Rookie Report: The QB Edition

One of the most interesting parts in the build up to fantasy football drafts is predicting how the young players will do and which ones will break out and be fantasy relevant. No group of players is harder to predict than the rookies because you have no idea what role they will play or how their teams will use them so trying to work out the right value for them is next to impossible. Over the next few weeks I will review how the rookies at the four offensive skill positions did this year and give an insight into whether I feel they will be fantasy relevant next year. First off I will start with the smallest group of players, the quarterbacks, with only 6 rookies playing any meaningful snaps and just three of them appearing in 10+ games.

E.J. Manuel (Buffalo Bills) 12.4 Points per Game

Manuel had a real mix of a season but there were high points in the 10 games he played including averaging 19 points over the first three weeks of the season and scoring 20+ points in weeks 11, 13 and 15. However, mixed in among the good performances were poor weeks against Baltimore (6), Cleveland (6), Pittsburgh (11) and Tampa Bay (1) and six weeks missed due to injury. His 11:9 TD to Interception ratio was unimpressive but he added 186 yards and 2 TDs on the ground which shows promise for the future. Overall Manuel had a typical rookie season with highs and lows but with over 50% of his performances yielding more than 15 points he could prove to be a useful fantasy back up next season especially with the expected development of Woods and the potential addition of more offensive weapons.

Geno Smith (New York Jets) 11.19 PPG

Smith had a real rollercoaster of a year in 2013 with 20+ points in weeks 3 (28), 5 (27), 7 (22), 14 (23) and 16 (30) but he also had six weeks with less than FIVE points including -4 and -1 weeks. His 12:21 TD:INT ratio is utterly abysmal but he actually scored 6 TDs on the ground and rushed for 366 yards which helped to pad his total fantasy points a little. The bright side for him is that it would be hard for the Jets to ever assemble a worse collection of receiving talent around him and pretty much every QB would have struggled with what they were given to put up big numbers. However, that doesn’t hide that at times he made terrible mental mistakes which he will have to improve on if he retains the job in 2014. Depending on what the Jets put around him there is the potential for him to be a strong spot starter next year especially if those rushing stats become more consistent.

Mike Glennon (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) 11.69 PPG

Unlike Smith and Manuel, Glennon was not the opening day starter for the Bucs at QB and he had to wait until week 4 for his first opportunity (vs Arizona). Once he had gotten the chance to take the first team reps for a couple of weeks (they had a bye in week 5) he went on a run of 4 games where he averaged 19.75 points, including a 19 point performance in Seattle. Week 10 onward was more of a rollercoaster with 20+ point performances against Atlanta and Detroit mixed in with 3 and 4 point performances against Carolina and St. Louis respectively. He had a decent offence around him with Jackson his primary wide out and the emerging Wright a solid tight end but he will benefit next year from having a fit again Doug Martin and offseason strengthening that the team are sure to do. However, the Bucs fired their head coach this year and how that will affect Glennon’s playing time is yet to be known. As long as the Bucs don’t actively go after a QB high in the draft or in free agency then Glennon has the potential to be a top 20 fantasy QB next year with top 12 upside if the offence is strengthened around him.

Matt McGloin (Oakland Raiders) 10.57 PPG

McGloin made his first appearance of 2013 in week 9 against Philadelphia but had to wait until week 11 for the opportunity to start. His first week as the starter (@ Houston) he put up an impressive 25 fantasy points but after that his performances were mixed with a low of 6 (@ SD) and a high of 21 (@ NYJ). He lost the job in week 17 when Pryor resumed his position as the starter which doesn’t bode well for the future. His low PPG is influenced by the appearance in the Philly game where he only scored 3 points but even when this result is removed he still only put up a below average 11.33 PPG. It’s highly unlikely McGloin will any more than a backup in Oakland next year and even if by some miracle he is the opening day starter he will not be on any shallow rosters but may be worth the gamble in deep and 2QB leagues.

Jeff Tuel (Buffalo Bills) 5.50 PPG

Tuel played two games this year for the Bills but only started one of those when both Manuel and Thad Lewis were injured. In his one start he put up 10 points but the fact he was playing a KC defence which was dominant most of the year that performance can hardly be frowned upon. There is no chance that Tuel will be the starter on opening day next year and it will take at least one injury to make him even remotely fantasy relevant next year.

Matt Barkley (Philadelphia Eagles) 0.33 PPG

Not much to say here really he didn’t start a game and in the first two games he appeared in he threw four interceptions and fumbled once. He briefly appeared in the Oakland game but only threw for 13 yards and surprisingly managed to not make a costly mistake. Will likely be a free agent next year but if he is on a roster you won’t be drafting him and probably won’t be picking him up even if he does end up starting.

As you can see 2013’s rookie group of QB’s barely hold a candle to 2012’s but there is hope that at least one will be fantasy relevant next year and another two have the potential to be if their teams can build a strong offense around them this offseason.

Next up will be my review of the rookie tight ends from the 2013 season.

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