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Mike Davis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Q&A – 3rd Quick Quarterly Quiz

In last week’s column, I invited readers to share their biggest surprises at QB. I led off with my own disappointment in Cam ďGo Vegan; Get GameChangeredĒ Newton. My story touched a nerve with Jeff:
I feel your pain. I had almost the exact same experience with Cam Newton this season. Drafted him in the 9th round; he was my only QB (why waste a bench spot on a backup QB I would never play, right?), tried replacing him with decent QBs from the waiver wire (but was unsuccessful), then with various waiver wire who-dat streamers, and finally traded for (wait for it) Carson Wentz to fill the hole. After Wentz was replaced with whatever lousy-at-football doppleganger is currently wearing #11 for the Eagles, I did eventually pick up a worthy QB off the wire: Matthew Stafford. [Doh!]

I should say that Cam doesn't carry all the blame for my season tanking. I was also burned indirectly by the Ben Roethlisberger injury, since my 2nd round pick was JuJu Smith-Schuster, who seems to have been killed and replaced by the Invisible Man. My first round pick was David Johnson - yes, I was burned by the Chase Edmonds game and like most others, I can't really talk about it any further than that. Plus, my third round pick was Kerryon Johnson, which was sadly not my first Lions RB fail (Jahvid Best a few years back...). Along the way, I've dealt with extended absences and/or early exits from games by Brandin Cooks, Alshon Jeffery, Evan Engram, Mark Walton, Mohammed Sanu, Deebo Samuels and Emmanuel Sanders. All on the same team - I'm only in one league this year.

All that being said, Cam Newton was the first in a long line of roster failures this season, and I personally would need a lot of convincing to ever draft him again.

Oy Jeff. That is one heck of a list of big-name/break out potential roster clogs youíve got going there. Letís both look forward to not drafting Newton in 2020.

TomJís biggest surprise (Kyler Murray) is worth noting if only because he is now the #5 QB in the FFToday Staff League:

I boldly and confidently kept Mayfield in my keeper league from last year, just certain he'd tear the league up this year. Then, in the draft, because the timing happened to be right, I said "You know, what the heck, don't need him, but I'll grab Kyler Murray."

So this is purely about just who's on my team, but the *consistency* of Murray has been the real surprise. I totally expected him to be boom/bust in his first year, days of 40 points and days of 5. But he's been surprisingly steady, as well as fantasy-good. (And I've had to rely on him because Mayfield, so I've been paying attention.) So maybe not the most surprising all season--Minshew might get that nod. But Murray is who I've been paying more attention to.

I like this answer from TomJ--if only because it will come as a shock to some readers who would otherwise have overlooked what Murray has achieved as a rookie. I also like the way it forces so many of us to confront what we got wrong about Mayfield heading into 2019. I warned readers away from him because I thought there was no chance that we would return value at his ADP, but my argument was based on his ceiling not being what other people projected. I didnít suspect for a moment that his floor would be anywhere near as low (QB #17 after 12 weeks!) as it has been. As bad as Carson Wentz has been this year, heís still 3 notches ahead of Mayfield.

TomJ isnít alone, as Kevin and his brother got their Mayfield and Murray wires crossed in much the same way:

My brother [and I] drafted Jameis Winston and Kyler Murray. Not bad. We play match-ups.
Early on, we added Josh Allen in case Jameis or Kyler struggled. Immediately, we traded Josh for Baker Mayfield for upside. Not good. But it worked out.

Because we drafted Christian McCaffrey, Aaron Jones and Josh Jacobs at RB and Mike Evans, TY Hilton and DJ Moore at WR. Very good.
Congrats on everything but the Mayfield call, Kevin. Nice squad.

Oddly, the same sort of relationship that TomJ had with Mayfield and Murray was amplified by Markís experience with Wentz and Jackson:

I took Wentz in the 7th because I was sure he was bouncing back. He had a favorable schedule, his receivers looked healthy, he had not one but two high-quality tight-ends and a running back that could turn catches into TDís. What could possibly go wrong? Fortunately, I also took Lamar the Star in the 11th and heís played every game since week 2. I dropped Wentz in Week 7, even though I needed a bye-week replacement for Jackson in Week 8, because he and the offense looked so bad. In a twist, a league-mate picked him right up and played him against me, learning first-hand why I jettisoned him in the first place.
Iím sure everyone who snagged Jackson in the double-digit rounds can relate to Mark--whether they drafted him as a backup or not. But if you drafted him as a backup and went on to cut whichever QB you took first (like Mark did), please quickly tell your story in the comments below. I suspect itís a fairly common narrative this season.

