Monster Year Coming! – Quarterbacks – 2020
Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
Whether Baltimore knew something we didn’t or just got lucky, very few predicted the year one to year two leap that Lamar Jackson made. In his rookie season, Jackson struggled on so many fronts, most noticeably his accuracy with a 58.8% completion percentage. A full off-season and an offensive scheme that caters to his incredible skill set was transformational. If we thought he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with any consistency, wrong. If we thought he would be one dimensional and defenses could key on his running ability, wrong again. Rumblings of another first round QB bust where beginning to whisper throughout the league in 2018, a big fat wrong!
Baltimore engages in a short, but efficient passing game which plays to Jackson’s strengths. He occasionally peppers in some long balls to Marquise Brown with a smooth delivery and nice touch. RB and TE screens along with the RPO keep defenses guessing. Honestly at this point I’m not sure why anyone falls for the QB option play. Target Jackson every time and take your chances that your athletes are better than the running back who takes the hand-off 1 out 3 times.
What to expect from Jackson in 2020? No regression whatsoever though his capacity to run will continue to impact his total passing yards (choice to run vs pass). From a fantasy perspective I’ll take rush yards every time. I haven’t forgotten the playoff loss against Tennessee which few could see coming and that’s sure to drive Jackson to work harder than ever. Let’s also remember in the game where Tennessee so called “stopped” Jackson, he still had 365 passing yards and 143 rushing yards. The Ravens just couldn’t find the endzone which is always a tough reminder that the other team wants to win too. If the fantasy gods gifted you an early pick in your fantasy draft then take Lamar Jackson and don’t look back.
Don’t forget to check out our other Monster Year Predictions!
Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills
Allen made a good jump from year one to year two as the starter for the Buffalo Bills, increasing his completion percentage by 6 points, his average per attempt by a smidgen and quarterback rating by almost 20. At the same time, he threw fewer interceptions even though he played 4 more games in his second season.
He has a gun for an arm but keeps it holstered in the short-range passing game as evidenced by the 6.7 yards per attempt average, by far the lowest of the top ten fantasy quarterbacks last year. At 6’5” 237 pounds, he possesses the physical size to withstand blindside assaults and at the same time exhibits gifted running ability for a big man who turns potential sacks into positive run plays.
Big Ben in Pittsburgh is about the same size and you don’t see him (at least I hope we don’t) taking off for 20-yard sprints up the middle. Of all the love heaped on Lamar Jackson’s running ability (well-deserved), Allen quietly had a great year running the rock with many designed rollouts and goal line RPO attempts. He finished 3rd in total rush yards and 1st in rush touchdowns from the QB position.
Wide receiver John Brown and Allen have developed a nice chemistry over a short period of time. The addition of Stefan Diggs will most definitely expand the field and allow Allen to take more chances to his new deep threat duo. He has the discipline to stay in the pocket and if given time deliver strikes anywhere on the field.
Brown, with 14.7 yards per catch and Digg at a league 4th best 17.9 yards per catch last season, could bust several 50+ yard bombs this season. Allen is also the primary goal line back and I wouldn’t be surprised if he reaches double digit rushing TD’s. If you don’t want to spend a high round draft pick on Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes, then Allen is a great choice after securing a number one RB and WR.
Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
Coming into his 5th season and a starter since day one, Dak Prescott just keeps getting better and better. Prescott had a career high in passing yards, passing TD’s and 8.2 yards per attempt, while maintaining a 65% completion rate. The game log shows excellent weekly consistency with 11 of 16 games with multiple TD’s (running and passing), 7 games with 3 or more total TD’s as well as seven games with 300+ yards passing.
Game film does reveal some accuracy problems. He missed targets on key third downs but in his defense, he fell victim to many drops with passes right in the breadbasket. Two of his top three receivers were in the top five in drops in the league.
As good a season as Dak had, the Cowboys finishing 8-8 finally prompted the coaching change Cowboys fans were begging to occur for years. Prescott was a league leader in many categories including 2nd in passing yards, 4th in TD’s and 5th in yards per attempt. The trending numbers and the plethora of weapons indicates Prescott is in for a huge year. After Lamar Jackson, Prescott makes an argument for the next quarterback off the board. He is a steal in mid rounds if Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson go ahead of him.
Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
The Saints and Drew Brees re-upped for one more run on a legendary career. Brees missed five game last season with a fluke thumb injury but still ranked 5th overall in TD’s passes. The last two seasons his completion percentage has been the highest of his career (74%) while maintaining the yards per attempt right around 8 yards. Brees is efficient for this ball control offense that utilizes short passes for big gains. When Brees gets in a rhythm it’s impossible to stop. Mobility has never been a strong suit but he’s shifty enough to escape the pocket to buy time, and smart enough to throw it away if nothing develops (4 interceptions last year).
The Saints are loaded with talent at the #3 and #4 spots as well as the best receiver in the league in Michael Thomas. Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook are as reliable pass catchers as they come. I see no regression whatsoever for Brees despite passing the big 40. I’ve seen a few ADP rankings where Joe Burrow, Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield are picked a round ahead of Brees. That’s beyond laughable and frankly insulting for guy who will guarantee 4,000 passing yards, 35 TD’s and single digit interceptions.