Popular Features

  • Playoff Fantasy Football Formats
    December 23, 2019
    Playoff Fantasy Football: How and Where to Play

    Playoff Fantasy Football Options for 2019 No one ever actually wants to stop playing fantasy football. The entire reason that playoff fantasy football exists is because all of us are so into the activity that we do not want it to be over when the regular season ends. There is really money to be made…

  • NFL Conference Championships NFL SPORTS BETTING premium
    December 30, 2019
    2019-20 NFL Playoff Fantasy Football Rankings

    2019-2020 NFL Playoff Fantasy Football Rankings No one ever wants to QUIT playing fantasy football. In fact, if we could get fantasy football year-round, I am pretty sure most of us would sign up. Thankfully, NFL playoff fantasy football exists and you can play in many different formats and at all different stakes. Michael Leone and…

  • Way-Too-Early 2020 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings
    January 7, 2020
    Way-Too-Early 2020 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings

    Way-Too-Early 2020 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings Last week, I did massive overload of my Dynasty NFL fantasy football rankings  but I know that many of you do not play that format and are already starting to think about how you can win your redraft league in 2020. There are some real strategic reasons to start thinking…

  • Early Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings premium
    January 8, 2020
    Early Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

    Early Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings As we transition into the offseason (though the playoffs are still happening right now), we will be picking up our dynasty fantasy football rookie rankings coverage here and on SportsGrid. Dynasty fantasy football is one of our big passions here at RX and my early dynasty fantasy football rookies…

  • 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Tee Higgins, Clemson
    January 13, 2020
    2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Tee Higgins, Clemson

    2020 NFL Draft Scouting Prospect Profile: Tee Higgins, Clemson With the NFL regular season over, the playoffs more than halfway over and the NFL Draft approaching, it is time to start grinding the future of the league. Our series of prospect profiles will attempt to capture all of the dynasty fantasy football relevant players at…

  • What We Learned From Fantasy Football In 2019
    December 24, 2019
    Three Things We Learned From Fantasy Football In 2019

    Three Things We Learned From Fantasy Football In 2019 No year in fantasy football is ever going to go as prognosticated. It is a violent game, filled with injuries that can derail entire team performances, coaches are fired, players under and/or over-perform and it is a wild rock opera that rages back and forth as…

  • Postseason NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update premium
    January 1, 2020
    Postseason NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update

    Postseason NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update The regular season of the NFL in 2019 has finally left us which means….dynasty fantasy football players are ready to start grinding their 2020 rosters. I know that of my 10+ dynasty leagues, I have already started to figure out what I need to add to my roster…

  • Fooled By Randomness: Derrick Henry
    January 15, 2020
    Fooled By Randomness: Derrick Henry Isn’t Teaching The Lesson You Think

    Fooled By Randomness: Derrick Henry Isn’t Teaching The Lesson You Think I know you have heard it. “DERRICK HENRY MATTERS!!!!” “Turns out some Running Backs DO matter, nerds!” As the Tennessee Titans shut down the juggernaut Baltimore Ravens with an emphatic victory in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs (after thoroughly dunking on the…

  • NFL Playoff Simulations And Betting Angles
    December 31, 2019
    2019 NFL Playoff Simulations And Betting Angles

    2019 NFL Playoff Simulations And Betting Angles Our passions here at RotoExperts and SportsGrid is data-driven analysis. When I get a chance to use full NFL Playoff Simulations to fuel my betting action, you can bet that I am going to take advantage of that. While not every bet you make needs to be fed…

  • Week 17 NFL Sports Betting
    December 27, 2019
    Week Seventeen NFL Sports Betting: Picks Against The Spread

    Week Seventeen NFL Sports Betting: Picks Against The Spread Our first legit tie of the season came in last week as the Houston Texans were not able to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by more than three points. We also suffered what was probably the worst loss of the season with Dallas PK losing by…

The Big 4 Quarterback Changes and Impacts on New Teams

The Big 4 Quarterback Changes and Impacts on New Teams
RotoExperts Staff July 5, 2018 10:14AM EST

The Big 4 Quarterback Changes and Impacts on New Teams

With the 2018 NFL offseason being one of the largest quarterback carousels in history, it’s a wise idea to analyze the potential impacts of the quarterbacks’ styles on their new weapons. Looking back at 2017, we have 27 quarterbacks that fit this study: at least 150 attempts, playing in 2018 and the definitive starter. The Cardinals, Bills, Colts, Chiefs and Dolphins don’t have representation due to injuries and/or rookies. You could argue for the Ravens not having representation too… given how terrible Joe Flacco was.