Even though Jackson is almost indisputably the biggest surprise at QB this season, itís worth thinking about under-the-radar figures such as Kyler Murray and Ryan Tannehill, who was nominated by James:

Know who is getting zero love at QB but has been surprisingly solid over the last four weeks? Ryan Tannehill. He's the #11 QB in my league over his last four starts and has been remarkably consistent: (20.87, 24.23, 21.57, 21.50). Rankings across the fantasy web still rank him in the bottom five or six QBs; nope, he's playing good football.

Tannehill deserves even more praise than James gives him here, since he turned in his best performance of the season after James posted this comment. Tannehillís Week 16 game against the Saints is no cakewalk, but there will presumably be pressure on the Titans to score. His next 3 opponents (Colts, Raiders, Texans) are all in the bottom half of the league vs. the pass. I failed to start him in Week 12 even though I could have. That was dumb.

So even if I donít think Tannehill is truly more surprising in 2019 than Jackson, his availability makes him a much more actionable topic of conversation at this point in the season.

My thanks to everyone who wrote in.

Russell Wilson

This Week’s Question: Third Quick Quarterly Quiz*

*DO NOT REPEAT any of the answers you gave in Weeks 5 or 9.

According to the scoring system in the FFToday Staff League (FFTSL), the top 5 QBs after 12 weeks of NFL action are:

1) Lamar Jackson (#1 after Q1; #3 after Q2)
2) Russell Wilson (#3 after Q1; #2 after Q2)
3) Dak Prescott (#4 after Q1; #5 after Q2)
4) DeShaun Watson (outside top 5 [OT5] after Q1; #1 after Q2)
5) Kyler Murray (newcomer)

Patrick Mahomes fell from #1 (Q1) to #7 (Q2) to #10 (Q3). Carson Wentz fell from #5 (Q1) to #12 (Q2) to #14 (Q3). Aaron Rodgers climbed to #4 (Q2), but fell back out of the top 5 (#8 after Q3).

Question 1) Which of these top 5 QBs do you consider most likely to remain in the top 5 through Week 16? (My Q1 answer was Mahomes; Q2 - Watson; Q3 - Jackson.)

Question 2) Which of these QBs do you consider least likely to remain in the top 5 through Week 16? (My Q1 answer was Prescott; Q2 - Rodgers; Q3 - Murray.)

In the FFTSL, the top 5 RBs after 12 weeks of NFL action are:

1) Christian McCaffrey (holding steady)
2) Dalvin Cook (holding steady)
3) Austin Ekeler (#2 after Q1; #4 after Q2)
4) Aaron Jones (OT5 after Q1; #3 after Q2)
5) Leonard Fournette (OT5 after Q1; #5 after Q2)

This is the same list we saw after Q2, but Ekeler & Jones have swapped positions. Nick Chubb dropped from #4 (Q1) to #6 (Q2), where he remains. Alvin Kamara was #5 (Q1) before falling to #14 (Q2) and climbing to #13 (Q3).

Question 3) Which of these RBs do you consider most likely to remain in the top 5 through Week 16? (My Q1 answer was McCaffrey; Q2 - Jones; Q3 - Cook)

Question 4) Which of these RBs do you consider least likely to remain in the top 5 through Week 16? (My Q1 answer was Ekeler; Q2 - Fournette; Q3 - NONE--since I’ve already used Ekeler & Fournette & declared the other 3 likely to remain.)

In the FFTSL, the top 5 WRs after 12 weeks of NFL action are:

1) Michael Thomas (OT5 after Q1; #1 after Q2)
2) Chris Godwin (#3 after Q1; #3 after Q2)
3) Mike Evans (#4 after Q1; OT5 after Q2)
4) DeAndre Hopkins (newcomer)
5) D. J. Chark (OT5 after Q1; #5 after Q2)

Keenan Allen was #4 (Q1), but fell to #9 (Q2) and then #12 (Q3). Cooper Kupp maintained #2 (Q1 & Q2), but fell to #8 (Q3). Julio Jones climbed from #5 (Q1) to #4 (Q2) only to drop to #9 (Q3).

Question 5) Which of these WRs do you consider most likely to remain in the top 5 through Week 16? (My Q1 answer was Julio Jones; Q2 - Thomas; Q3 - Hopkins.)

Question 6) Which of these WRs do you consider least likely to remain in the top 5 through Week 16? (My Q1 answer was Kupp; Q2 - Chark; Q3 - Evans.)

In the FFTSL, the top 5 TEs after 12 weeks of NFL action are:

1) Travis Kelce (#4 after Q1; #2 after Q2)
2) Zach Ertz (newcomer)
3) Austin Hooper (#2 after Q1; #1 after Q2)
4) Mark Andrews (#3 after Q1; #5 after Q2)
5) Darren Waller (#5 after Q1; #3 after Q2)

Everyone but Ertz appeared on this list after Q1 and Q2. Evan Engram fell from #1 (Q1) to #4 (Q2) to #8 (Q3).

