About this time every year, I like to shine a light on each position
and focus on how they fared among their peers on a weekly basis.
While I am very much a believer that fantasy football is a weekly
game and play the matchups as much as anything when it comes to
fringe players, knowing how each player ranked among his position
group each week is a handy little tool - whether you want a quick
reference guide in your redraft leagues to help set expectations
for a certain player or need an idea on the range of a player's
performances to help break a tie between two or three options in
your DFS lineups.
For the sake of time and space (not to mention my sanity), not
every player that has scored a point appears below. My only qualification
at quarterback was at least five games played, which should theoretically
remove non-regulars and any fluke performances. "Best"
refers to the player's highest weekly fantasy finish, while "worst"
obviously refers to his lowest. "Avg" is the player's
average weekly finish. Squares were left blank when the player
was active but failed to register a fantasy point. Got it? Good.
There's no doubt 2020 has been one of those years when someone like
Patrick Mahomes is less than a point per game off his fantasy scoring
average from his 2018 MVP campaign more than halfway through the
season and it's not enough to be the No. 1 player at his position.
Week 9 marked the first time Russell Wilson failed to finish inside
the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks. His 35.3 fantasy points per game
(six points per passing touchdown) is nearly three points per game
more than what Lamar Jackson averaged last season, and it should
be noted Jackson's 32.5 FPPG in 2019 was the highest mark since
Peyton Manning's historic 2013 season in which he set league records
with 5,477 passing yards and 55 passing TDs.
How good has Justin Herbert been? Since finding out he was going
to start minutes before taking the field in Week 2 against a stout
Kansas City pass defense and getting another start versus a Carolina
defense which has held most of the non-elite quarterbacks in check,
Herbert's average fantasy finish is 5.6 - only Kyler Murray's
4.9 over that span is better. He'll face his most difficult test
since Week 4 against the Dolphins this week, but it should be
mostly smooth sailing after that. Looking ahead to the fantasy
playoffs, he will see Atlanta's woeful pass defense in Week 14
before finishing against Las Vegas (326 yards and two touchdowns
versus the Raiders last week) and Denver (278 yards and three
TDs in Week 8).
Since becoming the Titans' starting quarterback in Week 7 of
last season, Ryan Tannehill has thrown for 4,579 yards and 41
touchdowns versus eight interceptions in 18 regular-season games.
He's added 286 yards rushing and five more scores to boot. He
may not belong in the same class as Mahomes and Wilson in terms
of upside and consistency, but it is a bit disrespectful to think
of him as anything other than a very good weekly starter. He's
finished with fewer than 20 fantasy points only twice this season.
There has been much handwringing over Drew Brees' inability or
unwillingness to throw deep this season, but maybe that isn't
always as critical to fantasy success as some would have you believe.
Since the Saints' Week 6 bye, the 41-year-old has strung together
three straight top-10 finishes despite going up against defenses
that rank among the top third of the league in fewest fantasy
points allowed to the position. Over the next four weeks, he faces
a San Francisco defense that just gave up four touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers, a Broncos defense that has surrendered three quarterback
scores in consecutive games and a Falcons' defense (twice, in
Weeks 11 and 13) that has given up at least 23 fantasy points
to seven quarterbacks in nine games. For those looking ahead to
a potential fantasy championship matchup, he'll draw the Vikings.
Perhaps the Minnesota secondary will be healthier at that point,
but it is still a young unit that has allowed four of eight quarterbacks
to throw for at least three TDs.
Other interesting nuggets: Given the quality
of his supporting cast, Ben Roethlisberger seems like he should
be a low-end QB1 most weeks. However, he's finished inside the
top 12 in only three of his eight outings. … Prior to Tom Brady's awful Week 9 effort, the six-time Super Bowl champion's
average fantasy finish was 9.3 with Chris Godwin in the lineup.
In his other four efforts, it was 14.8. … ESPN's Jeff Legwold
did a fine job of crunching some important first-half
versus second-half numbers for Drew Lock. Yes, the last two
weeks are an encouraging sign for him. However, they have come
against challenged defenses in the Broncos and Falcons AND all
six of his touchdowns in those contests have been scored in the
fourth quarter. Las Vegas (Week 10) may be another opponent he
can light up late, but it seems unlikely Miami (Week 11), New
Orleans (Week 12), Kansas City (Week 13) and Carolina (Week 4)
will be as accommodating.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.