Fantasy: Buy or Sell Notable QB Free Agent Signings

By: Marcel Boudreau

Intro

Quarterbacks will forever be the most important piece to building and maintaining a strong dynasty team for years. This article speaks in depth about each notable free agent QB signing thus far into the off-season.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

38.4 years old – 6’3 – 232 lbs

81st percentile agility score

100th in Wonderlic Score (QB IQ) 

SF Dynasty Value = 2.10

SF Dynasty Price = 2.06 

Hard to believe, but Fitzpatrick is a SELL. When to sell him? Either now at a high value or bank on no rookie QB being drafted by WFT and wait for after Week 3’s game vs. the Dallas Cowboys. If you sell him now, you’re selling the hype that is behind him and the Washington Football Team. If WFT decides to draft a rookie QB to learn behind Fitzpatrick his value will dip, so there is risk holding onto him. This being said, if no rookies are drafted by WFT, he will begin the season with ATL, CAR, and DAL… some of the softest schedule for QBs in 2020, which should again be great matchups in 2021. His season would then be filled with tough throwing teams in NYG, GB, DEN, NO, TB, etc… and there’s a reason Fitzpatrick has been on 13 different NFL teams… Yes, he has had success in recent years, but he just does not care about throwing wild attempts, which could lead him to becoming the next Jameis Winston 30 and 30 season… or maybe a 25 and 25 season. He has the weapons, he has the defense, and he could make his first playoff appearance of his lifetime, but in terms of fantasy, it is smart to be selling at the peak of his value in 16 years.

In 2020, Fitzpatrick had the 26th rank supporting cast in receiving options, here is how he ranked amongst other QBs (per playerprofiler.com):

Fitzpatrick 2020 Pros:

  • 13th in fantasy points per dropback
  • 1st in pressure completion %
  • 4th catchable pass rate 

Fitzpatrick 2020 Cons:

  • 22nd in interceptable passes
  • 25th in true completion %
  • 26th in true passer rating
  • 51st in redzone completion %
  • 29th in clean pocket completion %

Andy Dalton

33.4 years old – 6’2 – 215 lbs

79th percentile in agility

57th in Wonderlic score (QB IQ)

Not a lot to read into here. Dalton is going from the supporting cast of Cooper, Lamb, Gallup, Schultz, Zeke, Pollard with the 2nd most passing attempts per game offense (39.9) to the Bears’ weapons in Robinson, Mooney, Miller, Cohen, Kmet who finished the season passing the ball 35 times per game. 

Dalton only ranked higher than 21st in one notable QB category last season which was 9th best in play action %. Otherwise, Dalton’s relevant QB stats are as follows:

  • 29th in passing yards per game
  • 26th in accuracy rating
  • 33rd in redzone completion %
  • 30th in deep ball completion %
  • 22nd in pressured completion %
  • 21st in clean pocket percentage
  • 34th in catchable pass rate
  • 23rd true passer rating

Sell Dalton and sell him now. Unless you’re a QB needy manager, selling Dalton might not get you much in terms of rookie pick value. If you are unable to land a 2.08 or better, I would much rather try to get a touted player who failed to breakout… Henry Ruggs, Denzel Mims, Michael Pittman Jr., Jalen Reagor, Bryan Edwards, Tyler Johnson, etc. Someone who has upside, but managers are left with a sour taste in their mouths from rostering. 

Cam Newton

31.9 years old – 6’5 – 248lbs

SF Dynasty Value = 2.04

SF Dynasty Price = 2.08

  • 95th and 92nd percentiles in speed categories
  • 85th percentile in burst
  • 61st in throw velocity

What to do with Cam Newton… The answer is rather simple. If you own him, keep him. If you don’t, only acquire him for cheap. The most debated topic surrounding Cam is his pre- to post-COVID numbers, which are laid out below:

Pre-COVID per game stats (3 Games) 🡪 Post-COVID per game stats (12 Games):

  • Passing Yards: 238 🡪 162 
  • Passing TDs: 0.67 🡪 0.5
  • INTs: 0.67 🡪 0.67
  • Completion percentage: 68% 🡪 65%
  • Rushing Yards: 49.7 🡪 37.3
  • Rushing TDs: 1.3 🡪 0.67
  • FANTASY PPG: 23.82 🡪 15.21

The numbers speak a lot… but it’s important to take into account film/scouting from opposing teams could have built up and game plans to stop the Patriots offense was becoming increasingly easier. How did Cam’s arm compare to other QBs in 2020?

