In this series, I‘m going to take a look at each offensive position’s free agent class and break them down for potential fantasy production going forward. Much like the incoming rookie quarterback class, this season’s free agent quarterback class leaves a lot to be desired. There is minimal fantasy upside to much of this group, but I’ll do my best to get through the through the potential upside of the marquee names in this group.
Nick Foles. Foles is the crown jewel of this class, and it isn’t even close. Foles bought out his contract after the Eagles picked up his option, so unless they hit him with a $25-million franchise tag, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent. The top teams in need of an immediate starting quarterback are Jacksonville, Miami, Washington and maybe Denver. Jacksonville seems to be the best fit. With a run-first system in place, defenses need to respect Leonard Fournette and in turn, it should open up the passing game for Foles. The Jags are the most championship-caliber team of the top options, and it would reunite him with Jags’ offensive coordinator and former Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo.
Fantasy Impact: If he lands with the Jags, he has potential QB1 upside. He was a QB1 in 2013 when he started ten games for the Eagles, and he produced a fantasy WR1 and WR2 in DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper. Foles presence could bring a significant uptick in production for Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, D.J. Chark and a healthy Marqise Lee. This might also bode well for Leonard Fournette, as opposing defenses will have to pay more attention to the Jacksonville passing game than they have in the past.
Teddy Bridgewater. There really isn’t a second tier, but here we are. The landing spots are the same as above, but what to make of Teddy? In his limited NFL game action, he has left a lot to be desired. Some still hold out hope for his potential they observed in Louisville. He may be a tempting asset for teams that are less than impressed with the rookie crop, who are looking to sign an upside player on a short term deal. Worst case scenario, if Bridgewater plays well on a one or two year deal, he could be hit with the franchise tag for another two seasons at a reasonable price in the $23-million range.
Fantasy Impact: Unfortunately, I suspect he resigns with The Saints. Drew Brees back-up is a dead end for fantasy purposes, but Brees’ contract expires after next year as he completes his age 40 season. There is a small chance Bridgewater may take the reigns a year from today, so he is worth a stash in deeper dynasty leagues, but can’t be projected to be anything more than a low-end QB2 if he does get a starting job.
Blake Bortles, Ryan Tannehill, and Case Keenum. This was originally supposed to include Joe Flacco, but his trade to the Broncos locked him up and essentially frees Case Keenum who is now likely to be cut or traded. This is a speculative tier as none of them have officially been released yet, but it has been reported that they are all going to be released. With few starting gigs available, there is a chance they all end up as veteran backups, essentially graveyard for fantasy. There is a chance that one of them (or Bridgewater) lands in Washington if Alex Smith isn’t going to be healthy enough to start the season.
Fantasy Impact: Maybe if one of them lands in Washington, they will have value in two QB leagues and as a bye-week fill-in in one QB leagues. Outside of that, it’s hard to imagine any of the three having any worth outside of handcuffs to whichever young guns they’ll be backing up in 2019, and don’t look to be anything more than high-end QB3s.
Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is one of the handful of players who is a significantly better fantasy asset than a real-life NFL asset. There is a sneaky chance that he may be a stopgap candidate for a Miami or Jacksonville or Washington team that plans on drafting a quarterback of the future who won’t be ready on opening day.
Fantasy Impact: If he falls into a starting job, he’s worth rostering and would be an ideal late round QB candidate if you’re drafting with a zero-QB strategy. It’s just hard to imagine him landing a starting gig outside of becoming a mentor for possibly the Dolphins quarterback of the future as a fantasy QB2 when he is on the field.
Fantasy Impact: If he stays in Baltimore, he’s a must-own handcuff for Jackson owners. Given Jackson’s playing style, he is likely to miss some time, and if you still believe in RG3’s talent, he has potential as a fantasy asset in the event Jackson were to go down.
Trevor Siemian. If you’re looking for a fantasy dark horse, here’s the guy. Siemian seems like a “coaches guy” that may land in a better situation than anyone could imagine. He would cost close to nothing, and despite his two mediocre seasons as the starting quarterback in Denver, money talks and he would be an extremely affordable bridge for a handful of games until a rookie was groomed to the point he could take over.
Fantasy Impact: Although he has mixed in quite a few turds, he was a serviceable signal caller for a team that has no aspirations of winning now. He could easily be a dirt cheap option while a team waits for their future. This is purely speculation, but he can be a bottom of the barrel fantasy asset if he sneaks into a role. It’s a stretch, but don’t forget Brock Osweiler got multiple starting opportunities(and he’s a free agent again too!).
Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even at 36 years of age, Fitzmagic is the ultimate backup quarterback. Uproxx created a fantastic graphic showcasing the Ryan Fitzpatrick career cycle. An ideal landing spot might be behind Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, reuniting him with his former Tampa Bay OC Todd Monken. Unless another potential backup emerges, and Tyrod Taylor is not in the picture, this makes a lot of sense.
Fantasy Impact: He worth keeping on your radar, as he has played very well in small doses. If he does land in Cleveland with Monken, he should be able to step in seamlessly (short term) if anything happens to Mayfield.
Where do we stand going forward?
Are you underwhelmed yet? Aside from Foles, it’s hard to imagine anyone here possibly having league-winning upside. At best, if you’re in deeper leagues, you’ll have quite a few solid handcuff options going forward. Even if all the potential cuts play musical chairs, and two of the Flacco/Bortles/Tannehill group land starting jobs, none of them are going to move the needle for fantasy outside of deep superflex leagues. If you’re not already set at the QB position heading into 2019, you’re probably not going to get any relief via your waiver wire or in your rookie drafts. Start perusing your league’s trade bait section and make some offers.