The Big 4 Quarterback Changes and Impacts on New Teams

With the significant changes of a new quarterback, I decided to examine each of the four quarterbacks’ tendencies to see what we should expect from their arrivals. I will be discussing three areas for each targeted position, which includes running backs, wideouts (specified as wide receiver lined up out wide), slot receivers (can be receivers or tight ends) and in-line tight ends. For each position, the quarterback’s target percentage, completion percentage and Yards Per Attempt (YPA) all play significant roles in projecting for the 2018 Fantasy Football season.

Stat Abbreviations
RBT% (Running Back Target Percentage)
WT% (Wideout)
SLT% (Slot)
TET% (Tight End)

RBC% (Running Back Completion Percentage)
WC% (Wideout)
SLC% (Slot)
TEC% (Tight End)

RBYPA (Running Back Yards Per Attempt)
WYPA (Wideout)
SLYPA (Slot)
TEYPA (Tight End)

Alex Smith, WSH

Smith is not only coming off a career year, he’s coming off one where he spat in the face of everyone calling him a “checkdown only” quarterback. In fact, Smith led all quarterbacks in the sample on WYPA at 10.3. The next closest was Matthew Stafford at 9.2. Not that you will be surprised, but just for reference, Joe Flacco did check in last with a measly 5.0 YPA.

Smith had one of the more balanced target distributions, and surprising to many, his RBC% was merely middle of the road (79.2). See what happens when Andy Reid loses his mind for a few weeks and forgets about Kareem Hunt? Meanwhile, Smith’s WC% (62.2) and SLC% (68.6) ranked second and sixth. That makes sense when you consider that Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce ran 41.1 and 55.7 percent of their routes from the slot. Another interesting note is that Hill’s big-play ability suffers when he’s in the slot, seeing both Smith’s and his YPA drop to around league average.

With Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson, Jordan Reed and  Chris Thompson for the Redskins, no matter how much Smith ignores that checkdown perception, not everyone can succeed. Again, Smith’s career year was still only 4,042 yards and 26 touchdowns. While most assume that Crowder will be the main beneficiary, and Reed will be a potential Top 5 tight end (for the few weeks he’s healthy), there is appeal in the big-play and/or red zone options of Doctson and Richardson. I’m on the Doctson bandwagon, as he already had the 21st most red zone targets last year and seventh most over the final eight games. Richardson is an intriguing late-round flier as well on the opportunity that Smith has a better rapport with him and Doctson continues with his consistency issues.

Case Keenum, DEN

Keenum still has his doubters, as he has one decent season in his career and Pat Shurmur won’t be with him in Denver. You can argue that Keenum is seeing a small dip in surrounding talent as well. Yes, Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders were Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs before anyone knew the latter’s names. However, the running back situation is more of a question with Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker, and the tight end position is a significant drop-off.

No metric from Keenum’s 2017 season stands out, as he’s not terrible in anything and doesn’t top out in any area. The one piece of interesting information is that Keenum ranked highly in WT% (29.4, eighth), TET% (13.9, sixth) and completion percentage for both, 61.3 (fourth) and 80.0 (first). For reference, the TEYPA checked in around the average with WYPA tied for sixth (8.6).

With Keenum being at the league average for running backs across all stats, if Booker is pushed into the pass-catching role, it might not be enough work to warrant even RB3 value in PPR. As for the receiving crew, Thomas and Sanders should see an uptick… not that you need to be told Keenum is an upgrade over Trevor Siemian. Actually, Siemian had a higher WT%, but his WC% was much lower (52.8 to 61.3) as was his WYPA (7.2 to 8.6). The other area of interest is to watch the tight end position. Jake Butt has already been forgotten after a torn ACL stole his rookie season. Butt is a strong tight end (don’t you laugh!), more in the reliable, tough tight end mold than the new field-stretching, hybrid, wide receiver types. If he wins the starting gig, Keenum’s reliance on the position could have Butt cracking Fantasy rosters (sorry, even I couldn’t resist that wordplay).

