The quarterback position is definitely the most glamourous spot in today’s NFL. Rule changes have made QBs feel comfortable standing in the pocket for longer, and the ever-evolving talent of many young players like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson have allowed them to make the position their own. All that said, it has been a relatively unimportant position in terms of fantasy. If you can’t get a top guy like Mahomes or Jackson, it probably isn’t a position to think about during the first four or five rounds. However, there may be some hidden gems in the late rounds, or even in the undrafted free agency list. Let’s take a deep dive on a few of these diamonds in the rough.
Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars
The man that goes by the name of Jock Strap King in the locker room. For about two weeks in September 2019, Minshew was the most popular football player in America after he threw 22-25 against the powerhouse Kansas City Chiefs. His tale is one of legend, and we’ve all probably heard it by now. He inspired one of my own cross country teammates to buy his jersey and dress as him for Halloween, and I don’t think it was a coincidence when he also bought team headbands to wear in races.
Even so, talk of Minshew subsided when Nick Foles returned to the starting lineup from a broken clavicle. Now, he’s ESPN’s 24th ranked fantasy quarterback.
This is very low going into his second year.
He scored the 18th most fantasy points in 2019 even though he started in just 12 games. With the trade of Nick Foles, Jay Gruden as his new offensive coordinator, a worsened defense, and recent release of running back Leonard Fournette, Minshew looks to be throwing the ball a whole lot more than he did in 2019. Put the increased attempts with an arm that has one of the best deep touches in the league (he completed 49% of his passes that went 20 yards or more) and production seems destined to increase.
Not only could his passing numbers improve, but without Fournette in the mix, Minshew may get to add more rushing attempts as well. He already was fifth among QBs in rushing last year with 344 yards, and it is not irrational to think he could approach a 500 yard season in 2020. The only issue with his rushing appears with his fumble tendency, but if those numbers go down, he will be a great dual-threat option.
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
If you can’t already tell, I am high on rushing QBs for this year’s fantasy rosters. Allen is one of the best rushing quarterbacks in the league, earning himself 510 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns in 2019. It is precisely because of these great rushing numbers that he ranked sixth in fantasy points among QBs last year.
This year, ESPN has him ranked 10th, which is reasonably high, but I expect players below him such as Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Cam Newton to go before him in many leagues due to their market. This puts him as a backend starter at best in larger leagues, and I think he is a no brainer to at least pick and stash on the bench. The knocks against Allen have always been his passing ability which may still be an issue in 2020. However, the addition of Stefon Diggs will give Allen a legitimate number one target, and it will open up more opportunities for John Brown and Cole Beasley as less attention will be put on them. Allen should be a lock for another top-ten fantasy season and borderline top-five.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Kyler Murray is not necessarily a player that is being overlooked in ESPN’s rankings, but you may be hesitant to pick him up on draft day ahead of some of the bigger names. I don’t have much to say about Murray other than this one thing:
Murray is a very intelligent player, and he is already the third most dynamic QB rusher in the league behind Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson. Playing behind an improved offensive line, and now with perhaps the best wide receiver in the league in DeAndre Hopkins, his passing numbers should improve from his middle of the pack 3722 yards and 20 touchdowns. He will be a top five fantasy option this year.