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You Won't Win a Fantasy Title with Tua or Lamar

By Steve Schwarz | 6/22/23

Tua Tagovailoa

Consistency Ė ďthe achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time.Ē

Itís the goal of every fantasy owner, particularly in head-to-head leagues. A consistently good performance. Itís a must during playoff time. Itís also, in most cases, an unobtainable goal.

When drafting your fantasy quarterback do you want one who scores 40 points one week but five points the next? Of course not, because the bad game will get you knocked out of the playoffs. Obviously, you would want a guy who scores 40 every week, but there arenít any of those. However, what if I could tell you which quarterbacks are most likely to score at, or above, a QB1 level?

In 2022, the No.12 quarterback in 12-team leagues (for those who started more than one game), was 21.3 FPts/G. Optimally, you would like your guy to score at least that many points Ė week in and week out.

Last season the Billsí Josh Allen did that better than any other quarterback. Allen cracked the 21.3 mark in 14-of-16 games (87.5%). Heíll be just as good in 2023 barring a boycott by Stefon Diggs.

There were actually three quarterbacks who were above the 21.3 FPts/G in at least 80% of their games played. Thatís one of the reasons they were elite fantasy options last season and will be in 2023. Patrick Mahomes was 14-of-17 and Jalen Hurts went 12-of-15. Not coincidently, they also led all fantasy in scoring.

There is a middle tier, when at least your quarterback produced those numbers at least half the time. It included; Joe Burrow, Geno Smith, Dak Prescott, Justin Fields and Justin Herbert.

The issue comes when fantasy owners simply look at season-long numbers and see a high value, but donít look to see how they were produced. Did they have one or two monster games and were mediocre or worse in the remainder of the contests? That wonít win you a championship. The odds that they have three good games in-a row during the playoffs are against you.

Lamar Jackson is an example.

In 2022, Lamar was fifth in FPts/G, averaging 22.9, but in reality, he was too inconsistent. Two 40+ point games in Week 2 and Week 3, drastically skewed his numbers. He failed to reach a QB1 total in 7-of-12 contests (58.3%). The fact he was injured for the fantasy playoffs didnít matter, his average over his last six games was just 16.9 FPts/G. Even if we take out the game where he was injured, he still averaged a subpar 20 FPts/G. You canít win with those numbers.

Tua Tagovailoa also failed to produce consistently. Despite being eighth in FPts/G (21.9), his story is similar to Jacksonís. A 47.6-point performance in Week 2 (469 passing yards and six TDs) made him look better than his true fantasy value. He averaged 19.7 FPts/G without the Week 2 effort, was below 21.3 FPts/G in four of his last five games which included the fantasy playoffs, and 61.5% of the season. Contrast that to Prescott who averaged 21.6 FPts/G for the season, less than Tagovailoa, but averaged 27.8 during the fantasy playoffs and cracked the QB1 mark in 58.4% of his games.

Additionally, those touting the improvement of Daniel Jones, note that he was below the QB1 threshold in 11-of-16 games. The New York Giants improved their win/loss total under new Head Coach Brian Daboll, but Jonesí improvement has been in turning the ball over less and running more, but still not producing fantasy-worthy point totals. I will not be drafting Jonesí as my starter in any fantasy leagues.

The same can be said for Jared Goff. He has an improved receiving corps, and the team is winning more, but still averaged only 20.3 FPts/G and failed to reach the QB1 threshold in 11 of 17 games (64.7%).

Finally, letís talk about two veteran quarterbacks who have been mainstays in fantasy in the past, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, but were disasters in 2022.

Wilsonís 19.1 FPts/G was the worst of his 11-year career. He was particularly bad early in the season and fantasy owners who started him paid the price. He averaged just 18.1 FPts/G over his first eight games. However, there was a distinct improvement over the last quarter of the season when he produced 26.1 FPts/G from Week 14 to the end of the season. Heíll have a new, quarterback-friendly head coach in Sean Payton for 2023, the return of underrated wideout Tim Patrick to go along with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and 2023 second-round draft pick Marvin Mims, in the receiver room. I expect a return to form for Wilson and with him going 17th among quarterbacks in early drafts, could be a bargain.

Last, but certainly not least, is the four-time MVP Rodgers, who after his usual off-season drama will make his New York Jets debut following the worst season since he became a starter in 2008. He averaged 17.9 FPts/G in 2022. He didnít score 24 fantasy points in any game. He never seemed able to get comfortable with his young rookie receivers and couldnít find the veteran guys often enough. Will he do better in assimilating his new receivers in New York? The Jets brought over some familiar faces for Rodgers in Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, but it will be the Rodgers-to-Garrett Wilson and Rodgers-to-Mecole Hardman hookups which likely determine his return to fantasy relevance. Also of importance in this equation, Nathanial Hackett will be the offensive coordinator. He was with Rodgers in Green Bay from 2019-21. They were a top-10 passing team in two of those three seasons. Rodgers should be improved in 2023, but not to his fantasy superstar value. He is going off the board around No. 15 at his position these days, which means he could be a value pick since he should be a low-end QB1 performer.

 QB Consistency - 2022
Player Gms FPts/G 0-11 11-16 16-21.3 %<21.3 21.3-26 26-31 31-36 36-41 41+
Josh Allen 16 29.5 0 1 1 12.5 2 5 4 2 1
Patrick Mahomes 17 28.6 0 0 3 17.6 2 6 3 3 0
Jalen Hurts 15 28.5 0 1 2 20.0 2 4 3 3 0
Joe Burrow 16 26.2 0 1 5 37.5 3 2 4 0 1
Geno Smith 17 22.2 1 1 5 41.2 3 4 1 0 0
Dak Prescott 12 21.6 1 2 2 41.6 4 2 1 0 0
Justin Fields 15 22.8 1 3 3 46.7 3 3 0 0 2
Justin Herbert 17 20.7 0 3 5 47.1 6 3 0 0 0
Kirk Cousins 17 21.5 1 2 6 52.9 3 4 0 1 0
Trevor Lawrence 17 21.5 1 2 6 52.9 4 2 1 1 0
Kyler Murray 11 21.3 1 0 5 54.5 1 3 1 0 0
Lamar Jackson 12 22.9 1 1 5 58.3 3 0 0 0 2
Tua Tagovailoa 13 21.9 1 2 5 61.5 1 2 1 0 1
Jared Goff 17 20.3 1 4 6 64.7 2 2 2 0 0
Daniel Jones 16 20.8 1 3 7 68.8 2 0 2 1 0
Russell Wilson 15 19.1 1 6 4 73.3 0 4 0 0 0
Aaron Rodgers 17 17.1 1 4 10 88.2 2 0 0 0 0