News & Analysis

Dynasty dart throws: Quarterbacks

Dec 17, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) drops back to pass against the New York Giants during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most appealing parts of playing in dynasty leagues is rebuilding a team from the bottom up. Taking a basement-dwelling roster and transforming it into a perennial powerhouse is one of the most rewarding accomplishments you can get out of dynasty leagues. Rostering the right type of players is a near-necessity if wanting to pull this move off successfully. Your end-of-bench players, or your “dart throws,” should be players that are poised to gain value in the near future. Deciding whether or not to let them keep gaining value or flipping them for future assets is your decision, but these “dynasty darts” should present some upside in the near future.

This series will go position-by-position looking at these “dynasty darts,” starting with the quarterback position. This list of quarterbacks consists of mostly deep stashes in Superflex and 2QB leagues. With the NFL draft right around the corner, you may be able to get these quarterbacks at suppressed prices with the possibility of some of these teams drafting a quarterback.

I’ll start with the player that’s likely available in the fewest leagues, then move down to the deeper dart throws. One note: Out of all the positions I’ll cover in this series, quarterback is easily the position you should be throwing the fewest darts at due to the replaceability at the position.

Sam Bradford, QB, Arizona Cardinals

An early injury in 2017 ended Bradford’s to-that-point successful Minnesota stint. We now see him move onto his fourth team in five years with new head coach Steve Wilks, who plans on retooling this Cardinals team, not rebuilding. During his 2016 campaign in Minnesota, Bradford put up the most accurate season according to our adjusted completion percentage (which factors in dropped passes, throwaways, spiked balls, etc.) of the last decade (min. 300 drop backs):

Name Team Drop backs Att. Comp Acc. % Year
 Sam Bradford MIN 596 552 395 80.9 2016
 Drew Brees NO 562 536 386 80.7 2017
 Aaron Rodgers GB 580 502 343 80.6 2011
 Drew Brees NO 702 659 456 80.2 2014
 Aaron Rodgers GB 639 552 371 80.0 2012
 Drew Brees NO 704 673 471 79.8 2016
 Alex Smith KC 545 464 303 79.8 2014
 Robert Griffin III WAS 466 392 257 79.6 2012
 Kurt Warner ARZ 625 598 401 79.5 2008
 Matt Schaub HOU 626 583 396 79.4 2009

Bradford’s weapons will take a step down going from Minnesota to Arizona, but there’s still some reason for optimism with heading into 2018. Larry Fitzgerald tied his career-high in receptions last season (109) while seeing the fourth-most targets in the league (153). He could be in for even more targets from Bradford, who has historically loved to target his slot receiver. The versatile David Johnson is one of the most dangerous receiving backs in the league and should also alleviate stress with quick dumpoffs playing behind a suspect offensive line. While there’s still the possibility Arizona drafts a quarterback like Lamar Jackson, Bradford will likely get the nod as the starter. I think he’s a great hold right now in dynasty and someone to buy after the draft, especially if they draft someone early and his value inevitably takes a dip.

Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Despite GM Howie Roseman’s high valuation of Foles, it didn’t seem there was quite the same market that he had pictured for his Super Bowl-winning quarterback this offseason. Foles looks like he’s currently slated to stay in Philadelphia, providing the Eagles a sound quarterback option if Carson Wentz takes longer than expected to return to begin the 2018 season. Foles’ playoff heroics in the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl were a major reason Philadelphia was able to hoist the Lombardi trophy:

Foles was fantastic during this final two-game stretch and could quite conceivably start the season for Philadelphia for a few games. This short window of playing time combined with Foles’ history makes him arguably a great buy. His lack of interest on the open market likely suppressed his value over the past few weeks, but we’ve seen what he’s capable of when given an opportunity and in the right setting. Now’s a great time to approach the owner of Foles in your leagues and attain him at a relative discount.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, New York Jets

Bridgewater signing with the Jets makes him far from a sure thing to be fantasy relevant this year, but I still think he’s a worthy dart throw to hold onto in deeper leagues. After signing 38-year-old Josh McCown to a one-year, $10 million guaranteed deal, the Jets signed Bridgewater several days later to a one-year, $6 million incentive-laden contract. The Jets then traded up to the third overall pick for what most presume to be another quarterback. 2018 may not be Bridgewater’s year to shine.

What it could present for Bridgewater is an opportunity to build his value up around the league. In his last full season playing (2015), Bridgewater ranked first in adjusted completion percentage (79.3 percent) and second in accuracy percentage while under pressure (72.8 percent). While he wasn’t a major fantasy factor that year, those statistics are something a team can build around. Like Bradford, Bridgewater is a quarterback I’ll be waiting to try and get on the cheap after the NFL draft when the Jets presumably take a quarterback early. At the very least, Bridgewater should get some decent run in the preseason to boost his stock. Best-case scenario is that he usurps the job from McCown (whether by merit or due to injury) and gets meaningful starts under center.

Cody Kessler, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

A change of scenery may be best for Kessler. He had a fairly remarkable rookie debut in Cleveland, despite what the coaching staff in 2017 thought:

After the Browns acquired Tyrod Taylor, and with the team owning the first and fourth overall draft picks in this year’s class, Kessler’s best shot was hoping to be the Browns’ QB3. In Jacksonville, he’ll have an opportunity for backup duties behind Blake Bortles right away. With the current makeup of the Jaguars’ squad, there really is very little pressure on the quarterback. The Jaguars led the league in rushing play percentage last year and coupled that with a suffocating defense that rarely forced Jacksonville to play from behind. If Bortles were to face any type of injury, Kessler could slide in and keep this offense right on track with his short accuracy. He’ll make for a fine pairing with Marqise Lee underneath, who led last year’s wideouts in yards per route run. Kessler can be acquired for next to nothing in even the deepest of leagues and may be worth trying to get as a throw-in as part of another trade.

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