2018 Late Round Must Own QB: Blake Bortles

I did not imagine for one moment heading into the 2017 season that Blake Bortles would lead me to multiple championships, but here I am, 4 rings heavier with Bortles as the QB of every winning team I had. After streaming the QB position in the majority of leagues last season, I settled on Bortles around Week 12. I hope you all followed my advice to pick him up in Week 14 http://factorysports.wpengine.com/blake-bortles-playoff-saviour/. The Jags decision to extend Blake Bortles through to 2020 has been met with mixed reaction, but it is nothing but good news for fantasy owners. I’m not going to try to convince you that Bortles is a great Quarterback, that’s not what this is about. I’m here to show you why he can be a great fantasy Quarterback

Blake Bortles is the epitome of the late round value Quarterback, and he is perennially overlooked despite his above average fantasy consistency. Bortles hasn’t thrown for less than 3600 yards since his rookie season and has a 4400 yard/35 TD season on his resume. This draft season, when your league mates look to last year’s fantasy finishes, they are going to find Bortles sitting at no.13 overall. After finishing as the QB4 in 2015, Bortles had a 7th round ADP heading into 2016. He finished as the QB9 in 2016 and coming into 2017 his ADP was outside the top 200!  Last year was Blake’s worst fantasy finish since his rookie season, ending up as the QB13; this should mean that 2018 will be another season with Bortles almost certainly available in the final rounds of drafts, and quite possibly even on waivers heading into Week 1.

Despite sitting outside the top 12 QBs for the first time since 2014, 2017 was Bortles’ best season to date in completion percentage at 60.4%, he managed this with a ragtag group of rookies and Marquise Lee, who managed his first 1000-yard season. The Jaguars had a rocky start to last season, going 4-3 through 7 games. After their week 8 bye everything came together for the Jaguars, they went 6-2 from week 9 to 16 securing their first playoff run since 2007. This of course is the business end of the fantasy football season, and in this time, Bortles scored less than 16 fantasy points just once, averaging 19.3 points per game. This meant that in the final 8 weeks of the fantasy season, Blake Bortles was the QB4, behind only Russell Wilson, Big Ben, and Cam Newton. If you look at only the last 5 weeks of the fantasy season, Bortles was the QB1! This included a play-off run of 18.5, 25 and then 22.4 points in championship week.

A good chunk of Bortles’ sneaky fantasy value comes from his rushing ability. Bortles has a career average of 22.2 rushing yards per game in regular season games, and in 2017 he added another 121 yards in his 3 playoff games. Bortles has also scored 7 rushing touchdowns in the past 3 seasons. In 2017, Bortles was the 11th most consistent QB. Looking back over the past 3 seasons, he was the 9th-most consistent in that time, averaging 17.5 points per game. He ranks higher in average fantasy points per game since 2015 than than Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan, Tyrod Taylor, Derek Carr, Carson Wentz, Philip Rivers, Alex Smith, Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, and Marcus Mariota, most of whom will likely be drafted before Bortles.

Looking forward to 2018, the Jaguars have the joint 4th easiest schedule of all NFL teams when looking at win-rates in 2017. Going deeper into their match-ups, 12 of their 16 games are against opponents who finished in the top half of fantasy points allowed to QBs.

Bortles was 18th in completion % inside the 20 in 2017, but with the addition of Donte Moncrief and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, he receives a significant upgrade in his red zone targets. ASJ is huge, his numbers for the Jets last year look a lot worse than they actually were, after having several TDs pulled back. Donte Moncrief has shown hyper-efficiency in the redzone; in 2016, 6 of his 10 RZ targets resulted in TDs. Obviously Bortles is no Andrew Luck, but Moncrief is still more reliable than the rookies he had at his disposal last year. The Jaguars also improved their offensive line with the addition of Andrew Norwell, PFF’s 12th-ranked offensive lineman of 2017, who will not only improve the Jags running game, but has also shown proficiency in pass blocking.

Everything is pointing up for Bortles given the direction the Jags are heading, and considering his finish to the 2017 campaign. I’m upgrading Bortles from a streamer to an every week plug-and-play and not looking back.


Editor and Director of #DFS content for @DFF_Dynasty and Writer for @DFF_Redraft.

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