Heading into the fifth week of the NFL season, fantasy owners should be scrutinizing their quarterback position. If your quarterback isn’t blowing you away with his stat totals on a weekly basis, you should consider an upgrade.
With so many quarterbacks terrorizing defenses, the middle class of quarterbacks aren’t good enough for your team. Aaron Rodgers, for example, is on pace to throw for 304 points, which would have been good for QB2 in total scoring in 2017. But right now, Rodgers is QB17.
Patrick Mahomes is on pace for 460 fantasy points, Matt Ryan is on his way to 436 points, Jared Goff is on pace for 400. Last year’s QB1, Russell Wilson had 348 points last season. And yet QB11 Andy Dalton, averaging 22 points per game, is on pace to surpass Wilson.
So quarterbacks are scoring an outrageous amount of fantasy points. And if your quarterback isn’t, you’ve got a problem. Owners of Russell Wilson (15.7 points per game), Carson Wentz (16.46 ppg) and even Matthew Stafford (19 pgg) should look for options. Even owners of Rodgers should probably secure a second option. This isn’t to say you should abandon those players. Wilson, Wentz and Rodgers could and should finish the year as top 10 quarterbacks. But right now, they’re far from it, and it would be risky to continue without another streaming option.
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So you have options.
- Waiver wire: You can pick up players like QB11 Andy Dalton (on pace for 352 points), who is owned in 66 percent of Yahoo! leagues, or QB13 Blake Bortles, who is owned in 42 percent of leagues and is on pace for 328 points. But that’s only if you have Rodgers, QB16 Tom Brady or Wilson and you think they’re going to turn into a top quarterback in the coming weeks. With Wilson, in particular, there’s no guarantee.
- Buy low: You can double up on these underperforming quarterbacks. With Brady, a turnaround seems like a certainty now that Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and James White are all involved. With the others, who were surely high draft picks, owners might want to look to the trade market. Rodgers and the Packers are dealing with injuries. Wentz is recovering from an ACL injury. They could all pop in the coming weeks.
- Buy safe: Phillip Rivers, at QB 9, might be a solid option for a trade, especially because he may not command a major asking price.
- Buy big: If your league has an owner with two of the top 10 quarterbacks, try to spin a trade for one of their options. For example, in one of my leagues, a player has Deshaun Watson and Goff. I’m trying to spin a trade for either quarterback, with the hope that Goff maintains his production or Watson gets even better (which he could after an ACL tear last year). Matt Ryan, who was often a late-round flier, is also a good option, as he might be on a team with two top quarterbacks.
Drew Brees might be a dangerous option with Mark Ingram returning to the offense, which could mean an increased emphasis on the running game (like last season when Brees regressed enormously). Mahomes may be a bit too rich right now, but if the price is right, his obscene production could be worthwhile.
In many cases, waiting on a quarterback in the draft can be a successful tactic. The top three quarterbacks were all drafted 100th overall or later. But that doesn’t mean quarterback production isn’t important. With some quarterbacks scorching the NFL, the difference between the top quarterbacks and the middle-class quarterbacks is so severe that smart owners should acquire one of the top signal-callers as soon as possible, even (and perhaps especially) if they committed a high pick to a player like Rodgers, Wilson or Wentz.