Making The Case for Dynasty Number One: Quarterback

One of the great aspects of dynasty fantasy football is how the format lends itself to debate. When ranking players, you can choose to base it on short-term vs. long-term windows, on their ability or based on their situation. With free agency all but over, and the NFL Draft just around the corner and now is a great time to take stock of our top-ranked dynasty players at each position. Today we’ll start with quarterbacks.

Caleb Peirson (@DFF_Pierson)Deshaun Watson

Lost in the Patrick Mahomes hype and Andrew Luck’s dominate return was Deshaun Watson’s 2018 season. A season in which Watson finished as a top five quarterback on the year, and finished the season about 20 points shy of outscoring Luck, a little over one point per game less. Watson did all this while being the most sacked quarterback in the league, being drug down 62 times.

Watson goes into 2019 with Deandre Hopkins, one of the league’s best wide receivers, and Will Fuller, who will be returning from injury to be Watson’s deep threat. Loaded with an extra second-round pick, the Texans are very likely to add pass protection for Watson in the NFL Draft. Watson’s path to QB1 is with his legs. In 2018, Watson was able to add 551 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns to his 26 touchdowns through the air. Watson’s weekly ceiling is close to as high as Patrick Mahomes.

Still only 23 years old, Watson is putting up huge numbers with no tight end threat or a pass-catching running back. If the Texans can add offensive line help as well as a pass-catching threat at either running back or tight end, Watson could take a massive jump forwards in 2019.

Shane (@DFF_Shane)Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns

I’ve been mocked far and wide for this take already, so I’m not changing my tune now. It’s hard to find a team with better weapons than the ones Mayfield has to play with. Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Antonio Callaway, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt when he returns from his suspension. When you look at what he was able to do with Freddie Kitchens (courtesy of the RotoViz Game Splits app) calling the plays in the final eight games of last season, it’s hard not to dream big.

Mayfield’s counting stats increased across the board, and his fantasy scoring increased by a smidge over six points per game. He set the rookie record for passing touchdowns despite only starting 13 games. He was able to do this without Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt so what do you think he’ll do with them in the lineup? The Browns also added Todd Monken to the coaching staff as the offensive coordinator. Monken was able to coax over 5,000 passing yards out of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston last season. Monken also has a strong coaching base in the air raid system, which Mayfield played in during his time at Oklahoma.

His college production is unparalleled. The 2017 Heisman Trophy winner has two of the four highest Passing Efficiency Rating seasons in the history of modern (1964 and later) college football. At the time departed college he held to the top two seasons but was surpassed by the 2018 seasons of Kyler Murray (the odds on favorite to be the first quarterback off the board in the NFL Draft), and Tua Tagovailoa. Mayfield finished his college career second all-time in Passing Efficiency Rating,  fourth all-time with 131 passing touchdowns, and third in yards per attempt among other highlights. 

Mayfield was a great college player, played great as a rookie and will only continue to improve.

Sam Terry (@DFF_sbt1030) – Aaron Rodgers

I was the last to join this group, so I got “stuck” propping up Aaron Rodgers as the player to finish as the QB1 next year. If you owned Rodgers last year, there is a good chance you are less than pleased with his overall finish, but there was a lot left on the plate in Green Bay. While trying to piece together a decent WR corps behind Davante Adams, Rodgers was sacked 49 times. I fully expect the Packers to address the offensive line in the draft and possibly the wide receiver position.

They drafted a few WRs last year and have Geronimo Allison as well, but the loss of safety-blankie Jordy Nelson negatively affected Rodgers. Adams is fantastic, but Green Bay will need more than one above-par pass catcher to be successful. With Aaron Jones coming into his own down the stretch, this offense could explode with a few more pieces around Rodgers.

Furthermore, you can’t ignore history. Aaron Rodgers has been one of the most consistent producers at the position for the past decade. He has shown time and time again that he can be a top-three finisher. Two of the most significant things that jump out from his stats last year were his passing touchdowns and his rushing production. He had the fewest passing touchdowns of his career where he started at least 15 games. He also had 100 fewer rushing yards and two fewer rushing touchdowns than the 2016 season (he was injured in 2017). Next year, if his numbers fall closer to where they have been historically, he will remind fantasy gamers why he was drafted first among quarterbacks for so many years.

Robert Wilson (@TheFFGator) – Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts

Regression always hits, so it’s very likely that Mahomes won’t produce in the same way going forward and it’s important to look at other options at the top spot too. Andrew Luck is that option.

After the Colt’s week nine bye Luck had a significant increase in passing yards per game and yards per attempt, along with a decrease in his interception rate. It’s also worth noting that in the back half of the season he saw the Dallas secondary once and both Jacksonville and Tennessee twice. Luck threw for more passing yards and fewer interceptions against increased competition. It’s very safe to say he returned to his old self by seasons end.

In terms of fantasy production, he only had three weeks where he failed to reach 25 points which puts him ahead of the prodigy in Kansas City. His ceiling every week might not be as drastic as Mahomes’, but his floor is higher.

The Colts have sunk a significant amount of equity into his offensive line to keep him upright. If I tried to claim he had the week to week potential of Mahomes, I would need to be examined by a medical professional, but I’m very comfortable claiming he’s safer and much more predictable.

Jason (@FL2drinkMinimum) Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs

The goal of this exercise to make a case for this player, Patrick Mahomes, to be the overall numero uno at his position of Quarterback. Only three QBs in the history of the NFL have thrown for more than five thousand yards and 50+ TDs, two being first ballot hall of gamers Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. That third guy is Patrick Mahomes. He had 5,097 yards and 50 TDs in his first year starting. Now Brady and Manning never reached that 5,000 and 50 number again, so are Mahomes numbers sustainable? No…well probably not, right?

But how will Patrick Mahomes stay as the QB1? The simple answer is Andy Reid calling plays with Patrick Mahomes slinging the rock. The long answer is that the Chiefs defense has appeared to get worse, not better this offseason, so prone to more shootouts. He can make any throw from multiple arm launch angles, and elite pass receiving options in Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and I’m still saying Sammy Watkins has elite talent at least. Then add in what most believe to be a less than stellar running back corps and that leads us closer to that 5,000 and 50 number again. I guess that wasn’t that long, but I was told to keep it short. Andy Reid, elite weapons, less than average defense. Patrick Mahomes Dynasty QB1 on the field and in our hearts for years to come.

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