Josh Allen, the most polarizing topic in the twitter-sphere, is an elite rusher at the quarterback position. Over the last two seasons, Allen ranks either first or second in every fantasy-relevant rushing statistic among quarterbacks. He has a league-high 17 TDs and averages a second-best 40-yards per game. Allen has a rushing floor that elevates his game to a fantasy QB1. So why does drafting Josh Allen as the seventh or eighth quarterback in a superflex startup leave such a foul taste in the mouth?
Josh Allen has fewer passing yards than 23 other quarterbacks since 2018. This includes nine players who played fewer games than Allen. Twenty-five players have thrown more TDs than Allen in the same time period. Only Jameis Winston, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, and Sam Darnold have more interceptions and fumbles than Josh Allen. His 3.8% touchdown rate ranks 41st in the league, and only six starting quarterbacks heading into 2020 have a higher interception rate than Allen’s 2.69%. Finally, Josh Allen’s 6.61 yards-per attempt ranks 54th in the NFL over the past two seasons. We can conclude that Josh Allen is a bad real-life quarterback from this, can’t we?
Based on his passing inefficiencies we can easily compare Josh Allen to former failed quarterback projects like Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky, right? The answer to this question is no. Josh Allen is a suitable franchise quarterback for the Bills. And he will get a handsome second contract to continue leading the Bills to playoff appearances, maybe. Despite lacking the passing upside that would determine whether Allen is a franchise quarterback in the NFL, over the past two seasons Allen is tied with Russell Wilson for third in fourth-quarter comebacks, and fourth in the NFL in game-winning drives.
Josh Allen improved in every area of his game in 2019, he raised his completion percentage, yards per attempt, and touchdown rate while lowering his interception rate. The addition of Stefon Diggs to the offense will certainly give Allen a bona fide alpha receiver on the outside that he has never had. Diggs elite route running should create plenty of separation. This should help increase Allen’s 35% completion rate on passes thrown 15+ yards downfield.
However, the Bills are transitioning from the eighth easiest passing schedule in 2019 to the eighth hardest in 2020. This may nullify the efficiency that Diggs brings to the offense. What may be even more worrisome is the Bills play an easy first half of the season. But from week eight to week sixteen they play six teams that rank in the top 15 of pass defenses. What this means from a fantasy perspective is that Allen may disappear down the stretch and in the fantasy playoffs.
The above charts show Josh Allen’s below-average completion percentage on deep passes both on early downs and on third down.
This upcoming offseason is when the Bills will have to decide if they will pick up Josh Allen’s fifth-year option. Billy Beane, the Bills GM has stated that he expects Allen to improve, specifically on his deep-ball accuracy going into his third-year in the Daboll system.
Josh Allen has missed four games in his two seasons due to injury. The injury was an elbow sprain in week 6 of 2018. Other than that, Allen sustained two concussions last season. Though neither kept him out of the game the week following. Concussions are a serious injury going forward. Given Allen’s physical running style, this may be a condition that worsens over time.
Allen is DLF’s seventh quarterback off the board, which is the 96th player taken in one-quarterback formats and the 31st in Superflex formats. According to Fantasy Pro, Allen is the seventh-ranked quarterback in redraft and the eighth in dynasty, which means that Allen offers both 2020 upside along with holding significant long-term value.
We can conclude that Josh Allen is both a top tier fantasy option at the quarterback position and a terrible quarterback in real life.
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