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Player Showdown: Marcus Mariota or Dak Prescott?

(All offseason, Michael Moore will be looking at some specific draft conundrums facing drafters in an effort to determine which player should be the preference.)

When trolling through the QB2 tier for a fantasy option, what you want is upside. You want a guy who has the potential to finish as a QB1, even if there are warts that explain why he’s fallen to the position’s teens. Often, that means mobility — rushing quarterbacks have a high fantasy floor, which makes it easier to reach a fantasy ceiling.

Two of the most mobile quarterbacks in the QB2 range this offseason are Marcus Mariota and Dak Prescott. Both have finished as QB1s before. So why the lack of enthusiasm for the two, currently QB14 and QB15 in ADP? They both have their drawbacks — Prescott because of the offense he’s in; Mariota because of inconsistency — but both are fully capable of leading your fantasy team.

Let’s look at which you should opt for.

The players

In Prescott, the Cowboys got lucky. There’s no other way to put it. After being passed by every team for three full rounds in the 2016 draft, the Cowboys took Prescott in the fourth, in theory to be a backup (perhaps eventual replacement) to then-quarterback Tony Romo. After Romo got hurt with what was basically a career-ending injury, Prescott stepped in and took the NFL by storm, throwing for over 3,600 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushing for six more. He finished as fantasy’s sixth-highest-scoring quarterback. His numbers took a dip last year, but not by much. He threw for 3,300 yards and 22 touchdowns while actually upping his rushing total from 282 yards to 357 and scoring the same six rushing touchdown to finish as fantasy’s No. 9 quarterback. His advanced stats also didn’t change much either. His PFF adjusted completion percentage (which takes into account things like drops, spikes, etc.) was good for 10th in both 2016 (75.3 percent) and 2017 (74.3). Interestingly enough, his deep passing (the percentage of competitions on targets 20 yards or more) actually improved, from 41.9 percent in his rookie season (good for 15th) up to 46.5 in 2017 (good for fifth).

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