Projecting Rookie QB Playing Time

One of my favorite aspects of Fantasy Football is speculation. This past April, 13 quarterbacks were drafted in the NFL Draft. Anywhere from 5 to 7 of them have a legitimate chance to see snaps as a starter in 2018. The question is, “Are they worth a stash in redraft leagues?” Using a formula of my own creation, let’s find out.

The Six Who We Won’t See Starting in 2018

Let’s take a quick moment to mention the six quarterbacks who have an almost 0% chance to take starting snaps this season, whether it’s because of the current starter or the depth chart. The following should not be drafted in any format:

Mike White – 0% chance to see starting snaps – Currently third on the Cowboys depth chart. Dak is the starter, case closed.

Luke Falk – 1% – Currently third on the Titans depth chart. Mariota is the starter. If injured, it will go to Blaine Gabbart.

Tanner Lee – 1% – Current third on the Jags depth chart behind Bortles and Kessler. They’re a running team, anyway.

Danny Etling – 2% – Currently third on the Patriots depth chart. Although, Brady is old and Hoyer’s health is always a question mark.

Alex McGough – 0% – Currently third on the Seahawks depth chart. Wilson is the starter, case closed.

Logan Woodside – 0% – Currently fourth on the Bengals depth chart. Practice squad, here we come!

Could Start, But Highly Unlikely

The next set have a slight chance to start, but should not be drafted in any redraft format:

Kyle Lauletta: 5%

Laulette is Currently third on the Giants depth chart behind Eli Manning and Davis Webb. We must consider this: Under a different head coach, Eli was sat in favor of Geno Smith. Eli no longer has the consecutive start streak in play. The fantasy football universe is currently trembling with the excitement of a returning OBJ and the (different article topic) drafted-too-high Saquon Barkley. Let’s face it, the Giants stunk last year. It’s quite possible that they will stink only slightly less this year. Should we get to the end of the season and the Giants are not in contention for a playoff spot, they might just give Kyle Lauletta a try. The back half of their schedule is pretty winnable.

Mason Rudolph: 3%

He’s is third on the Steelers depth chart behind Big Ben and Landry Jones. The Steelers are a perennial playoff contender and are playing in a weak division (AFC North). Mason Rudolph has some hype but, unless an injury occurs to Big Ben AND the Steelers are out of playoff contention, Mason Rudolph won’t see the field this year.

Might or Will See Starting Snaps This Season

Lamar Jackson: 55%

Jackson sits behind Joe Flacco on the depth chart. Flacco will be the starter in 2018. However, the Ravens start their season with four out of the first 5 games completely winnable (Bills, Bengals, Broncos, Browns). They have a fresh set of starting Wide Receivers (Crabtree, Snead, John Brown, and a lot of rookies). There should be hope for the Ravens. Despite his Super Bowl ring, I am not a fan of Joe Flacco. Not in reality and CERTAINLY not for fantasy. If they get through week five with a losing record, I believe they will grant the starting job to Jackson. Week five at the earliest, although it’s still in the realm of possibility that we will not see Lamar Jackson until 2019. Draftable in redraft leagues? Resist the desire, hype-sters and homers, no way! Not in Superflex or 2QB, either.

Baker Mayfield: 60%

Baker is second on the depth chart behind Tyrod Taylor. Tyrod will be the starting QB in Cleveland in 2018. Between draft picks and free agency, Cleveland has added more than half a roster in the last two years (29 players). Tyrod led the, arguably, worse 2017 Buffalo Bills to the playoffs. My rose colored glasses and love for an underdog has Cleveland finishing with a 9-7 record. But, when I take those glasses off I see them eliminated from the playoffs by Week 15 at the latest. With weeks 16 & 17 winnable (Bengals and Ravens), they might put Mayfield in to see what they have for 2019. Earliest – Week 12. Latest – 2019. Draftable in redraft leagues? No and you can ignore him in Superflex and 2QB, too.

Josh Allen: 90%

Allen is second on the depth chart behind AJ McCarron. Third if you believe the horse pucky coming from the Bills camp that Nathan Peterman could be the starter. I don’t believe a word of it and neither should you. Let’s face it, the Bills are going to stink in 2018. Part of me thinks that Josh Allen could take the starting spot early. The other part of me thinks, “Why would they frustrate a rookie QB and possibly destroy his confidence?”  Earliest – Week 1 by winning the starting role. Latest – Week 9. Do not draft him in any style of redraft…..even if he wins the starting role in week 1.

Sam Darnold: 90%

Darnold is third on the depth chart behind Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. I can repeat almost everything I said the paragraph above. The difference? I think the Jets are slightly better and will win at least 4 games in 2018.  Earliest – Week 1 the veteran McCown on the sideline could be a booster. Latest – 2019. Unfortunately, the last three games on the schedule are against the Texans, the Packers, and the Patriots. That is not an ideal litmus test for a rookie QB. If he wins the starting role by the time your draft roles around, take a shot! In 1QB leagues, I recommend a last round flyer. In SF and 2QB, do it LATE. He’s a rookie on a bad team and likely won’t be in your starting lineup, but there’s potential.

Josh Rosen: 100%

Finally, Rosen is second on the depth chart behind Sam Bradford. Bradford hasn’t played a full season since 2012, 80 games out of a possible 128. Even if he stays healthy, he’s not that good. Take away his stellar 2016 completion rate and he’s barely above 60% for his career. His career Yards per Completion is on par with Nathan Peterman at 10.6 (I’m being hyperbolic with the Peterman comparison, but 10.6 is really low). Josh Rosen will see starting snaps. Earliest – Week 1 because Bradford won’t win the starting job or will get injured in the preseason. Latest – Week 3 because that’s the high end of my confidence in Bradford staying healthy. Draftable in redraft leagues? Yes, but do it late. After all, he’s still a rookie.

About Marc Szymanski

@FFA_Marc on Twitter Resident of southeast Michigan and the wonderful suburbs of Detroit. In real life, I am the Manager of Technology Operations for a software company. Graduated from Baker College with an MBA in Information Systems. Fan of the wonderful game called Fantasy Football. Fan of the Packers AND Lions. Thanks to Madden '94 for the Sega Genesis for causing an internal struggle twice a year.

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