2018 Fantasy Football QB Preview: Koerner, Raybon & Freedman

2018 Fantasy Football QB Preview: Koerner, Raybon & Freedman article feature image

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Aaron Rodgers

  • Below are profiles on each quarterback from NFL experts Sean Koerner, Matthew Freedman, and Chris Raybon.
  • Koerner has been the No. 1 in-season FantasyPros ranker for three straight seasons, Freedman was No. 6 last year, and Raybon has watched every NFL snap since 2010.
  • Links to more in-depth content appear below each profile.

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Blake Bortles, Jaguars

Not a quarterback but plays one on TV. – Freedman

Finished as QB13 overall and QB18 in points per game in a ‘hide Bortles’ year; QB14 and QB4 in the two seasons prior. – Raybon 

Tom Brady, Patriots

Leads the league with 8.08 adjusted net yards per attempt since serving his Deflategate suspension. – Freedman

Despite 4,576 yards, 32 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions last season, Brady was outscored in fantasy points per game (ESPN) by six quarterbacks, all of whom ran for at least 18.0 yards per game; Brady ran for 1.8. – Raybon

Drew Brees, Saints

Hit a Sean Payton-era low last year with 33.5 pass attempts per game but had NFL-best 72.0% completion rate and 8.1 yards per attempt and is primed for volume-based progression. – Freedman

Set the all-time record for completion percentage (72.0%) and led the NFL in yards per attempt (8.1) in his age-38 season, but I guess no one noticed because he doesn’t elicit man crushes like Tom Brady. – Raybon

Derek Carr, Raiders

An increased unwillingness to hold the ball in the pocket with each passing year of his career has begun to stymie the offense; if he posts an above-average mark in yards per attempt in 2018, it will be his first. – Raybon

Played most of 2017 with an injured back and now has best receiving unit of career with Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant. – Freedman

Kirk Cousins, Vikings

Top-10 fantasy quarterback in three straight seasons gets perhaps the best weapons he’s ever had, provided Dalvin Cook is healthy, but four-plus rushing touchdowns for a fourth straight season is unrealistic. – Raybon

Andy Dalton, Bengals

A bet on Dalton is essentially a bet on Tyler Eifert and/or John Ross after Dalton posted a career-low in passing yards per game (207.5) without their services for almost all of last season. – Raybon

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

Seven starts into his career and hasn’t had a bad game yet; averaged 8.8 yards per attempt with track-and-field athlete Marquise Goodwin as his No. 1 target and fullback Kyle Juszczyk tied for No. 2. – Raybon

Jared Goff, Rams

The Lamb Chop to Sean McVay’s Shari Lewis finished third in yards per attempt (7.97) in Year 2, now gets Brandin Cooks, and has room to grow on last season’s 18th-ranked 477 attempts. – Raybon

Accumulated 2,085 yards and 19 touchdowns passing to just three interceptions last year in eight post-bye starts and now has a No. 1 receiver in Brandin Cooks. – Freedman

Case Keenum, Broncos

Better fantasy than actual quarterback with a non-horrible 20.2 points per game over the last half decade. – Freedman

Andrew Luck, Colts

Has resumed his status as a human being with a functional shoulder that can throw regulation-size footballs; will his deep ball or rushing volume be affected? – Raybon

Is reportedly throwing a “football” again and has been a locked-in top-10 fantasy quarterback when healthy since entering the league. – Freedman

Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs

At a largely replaceable position, why not target a strong-armed quarterback with a good supporting cast, dual-threat ability and Deshaun Watson-like ceiling? – Raybon

Eli Manning, Giants

Has averaged 21.7 fantasy points per game with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. over the past four years; 16.0 without him. – Freedman

Throwing to Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard will lead to enough spiked weeks to justify his cost. – Raybon

Marcus Mariota, Titans

Not playing hurt and the addition of quarterback-friendly bootlegs should help him revert from last season’s 13:15 touchdown/interception ratio to 2016’s 26:9 form; he averages 8.3 yards per attempt in 23 games against bottom-half pass defenses, but new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur must help him stop crumbling against top-half ones (6.7). – Raybon

Konami Code runner with passing-game competence and new, non-ancient head coach and offensive coordinator. – Freedman

Cam Newton, Panthers

Enters 2018 with an improved supporting cast; new offensive coordinator Norv Turner could have Cam throw downfield more this season, and if he maintains his elite rushing stats, he is a good bet to finish as the highest-scoring quarterback. – Koerner

