The Fantasy perspectives on the Joe Flacco deal
As first reported by ESPN, the Ravens have agreed to trade Joe Flacco to the Denver Broncos. Although the deal cannot be processed until the league year begins on March 13 and full terms cannot be disclosed yet, it is believed Baltimore will receive a mid-round draft choice in return.
Flacco played in nine games in 2018, throwing for 2.465 yards, 12 TD passes and six interceptions. He threw three TD passes in the opener and had two 300-yard games with shaky weaponry. He was QB17 overall after nine weeks of Fantasy play, and Flacco has never been regularly reliable and was rarely outstanding as a Fantasy passer in the past. According to the Denver Post, the Broncos believe they have solved their issue at QB for the time being and Flacco is an ideal fit for Rich Scangarello’s offense, which does put an emphasis on being aggressive and taking some shots downfield.
If Denver indeed believes it has found its solution to the QB issue for now, then the Broncos may not use their 10th overall pick to select one of the best passers in this year’s draft. Fantasy players cannot expect Flacco to be anything more than a QB2, of course, but he does ensure that the team’s wide receivers will continue to be very attractive to owners. How the Broncos now proceed in the draft is wild guesswork. They could simply see Flacco as the bridge to the future or veteran insurance at QB and may still pick a QB in the first round, hoping for Flacco to serve as a mentor to a rookie. It is indeed difficult to believe that the Broncos see Flacco as anything more than a one-year answer at the position. But acquiring him could mean that they even wait until after the first round to select a QB in 2019.
Emmanuel Sanders should be able to reclaim Fantasy WR2 status next season as Flacco’s most proven target, and he is easily more of a luxury than anything Flacco had as a WR the last two seasons in Baltimore. Of course, he also now has rising youngsters Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton as his other targets, and both are capable of veering into Fantasy WR3 territory with more stable QB play in 2019. We will have to wait and see which one develops more of a rapport with Flacco in the preseason, but it was Hamilton who showed more promise down the stretch last year. Flacco has suddenly gone from having a skeleton crew of pass-catchers in Baltimore to utilizing three quality wideouts to challenge defenses with.
There is a widespread perception that Flacco’s best days are behind him, but at age 34, he is not quite near the end of his career when you see other passers playing well a few years beyond that number. With a quality running game and a deep receiving crew supporting him, Flacco could conceivably be in a situation where he proves he is not quite done yet. But the Broncos will still have to address the position for future planning some time within the next two years. Flacco could work respectably with some of the pieces Denver already has in place, but it won’t be too long before he is likely mentoring his successor.
Whether it’s now or next year, though, the future is bright for Sutton and Hamilton, because they will either work with an experienced veteran passer for awhile and could potentially start getting the ball from a very promising follow-up player thereafter. The only real question is when does the passing of the torch process begin? The answer will be much clearer after the NFL Draft.
Meanwhile, it seems that the Broncos made a mistake in turning the position over to Case Keenum, and it’s uncertain if he will get a chance to vie for a starting job elsewhere as some other team settles for his services. He is more suitable as a top NFL backup and his 2017 season with Minnesota will be remembered as a monumental overachievement.