There’s been buzz about Tyrod Taylor being the eventual Buffalo Bill starting quarterback ever since he signed with the team. It’s always seemed at least plausible given his only real competition are the underwhelming veteran Matt Cassel and E.J. Manuel, who the organization seemingly has no faith in. Now it’s being reported that people within the Bills organization believe Taylor has a great chance to start for the Bills.
But is Taylor any good? Should you add him to your dynasty team? If he ends up being the starter should you draft him in the redraft formats?
Let’s start with Taylor’s NFL career thus far. After being drafted in the sixth round he’s spent the last four years as Joe Flacco’s backup. Since Flacco’s job has always been secure and he has stayed healthy Taylor has seen very little action. He only has 35 career pass attempts and the results have been lousy. He’s thrown for 5.7 yards per attempt, zero touchdowns and two interceptions, and only completed 54.3 percent of his passes. I personally wouldn’t put too much stock in this though. It’s a very small sample and as a backup Taylor has not received the preparation associated with being a starting QB. 25 of his passes came against a tough 2012 Cincinnati defense. Almost by definition, when Taylor has been on the field it was not with the full first-team offense.
Taylor’s college passing numbers are much better. He passed for 9.7 and 9.5 adjusted yards per attempt in his final two seasons. You want a QB to throw for at least 9.0 AY/A in his final season, and he passes that bar pretty handily. But his accuracy might be a problem. Taylor completed only 57.2 percent of his college passes, and QBs who don’t complete at least 60 percent don’t become accurate in the NFL. There’s hope though. His passing efficiency could be bolstered by his rushing ability. Colin Kaepernick completed only 58.4 percent of his college passes but has passed for 7.6 AY/A as an NFL QB. Speaking of Kaepernick, from the Box Score Scout:
Taylor’s athleticism is by far his biggest strength. Kaepernick weighs more, and that matters, but Taylor is faster, more explosive, and more agile. He didn’t run as much as Kaepernick in college and he was less efficient when he did, with a career 4.4 yards per carry compared to 6.9 for Kaepernick. That difference might come down to their offenses, sacks, or their actual rushing ability, it’s hard to say. Kaepernick is probably the most optimistic comp for Taylor, and now Taylor is potentially going to start for offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the same OC Kaepernick has spent the entirety of his career with.
But Greg Roman’s presence isn’t necessarily good news. RotoViz recently looked at Sammy Watkins‘ 2015 outlook and found it’s not good due to Roman and Rex Ryan’s tendency to skew heavily toward the run. Taylor isn’t likely to get much passing volume, so any potential 2015 fantasy success would likely depend on his rushing ability.
In dynasty, I would acquire Taylor if it costs you nothing more than a roster spot. For one thing if he costs you nothing more than the roster spot he’s basically as cheap as possible now. If he ends up being the Week 1 starter then he’ll have at least some market value if you want to just flip him for a profit. But then I also think there is some slim chance he has Kaepernick-esque upside should he start.
In redraft, even if he’s named the Week 1 starter, I would probably not draft Taylor. If it’s a smaller roster format you don’t need to roster two QBs and Taylor surely won’t be your starter. In deeper formats he might make a good cheap backup/flier if you draft someone like Aaron Rodgers who you’re planning on starting every week and don’t really have to worry too much about your backup QB anyway. In best ball I’d probably avoid him because there’s no guarantee he keeps his job for the whole season, and if he loses his job he probably wasn’t contributing to your team leading up to that point.
Personally, as an NFL fan, I hope Taylor gets to start for the Bills this year. I think a big part of the reason there’s a shortage of “franchise QBs” is that teams keep giving opportunities to guys like Matt Cassel who definitely aren’t franchise QBs. I’d like to at least see if Taylor might be one.