Tyrod Taylor – My One and Only
There comes a time in one’s life when you know you’ve found that special someone. For some, it happens early. For others, it can be a grueling process. Sometimes the wait is by choice. Not everyone is looking to play the waiting game, but some just like to keep their options open and see what the world has to offer. Being flexible in life and in fantasy football can offer a variety of perks, so why not take this path and harness the same benefits in your draft strategy? The controversial early-round quarterbacks, though sexy and enticing in terms of consistent production, require a far earlier commitment of draft capital than many can warrant. If you are ready to carry out the late-round quarterback game plan, it comes down to identifying the candidates that offer the most value, upside, and floor. Who might those be? Matt Ryan, who is year two of Kyle Shanahan’s system with a nicely upgraded pass catching group immediately comes to mind. Others include Matthew Stafford, Jameis Winston, and Kirk Cousins. The list goes on. All intriguing in their own ways, but none ripe with all of the above-mentioned necessities more than my favorite late-round quarterback, Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor’s 20:6 TD:INT ratio was spectacular, as he finished with one of the lowest INT percentages in the league in 2015 (1.58%). As witnessed, Taylor’s rushing ability is one of his greatest assets, especially as a fantasy quarterback. Nearly 30% (29.7%) of his fantasy output came from his legs, second only to Cam Newton’s 31.7%. It’s also notable that not a single player at the skill positions for Buffalo contributed a full 16 game season. Not one. The overall health of a team’s weapons is obviously key to sustaining success for a quarterback, but in Taylor’s case, he continued to thrive. Taylor provided top-10 weekly finishes at the position in seven of his 14 games, good for 50% of his starts. On the flip side, he never finished outside QB2 numbers, something only four quarterbacks accomplished in 2015 (Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Andy Dalton, & Tyrod Taylor). It’s no surprise that three of those four are dual-threat quarterbacks, along with Dalton who was having a monster breakout year until injuring his thumb late in the season. Between Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, and Eli Manning the foursome combined for 14 sub-QB24 performances. Who would have thought? The quarterback position has become the easiest to find weekly contributors without having to invest heavily on draft day, due to the league becoming more pass heavy, as seen below.
In looking above, you see that there were only 63 occurrences from 2000-2010 (6.3/yr) that quarterbacks finished with 250-plus fantasy points (=avg/15.62 over 16 games), with only 10 resulting in 300-plus totals. Since 2011, however, the number of 250-plus passers has steadily increased, most recently a monster 17 last year. Since six finished with over 300 fantasy points, that obviously leaves the number at 11 finishing between 250 and 300 total points. Taking into account that the majority of leagues are 10 or 12 teams, you begin to see that in a traditional one quarterback league it is becoming easier and easier to hit on a player at the position who can provide sufficiently enough to wait until the middle-to-late rounds. Sure, you could go for the home run and hope that Cam Newton can continue to efficiently put up nearly 4,500 combined yards of offense and 45 total touchdowns, or that the return of Jordy Nelson will make all things right again in Green Bay. Let’s take a look at the current average draft positions of the top five quarterbacks being taken off the board in comparison to my man Tyrod.
If you’re still trying to justify taking a quarterback early, it might be time to pour yourself a glass of scotch, strike a pose, and do some serious thinking. By taking one from the top handful of quarterbacks you ultimately decide to pass on a serious talent at wide receiver and running back. By lying low and scooping up a series of running backs and wide receivers, both of which will have multiple starters, you’ll be able to bolster your starting lineup and roster depth for the long haul.
QB18 is an abomination. Taylor finished tied for sixth in fantasy points per game (19.33), and depending on your scoring system, just outside the top 12 (QB14), while missing two games. Though his sample size is small, it becomes clear that he is massively undervalued at his current ADP. I currently have Taylor ranked as QB7 in my updated rankings. Though that ranking may seem bullish, with all things considered, signs point to Taylor meeting the high-upside, low-cost, and solid floor set of requirements needed when looking for a late-round quarterback. Even though it has become a simpler task finding your signal caller in the later rounds, deep down in my heart I know that I’ve found “The One.”