With the 28th best protection rate, and the 22nd best supporting cast (arguably worst on paper than statistically)

Pros:

  • 13th in fantasy points per dropback
  • 4th in deep ball completion %
  • 4th in pressured completion %
  • 19th in clean pocket completion %

Cons:

  • 32nd in accuracy rating
  • 35th in catchable pass rate
  • 49th in redzone completion %
  • 29th in play action completion %
  • 30th in true passer rating

There’s no denying that the Patriots have made drastic changes to the pass catching options thus far in the off-season and still have the opportunity to continue to build on this through the draft; 

There’s no denying that rushing QBs are fantasy football cheat codes and typically bring high floors every week; 

But, there’s also no denying that if Cam fails this season his career is over, and any investment from fantasy managers will be all for nothing. That being said, in 2020, Cam Newton was the only QB with more rushing TDs than INTs, and also had more rushing TDs than INTs and fumbles lost combined. He does not make a lot of mistakes, as he is a very smart player, there’s just the fear that his body can no longer keep up with his mind. If you’re a dynasty manager in a win now opportunity and only missing a QB, Cam is your guy for 2021.

Jameis Winston

27.2 years old – 6’4 – 231lbs 

1.01 Draft Pick 

SF Dynasty Value = 2.04

SF Dynasty Price Tag: 2.10

2019 Stats (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Pros:

  • 1st in passing yards
  • 8th in money throws
  • 2nd in TDs
  • 9th in rush yards/g
  • 14th in pressured completion %

Cons:

  • 1st in interceptable passes and interceptions
  • 1st Danger plays
  • 31st in clean pocket completion %
  • 30th in redzone completion

One of the biggest debates of the off season will be whether Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston is the starting QB in New Orleans come kickoff 2021. Reports suggest that Winston has the upper hand at this point in time, but the money (and not the “fake $140M deal”) suggest that maybe Hill is the answer. But questions are posed, why did the Cap Space victims in the New Orleans Saints spend $5.5M on a “back-up” QB, when they could have let him walk and the sign the likes of Trubisky for much cheaper if it was for a backup role. When diving deeper, the Saints shifted around Hill’s contract to make more cap space AND THEN signed Jameis… that specific move speaks the loudest. 

Winston can be bought for a late second round rookie pick. What would that be in this year’s draft? A flier pick on a WR that has a 50% chance at a WR becoming relevant. When talking a 50% chance to a WR, or a hypothetically 50% on a QB hitting, with the chances of becoming the franchise QB for New Orleans, give me the QB.

Mitch Trubisky

26.6 years old – 6’2 – 222lbs 

85th percentile 40-yard dash

84th percentile agility score

SF Dynasty Value = 3.04

SF Dynasty Price Tag: 4th

2020 stats (27th best supporting cast)

Pros:

  • 3rd in pressured completion %
  • 5th play-action completion %
  • 17th in fantasy points per dropback
  • 13th in completion %

Cons:

  • 23rd in clean pocket completion %
  • 31st in accuracy rating
  • 30th in true completion %
  • 31st passing yards/game
  • 22nd in TDs/g

The Buffalo Bills are the only team to ever have a QB increase by 15.4%, or more, in completion percentage in 3 seasons. If any team can fix Mitch Trubisky, it is the Bills. Although not as mobile, powerful, or a gun slinger as Josh Allen, Trubisky does have some tools, that if used to their strengths, can become a mediocre NFL quarterback. He will never be a top 12 fantasy QB, but he can be a cheap option to stash to wait and see for next off-season, when his stint in Buffalo comes to an end. The 2022 rookie QB draft class lacks depth at QB as of now, and with: 

  • Aging QBs like Fitzpatrick, Brady, Rogers, Roethlisberger
  • Filler QBs like Dalton, Bridgewater, Newton, Goff
  • Prove it QBs in Lock, Hurts, and the 2021 rookie QBs 

the QB position is likely primed for another shake up next off-season. Teams will be well aware that the former #2 overall pick is finishing a season in the Bills organization who have absolutely transformed Josh Allen. If Trubisky only signed the one year to bet on himself and the 2022 market to rise, it may pan out for him, and fantasy managers who have elected to stash him. 

Conclusion

Thanks for taking the opportunity to read this write up. I hope you found this article interesting and helpful as I strived to capture a snapshot of the moving QB pieces. If you have anything you’d like to discuss in terms of fantasy football, or suggestions on how I can improve, please get a hold of me on twitter @marcel_bff. 

Data retrieved from:

Playerprofiler.com

NFL.com

Sleeper.app

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