By Chet Gresham - @ChetGresham
Quarterback: Six Draft Values
For this endeavor, I will compare my rankings with composite ADP. Your mileage may vary depending your league, but for the most part, these are players you can grab at or lower than their ADP without much trouble.
Cam Newton: ADP QB10, My Ranking QB6
Our main concern with Newton is his throwing shoulder, and so far, he has been good in camp and was ready to go from Day 1. Health is always a concern with running quarterbacks, but they also have an extra category to rack up fantasy points, so you take on that risk for the high floor they give you every week.
So far in Newton's career, he has never missed more than two games in a season and has finished as a top-four fantasy quarterback in every season he has played 16 games, which is five out of eight seasons. Last year, he played with his injury too long, which dragged his per-game fantasy stats down to a tie for seventh best in the league. Newton saw a sharp downturn in his last three games due to the injury, but if you look at Weeks 1-12, he ranked fourth in fantasy points per game. So the upside is there as usual, and now the Panthers have finally unloaded their sloth-like receivers and have a high-upside group with D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, Christian McCaffrey and Greg Olsen. Under Norv Turner, Newton began throwing quicker, underneath routes and put up his best completion percentage by a large margin and had his second-best quarterback rate of his career. With great yards-after-the-catch receivers populating his targets, he should again be efficient and can let his players rack up touchdowns and yards off of short passes.
Newton's ADP has him going behind Russell Wilson and Drew Brees, two players I expect will hand the ball off way too often near the goal line this season, whereas Newton has multiple options to put fantasy points into his column. He also gets a great schedule this season, and the only thing that can hold him back is an injury.
Matt Ryan: ADB QB 6, My Ranking QB3
I've never been a big Matt Ryan fan, but he sure can put up fantasy points, especially in the NFC South and inside his home dome. Ryan was a middling fantasy player for much of his career, but he has now finished second in quarterback fantasy points in two of the last three seasons. In 2019, Ryan will play 13 of his 16 games in a dome, where he has much better stats across the board when compared to outdoor games. He'll also get a more seasoned Calvin Ridley and Austin Hooper, while Julio Jones continues to dominate. Ryan is not a sexy pick, but a fairly good strength of schedule, coupled with a big chunk of dome games, means he should be a safe play all season.
Jameis Winston: ADP QB15, My Ranking QB7
Winston isn't a great quarterback, but he has great receivers, a good offensive mind at coach, a poor defense and an easy schedule. Last season, he had similar factors, and in his eight games where he started and finished the game, he averaged 20.6 fantasy points, which would have put him sixth in fantasy points per game for quarterbacks. If you take away a four-point affair in Baltimore, his numbers rise to 23 fantasy points per game, which would rank him second to Patrick Mahomes. Of course, you can't do that, even though I just did. But even when you account for duds, Winston's upside remains as a top-five quarterback with Bruce Arians at the helm, and Winston won't have to deal with the streaky Ryan Fitzpatrick taking over during his suspension this year because Old Fitz is gone and Winston amazingly didn't do anything to get suspended. With Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard at the core, I don't see Winston's upside taking a hit, and at QB15, I see myself drafting him all the time.
Kyler Murray: ADP QB12, My Ranking QB9
If I had to make a comparison for Kyler Murray in his rookie season, I'd go with Robert Griffin III, who finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback in his first year. But that comparison isn't really fair to Murray, who has an offensive scheme that could propel his fantasy stats into the stratosphere. Of course, he could flop, but no matter how you look at him this season, he is going to rack up yards with his legs, which will keep his floor much higher than most quarterbacks. We could also look at Lamar Jackson as somewhat comparable, and he ranked as the eighth-best fantasy quarterback after getting the starting nod. But again, Murray is in an offense that will run as many plays as can be crunched into a game and will throw the ball early and often. He's risky, but not nearly as risky as he seems.
Dak Prescott: ADP QB17, My Ranking QB11
Dak Prescott was the seventh-best fantasy quarterback in the league after Amari Cooper joined the team in Week 7 last season. He also improved across the board in year three, upping his total yardage and completion percentage while lowering his interceptions and looking to run more often, which helped him to six rushing touchdowns.
As long as Ezekiel Elliott plays, the Cowboys have a nice stable of pass catchers to help Prescott. Elliott saw a big increase in receptions last season, as he totaled 77 after totaling a combined 58 in his first two seasons. Michael Gallup also showed promise and should take a step forward this season after getting praise for his work in training camp. Amari Cooper will have had a full offseason with the team, and new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore should be able to nudge the team into a more modern passing offense. Getting Jason Witten back may not be a huge statistical gain, but his sure hands in big situations will help the offense. I'm also looking forward to seeing what rookie running back Tony Pollard can do. He is a strong receiver and will be a much better weapon than Tavon Austin. This all adds up to a better overall season and a likely bump in fantasy statistics after finishing as the 10th-best fantasy quarterback last season.
Jimmy Garoppolo: ADP QB21, My Ranking QB6
Kyle Shanahan's offenses have finished top-nine in pass attempts and top-12 in total yards for seven of his 11 seasons as an offensive coordinator or head coach. We saw what he did with the Falcons and Matt Ryan when they went to the Super Bowl, and now he has a whole herd of pass catchers in San Francisco for Jimmy Garoppolo, including a tight end who broke the receiving record last season with backups throwing him the ball. I like what I've seen from Garoppolo, but I'm not completely sold on him just yet; however, I am sold on Shanahan's system, especially when he has the players he wants.
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