Kirk Cousins, MIN

So Smith replaces Cousins in Washington, while Cousins heads off to Minnesota to replace Keenum… or truly… give the Vikings the upgrade they wanted, as they pushed Keenum out the door. The easy assumption from the quarterback change is that the Vikings passing game will be improved. After all, Cousins has thrown for at least 4,093 yards each of the last three seasons while averaging 27 touchdowns.

Even with the appeal that Cousins has for Fantasy and a more aggressive approach, that latter fact actually leads to average-to-subpar numbers for this study. It starts at running back, as despite having Chris Thompson for 10 games, Cousins was still middle of the pack in all three marks (RBT% 16.5, RBC% 79.8, RBYPA 7.4). At tight end, even without Jordan Reed, Cousins still hung around league average (10.5, 66.2, 7.5) thanks to solid play by Vernon Davis. The only area where Cousins stands out is the receiver metrics.

As mentioned, Cousins has an aggressive nature, and I can understand the Redskins hesitancy in making him their franchise quarterback. Cousins will often pass up an easy target for a bigger play, even if that player is double covered. You can see his struggles in completing passes out wide, as Cousins ranked lower than Keenum in WC% (51.0 to 61.3) and WYPA (7.8 to 8.6). On the other hand, his slot work was good-to-great with league average SLT% (34.4) and SLYPA (8.1) but the eighth best SLC% (67.3), all metrics rating higher than Keenum’s.

The wideout metrics could easily be a result of talent differential, and Cousins does see an improved core of players with Thielen, Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and Cook. It’s still worth noting that Cousins was better with his slot numbers though, so don’t dismiss the drop-off for wideouts solely to receiver talent and not a Cousins issue.

All that aside, the focus for 2018 is on one player specifically… or so has been the narrative so far. Thielen saw 55.7 percent of his snaps out of the slot last year while Diggs had just 35.0 percent. Interestingly enough, Diggs actually performed better out of the slot, catching 67.6 of his targets for 14.5 YPC while Thielen had 61.7 and 13.6. On top of that, Thielen was better out wide with 66.1 percent caught for 14.8 YPC while Diggs was 63.6 and 12.9.

Whoever ends up manning the slot is going to be the beneficiary of better play by Cousins and weaker coverage. If the Vikings stay the course, Thielen will obviously be in the slot more often… unless… Kendall Wright wins the third receiver role. Wright works out of the slot and would push Thielen outside, whereas Laquon Treadwell winning the job would keep Thielen in the slot when the Vikings use three-receiver sets. As you can see, the good news is that’s not necessarily bad news for Thielen, as long as the target distribution doesn’t decrease and Cousins can improve his numbers out wide.

There appears to be more risk involved with both Vikings receivers that one would assume with the quarterback change. On top of that, the narrative that Thielen is the more at risk due to a position battle looks to be false… again, if Thielen’s numbers hold true when out wide.

Tyrod Taylor, CLE

There is speculation that Taylor might not be the starter the entire season, as the team could start moving to the future with the No. 1 overall pick, Baker Mayfield. However, there is an equal chance that Taylor remains the starter all year, as he’s been a better than assumed. In fact, Taylor actually had a higher aDOT (8.8) than Jay Cutler did (8.6) last year for all of those people falling into the narrative that Taylor is a safe, checkdown type quarterback.

That’s not the news the Jarvis Landry fans want to hear, and neither are Taylor’s slot numbers. Granted, Taylor is going to rank lower than most quarterbacks given his style and fewer attempts, but the target percentage is still telling. Taylor ranked near the top in RBT% (not surprising with LeSean McCoy as the best weapon). He was also second in TET% (16.1) and fifth in TEYPA (8.5). Again, that’s not much of a surprise with Charles Clay being reliable and Deonte Thompson leading his receivers with 27/430/1. Part of that may have been Taylor’s fault though, as he ranked second to last in WC% (46.4) with Flacco being last. Again, some of it is likely a talent issue as well, but Taylor only targeted the slot 22.5 percent of the time, second worst as well.

