Have you been paying attention to the recent player opt outs from around the NFL? If you have, then you know ole Billy Belichick and his dog are up to something. As of this writing, 39 NFL players have opted out of the 2020 season with 8 of those players being New England Patriots. A lot of fans and analysts are speculating the Patriots are encouraging opt outs as they tank for Trevor Lawrence (the consensus top QB pick in next year’s draft class), but I think it’s something much more sinister. Like maybe there’s an asteroid on a collision course with Earth and Belichick plus those eight Patriots have been selected for a space mission to save humanity. Sorry, I watched Armageddon over the weekend. Maybe Belichick encouraged (or even incentivized) anyone remotely considering an opt out to do it early so he has more time to prepare and fill those holes? Seems more likely than the space mission anyway. Speaking of the Patriots, I amended the top 20 quarterback rankings to include new Patriot quarterback Cam Newton after his signing. Now for the top 30 quarterbacks for 2020 fantasy football:
Tier 5 (cont’d)
21. Matthew Stafford – If we were ranking quarterbacks wives then Kelly Stafford would easily make the top ten. And don’t worry, she’s thankfully doing well after last year’s brain surgery to remove a tumor. Matthew is reportedly doing well himself after last year’s fractured vertebrae. And while I don’t doubt Stafford has top 5 QB upside, I’m wary of drafting a passer coming off back issues when there’s so many other great quarterback options to choose from his year. How often do you hear about guys having a one-time bad back that’s never an issue again?
Projection: 3,800 passing yards, 25 passing touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 60 rushing yards in 14 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 240 / 17.1 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 290 / 20.7 ppg
22. Jimmy Garoppolo – I had to root against Garoppolo last year after coming up with the nickname Jimmy G-Poo. Unfortunately the 9ers QB was pretty darn good, forcing me to put the nickname on the back burner for now. I’ll play the long game with this one, sometimes a good nickname takes patience. As for Jimmy, we all know how much Kyle Shanahan loves to run which could lead to some inconsistent fantasy performances from his quarterback (see: 2019 NFL Playoffs). Also, I mentioned it in the top 80 wide receiver rankings, I’m very concerned about Deebo Samuels’ recovery from his recent Jones fracture. My buddy Dalton Del Don on the other hand loves Jimmy G and you can hear his quick case here:
Projection: 3,900 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 70 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown in 15 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 249 / 16.6 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 301 / 20.1 ppg
23. Sam Darnold – When’s the last time you got mono? I had it a couple years back. Caught it from making out with Kerryon. I didn’t feel 100% for at least 6 months. Darnold contracted the kissing disease early last year and somehow only missed three games. Pretty incredible feat. Don’t underestimate the affect of this virus on a player’s ability to perform to their highest potential. Maybe a sneak peek at how a bout with COVID could impact players. I expect we just might see Sammy D take a huge leap forward in a healthy 2020 season with new weapons Denzel Mims, Breshad Perriman and returning young tight end Chris Herndon. There’s way too many QBs I like, and we haven’t even gotten to Stafford, Bridgewater and Carr. Good reason to join a few more superflex leagues. I don’t have a problem. I can quit anytime I want!
Projection: 3,700 passing yards, 25 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 80 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown in 15 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 240 / 16 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 290 / 19.3 ppg
24. Teddy Bridgewater – It’s great to see Teddy Two-Gloves given the reigns to an NFL team once again, it’s been a long bridge over troubled water as he’s worked his way back to fantasy relevance after a 2016 preseason torn ACL. There’s reason for hesitation in a new offense which itself is in transition under a new head coach. But there’s also reason for optimism with a nice stable of weapons including the best pass catching back in the game and an elite young wide receiver.
Projection: 3,600 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 60 rushing yards in 15 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 240 / 16 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 294 / 19.6 ppg
25. Joe Burrow – I’m not in on Joe The Burro this year. I know you’d think a Donkey would be in on a burro, but there’s never been a worse season to draft a rookie play caller. A limited cupcake training camp with no preseason is not the recipe for a player with zero NFL experience to succeed. Not to mention the chance of losing offensive line protection to opt outs and/or COVID. Maybe I’ll take a ride on The Burro(w) in 2021.
