I absolutely needed the NFL Draft to happen. Up until about 6 weeks ago, my life basically revolved around sports. Short of NFL season openers, mid-March was the most wonderful time of the year. March Madness, MLB Opening Day, NFL Draft, NBA Playoffs and so on. Instead, it all came to a screeching halt because of COVID-19. Somehow, the NFL found a way to make the Draft work while still being safe, and for that, I thank them.
Now that the Draft is over, you are going to be subjected to an onslaught of new fantasy articles regarding rankings, draft targets, etc. Fantasy football analysts and writers are going to be beating this proverbial dead horse for the next few months. With that being said, I’d like to take my swing. This article is going to focus on the rookie quarterbacks and where you should be targeting them in Superflex Rookie Drafts.
Joe Burrow, CIN
Burrow went 1.01 in the NFL Draft, if it’s good enough for a pro team (even the Bengals), it’s good enough for me. With the release of Andy Dalton, Burrow is a lock to start Day 1. Additionally, he has an offensive minded head coach, a much-improved offensive line and an impressive set of players at the skill positions. If you have even the smallest concern about your QB position, Burrow should be the easy 1.01 pick.
Target Draft Range: 1.01
Tua Tagovailoa, MIA
Tua put a lot of the injury concerns to bed by being selected with the 1.05 of the NFL Draft. I love Tua almost as much as Burrow however, the injury concerns, inferior skill position players and the fact that Fitzpatrick will likely start the season as the QB1 convinces me to give the edge to Burrow.
Target Draft Range: 1.02-1.04.
Justin Herbert, LAC
Based on reports, the Chargers have been in love with Herbert since prior to the 2019 draft. Luckily for them, he decided to go back to Oregon for another season as they probably wouldn’t have been able to get him in last year’s draft. The good news for Herbert? He’s going to an offense that is stacked at the skill positions with two stud WRs, a stud TE and an “Offensive Weapon” in Austin Ekeler. The bad news? Tyrod Taylor will most likely be the starter to begin the season, the offensive line is still less than average, and the Chargers defense could be borderline elite this year; meaning, when/if Herbert does take over, he may not be asked to do much. If you’re really struggling at the QB position, I wouldn’t be upset if you took Herbert in the top 5. However, if you have even one serviceable QB, I’d pass at that price and get a stud at another position.
Target Draft Range: 1.07-1.10.
2nd Rounders: I’m not too excited about taking any QBs in the 2nd round unless one of the 3 previously mentioned falls or you are in a super deep league. However, if I’m an Aaron Rodgers or Carson Wentz owner (I’m not), I’m going to reach for one of these guys. I’d rather reach and get my insurance policy than miss out completely.
Jordan Love, GBP
I’ll refrain from bashing Green Bay’s draft, since literally everyone else is doing so. Love is a solid QB prospect who, had he come out after 2018, may have went even higher in the 1st round. However, he returned to Utah State to a new coaching staff, system, and much less talent around him. He basically tried to do it all and his numbers suffered because of it.
Despite the decline in numbers and the presence of Aaron Rodgers, the Packers still thought enough of him to move up and select him in the 1st round at 26 overall. Aaron Rodgers is another year older, may be slowing down and he could very well throw a fit and want out of Green Bay. I’m of the opinion that Rodgers is a Packer for at least another year and Love doesn’t see a meaningful snap in 2020. However, beyond 2020, who knows what will happen. Plus, if Rodgers goes down, you have a pretty good insurance policy.
Target Draft Range: Mid to Late 2nd however, if I’m a Rodgers owner, I’d reach in the Early 2nd..
Jalen Hurts, PHI
Basically everything I said about Love, you can say about Hurts. I ranked Love higher because I think his long-term outlook is better and because of his 1st round pick status. However, Hurts has the better shot at getting on the field this season. Being so athletic, the Eagles will find different ways to get him on the field. Also, Wentz has never finished a season healthy. Between Hurts and Love, I’m not going to argue if you like one over the other, they are pretty close from a fantasy standpoint, in my opinion.
Target Draft Range: Mid to Late 2nd however, if I’m a Wentz owner, I’d reach in the Early 2nd..
3rd Rounders: The 2020 rookie draft is the deepest it has been in recent memory. Generally, by the 3rd round of the rookie draft, you’re basically filling out your roster with insurance policies or lottery tickets. This year however, there is still some solid talent that could have significant roles in the 2020 season. For that reason, there are only two QBs I’d be willing to take in the 3rd . . .
Jacob Eason, Indianapolis
Short of an injury to Rivers, Eason has no shot to play this season. Hell, currently, he’s the team’s 3rd string QB, so you have to draft him knowing that he will basically have no value in 2020. However, a lot could change in the coming months. Eason could be the backup going into 2020 if the Colts cut Jacoby Brissett, which they very well could do. Brissett carries a cap hit of $21 million in the final year of his deal; by cutting him, the Colts can save over $8 million in 2020. If that were to happen, Eason is a pretty solid insurance policy to have if you are the Rivers owner.
Even without injury, let’s look to post 2020 since Rivers was only signed to a one-year deal. I don’t think Eason could have landed in a better spot. He’s not a mobile QB, so he needs a good offensive line to give him time to throw. He just so happens to have the best O-Line in the NFL. The Colts drafted him with a 3rd round pick, which I would argue is probably higher draft capital than that, on its face, since they didn’t have a 1st round pick. You could be getting the backup Colts QB in 2020 and the starter for 2021 and beyond. Seems like good value for a 3rd round rookie pick.
Target Draft Range: Mid to Late 3rd however, I’m not against an early 3rd if you’re the Rivers owner and already thin at QB.
Post 3rd Round Picks:
James Morgan, FIU & Jake Fromm, Buffalo
I’m lumping these two together because there is really only one reason why I’d draft them and that’s if I owned the team’s starter. Morgan was a 4th round pick (why?) and that’s enough draft capital for me to believe that he will beat out David Fales for the backup job, unless he’s just terrible.
Fromm, while picked a round later in the 5th, only has to be slightly better than terrible to beat out Matt Barkley for Buffalo’s backup job. Fun fact, Matt Barkley posted a QBR of 9.5 in 2019. Ultimately, Fromm fell further than we thought in the draft and, had he ended up in an ideal spot like New England, we’d be talking about him as the 4th maybe even 3rd QB off the board. But seeing as that is not the case, he’s now barely even draft worthy in most rookie drafts.
Target Draft Range: Only consider these guys if you own the starter; target in the 4th round or later.
All the Rest:
Last season, I had to pick up, and start, Kyle Allen and Ryan Finley off the waiver wire; I did not win a championship. I bring up this rather embarrassing moment in my fantasy history to prove a point; untalented QBs that fall into a starting QB role because of injury or otherwise can usually be found on the waiver wire.
Unless you have a deep rookie draft (i.e. more than 5 rounds) or a bunch of taxi spots, you shouldn’t waste a rookie pick or roster spot on any of the remaining QBs. Best case scenarios: Jake Luton could end up being the backup QB for the worst team in football; Cole McDonald and Nate Stanley may be the backups for their respective teams however, neither of these teams want to throw; and Ben DiNucci and Tommy Stevens are now practice squad players, at best, with the Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston signings.
If you are looking for a late round dart throw or a taxi addition from the waiver wire, check out Anthony Gordon. It was surprising that he went undrafted as draft analysts were putting him anywhere from a 4th to a 6th round draft grade; Pro Football Focus had him rated as the 82nd overall prospect. Couple that with the fact he signed with the Seahawks and is currently the only other QB on the roster not named Russel Wilson, and you could have a potential lottery ticket on your hands if something were to happen to Russ.