Welcome Razzball Football readers to the offseason. I know some of you are going “what’s an offseason?” as your significant other rolls their eyes. Since there is no such thing as an “offseason”, I am here to fill that void for you. I am bringing you a series that’s going to take a look back at last year and beyond to help identify value and non-value players for next season. I don’t want to say it’s a “new” series, as if you’d remember last year. I did a similar thing for my Dase’s Digest with players such as Carson Palmer (nailed it!), Jonathan Stewart (nailed it!) and Teddy Bridgwater (did I mention how I really nailed it for Carson Palmer?). The difference with this offseason is that I have a full and thick beard… that and I’m not talking about 2015. So as I stroke my beard, it’s on to 2016 and the first player up is Joe Flacco!
Let’s take a quick look at the final numbers for Flacco in 2015. He played in 10 games, threw for 2791 yards, 14touchdowns and 12 interceptions per game. He also added three rushing touchdowns. These numbers placed Joe as the number 26 quarterback in standard ESPN scoring.
On the surface, it would appear to be a very disappointing season for one Mr. Flacco (fantasy-wise at least). Well, let’s go beyond the surface and delve deeper into the fantasy game log. It’s here that we will uncover the hidden goodness that Flacco provided. Did you know that from Week 2 through 10 (eight games), he finished eighth or better among his position in five games? He was no worse then number 16 in seven of his 10 starts. His best game was in week five vs the Cleveland Browns. In this game, he threw for 210 yards, one passing touchdown, but what really made the day was his two rushing touchdowns. These numbers gave fantasy owners 24 points and the sixth best scoring among all quarterbacks. In five of his 10 games, he threw for 300+ passing yards. That’s half of his games! On top of that, he threw at least one touchdown in nine of these games. A very uncharacteristic trend for him this year was the interceptions. He averaged 1.2 per game. Before this past season, he never threw more 12 in six of his seven seasons. To really bring home the oddness of this uptick in turnovers. He never missed a start in any of his previous seven seasons.
When reviewing a players season, I believe it’s important to not focus on the final placement among his position. Instead put your attention to the points per game by that particular player. In this case, we have a player (Flacco) that finished 26 overall (total points), but actually had an average of 16 points per game (PPG). That 16 puts him in line with Ryan Tannehill as the number 17 quarterback for PPG. Let’s take this another step forward and throw out his week one performance versus the Denver Broncos. In this game, he threw for 117 yards and two interceptions! That stat line got you a grand total of ZERO fantasy football points. By eliminating that game, his PPG goes up to 18 and he is tied with Phillip Rivers for 12th among his peers. Let’s really nail home the consistency of his points per game with this past year. Since the start of the 2010 fantasy football season (five seasons), Flacco has finished no worse then number 17 among all quarterbacks in PPG.
I’ve been around the Razzball community (comment section and contributing for a couple years now) and I have always been very vocal about the importance and value of waiting on a quarterback. With the 2016 season, I have even more confidence in this approach and look forward to taking this even further. One of those quarterbacks that allows me to feel this way is Joe Flacco. He has a proven track record of being a strong option in a quarterback by committee attack (QBBC). Just as important is that 26th overall finish among quarterbacks. One of the biggest mistakes fantasy football drafters make every summer is drafting for last year. It’s very early (that’s a huge understatement) but Flacco is being drafted in the mid 20’s among all quarterbacks. That’s beyond silly but is totally expected even when August comes around. Don’t make the same mistake many (many) fake general managers/owners will make this year and overlook Joe Flacco.