Wk 14 Report: QB Changing of the Guard 2015
This post is meaningful for both contenders and those who are looking to next year alike. Everyone who plays fantasy football knows that the NFL is the most volatile league in terms of positional stability, especially at all positions aside from Quarterback.
Just take a look at who the consensus first round targets were this year, and look where they are at. LeSean McCoy looks like he forgot how to be an elite RB, O-Line concerns not withstanding. Adrien Petersen might not play football ever again, and if he does he certainly won't have the situation he had in Minnesota. Marshawn Lynch is likely out in Seattle after this season and it his very little to do with his performance. And any of the elite WRs who were first round gambles...Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, A.J. Green all have battled injuries that have sapped their performance this year. RG3, Foles and Hoyer (all starers in Week 1) will likely be on different teams next year.
The point is clear, you need to keep roster flexibility which in Dynasty Owner means trying to keep salary cap space and flexibility. And after that, you need to start watching roster trends in the last part of the current season as those will certainly dictate who has the advantage going into next season's drafts. Now is the time your when your 2015 Draft prep starts, regardless of how you are fairing this season.
Changing of the Guard: Quarterback
Having looked at the significant changes to the WR and RB tiers, we now turn our attention to the QB position, where change is obviously most impactful in Dynasty Owner since the QB position is likely eating up about 20% of your salary cap. Miss on one of these guys and you're probably out of contention, just like in the actual NFL...another reason why Dyansty Owner is the closest simulation to being a real NFL team owner/general manager.
1). Philadelphia Eagles
Rewind to the offseason and you had Nick Foles looking like the future in Philly coming after a brilliant 2013-2014 campaign. But he struggled in the first 8 games this year, particularly with interceptions and showed that his 27:2 TD:INT ratio last year was probably a fluke. Couple that with the fact that Mark Sanchez has come in and has guided the Eagles to a 4-1 record in his 5 starts - this looks like Sanchez team now for the rest of this season to be sure, even when Foles returns from his injury in the next week or two.
Next Season: It's anyone's guess as to who will be the QB next year in Philly, and even local papers are trying to speculate based on the last 2 seasons under Chip Kelly. One things for certain though, what once looked like Fole's job for the next decade is anything but a sure thing. Internal rumblings, if they are to be believed, dictate that Foles is likely done as the starting QB in Philadelphia and that means it's either Sanchez or a player not yet on their roster. But the Eagles have so many holes on defense that it's tough to see them spending any of their top draft picks on a QB. We expect Sanchez to be the QB Dynasty Owner will want to roster right now as the speculative play.
2). Washington Redskins
We stay in the NFC East and look at the mess that is the Washington Redskins. No team has seen more of a surprising shift at the QB position than the Skins, as they are opting to start journeyman Colt McCoy when both Cousins and RGIII are healthy and available. There were some pundits who weren't sold on RGIII as being better than Cousins in the pre-season but nobody saw this happening. RGIII got hurt and Cousins came in and stunk it up in his 4 starts. RGIII returned and looked as lost as ever and now Colt McCoy seems like the only one who can move the offense consistently (though the Redskins are still losing week in and week out).
Next Season: It's tough to see a scenario where either Griffin or Cousins are back with the team given they are being completely disregarded at this point (unless Coach Jay Gruden gets canned) but we can also guarantee that the Skins won't be heading into the 2015 campaign with plans to start Colt McCoy. Expect them to spend a high draft pick in the 2015 draft AND sign a veteran QB they think can come right in and start.
3). New York Jets
We know that neither QB is rostered in the vast majority of leagues, but it's still worth mentioning since we hope the Jets can stabilize the QB position going forward. Smith and Vick have been historically bad and if anyone started the season with Smith as their backup (which was a decent play given his cap-friendly salary) they probably cut bait by week 5 or 6. Neither player will be rostered by the Jets and possibly by any team.
Next Season: Rex Ryan is almost certainly gone, and whoever comes in (Harbaugh?) will clean house at the QB position and use the Jets high 1st round pick and sign a vet QB. This will be a situation to watch closely in the offseason.
4). Cleveland Browns
Cleveland is in a unique position in that they are contemplating a QB change despite having a winning record and being in the thick of a playoff race. But it appears the Browns have been winning in-spite of Brian Hoyer, not because of him. After last week's abysmal showing again the Buffalo Bills, the Browns finally turned to Manziel and he provided a little spark getting them into the end-zone on his first drive. It will be fascinating to see what he does with a week to prepare as the starter (and with the opposition also having a week to prepare). He looked shaky in the pre-season but word is he is much more comfortable with the playbook now.
Next Season: The Browns have to see what they have in Manziel as they have 2 first round draft picks (Buffalo's first rounder) so they have the ammo to get a top flight QB coming out in this draft class. But we have been believers in Johnny at the pro-level and think he could seize the job this year and for years to come. If Manziel is floating on the wire in your league, it's time to make a speculative add.
5). The Oakland Raiders
It's probably fair to say Derek Carr isn't the answer, though the Raiders clearly have a talent problem at almost every position. After a 52-0 debacle last week to the Rams, it's clear this team has just quit and Carr looks like he's regressing.
Next Season: The Raiders seem to be in tank mode, and it looks like they could get the top pick. There is no doubt they are drafting a QB, and it looks like Marcus Mariota could be donning the silver and black next year. Of course it's the Raiders, so they could opt for the riskier play and draft Jameis Winston. Either way, Oakland's Qb of the future is playing on Saturday's right now and you'll want to watch closely how he fares in training camp to see if he is worth the gamble. Just don't put too much emphasis on the pre-season, after all Derek Carr looked like the real deal in the pre-season.