Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson show that cellular passers-by are the rule

The revolution is here. The mobile quarterbacks won. The Konami Code won. The rating of fantasy quarterback will never be the same.

I’m not saying that given the right draft price, I’ll never think about a pocket-only quarterback again. Tom Brady was just 43 years old on dynamite. Philip Rivers didn’t win in Buffalo, but he died with his boots on. Drew Brees has something else to offer. Ben Roethlisberger was a one-man carnival in Pittsburgh’s playoff loss to Cleveland.

But the cheat code is hugely powerful in today’s fantasy game and we have to take that into account. NFL teams and players are fully aware of how deadly running can be, especially considering how straightforward the rules are when it comes to quarterbacks. Unless the NFL one day decides to make radical reforms on how to defend (and beat) a quarterback, that spirit is unlikely to return to the bottle.

And the athletes at Quarterback have never been better.

To be fair, there have been quite a few race waves at this location over the years. I’ve examined every quarterback rankings from the 2000s and seen some interesting things. The top 10 in 2001 included six quarterbacks that have significantly increased their value from running: Jeff Garcia, Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb, Aaron Brooks, Kordell Stewart and Jay Fielder. (Rich Gannon was on the fence, whichever 231-and-2 means to you)

But there have been many years when the pocket quarterbacks controlled the board. In 2007, Brady’s first big season, there wasn’t a single top 10 quarterback making his way to fantasy fame. No one in the top 10 had more than 205 rushing yards, and the only two top 10s with three rushing scores were non-scramblers Peyton Manning and Derek Anderson.

In the 2000s, there were running and non-running waves of fantasy QBs. Here’s a year the Pocket Boys ruled in 2007. Check out the top 10 and their rushed columns. We will never see this again.

– Scott Pianowski (@scott_pianowski) January 12, 2021

Aaron Rodgers wore the yellow jersey in 2009 and ran proactively (316 yards, five touchdowns). Everyone else in the top 10 were turtles, or at least played that way this season.

The story goes on

Tired of Memory Lane? Let’s come back to the present and the future.

In the 2019 season, Lamar Jackson galloped to MVP, and six of the top 10 quarterbacks used proactive running to their advantage. And in the 2020 season, there were a whopping eight quarterbacks in the top 10 guys with double threat. Hell, the two “turtles” on this list, Tom Brady (six rushing yards) and Aaron Rodgers (149 rushing yards), have thrown at least three rushing touchdowns on the goal line.

Everyone else ran aggressively between their 20s or on the goal line or both. Long live the cheat code.

If we look at the entire QB board, we can see that 10 quarterbacks had at least 300 rushing yards and 20 quarterbacks were executed in at least three touchdowns.

People like Rivers become fantasy losers in all of this. I can’t make it a DFS start or a fantasy pick in hopes of 270 yards and a couple of touchdowns. If a non-running QB does not project more than 300 yards with three or more touchdowns, then look away. And hell, the Colts occasionally make their way down to Rivers and let Jacoby Brissett do the work on short stretches or on the goal line.

My preferred method of attack is to find a quarterback who makes a living on his arm but who can also injure you with his legs. Josh Allen was just having this kind of season and drained on the QB1 course. Russell Wilson’s peak – which, unfortunately, could be in the rearview mirror – was this shade. Patrick Mahomes sure. Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, they go with the suit too.

I’m not going to fire players like Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray right away – Jackson was a gigantic fantasy win in 2019 (on the way to the league’s MVP award), and although Murray had a much higher ADP last summer, he also voted back a profit. However, for this to be fully sustainable in the future, they need to improve as developed passers-by. (It would also be desirable to have an additional note recipient in each city.)

Jared Goff was number 1 in his design class just four years ago. Today he looks like the potential dinosaur holding back the LA Rams and their fearsome defenses. Things change pretty quickly in this number beater. I think I’m finally over the idea that I can sit back and pick up Matt Ryan, make boring value selections, and win my leagues. Late-round quarterback was often a cheap shortcut to take advantage of the inefficiency of the market. I’m more likely to shop in the middle of the board or (panting) even in the top half of the board next year.

A lot will change by summer. I will address the incoming newbies when we know which team they are on and what is around them. And yes, please, let’s find a new home for Watson. He deserves it so much better. In the meantime there is something to discuss here …

Quarterback board way too early in 2021

1. Patrick Mahomes

2. Josh Allen

3. Deshaun Watson

4. Lamar Jackson

5. * Dak Prescott (must monitor the progression of the injury)

6. Kyler Murray

7. Justin Herbert

8. Aaron Rodgers

9. Russell Wilson

10. Tom Brady

11. Ryan Tannehill

12.Matthew Stafford (if he leaves Detroit)

Next week we’ll be looking at the running backs.

• • Tight End Exit Interview (1/5)

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