Just like in the NFL, a quarterback on your fantasy football team is vitally important. However, things are a little different in the world of fantasy football.
For instance, fantasy football owners aren’t worried about if the quarterback can lead their actual team to victory. In the NFL, wins by the quarterback seems to be a major driving point with a lot of people. However, as long as you’re putting up stats you’re a valuable fantasy quarterback – nothing else matters.
With that in mind, there tends to be a big drop-off at the position. You have the elite group (Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, etc.) that should be taken extremely early. However, after that it’s not a bad idea to sit and wait for a quarterback while the rest of your roster fills out.
When should you start looking again and who should you go after? Right now we’re weighing the options between Sam Darnold and Jameis Winston. Which quarterback should you target first for your fantasy football team in 2019?
Unfortunately for both quarterbacks, one of the most important things to look for is consistency. Neither showed that last year. In fact, neither were even “consistent” in playing time. Darnold appeared in 13 games with Winston appearing in 11.
However, there’s a pretty big argument to be made when it comes to playing time. The New York Jets seem to be 100% sold on Darnold. They want to hand the keys of the franchise over to him. Due to that, they’ll him grow in-season. A bad game or two won’t make the Jets flip on that decision. He’s likely getting the ball every game (barring injury).
Winston, on the other hand, has no such security. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers proved last season that they have no loyalty at the position. Between Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick, it was hard to keep track of who the starting quarterback was any given week.
While Fitzpatrick is gone (and Blaine Gabbert replaced him) it’s still hard to trust the Buccaneers with their quarterbacks.
When it comes to weapons, things get interesting. Winston has the best receiver of the teams in Mike Evans. He has a strong tight end in O.J. Howard as well. However, after that the players after that are iffy.
Darnold, on the other hand, has the best running back by a mile with Le’Veon Bell. Bell will open up the running game, taking a lot of pressure off Darnold. He’s also a fantastic receiver, giving him an extra weapon. The Jets have great receivers like Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder as well.
Adding Bell and Crowder this offseason should do a lot to help Darnold improve.
Potential wise, you have to give the nod to Darnold again. Winston’s still got plenty of that, but after regressing in each of the last two seasons, it’s hard to bank on it showing up in year five. Darnold, however, improved near the end of his rookie year and still has given no reason to give up on him yet.
Next, you have offensive types. The Jets will likely run the ball more, taking the ball out of Darnold’s hands. This could lead to a few games that don’t see him throwing as much. Winston will likely be airing it out every game.
Their defenses play into this idea too. Neither defense showed the ability to stop opponents last season, however, the Jets look a little improved in that category. Tampa Bay has the potential to be blown out more times, leading to them needing to throw it more.
Again, this is one of those cases where fantasy owners simply care about the quarterback and not how the team performs.
Finally, there’s rushing ability. Winston has the obvious nod here, although Darnold could surprise a few people with his athleticism. Winston’s never put up monster rushing numbers (although he did have six touchdowns in his rookie season), so the difference here probably won’t be big.
With all of that in mind, the fantasy football quarterback you should target in 2019 is Sam Darnold. While Jameis Winston has his positives, Darnold has the potential for a strong year and has the better supporting cast.
That being said, neither of these two should be the initial target of your team. Don’t purposely wait in your fantasy football drafts to snatch one of these two up as your starting quarterback.
Simply put, both should be back up plans.