It’s August, so we finally have some truly representative fantasy football average draft position data. We start off by looking at quarterback sleepers and busts and try to sort out what exactly we mean by that term. IWhat makes for a bust quarterback? A guy you take top-eight that only returns top-ten results? A guy taken as the QB1 who only returns QB5 numbers? Or is a bust a guy you take as the QB9 who ends up the QB16. For me, it’s someone going as a starter who will not return his ADP. In short: will you regret taking this guy where you took him? Not, “will you regret having him on your roster?” As you’ll see, two of these bust quarterbacks are going inside the top-half of starters at the position. Those aren’t going to be unusable players, but you will likely regret drafting them when you did. That makes them prime bust quarterbacks fodder.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (QB2, #17 overall)
Now, I’m not trying to say that Lamar Jackson won’t be good. I think he’ll be great! There are just a lot of somewhat unsustainable things in his profile that make me wonder if he should go as the #17 overall quarterback (he shouldn’t). First and foremost, getting drafted that high usually comes on the back of unsustainable production. Since 2014, four QBs have gone inside the top-20 by ADP on the backs of massive seasons. Only 2014 was in the top-five in fantasy points per game, and the three other guys missed multiple games. It just isn’t worth the investment this early when the inevitable normalization comes for Lamar Jackson.
So much of Lamar Jackson’s value is tied up into his rushing. No duh, he broke the QB rushing yardage record last season by over 150 yards. He had 162.6 rushing fantasy points last season, the most for any quarterback in the last 20 years. His 38.2% fantasy points sit as the fourth-highest percentage of fantasy points from rushing over the last two decades. It’s also probably worth noting that he had 27.71 fantasy points per game and literally no quarterback in the last decade has two seasons over 24 fantasy points per game.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (QB3, #47 overall)
The average draft position on Kyler Murray raised my hackles pretty severely. It turns out that this is a vagary of how average draft position works: Murray is locked in as QB4 or QB5, depending on the site. The problem comes when evaluating Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, and Russell Wilson. These guys inhabit the #3, #4/#5, and the #6 slots in drafts. They all inhabit enough #5 and #6 slots to bump their average draft price below Murray. Murray isn’t actually the #3 quarterback off the board.
Still, the sites wherein he ends up going ahead of either Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott (Fantrax and Fantasy Football Calculator) are where I will consider him a bust. He got one of the best wide receivers in the game, will have a second season with his play-caller and is a dynamic running-and-passing threat. The only downside is a questionable offensive line. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because it is. I don’t want to single out Jamey Eisenberg for the Baker Mayfield hype train, but he was the best article I saw. In no universe should you let the hype surrounding Kyler Murray convince you to take him over either Dak Prescott or Russell Wilson, who represent Murray’s upside?
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (QB10, #75 overall)
Last year, Aaron Rodgers ranked #11 in total quarterback fantasy points (and fourteenth in fantasy points per game) with a truly godawful wide receiver and tight end corps. The Packers took his replacement, a banger running back, and a fullback/tight end in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. Their sole contribution to the passing game came in the form of signing Devin Funchess, who opted out of the 2020 season. All Aaron Rodgers has left at this point is his name and a narrative that “he’s coming for the haters [flexed arm emoji]” pervading fantasy football twitter.
Rodgers needs a refresh on his set of weapons. Despite averaging the highest target separation, they had the third-most drops in the league. This led to Rodgers ranking outside the top-sixteen in numerous efficiency stats (-action completion %, red zone completion %, deep ball completion %, pressured completion %, clean pocket completion %). While the drops contributed mightily, he ranked seventeenth in true completion percentage, which strips out drops. He just doesn’t get the ball there as much as he used to. The weaponry just wasn’t there to elevate his statistically league-average passes into lofty fantasy football production. And his weaponry didn’t get improved.
There’s also the Packers watching Kyle Shanahan jam the football down their throats in the NFC Championship Game until the Packers broke and decided to make that their game plan, too. A.J. Dillon and Josiah Deguara join Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams to create a potent run game to take plays off of Aaron Rodgers’ shoulders after Green Bay ranked middle-of-the-pack in pass attempts last season.
Low volume, low efficiency, everything trending in the wrong direction, and he turns 37 during the season. No thank you. Not in the top-ten at the position, at least.