By: Little Italy (Publisher)
Follow on Twitter: @LILITALY853
Now that the Super Bowl has played out and we have a Champion crowned, congrats to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we can now all turn the page from the 2020 NFL fantasy season to the 2021 NFL fantasy season. Yes, I know I stated on the season one finale of the Godfather’s table podcast (That you can find exclusively on Spotify) that I would be taking a break for a couple weeks to catch my breath from the grind that is fantasy football and sports betting, but I just can’t stop. There is something I like to do every year at this time and that is look back at the previous season and see the mistakes I made so that I will not make the same mistakes again moving forward. The difference this year is I get to share those mistakes with all of you, the loyal Prop Bet Fantasy subscribers. In this article, I will be looking at the things I got right and the things I got wrong last season when it pertains to the Quarterback position specifically and how those mistakes have changed my thinking moving forward when looking at the position.
2020 Pre-Season Hits
If you recall back to last off-season and into draft season, it was clear I was not interested in either Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson entering the season. This wasn’t because I thought they would have terrible seasons, it was because I knew their draft capital was going to be too steep, which it was rounds 1-2. Instead, I was all in on targeting those quarterbacks in the second Tier of Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, DeShaun Watson, and Russell Wilson, specifically Wilson because he could be had much later than the other four in this tier, I drafted him in the 9th-10th rounds in a few drafts this past season. This was a wise strategy as all the quarterbacks in this second tier had big years, with the exception of Dak who suffered that gruesome ankle injury, but was on track to be a top three option at the position. Watson started the season off slow but got hot as the year went on, which is a testament to him as a player as he had to deal with a dumpster fire of an organization all season long, which is why he wants out this season. CAN YOU BLAME HIM? Not at all. Josh Allen was the biggest surprise this fantasy season coming out of this tier. Even those hardcore Allen Truthers coming into the season couldn’t imagine the steps forward he took in 2020. We all knew he had the ability to run and score touchdowns with his legs. We all knew he had a cannon for an arm. We all knew he was getting a new shiny weapon in Stefon Diggs, but no one could imagine the improvement he would show in his passing accuracy. Allen has always struggled in this department, but he cleaned that up considerably this season, which allowed him to throw for 39 touchdowns. Allen no doubt will be drafted as a top three quarterback this summer, as he should be.
2020 Pre-Season Misses
I was all in on paring one of the above-mentioned quarterbacks with a quarterback from the upside QB2 tier. The quarterbacks featured in this upside tier included Carson Wentz, Daniel Jones, Baker Mayfield, Joe Burrow, and Gardner Minshew. Many had Cam Newton in this tier as well, but not me, as I knew he was going to fail. My takes on Cam proved right with his poor play throughout the season, as it was evident that Newton is in fact cooked. Had Burrow not suffered that devastating knee injury, he would have been in the hits section above, because his play as a rookie was fantastic. Daniel Jones was just plain terrible in 2020. The biggest regret or miss rather would have to be my call on Carson Wentz. I was one of the people in the industry who believed in Wentz, which I backed up by drafting him in many leagues this past season. I had him pegged for a breakout year, which as we all know now never happened. Wentz had everything falling into place for him, new fast targets in Reagor and Hightower, a top tier RB in Miles Sanders, not one but two top end TE’s, and production from a season before where he had essentially zero WR’s at his disposal but still finished as a fantasy QB1. So what happened? Well it was a combination of Wentz’s poor execution/play and Doug Peterson’s criminal misusage of a talented offense.
So what did I Learn?
The biggest thing I am taking out of last season and into the future is the fact that the quarterback position isn’t as deep as we thought. It is clear there are only a handful of quarterbacks who we can truly start every single week without question, which includes Allen, Mahomes, Jackson, Murray, Wilson, Watson, Rodgers, and Dak. After those guys we are playing the streaming game week to week, where we pair a Matt Ryan type with say a Jared Goff type and play the best option for the week.
The second thing I have learned is the position landscape and philosophy has changed. What do I mean by that? Well just take a look back say five years ago and to whom we found a top the fantasy leaderboard for the position. We find the likes of Manning, Brady, Brees, Roethlisberger, and Rodgers. We found those guys a top the fantasy mountain because they were getting it done with their arm putting up massive yardage and touchdown totals. This is why Phil Rivers was always in the mix as a fantasy QB1. For that period that was the way of the NFL, strictly pocket drop back passing attacks. Now, we look to the last two years and who do we see at the top that same list? We see the likes of Jackson, Mahomes, Murray, Allen, Watson, and Wilson. Why is that? It is because the NFL landscape has changed, to where more offenses are going the way of the mobile/duel threat quarterback. With this type of quarterback comes two things the aforementioned group didn’t have, which is a high floor combined with an even higher ceiling. The strictly passing non-mobile quarterback have that single digit floor coupled with a ceiling, which usually maxes out in the mid 20’s. That duel threat quarterback has a floor of usually 15 to a massive ceiling sometimes doubling the ceiling of those passing only quarterbacks. To sum this up easily I will ask you one simple question, would you rather start Josh Allen every week or Jared Goff? 10/10 times it’s Josh Allen isn’t it?
Therefore, from this point on I will no longer be of the mindset of “waiting on QB.” I am finally done with that approach, because the change in philosophy within the NFL itself has warranted this change in my fantasy philosophy. It is quite clear after the top 12-13 quarterbacks this position thins out very quickly. It is quite clear that the players with that high floor/ceiling combination thins out even faster. I want to be in on the players averaging the 20+ fantasy points per game compared to those averaging under 18, which is usually the quarterbacks outside the top 10. This difference may not seem that big at a glance, but over a course of a full 16, soon to be 17, week fantasy season equates to 30-50 fantasy points, which is big. This is why I will be targeting a quarterback who is able to pass and use his legs as weapons, which means going after the position much earlier than years past. Instead of waiting until the 9th round or later to get my starting quarterback, I will be looking to lock up a top option in the 5th-8th round range. I am still not willing to overpay for Mahomes or likely this year’s number two QB off the board Josh Allen in the first three rounds, but I will be in on that second tier consisting of Dak, Jackson, Watson, and Murray. This is our new sweet spot without making the other positions on our teams weak. So to sum it up, we want a quarterback in rounds 5-8 that offers that every week high floor/ceiling combination that will propel us to fantasy glory!!!!