Question 7) Which of these TEs do you consider most likely to remain in the top 5 through Week 16? (My Q1 answer was Kelce; Q2 - Waller; Q3 - Ertz.)

Question 8) Which of these TEs do you consider least likely to remain in the top 5 through Week 16? (My Q1 answer was Hooper; Q2 - Andrews; Q3: NONE--since I’ve already used Hooper and Andrews and declared Kelce, Ertz, & Waller likely to remain.)

In the FFTSL, the top 5 defenses after 12 weeks of NFL action are:

1) Patriots (holding steady)
2) 49ers (OT5 after Q1; #2 after Q2)
3) Steelers (#5 after Q1; #4 after Q2)
4) Ravens (newcomers)
5) Jets (#4 after Q1; OT5 after Q2)

The Bears dropped from #2 (Q1) to #10 (Q2) to #16 (Q3). The Buccaneers fell all the way from #3 (Q1) to #16 (Q2) before climbing back to #15 (Q3). The Panthers and Giants were both outside the top 5 after Q1, but the Panthers climbed to #3 (Q2) before falling to #6 (Q3), whereas the Giants clawed their way to #5 (Q2) only to drop back down to #13 (Q3).

Question 9) Which of these defenses do you consider most likely to remain in the top 5 through Week 16? (My Q1 answer was the Bears; Q2 - Patriots; Q3 - 49ers.)

Question 10) Which of these defenses do you consider least likely to remain in the top 5 through Week 16? (My Q1 answer was the Steelers; Q2 - Giants; Q3 - Jets.)

Once again, I encourage readers to record their answers to the quiz in the comment section below or by emailing me (especially if they include explanations for their choices). FYI, this is a lot harder than it looks, especially when you throw in the wrinkle of not reusing any names. We’ll get the final answers after the Week 16 games (because Week 17 is mostly meaningless for fantasy).

The most important lesson I’ve learned from this exercise is how poor our (or at least MY) power of prediction is when it comes to defenses. In Week 5, I picked the Steelers to drop out of the top 5 because I thought their offense would be terribad without Big Ben, which meant the defense was bound to be overworked. Well, things have been pretty terribad for the Pittsburgh offense, but the Steeler defense has climbed up one spot each quarter in terms of fantasy production. These developments can’t surprise us if we don’t know what our expectations are, so I invite you to use this quiz as an opportunity to expose some of your expectations to yourself.

Survivor Pool Picks

#3 Chiefs over Raiders (10-2; PHI, BAL, SF, lar, NE, WAS, GB, NO, SEA, ind, MIN, BUF)

There are three 10-point favorites this week. Two of them (Kansas City and Carolina) are at home; the other (Philadelphia) is on the road. The order in which I have them ranked here has less to do with my preferences than with which teams have been used in which slots to this point in the season. However, I do have the least faith in the AFC West battle between the Raiders and the Chiefs. Intradivisional games always make me nervous, but this one is especially worrisome because the Chiefs arenít firing on all cylinders, while the Raiders are capable of being sneaky good (at least in flashes). Still, I expect Patrick Mahomes and company to take care of business en route to reminding the world that the Ravens arenít the only Super Bowl contenders not coached by Bill Belichick in the AFC.

#2 Eagles over Dolphins (7-5; HOU, BAL, NE, ind, kc, lac, SF, MIN, BUF, no, car, CHI)

Carson Wentz has been hurt. He has also been bad. Maybe he will continue to be both against Miami, but that seems unlikely (considering how well other QBs have fared vs. the Dolphins). Road games usually make me nervous, but does anyone foresee a particularly loud and rowdy crowd turning out to support Ö the 2-9 Miami Dolphins Ö in Week 13 Ö fur frigginí realz? As poorly as the Eagles played against the Patriots and Seahawks, no one confuses the Dolphins with either of those teams. And with the Philadelphia secondary having bounced back from injury, this might be the week that the Fitzmagical enchantment of DeVante Parker is finally broken.

#1 Panthers over Redskins (11-1: NE, SEA, DAL, LAC, PHI, dal, BUF, SF, BAL, OAK, CLE)

Kyle Allen and the Panthers are coming off a heartbreaking 34-31 loss to the Saints, a team that could very easily end up representing the NFC in the Super Bowl. Now they face a 2-9 Redskins team that isnít headed anywhere. I donít blame the Skins for using the balance of a lost season to find out what they have in Dwayne Haskins, but the rookie QB has shown little to inspire confidence in the Washington faithful. Maybe heíll be good next year. As for this year, well, heís been far more likely to fumble or throw an interception than to complete a TD pass. Look for that trend to continue against the Panthers.

Mike Davis has been writing about fantasy football since 1999--and playing video games even longer than that. His latest novel (concerning a gamer who gets trapped inside Nethack after eating too many shrooms) can be found here.