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The Perfect Pair - Two Mid-round QBs Who Can Combine for QB1 Value


In my home league for fantasy football, I've adopted the strategy of avoiding all the top quarterbacks. Some guy I knew in college is definitely going to pick Drew Brees three rounds early and someone else is going to think picking Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady is a tremendous value--they'll never have to worry about the bye week!

Just when the run on top-tier QBs begins is when I zag the other direction and pick up some undervalued position players. I do this because I know I can grab a couple of QBs later on in the draft who can give me close to QB1 value and come out ahead of the other owners in my league. (Note to the friends in my friend league--ignore what I just typed and please keep drafting quarterbacks early.)

What's a good QB combination for 2017? Whose bye weeks sync up perfectly and don't have very many bad matchups at the same time? And more importantly, which QBs do this and are outside of the top 10 in the preseason rankings? As the wise owl in the classic Tootsie Pop commercials would say, let's find out:

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The Perfect Pair: Matthew Stafford and Tyrod Taylor

Both of these QBs are ranked in the mid-teens going into 2017, which seems a little wild since Stafford finished last season as the QB7 in standard and Taylor as the QB8. Both players are on teams whose offenses could take a small step back this season, but likely not far enough back to knock them out of the top twelve.

Let's look at each player's strengths and weaknesses as individuals before I give you a Way Too Early look at how their schedules mesh.

 

Matthew Stafford

Detroit's offense might not be as stacked as it has been in the past--Anquan Boldin is gone and they didn't really do much to replace him--but Stafford is still a very good quarterback, especially in fantasy where some of his real life flaws don't hurt as much.

He's continued to cut down on the interceptions. He's finished as a top ten fantasy quarterback four times in the past six seasons. He's coming off his best two seasons in terms of completion percentage.

I'm not out here saying Matthew Stafford is the perfect QB. There's a reason I'm saying that he should be combined with another player in order to maximize his value. The Lions' depth chart doesn't look great--after Golden Tate and Marvin Jones, there's a lot of who? Eric Ebron has a lot to prove and the stats don't back up him proving it.

The Detroit backfield has improved though--a (hopefully) healthy Ameer Abdullah, a good fullback in Matt Asiata, and the increasingly reliable Theo Riddick can take some pressure off of Stafford, which should minimize his mistakes. Riddick is also a very valuable threat as a receiver and should give Stafford a good target down near the goal line.

But again, Stafford isn't perfect. That's why...

 

Tyrod Taylor

...you should also try to get Tyrod Taylor. Like Detroit, Buffalo's offense looks worse on paper this year. They've lost Mike Gillislee, who worked very well in the backup running back spot. They don't have much receiver depth after Sammy Watkins (who will probably get hurt at some point because COME ON IT WILL HAPPEN), Andre Holmes, and rookie Zay Jones.

This might be a good thing for Taylor's fantasy stats. Gillislee saw his fair share of work in scoring situations last season. Could we see Taylor rolling out a little more this season? He rushed for 580 yards and six touchdowns last season. It wouldn't be too much of a shock to see those TD numbers go up.

The Bills could also find themselves not doing well in football games many times. Quarterbacks can get a boost from playing behind as long as they don't turn the ball over while trying to make a comeback. In two seasons as a starter, Taylor has only thrown 12 interceptions.

Initially I had a slight concern that the Bills may move toward their younger QBs mid-season if the team was struggling on offense. Before publication of this piece, the Bills traded Cardale Jones to the Chargers. This means any main concern about a backup QB challenging Taylor for playing time has been eliminated, so feel even more confident about taking this route.

 

Playing the Schedules Right

It's really, really early for me to try doing this. Injuries will happen. Teams will be good surprises and teams will be bad surprises. But let's go ahead and take a look at their first fourteen weeks and see how we'd balance these two as of early August.

Week 1: DET vs ARI, BUF vs NYJ (A matchup against the Jets? YES.)

Week 2: DET @ NYG, BUF @ CAR (Not a great choice here with two defenses that are predicted to be around the bottom of the top ten, but Stafford should provide some value.)

Week 3: DET vs ATL, BUF vs DEN (You want to avoid Taylor this week, but Stafford has a good matchup against a pretty weak Atlanta defense)

Week 4: DET @ MIN, BUF @ATL (Take advantage of the Falcons again.)

Week 5: DET vs CAR, BUF @ CIN (The Bengals defense is not nearly as scary as they used to be.)

Week 6: DET @ NO, BUF on Bye (The Bills are on a bye? It's fine because Stafford gets the Saints.)

Week 7: DET on Bye, BUF vs TB (A mediocre Tampa Bay defense makes up for not having Stafford this week.)

Week 8: DET vs PIT, BUF vs OAK (I think these are both good matchups. I'm leaning Taylor right now, but that might change in a few months.)

Week 9: DET @ GB, BUF @ NYJ (I don't think you can go wrong here either.)

Week 10: DET vs CLE, BUF vs NO (DO YOU SEE WHY YOU SHOULD OWN BOTH OF THESE PLAYERS?)

Week 11: DET @ CHI, BUF @ LAC (The Bears look like they will be in disarray this season. By Week 11, that disarray could be even messier.)

Week 12: DET vs MIN, BUF @ KC (This is the one week that really worries me. Two tough matchups. I'd lean Stafford at this point.)

Week 13: DET @ BAL, BUF vs NE (Keep riding Stafford.)

Week 14: DET @ TB, BUF vs IND (In what's likely a must win game for a lot of fantasy owners, you get Tyrod Taylor against Indianapolis. Sounds pretty good.)

Look at that schedule. There are maybe two weeks where you don't feel great about your quarterback. There's only one of those that will make you look into a mirror and say why did I do this? Only one week of that!

So, feel free to pass on those "elite" quarterbacks early on in your fantasy drafts and wait for the perfect pair of Matthew Stafford and Tyrod Taylor. Then watch lead your team to the fantasy playoffs and get the last laugh on your leaguemates.

 

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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More