Fantasy Football: Quarterback Free Agency Impact

Quarterback is the most important position in pro football. As a result, there hasn’t been too many changes via free agency or trades to this point of the off-season. No QB who went through the free agency process will be drafted as a high end QB1 for the 2016 fantasy season. However, that does not mean there wont be some upside options out there on draft day. Let’s break down what you can expect in 2016. We’ll start with what we know, then venture into scenarios that could make sense.


Known Signings



Sam Bradford/Chase Daniel, signed with the Philadelphia Eagles – At least right now, this QB situation is one I would want no part of. The offense is missing a true number one WR, RB Ryan Mathews is very injury prone for a starter, and the offensive line needs help. TE Zach Ertz started to emerge at the end of last season, but is not a true difference maker. If Bradford was alone with no real threat to take his job, maybe he’d be worth a flier. But new head coach Doug  Pederson brought along Chase Daniel, and at a significantly higher annual value than other backup QBs. Pederson has claimed that Bradford will be the starter, but wants competition at every position. Even with clarity, there’s no real upside to be chased here.


Brock Osweiler, signed with the Houston Texans – Putting aside the ridiculous contract Osweiler got for all of seven starts, he does get to throw the ball to a top five WR in DeAndre Hopkins. The running game also got a big shot in the arm with the addition of under utilized RB Lamar Miller. Houston had the fifth most rushing attempts in the NFL in 2015, despite only averaging 3.7 yards per carry.  There is no reason to expect much to change in 2016, as a strong run game and defense would seem to be the path to victory for the Texans. Osweiler appears to be not much more than a streaming option for 2016.


Un-Signed QBs/Trade Candidates


Ryan Fitzpatrick, yet to sign- Fitzpatrick is coming off a career season and is the middle of a contract standoff with the Jets and Denver Broncos. Every fantasy fan should be hoping he returns to the Jets and  WRs Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Fitzpatrick would also be working with a new RB in veteran Matt Forte. Even with a slight regression from his 31 TDs last season, Fitzpatrick has the highest upside of any QB on this list. An argument can be made that you could wait until late in draft and take Fitzpatrick as your starter and load up at other positions, especially with a return to New York.


Robert Griffin III, yet to sign – If RG3 were to sign with the San Francisco 49ers, it could possibly the most intriguing signing of free agency from the QB perspective. For the first time, Coach Chip Kelly has a mobile QB who is in his physical prime. In his one healthy/productive season, RG3 totaled over 4,000 yards and 27 TDs. Kelly has gotten production out of far less gifted QBs so far in the NFL(at least for fantasy). There are questions about if RG3 can bounce back from season long benching among other things and how many weapons the 49ers offense has outside of RB Carlos Hyde. The good thing is Griffin will cost very little on draft day, and could hit big as the season moves on.


Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers – is another QB who has seen his career fall on hard times. He has requested a trade from the 49ers, and it seems like the relationship has fractured beyond repair. There is a lot of fantasy potential with Chip Kelly, because Kaepernick is another mobile QB in his physical prime. There is still plenty of hope Kaepernick could resurrect his career in the right system with the right coach.  If he were to land in Denver or New York, he would immediately upgrade the weaponry around him. There would be hope he could be a QB2 with upside. Kaepernick is definitely worth keeping tabs on this offseason.


Teams with a Need


Denver Broncos – The defending Super Bowl champions saw what amounted to a QB exodus after the season ended. Peyton Manning retired, and the aforementioned Osweiler spurned Denver amid hurt feelings and a better offer from the Texans. The Broncos did trade for QB Mark Sanchez, but it would be very surprising if he was the Week 1 starter. All three remaining free agents/trade options could be quality for Denver in 2016. Denver is unlikely to deviate from leaning on the defense, limiting the upside for any QB.


New York Jets – One could make the argument that the Jets are the most attractive fantasy option, regardless of who lands there. They are unlikely to go with QB Geno Smith as a starter, as they are looking to win now. This offense has many talented pieces, and would be likely to have a low end QB1 every week.


Cleveland Browns – Cleveland will most likely address their needs in the draft, but rumors have surfaced that Kaepernick would like to play for Head Coach Hue Jackson. While that part is understandable, Cleveland suffers from a severe lack of talent on the offense. Their best current receiver is an over 30 year old TE coming off a miraculous season in Gary Barnidge, while WR Josh Gordon is still waiting for the NFL to reinstate him from suspension. Both are highly unpredictable, and the Browns just lost 2 very good offensive lineman. It’s hard to believe in fantasy production from any Cleveland QB this season.


Fortunately for fantasy, QB is a loaded position and will be easy to find options that are more solid than these. However, most of the QBs discussed here could be well worth a dart throw late in drafts for the 2016 season.


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