Quarterback SOS Beneficiaries & Ideal Late-Round Pairings
Ask the other people in your league why they draft quarterbacks early. Descriptors like ‘safe' or ‘matchup-proof' are used to justify the pick. The objective data Bears it out. Aaron Rodgers has been drafted as a top-five quarterback the past five seasons. When healthy, he's finished as a top-five quarterback in two out of the three years. That sentence is really all you need to know before considering streaming.
Drafting quarterbacks early sounds like a great idea in theory. The lineup decisions are easy, but it's one spot on your roster. The associated opportunity cost sacrifices depth at other positions such as running back and wide receiver. Both positions require more than one starter necessitating more players to choose from on your roster. Streaming affords drafters the flexibility to build their rosters in the positions of need with an eye on a quarterback in the later rounds.
The quarterback position looks deep in 2018. Deshaun Watson took over the AFC South. Jimmy Garoppolo gave San Francisco some hope. Even Alex Smith proved he could still sling it. The influx of new talent and the retention of the old dogs gives us more viable choices than in years past. With the proper streaming strategy in place, drafters are ensured depth at all positions with stability and upside at quarterback. To point drafters in the right direction, as always, we turn to the data.
We want high upside and low risk when it comes to streaming. Using 4for4's aFPA tool, fantasy owners can quickly identify the top-eight defenses to target for quarterbacks: Patriots, Jets, Raiders, Packers, Browns, 49ers, Lions, and Chiefs. But, a quick word of caution. Green Bay just added Muhammad Wilkerson and Tramon Williams with additional support through the draft. The Patriots added Adrian Clayborn, Danny Shelton, and Jason McCourty. Last season isn't always predictive of future performance so some caution is advised when targeting these teams. However, from an overall perspective, quarterbacks playing against them gives us upside.
The low risk comes in when you draft your quarterback. The 10th round was used as a cutoff for identifying the mid-to-late round quarterbacks typically drafted. If you couple the upside from targeting the weaker defenses with the low risk of a mid-to-late quarterback, 4for4's Strength of Schedule by Position highlights the greatest beneficiaries of Strength of Schedule at the position, found below, which is followed by a list of the most favorable QB pairings for 2018.
The concerns are all valid. Coming off an ACL injury. Loss of his top weapon. Bottom-half ranked offensive line (finished 2017 in the top 12). Only two seasons over 4,000 yards passing. But, one of the top Strength of Schedule beneficiaries is Ryan Tannehill. His scheduled opponents are projected to allow 15.7 PPG, which is third most for all quarterbacks. He has the most matchups against weak opponents (6) and, when adjusted for bottom-eight defenses, the total gets a slight bump (7).
He can help lead you to the Promised Land (playoffs), but he’s not the guy to win you a championship. His opponents during the fantasy playoffs allow the fewest points to the position. His round 19–23 average draft position (ADP) suggests he’s not the primary starter for fantasy rosters. It will be critical to identify a replacement for those weeks should you make the playoffs.
Bortles has the easiest schedule when adjusted by strength of opponent. He only faces three bottom-eight defenses and only has one moderately strong opponent during the regular fantasy season. Teams facing the Jaguars allow an average of 15.9 points to the position. In addition, each of his matchups during the fantasy playoffs ranks in the top half with respect to points allowed.
While his upside isn’t buoyed by a larger number of weak opponents, the softer schedule should mitigate most of the concern when looking to start Bortles. His 15.09 ADP in 12-team leagues adequately accounts for his value. The Jaguars strong defense will always cap his upside, but their opponents will provide a safe floor on a weekly basis.
Continue reading to see why Trubisky's schedule makes him an ideal quarterback target in your fantasy draft, as well as which late-round quarterback pairings Chris recommends...