 2016 season to more closely resemble the latter half of 2015.
Even when taken as a whole, Wilson was a consistent producer last season. He never finished with single-digit fantasy points. This is in part due to the high floor he provides with his contributions as a runner. In his career, Wilson has averaged over 600 yards and 3 TDs on the ground per year. He’s no slouch as a passer either. In 2015, he finished 3rd in completion percentage, 4th in yards per attempt and 1st in passer rating. With the Seahawks finally adjusting their offensive scheme to fit their superstar QB, Russell Wilson will not only be consistent in 2016, but he can be a true difference maker on your roster.
If trusting Russell Wilson with a 5th round pick is too rich for your blood, I give you Carson Palmer. Palmer will only cost you a mid to late 7th rounder at his current ADP. Last season Palmer finished in the top 12 at his position 62.5% of the time and his only single digit performance came in a meaningless Week 17 game in which he was pulled at halftime. This means that Palmer was never the reason your team lost a weekly matchup. In addition to providing consistency, Palmer also rewarded owners with 3 top 5 weeks at the position. These are the kind of performances that could potentially win you the week.
Expect more of the same from Palmer in 2016. The Cardinals will field one of the more talented and explosive offenses in the league. This explosiveness was reflected in Palmer’s league leading 8.7 yards per attempt in 2015. Palmer will continue benefit from his supporting cast of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown and capable pass-catching RBs in David Johnson and Andre Ellington.
Looking for trust in all the wrong places? Andy Dalton may surprise you at his current price. At the cost of an 11th round pick, Andy Dalton was 4th in fantasy points per game last season. He was also 2nd in passer rating and yards per attempt. Though limited to 12 games due to injury, Dalton still managed to finish in the top 12 at his position 9 times. This rate of 75% was better than even the aforementioned Palmer or Wilson.
There are those with a less than optimistic outlook for Dalton in 2015, as much has been made of the losses to the Cincinnati Offense this offseason, with Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones leaving for big free agent paydays. However, in 2015 this pass catching duo combined for only 4 TDs. Dalton will be just fine as he still has plenty of quality options in A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert (who should return from injury early in the season). Newly minted Bengals Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd will be competent contributors as well. The offensive system should remain unchanged despite the loss of offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, as last year’s QB Coach Ken Zampese will step in to fill the void. Zampese has been with the organization since 2003 and has been working with Dalton since he was drafted in 2011. If anything, the play calls may even skew a bit more pass heavy since Hue Jackson favored the run.
Dalton has been underestimated before, but you would be wise to take a chance on him late in your draft if you choose to wait on a QB.
This disclaimer has become boilerplate but in case you missed it; I have presumed the health of all players, be sure to check the Ultimate Draft Kit for up to date injury news and notes.