Projection: 3,600 passing yards, 25 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 300 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns in 15 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 242 / 16.1 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 282 / 18.8 ppg
26. Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben falls into a similar bucket with Matthew Stafford, expect he’s buried deeper in that mystery bucket. I don’t see the need to invest anything in a 38 year old quarterback coming off season ending elbow surgery. Could Roethlisberger return to his former QB1 ways? Sure. But what if he looks like Dr. Fauci throwing out first-pitches?
Projection: 3,900 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 25 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown in 15 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 237 / 15.8 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 287 / 19.1 ppg
27. Philip Rivers – I’ve been talking about it all offseason, but can you imagine the nightmare this move to Indy must have been for Rivers? The guy has more children than Gideon—you didn’t think I’d get all biblical in these rankings, did you? But can you imagine moving all those kids across the country? If Rivers makes it to week one without a mental breakdown then there’s some intrigue behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. He’ll have T.Y. Hilton plus a slew of useful young backs and receivers at his disposal for all his shot-putting desires.
Projection: 4,300 passing yards, 26 passing touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 20 rushing yards in 16 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 248 / 15.5 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 300 / 18.8 ppg
28. Derek Carr – The fact that you can find somewhat reliable fantasy QBs like Rivers and Carr in the pick 180-210 range is a testament to how deep the position really is. It’s easy to forgot Carr threw for a 70% completion % last year with only 8 interceptions on his way to his second straight 4,000 yard passing season. Now he benefits from two highly touted incoming rookie receivers with speedster Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards. And he’ll still have the sexiest shirtless tight end in the game, Darren Waller. Welcome to the modern NFL, where the #28th ranked fantasy quarterback still has QB1 upside, and everyone has a cough.
Projection: 4,100 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 60 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown in 16 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 248 / 15.5 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 294 / 18.4 ppg
29. Tyrod Taylor – Tehol aka LT Murray gave you his Tyrod Taylor fantasy two weeks back, and while his writing voice is somehow even more convoluted than my own (respect), I generally agree with the sentiment of the article: Tyrod Taylor is a bargain in superflex leagues. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the words Tyrod Taylor stinks uttered this offseason. This is a guy who had zero weapons in this final two seasons in Buffalo and was never given much of a chance in Cleveland—he got banged up early in his only season and Baker Mayfield took the pigskin and ran to a kegger with it. Now Taylor has the two best receivers he’s ever worked with, along with an elite pass catching back and a young tight end with big upside. Fight the echo chamber, TT might not be horrible!
Projection: 3,630 passing yards, 21 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 250 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns in 15 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 242 / 16.1 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 284 / 18.9 ppg
30. Ryan Fitzpatrick – Now we’re into the dregs. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. I’m rooting for the Fitzmagic-man and I do think there’s a decent argument for him in tier 6. I don’t see it happening in 2020, but it’s possible we see #5 pick Tua Tagovailoa at some point this season.
Projection: 3,600 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 200 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns in 15 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 236 / 15.7 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 280 / 18.7 ppg
31. Dwayne Haskins – The quarterback of the Washington Loaded Potato Skins is a thankless job. I expect Haskins will improve in season two and he does have college teammate Chin-Sack Terry to connect with, but the receiving options past him aren’t exactly bacon bits. That said, Haskins has the pedigree to vastly outperform my mediocre expectations.
Projection: 3,450 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 150 rushing yards in 15 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 205 / 13.7 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 245 / 16.3 ppg
32. Nick Foles – Word here in Chi-town is that you don’t put ketchup on your wieners and Nick Foles will be Da Bears’ week one starting QB. But I’m not sure about that, I often put ketchup on my wiener. Anyway, I do think it’s Foles, but I’m not interested in drafting either Bear passer this year.
Projection: 2,800 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 30 rushing yards in 13 games.
4pt Pass TD Pts: 167 / 12.8 ppg | 6pt pass TD Pts: 205 / 15.8 ppg
Back Ups – 2020 brings us a season where back up quarterbacks will have more value than ever, in both real life and fantasy football. Odds are a handful of starters could miss time with that nasty little flu bug that’s been going around. These next 8 are worth rostering from day one in deeper superflex leagues:
33. Tua Tagovailoa
34. Jameis Winston
35. Jarrett Stidham
37. Jalen Hurts
38. Justin Herbert
39. Marcus Mariota
40. Jacob Eason