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Overvalued and Undervalued Quarterbacks

By Jason Katz | 8/3/21 |

Rest assured someone at some point during each of your drafts will utter some variation of the words ďvalue pick.Ē But what exactly is a value pick? What is value? Value is a relative term that changes based on public perception. When I consider value, Iím looking for a positive return on my investment. Just because a player has an a fourth round ADP and is still sitting there in the sixth round does not make him good value. At the same time, taking a player a round or two above his ADP is not necessarily bad value. Again, everything is relative.

My goal in every pick I make is to take a player I believe will perform at a level above where I drafted him. Last season, Josh Allen had a ninth round ADP. This year, he has a fourth round ADP. The rise in ADP is due entirely to his performance. Allen gave owners one hell of a positive return on investment. On the flip side, Drew Brees had a seventh round ADP. He retired this past offseason, but he finished as the overall QB15. Thatís the type of pick we all hope to avoid.

Letís take a look at which QBs I expect to outperform their ADPs and which I expect to fail.


Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
ADP: 9.01, QB12

The case for Tannehill being undervalued: All Tannehill has done since he became a starter is be efficient and put up QB1 numbers.

The case against Tannehill being undervalued: The Titans remain a run-heavy offense and Tannehill will have to maintain high touchdown efficiency to continue being a QB1.

Verdict: In his 15 games during the fantasy season in 2020, Tannehill finished as a top 12 QB eight times. Even when he had sub-QB1 outings, he rarely completely busted. Tannehillís overall ADP is a bit high, but itís his rank amongst quarterbacks that makes him undervalued. In leagues where managers wait on quarterback, you can expect Tannehill to be available into the double-digit rounds, where he is the ideal late-round QB.

The Titans will continue to lean on Derrick Henry, but given their poor defense, itís likely they will have to throw more this season. Also playing into that narrative is the acquisition of Julio Jones. It stands to reason the Titans didnít trade for Julio to not use him. Tannehill has two full seasons proving himself as an efficient quarterback. With Julio and A.J. Brown, Tannehill has arguably the best wide receiver duo in the NFL at his disposal. All it would take is a little more volume to give Tannehill a realistic chance at a top five finish.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Washington Football Team
ADP: 14.01, QB24

The case for Fitzpatrick being undervalued: In his seven starts last season, Fitzpatrick posted at least 18 fantasy points in six of them.

The case against Fitzpatrick being undervalued: Heís 38 years old, on yet another team, and hasnít been consistently good for a full season his entire career.

Verdict: Fitzpatrick is setup for success in 2021. His typical situation is as a bridge quarterback to a younger draft pick but the Football Team doesnít have anyone. Their backup is Taylor Heinicke. They are committed to Fitzpatrick and, for the first time in a long time, heís not at risk of getting benched for throwing too many picks.

At his disposal, Fitzpatrick has a trio of talented pass catchers in Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Logan Thomas. He was putting up QB1 numbers last season with the likes of DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and Jakeem Grant.

Washington plays in an NFC East filled with suspect defenses, particularly the Cowboys and the Eagles, both of whom he will face twice.

Iím certainly not advocating for Fitzpatrick to be your plan at quarterback, but heís barely being drafted as a top 24 QB despite proving to be a consistent low QB2. In deeper leagues or if you really want to punt QB, Fitzpatrick is an ideal bridge quarterback for your fantasy team while you wait for a guy like Justin Fields or Trey Lance to take over.


Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
ADP: 2.08, QB1

The case for Mahomes being overvalued: Heís certainly the overall QB1, but the ADP gap between him and the other QBs in his tier is too big.

The case against Mahomes being overvalued: We all remember what he did in 2018 and that is always in his range of outcomes.

Verdict: Make no mistake about it, Patrick Mahomes is the overall QB1. He should be the first quarterback drafted. The problem is where he goes. In order to draft Mahomes, youíll have to take him late second/early third round. Yet, guys like Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, and Lamar Jackson arenít going until fourth or fifth round. Mahomesí status as an overvalued player has nothing to do with him and everything to do with these other four guys.

Mahomes averaged less than 0.5 FPts/G more than Allen and Murray last season and he actually averaged 0.5 FPts/G fewer than Prescott (although Prescott played just five games). As for Jackson, his 2019 was 1.4 FPts/G better than Mahomesí 2018. These five quarterbacks are the clear top five for me, but they are all very close. Mahomes should not be going significantly ahead of them. For that reason, I have to pass on Mahomes as I know I can get a similarly valued quarterback 2-3 rounds later.

Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
ADP: 7.10, QB10

The case for Stafford being overvalued: Heís joining a new offense that wants to run the ball and he doesnít have rushing upside.

The case against Stafford being overvalued: His new team has a good offensive line and he has two excellent wide receivers in Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp on what should be a very good offense.

Verdict: I really like Matthew Stafford for the Rams. I think heís a sizable upgrade on Jared Goff. He also should be fine for fantasy but I just canít advocate for selecting him in the single digit rounds.

Stafford does not run. Heís never rushed for more than 207 yards in a season and the modern NFL quarterback is mobile. Not every quarterback has to be Lamar Jackson, but he needs to at least be Justin Herbert. Stafford does not run, which means his fantasy output on a weekly basis is entirely reliant on touchdowns. Even rookies like Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Trey Lance can rack up a touchdownís worth of fantasy points via rushing. Even though Fields and Lance wonít be starting Week 1, I would rather take a bridge quarterback to hold my team over until they inevitably win the job than take a pure pocket passer in the single-digit rounds.

To be clear, Stafford will be fine for fantasy, but he doesnít have the ceiling of a rushing quarterback. Jalen Hurts showed us last season the power of rushing as he was a sub 60% completion percentage passer, yet still posted three consecutive QB1 weeks, including an overall QB1 performance in Week 15. If Stafford falls and he can be that bridge quarterback to a mobile rookie, then by all means, draft him. Just donít take him inside the top 12.

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