The 4th Down Decision: Quarterbacks in new places, and their impact

Written by Zach Lyons, co-host of Football & Other F Words and The Flex, “The 4th Down Decision” will look at various fantasy topics from whether you should “Punt” or “Go For It”. When reading the advice please keep in mind: 12-Team League, PPR, 6 Pt Passing TDs. All ADPs based on FantasyPros.com‘s web site.

The quarterback landscape of the NFL changed drastically heading into the 2020 season. There are not only major on the field implications, but the fantasy world is in flux with its quarterbacks. However, that’s where I come in. I am here to help you wade through the muck that is this new era of NFL, and make the right decisions

Go For It: Teddy Bridgewater

  • Current ADP: 179 (15th Round)
  • Current Positional Ranking: QB25

Teddy Bridgewater started five games last year for the New Orleans Saints. As a starter he threw for 1,205 yards, 9 touchdowns, and just 2 interceptions. If Teddy B was a full time starter for all 16 games he would have 3,856 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions if he sustained his 5-game pace. 

Depending on your scoring, that would’ve been around 19.75 points per game (316 total points), which according to FantasyPros.com, would have put him 6th among quarterbacks in fantasy. Yet, here we are in the final round and Teddy Bridgewater is being treated like he is some scrub.

I am in love with this Carolina Panthers offense. The value is outrageous, and Teddy Bridgewater is just another reason as to why you shouldn’t look at the name of a QB but look at the production.

Teddy Bridgewater enters the 2020 season with the second easiest fantasy football schedule for a quarterback. If you combine that with the 6th hardest strength of schedule in the NFL overall, you have the perfect storm of games where he will have a lot of opportunity for garbage time points, because the defenses he faces are primed to give up those points.

According to PFF’s 2020 QB Annual, Teddy was 3rd among QBs last year in On Target %, and eighth among QBs on third down. He was also an above average passer on 30+ yard throws, and who does he have going deep now? My boy, Robby Anderson.

This is a steal. I really hate that I am writing about fantasy, because I know my league of record is reading this and adjusting their gameplans, but screw it. Teddy Bridgewater is a fantasy goldmine. 

You can basically go the whole draft without drafting a quarterback and take Teddy Bridgewater in the 16th round and be completely fine. You will come out looking like a genius.

Punt: The Handcuffs

If you’re in a one quarterback league, you should never draft two quarterbacks. The only exception to this rule is drafting Mahomes, and seeing someone like Wilson, Lamar, or even Kyler later on in the draft.

There is no need to draft two quarterbacks in a one-quarterback league, let alone draft their handcuffs. This takes me to the quarterbacks from 2015 who find themselves in new situations: Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.

Do not draft either of these guys unless there is an injury situation. Even if Carr gets injured, I still would put Mariota at the bottom of the list of QBs I would target. I talked about it in my rookie wide receiver column, but the Raiders just do not pass the ball, and they’ve had a more competent passer than Mariota at the helm.

I think if you have Drew Brees and you’re in the last round with a well rounded roster, you can take that handcuff chance with Winston. If Drew gets injured again, you won’t have to worry about the waiver, but if he never gets injured it’s a wasted roster spot.

Wasted roster spots can get tricky as the season wears on. So maybe it is best to just forego drafting Brees and Winston.

So I am out on drafting two quarterbacks, much less handcuffs for quarterbacks.

Punt: Nick Foles

As you’ve heard on The Flex by now, I think Justin’s assessment of Nick Foles is quite ridiculous. It is Nick freaking Foles. He absolutely cannot be relied on in a weekly capacity as your QB option.

There is a good chance that Mitch Trubisky doesn’t get benched for Nick Foles for a while. The Chicago Bears head into the 2020 season with the sixth easiest schedule in the NFL, which will typically mean lots of defense and running, and less chances for Mitch to mess it up.

Let’s call a spade a spade. Are you drafting a guy in hopes that he starts Week 6? Then is said guy gonna be any good? No and No. I am sure Nick Foles is a nice guy to talk to about bass fishing and bumper bowling, but he is not very good at football.

He caught lightning in a bottle and it’s so evident by his career. When the Jacksonville Jaguars think you are the savior of the franchise, it is time to retire.