Has been a top-four fantasy quarterback in every season he’s played 16 games. – Freedman

Top-two fantasy quarterback in two of the past three seasons and has punched in between five and 14 rushing touchdowns in all seven seasons of his career. – Raybon 

Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Could be a human handoff machine without Dez Bryant and Jason Witten– Freedman

Philip Rivers, Chargers

Over the past 10 years, has more 4,000-yard seasons than children; has eight children. – Raybon

Hasn’t had fewer than 4,000 yards passing or completed less than 60% of his attempts in a season since 2012, when his wide receivers were Danario Alexander, Malcom Floyd, Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem. – Freedman

Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Is the undisputed No. 1 quarterback heading into 2018 but with the loss of Jordy Nelson, injury history, and deep QB position this season, I’ll be avoiding taking the first quarterback off the board in most drafts. – Koerner

Finishes of QB29 in 2017 (missed nine games), QB1 in 2016, QB7 in 2015, QB1 in 2014, and QB22 in 2013 equate to a 60% whiff rate, which doesn’t mesh with arguably the most effective fantasy football drafting strategy there is: late-round quarterback. – Raybon

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

His averages of 318 yards and 2.8 touchdowns per game at home over the past two seasons (which are similar going back way farther than that) essentially give you a top-three quarterback for half the season.  – Raybon

Matt Ryan, Falcons

Primed for positive regression: Per Pro Football Focus, Falcons receivers dropped 311 air yards worth of his passes (fourth-most), and he’s coming off a 21-touchdown campaign but hasn’t had back-to-back seasons with fewer than 28 since Years 1 and 2. – Raybon

Should progress from his 3.8% touchdown rate last season and has more yards passing (31,735) than everyone except Drew Brees and the Megatron-aided Matthew Stafford since Julio Jones entered the league in 2011. – Freedman

Alex Smith, Redskins

Discarding Smith after a career-best year was Andy Reid’s way of saying Smith is still the conservative, game-manager type that his second-to-last rate of tight-window throws (12.7%, per Next Gen Stats) would suggest; letting Kirk Cousins walk and convincing himself Smith is a clear upgrade was Daniel Snyder’s way of saying he found Scot McCloughan’s old stash. – Raybon

Career-long streaming option coming off a top-three fantasy season destined for regression with a new team. – Freedman 

Matthew Stafford, Lions

Has posted top-10 fantasy finishes in each of Jim Bob Cooter’s three full seasons as offensive coordinator. – Freedman

Has finished in the QB8-17 range for five straight seasons. – Raybon 

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

For all the heat Jarvis Landry gets about compiling bite-sized yardage, Tannehill averages 7.37 yards per attempt and 1.56 touchdowns per game in 45 career games with Landry but 6.63 and 1.12 in 32 games without. – Raybon

Better fantasy than actual quarterback with a non-horrible 20.2 points per game over the last half decade. – Freedman

Tyrod Taylor, Browns

Moves up if we gain more confidence on his grip on the starting job; finished top-10 in fantasy points per game in two of three seasons as a starter in Buffalo and will now have the best group of pass-catchers he’s ever worked with. – Raybon

Trails only Cam Newton with his fantasy-saving 283 carries, 1,575 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns over the past three years. – Freedman

Mitch Trubisky, Bears

Finished as QB13 overall and QB18 in points per game in a ‘hide Bortles’ year; QB14 and QB4 in the two seasons prior. – Raybon

Deshaun Watson, Texans

Nevermind the ACL; drafting any quarterback this high is already a huge risk in itself, so you might as well swing for the fences with the guy who averaged a silly 329 total yards and 4.25 total touchdowns per game in four games with Will Fuller — like, who does that?! – Raybon

Was pacing for all-time great quarterbacking season last year before his injury but is coming off an ACL tear and still just a second-year passer with six NFL starts. – Freedman

Carson Wentz, Eagles

Was a top-three fantasy quarterback before tearing his ACL in Week 14. – Raybon

Russell Wilson, Seahawks

Has lost Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham and been saddled with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, whose teams have finished with below-average pass-attempt volume in each of his past six seasons. – Raybon

Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

Passer rating has increased in each of the past two years; Uber rating hasn’t. – Raybon

Despite dealing with a nagging shoulder injury last season, he put up QB1 numbers when on the field and should continue to do so again in 2018 with all the talent surrounding him. – Koerner 


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