That’s where we can have concerns about Landry’s value with the potential that Josh Gordon is the more valuable Browns receiver in 2018. Specifically for Landry, his value is directly tied to his targets. Since his 2014 season, Landry has recorded 0.75, 0.66, 0.72 and 0.70 receptions per target. Let’s keep going: 6.8, 6.9, 8.7 and 6.1 yards per target; 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.3 Non-PPR points per target; 1.7, 1.6, 1.8, 1.6 PPR points per targets. If Landry loses 20-30 targets with the potential for a lower catch rate as well due to Taylor’s play, he could not only drop out of the WR1 discussion but possibly fall into the WR3 range.

Main Image Credit: AP Photo/Jim Mone

Popular Features

  • Playoff Fantasy Football Formats
    December 23, 2019
    Playoff Fantasy Football: How and Where to Play

    Playoff Fantasy Football Options for 2019 No one ever actually wants to stop playing fantasy football. The entire reason that playoff fantasy football exists is because all of us are so into the activity that we do not want it to be over when the regular season ends. There is really money to be made…

  • NFL Conference Championships NFL SPORTS BETTING premium
    December 30, 2019
    2019-20 NFL Playoff Fantasy Football Rankings

    2019-2020 NFL Playoff Fantasy Football Rankings No one ever wants to QUIT playing fantasy football. In fact, if we could get fantasy football year-round, I am pretty sure most of us would sign up. Thankfully, NFL playoff fantasy football exists and you can play in many different formats and at all different stakes. Michael Leone and…

  • Way-Too-Early 2020 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings
    January 7, 2020
    Way-Too-Early 2020 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings

    Way-Too-Early 2020 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings Last week, I did massive overload of my Dynasty NFL fantasy football rankings  but I know that many of you do not play that format and are already starting to think about how you can win your redraft league in 2020. There are some real strategic reasons to start thinking…

  • Early Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings premium
    January 8, 2020
    Early Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

    Early Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings As we transition into the offseason (though the playoffs are still happening right now), we will be picking up our dynasty fantasy football rookie rankings coverage here and on SportsGrid. Dynasty fantasy football is one of our big passions here at RX and my early dynasty fantasy football rookies…

  • 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Tee Higgins, Clemson
    January 13, 2020
    2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Tee Higgins, Clemson

    2020 NFL Draft Scouting Prospect Profile: Tee Higgins, Clemson With the NFL regular season over, the playoffs more than halfway over and the NFL Draft approaching, it is time to start grinding the future of the league. Our series of prospect profiles will attempt to capture all of the dynasty fantasy football relevant players at…

  • What We Learned From Fantasy Football In 2019
    December 24, 2019
    Three Things We Learned From Fantasy Football In 2019

    Three Things We Learned From Fantasy Football In 2019 No year in fantasy football is ever going to go as prognosticated. It is a violent game, filled with injuries that can derail entire team performances, coaches are fired, players under and/or over-perform and it is a wild rock opera that rages back and forth as…

  • Postseason NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update premium
    January 1, 2020
    Postseason NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update

    Postseason NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Update The regular season of the NFL in 2019 has finally left us which means….dynasty fantasy football players are ready to start grinding their 2020 rosters. I know that of my 10+ dynasty leagues, I have already started to figure out what I need to add to my roster…

  • Fooled By Randomness: Derrick Henry
    January 15, 2020
    Fooled By Randomness: Derrick Henry Isn’t Teaching The Lesson You Think

    Fooled By Randomness: Derrick Henry Isn’t Teaching The Lesson You Think I know you have heard it. “DERRICK HENRY MATTERS!!!!” “Turns out some Running Backs DO matter, nerds!” As the Tennessee Titans shut down the juggernaut Baltimore Ravens with an emphatic victory in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs (after thoroughly dunking on the…

  • NFL Playoff Simulations And Betting Angles
    December 31, 2019
    2019 NFL Playoff Simulations And Betting Angles

    2019 NFL Playoff Simulations And Betting Angles Our passions here at RotoExperts and SportsGrid is data-driven analysis. When I get a chance to use full NFL Playoff Simulations to fuel my betting action, you can bet that I am going to take advantage of that. While not every bet you make needs to be fed…

  • Week 17 NFL Sports Betting
    December 27, 2019
    Week Seventeen NFL Sports Betting: Picks Against The Spread

    Week Seventeen NFL Sports Betting: Picks Against The Spread Our first legit tie of the season came in last week as the Houston Texans were not able to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by more than three points. We also suffered what was probably the worst loss of the season with Dallas PK losing by…