This guy ain’t it. I know the Bears have Allen Robinson and 30 tight ends, but that isn’t enough to suddenly make Nick Foles relevant.

Insert clapping hands emojis between each word of this sentence: Do not draft Nick Foles.

Go For It: Ugh, Tom Brady

  • Current ADP: 86 (8th Round)
  • Current Positional Ranking: QB8

Let me toot my own horn here for a minute. I was on Twitter telling everyone that Tom Brady would be going to Tampa Bay and it was a better situation for him than anywhere else. I even got blocked by some people for saying just those words. Yet, here we are.

Tom Brady finished last year as the QB12, and that means he was a QB1 with one of the worst supporting casts he’s seen in about a decade. TB is in TB, and he has arguably the best supporting cast he has ever had.

However, the “ugh” in the header is for two things: 

1. He’s obviously declining, but the talent may prevent that.

2. If he’s good, and they go on and win a lot of games, Titans fans will be like: “See, I told you he’s still elite.”

It’s a definite lose-lose situation for me, but let’s turn that frown upside down, and talk about Tom Brady in the eighth round.

There is no other way to slice it but to say, this is still good value, and once again Tom Brady will end the year as a QB1. He has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Ke’shawn Vaughn, Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard, and Rob Gronkowski, and not to mention Bruce Arians.

It was the perfect storm for him, but it is also the perfect storm for fantasy football. This was the best move for Tom Brady to stay relevant without having to carry the talent around him. Think Peyton Manning in Denver in 2014.

But also think about Peyton Manning’s negatives. He fell off in an instant and it didn’t matter who was around him. I know people like to think Tom Brady is gonna beat Father Time every year, but that’s not how life works. There is always that risk.

I would personally rather wait a tad bit later to draft Tom Brady, but you probably won’t have that chance, because someone in your league is gonna draft him in the fifth. I just feel it in my bones, you’re gonna have to overpay for Brady at the expense of improving your roster spot somewhere else.

Punt: A Rivers runs through it

  • Current ADP: 166 (14th Round)
  • Current Positional Ranking: QB21

This is gonna sound like Titans bias, but I do not like Philip Rivers with the Colts. Something about this stinks.

It’s probably the fact that he traded offensive weapons for an offensive line, but does an offensive line really help him? Rivers notoriously held on to the ball too long anyways, allowing defenses to get set and grab that game winning interception for the other team.

That’s right, with the game on the line, Philip Rivers is more likely to throw a game winning pass in favor of the other team than his own. You have a bunch of unprovens at wide receiver, a bland running back, a fumbling running back, and an aging T.Y. Hilton.

I know people want to say Frank Reich is some offensive guru… but is he? He didn’t do much last year without Andrew Luck. It just seems that him and Chris Ballard have been exposed since that infamous retirement.

Is Andrew Luck really the only reason they went from the second-ranked offense in passing touchdowns to dropping to 19th in the same stat? This team is just kind of stinky.

They have talent, no denying that, but there is just nothing sexy about this team that I am going to be diving into this offense.

However, Rivers does not present bad value at QB21 in the 14th round. So yeah I guess I am talking out of both sides of my mouth, but I just really needed to let you know that the Colts suck.

Punt: The Cam Scam

  • Current ADP: 172 (15th Round)
  • Current Positional Ranking: QB23

Look, we have a power rankings article, and even before Cam Newton was signed I had New England at ten. The Patriots signing of Cam didn’t change anything for me.

Here is what I am punting on: the expectations. I am probably the only fantasy analyst you will see downplay Cam Newton to the Patriots. In fact, I am sure his ADP will shoot up since writing this article. Simmer down.

Temper your expectations. Cam in the 15th round is still an excellent value, but do not go into it thinking you are going to get a QB1 Cam Newton. There are few of reasons as to why:

  1. Bad supporting cast
  2. Shortened offseason
  3. New offense
  4. The Bill/Cam personality dynamic
  5. Coming off injury

From a strictly fantasy perspective, I am not buying that Cam Newton is going to have some resurgence in New England.

However, if he’s there in the 15th Round I am gonna scoop him up, but there is going to be some team in your fantasy league who is going to draft him ridiculously high. Let that team do it.

Love my opinions? Hate my opinions? Leave comments below, and let’s discuss!

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