NFL fans will tell you that free agent quarterbacks rarely make a significant impact, so you’re better off resigning your own or finding one in the draft. Fantasy Football fans will tell you, if you’re using a top pick on a quarterback, you’re behind the times.
I guarantee if you ask last year’s Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck owners what round they’ll be selecting a quarterback in 2016, their answer looks vastly different than in 2015.
Year after year we see inconsistency within the Top 12 QBs and 2015 was no different. Kirk Cousins, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Russell Wilson and Blake Bortles all scoffed at the notion you need to take a quarterback within the first three rounds.
The list of available quarterbacks is starting to dry up but rest assured, there’s a diamond in the rough here somewhere.
Let’s break down the moves this off-season thus far and find this year’s Tyrod Taylor.
Free Agent Quarterbacks
Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
Captain Kirk took full advantage of his contract year last season as he was given every opportunity to prove whether or not he belonged as a starting QB in the NFL. Over 4,100 passing yards and 34 total touchdowns later, Cousins receives a Stock Up grade as he’s agreed to go into the 2017 season as a free agent once again.
Washington signed its breakout QB to a one year, $19.953 million deal, giving Cousins every bit as much incentive to deliver once again in 2016. Cousins is surrounded by virtually the same offensive cast he had at his disposal in 2015, minus Alfred Morris.
Assuming Washington replaces Morris via free agency or in the draft, Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson, Matt Jones, Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder and others offer more than enough potency for Cousins to once again finish as a Top 10 QB in Fantasy.
Brock Osweiler, Houston Texans
Being competent sure does have its benefits in the NFL, especially if the initials QB follow your name. Houston signed Osweiler to a 4 year, $72 million deal this off-season in an effort to solidify the revolving door situation they’ve had at the QB position (perhaps Osweiler can use some of that money to fix the misspelled tattoo he has on his arm).
Osweiler loses Demaryius Thomas but gains a virtual equivalent in DeAndre Hopkins. Don’t look now but Lamar Miller, DeAndre Hopkins and Osweiler have the potential to form a relatively potent offense under Head Coach Bill O’Brien.
If second year knucklehead Jaelen Strong can develop into a serviceable NFL WR, Osweiler could find himself among the Top 10-12 QBs in Fantasy by year’s end but regardless, the Brocktologist earns himself a Stock Up grade with his move to the Texans.
Robert Griffin III, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson believes RG3 can help lead this franchise out of the basement by turning Robert Griffin back into RG3. The revival of Griffin’s career would be a welcome addition to the city of Cleveland, especially since LeBron is leaving, again.
Griffin receives a Stock Up grade but the key to Griffin’s upside for the 2016 season is the availability of Fantasy Football stud WR Josh Gordon. If the NFL commissioner (I shall not refer to him by name) decides to reinstate Gordon, Griffin immediately becomes worthy of drafting in two QB formats and even as a QB 2 with high upside in standard leagues.
For what it’s worth, Gordan has been eligible for reinstatement for roughly two months already with no word from the NFL office regarding their decision. What the hell?
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Free Agent
Regardless of if Fitzpatrick resigns with the New York Jets or lands with the Denver Broncos, his stock isn’t going down in either situation. Fitzpatrick receives a Stock Up grade due to the fact he’ll either be back with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, in addition to adding RB Matt Forte to the passing attack, or with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Fitzmagic should once again be a viable Fantasy QB for owners in 2016 unless the unforeseen happens and he misplays his hand and finds himself out of a guaranteed starting gig.
Side note: If Fitzpatrick lands in Denver, I’m buying all of the Emmanuel Sanders stock I can find. If Fitz can turn Kendall Wright into a PPR machine, imagine what he could do with Sanders.
Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles
Love that the Eagles have Chase Daniel and Sam Bradford signed to $25M/yr in contracts & they still managed to spin 2015 as Chip being dumb.
— Fantasy Douche (@FantasyDouche) March 16, 2016
The nervous looking version of Ryan Reynolds signed a two year, $36 million contract with the Eagles this off-season. The Eagles believed in Bradford so much they also signed QB Chase Daniel to a three year, $21 million contract as well. One of these two will be the highest paid backup QB in the NFL next season.
Unless the Eagles address the WR position in the draft, Bradford’s main targets for next season are Jordan Matthews and Rueben Randle. Randle may not drop as many passes as Matthews, but that’s only because he generally doesn’t run the correct route and can’t get to the ball in time. Stock Down.
Johnny Manziel, Free Agent
Manziel was released by the Cleveland Browns, which in any other scenario would immediately grant you a Stock Up grade. Manziel recently hired professional John Calipari impersonator Drew Rosenhaus as his agent, which reeks of desperation. Rosenhaus immediately stated multiple teams are showing interest in Manziel.
Had Rosenhaus not once convinced an NFL franchise to use a first round pick on Willis McGahee following a grotesque knee injury, I would say this claim is baseless and without merit.
Historically, the only NFL team inept enough to sign a player in Manziel’s shoes is Cleveland, but since they’re eliminated, Manziel earns a Stock Down grade as it’s likely he remains unsigned for the foreseeable future.
Other Quarterbacks Impacted
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Kaepernick’s name continues to be floated in trade rumors, almost daily at this point. The three most likely scenarios appear to be a return to San Fran in a competition with Blaine Gabbert or landing wherever Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t.
If Kaepernick can land the starting gig under Chip Kelly or land with either the Jets or Denver, his stock immediately increases. Stay tuned.
Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans
The signing of Brock Osweiler means Brian Hoyer once again finds himself out of a starting job. Hoyer may yet end up in a potentially interesting scenario before all is said and done, depending on how the Kaepernick and Fitzpatrick dominoes fall.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see Houston move Hoyer if they can receive something of value. Hoyer could be Fantasy relevant if he were to end up with either the Jets or Broncos competing for the starting QB spot.
Mark Sanchez, Denver Broncos
I suppose I’m obligated to mention Sanchez, who continues to find himself in favorable situations despite his recent mediocrity. Congratulations, Mark Sanchez. You are adequate.
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