Everyone loves when a player they draft breaks out and suddenly is much more valuable. In fact, you need some picks like that in order to win a championship. On the other hand, no one enjoys drafting a player with an early pick and that player failing to live up to expectations. Not only that, in most cases bust not only costs you an early drafts pick, but they cost you by repeatedly putting up dud performances while in your lineup. By the time you sit them it may be too late. In order to do that you need to know which players will be breakouts and which will be busts. This is a series I will be doing over at Fantrax, identifying breakouts and busts at each position. Last time I covered the Quarterback Breakouts. This time we turn to the dark side with a look at Quarterback busts for the coming season.
2018 Quarterback Busts
Deshaun Watson, QB, HOU
First of all, I know half of you have already discredited this before even reading why I have Watson among my quarterback busts. Watson is not only a popular breakout pick by some, but I have seen him go as the first or second QB off the board. In short, there is a good chance that many of you are Watson fans this season. I have him ranked as my sixth QB, but there is no way I can get him as that. More than likely I would have to take him as the second or third QB off the board. The reason I am lower on him than others is because if you go back to the post-merger in 1970, only one QB (min. 200 pass attempts) has had a higher TD percent than Watson had last season. That lone QB was Peyton Manning in 2004 who posted a 9.9 TD percent. Watson last year posted a 9.3 TD percent, same as what Ken Stabler put up in 1976. That’s right, that means since 1970, only twice has a QB had the amount of pass attempts lead to a touchdown that Watson posted last season.
To put that further into perspective, the league average last season was 4.2 percent, meaning that Watson’s rate was more than double that of the NFL norm. Additionally, he threw 16 touchdowns in his final four games. That pace is clearly unsustainable, as it would be a 62-touchdown pace. It is easy to see what Watson did last season and get excited, but I find it difficult to believe that he can replicate that kind of off the chart success and do not want to be the one spending a top-five round draft pick to find out if he can.
Carson Wentz, QB, PHI
I know, if you were skeptical when I included Watson on the list of quarterback busts, you must be fuming with this call. I mean, Wentz was the NFL MVP before tearing his ACL. In fact, he threw a TD despite tearing his ACL a few plays earlier! Still, much like Watson I question whether Wentz can duplicate the success he had last season.
First lets look at his 16-game pace and where it would have finished amongst QBs: 325 completions (12th), 542 attempts (8th), 4,057 yards (8th), 41 TD (1st by far), 9 int (20th). As you can see, Wentz was a very good QB last season, but the touchdowns really inflated his value. In fact, his 7.5 TD percent was the 26th highest since post-merger (1970). If you want to take a look at recent history, it was the sixth highest rate since 2010. It seems unlikely to me that he will be able to score touchdowns at such a prolific rate again.
However, that is not the only concern with Wentz. We have yet to see him play since tearing his ACL and all reports indicate that he will sit out the preseason and needs just a week of practice in order to play. Great. But I have trouble believing that he can step on the practice field, practice for a week, then step on the field and not miss a beat. He needs reps not only for himself, but to bring back that chemistry that he had last season. Wentz is my QB7, but to be honest, I will pass up on him at that price and elect to take a QB later in the draft as there are just too many red flags for my liking.
Derek Carr, QB, OAK
This call is a lot less bold than the previous three. In fact, the position is so deep this year I actually think it is challenging to find quarterback busts. You have hopefully read my article on Fantrax on why I like Amari Cooper this year, but if you haven’t, let me tell you this: I like the receiver but not the QB here. It is not that I do not particularly trust the weapons outside of Cooper, but Carr has always shown to be a better real life QB than Fantasy. In four career seasons Carr has never thrown for 4,000 yards. He has been TD dependent as he has two seasons with 28+ passing TDs, but two with 22 or fewer passing TDs. He does not add value with his legs like many QBs in his range. Carr can be a fine QB for the Raiders this year, but has been hyped up in the past and if he starts to gain steam this preseason I will not jump on that bandwagon.
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Most Likely of the Top Four to Bust…
For those of you who don’t know the top four I am referring to, it is Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Tom Brady. Those are the consensus top four. Of those four, the most likely candidate to land among the quarterback busts is… Brady. Now, I do not say this as a Bills fan hoping he does fall off. One reason I say this is because he just turned 41. Now, I know Tom Brady is redefining the odds, but Warren Moon, Vinny Testaverde and Brett Farve are the only QBs ever to throw for more than 2,500 yards at the age of 41 or older. None reached the 4,000 mark. I also realize QBs put up bigger numbers nowadays and Brady has shown no real signs of slowing down. Still, father time is undefeated. Additionally, perhaps we did start to see the first sign of decline from Brady. In the final six games last year he averaged 238 yards per game and threw 10 TDs and six interceptions. He did play well in the playoffs, which perhaps should put my concerns to bed, or perhaps the rest of two byes in five weeks did Brady some good. I could be wrong, and knowing Brady I probably will be, but to me the scare of a late career falloff (ala Peyton Manning) is enough to scare me to put him fourth at the QB position.
Make sure to listen to the Wide Right Fantasy Football podcast with Matt Modica and myself! Also, you can follow me on Twitter @MichaelFFlorio.
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