Paul Kurywchak @DrPaulFF
Week two was brutal for injuries in the NFL, and a lot of the players that went down were fantasy relevant. Perhaps the biggest injuries were to Drees Brews (out for 6+ weeks) and Ben Roethlisberger (out for the season) because when QBs get hurt, their production is rarely filled by their backup and the entire offense often suffers as a result.
Maybe you’re like me and drafted Michael Thomas and Juju Smith-Schuster as your first two receivers. If you drafted either one, there’s now a much more realistic chance that they won’t live up to their ADP, and they certainly don’t have the same trade value that they had before week two.
The fact is that backup QBs are oftentimes not as good as the starter in front of them (especially when they’re some of the best of all time), which leads to a likely drop-off in total offensive plays and efficiency. This means the quality of the targets to receivers in the offense declines, and defensives usually adjust their scheme to incorporate more blitz packages to stop the run and pressure the inferior QB to force turnovers.
Getting back on track, this article focuses on QBs you can target to be serviceable (potentially multi-week) replacements if you were an owner that lost Big Ben, Brees, or maybe Cam if he’s out (he wasn’t good anyway).
I’m only focusing on players that are owned in 20% or less of Yahoo leagues, so if there are other options like Josh Allen, Jimmy Garoppolo, or Matt Stafford available, I’d go with them over these guys. If you’re in a two QB league, I’d probably prioritize Mason Rudolph over Teddy Bridgewater as these guys I’m talking about are already probably rostered.
Jacoby Brissett (13% owned)
Through two weeks, Brissett has completed 38/55 (69%) passes for 336 yards, 5 touchdowns, 1 interception, and 1 lost fumble. He’s also chipped in 34 yards rushing on 10 attempts. Now, those aren’t mind-melting stats and he’s not Andrew Luck, but like a PB&J on a budget, they get the job done well enough for now.
His 3 TDs in week two were a career-high, which is a cause for concern, but in both games Brissett has shown (as he did in 2017) that he’s capable of being an efficient game manager that doesn’t commit many turnovers and has some rushing upside as well (he had 4 rushing touchdowns in 2017).
Looking at his upcoming schedule, he gets his first home game of the season against the Falcons in week three, followed by the Raiders again at home in week four, and the Chiefs away in week five before the Colts bye in week six. Those are three middling defenses, Brissett is playing behind an improved offensive line since 2017, and he still has TY Hilton to throw to, so I like his floor as a stable QB2 with some low-end QB1 upside in favorable matchups.
Andy Dalton (20% owned)
Dalton has looked decent since Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan have taken over as head coach and offensive coordinator for the Bengals, respectively. Their offensive line has already taken quite a blow, but the fact is the Bengals want to throw a lot more than they used to (Dalton is 61/93 so far), and Dalton has had a decent floor because of it.
In the first two games, Dalton has thrown for 418 and 311 yards, respectively, with a pair of touchdowns in each as well. However, he’s also thrown 1 interception and lost 2 fumbles as well. Last week the Bengals looked pretty terrible against the 49ers at home, but Dalton was able to save his week with a long TD to John Ross.
The schedule should be more favorable in the next three games (@Buf, @Pit, Ari), and on top of that, Dalton should only have to play with AJ Green, his top receiving target, for another game or two. Of these three that I’m talking about, I think Dalton has the highest upside as a longer-term option, and I’d be willing to take a chance on him when Green is closer to returning.