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Who Can Be 2016’s Carson Palmer?

The late round quarterback draft strategy is so common now that it’s almost become a cliche. Joshua Lake recently discussed the possible benefits of going the opposite direction with drafting QBs. But in one QB leagues, the QB position is still a market inefficiency.

Many approach the idea of late round QB as if they can stream the position all year.  And while streaming is an effective strategy for weekly starts, there’s a benefit to finding a late round QB who can be an every week starter and perform at the same (or higher) level as the early round QBs. So today, I’ll present 2016’s early candidates to be this year’s Carson Palmer (or Blake Bortles).

Tyrod Taylor

I discussed Taylor’s home run potential as a late round QB last month, but his ADP hasn’t risen to a point where his potential for volatility makes him risky pick. Buffalo ranked second in the NFL in total rush attempts which largely benefits Taylor’s fantasy value. Taylor ranked second in the NFL in QB rush attempts, third in QB rushing yards, and fourth in QB rushing touchdowns. And considering that a Rex Ryan coached team has been in the top six for total rush attempts each of the past four seasons, it’s a safe bet that Taylor will continue to have the green light when it comes to running the ball.

Using Fantasy Football Calculator early season ADPs, Taylor is being drafted at QB 16 and 120 overall in standard 12 team mock drafts.  That seems a little crazy when you hear that Taylor was a top five QB when healthy. Not bad when you consider that he was largely undrafted at QB20 in 2015.   

Andy Dalton

I realize that two of Dalton’s top four passing targets left the team this offseason, but you know who didn’t leave? The 1000 yard receiving machine known as A.J. Green. Green has totaled over 1000 yards in each of his first five seasons and over ten touchdowns in three of the five seasons. Dalton’s top receiving RB, Giovani Bernard ranked in the top ten for RB receptions and yards. And during his breakout season, Tyler Eifert ranked as a top tight end for touchdowns and top 12 in yards. In short, Dalton still has great weapons in the receiving game.

And just like Taylor above, Dalton was incredibly effective when he was on the field in 2015. Prior to his injury in week 14, Dalton was QB4 and had nine weeks as a top 12 QB. After removing weeks 14 through 17, the RotoViz QB Similarity Scores App came up with the following projecting for Dalton’s 2016:

Dalton Projection

Even using the median score for four point passing touchdowns, Dalton’s season total would rank as QB4 compared to 2015 QB totals. Seems like a nice value for a player currently being drafted as the 13th QB at 106 overall.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

This one might seem like a bit of a surprise considering that Fitzpatrick is currently without a team, but if Fitzpatrick returns to the Jets for the 2016 year, he becomes an ideal late round QB target. In 2015, Fitzpatrick finished the season as QB12 and during the off-season the Jets brought in one of the league’s top receiving RBs, Matt Forte.  And alongside Forte are the returning Bilal Powell, Brandon Marshall, and Eric Decker. Decker and Marshall established themselves as one of the top WR duos in the league last season by accumulating a combined 2529 yards and 26 TDs. And since it’s one of the RotoViz Commandments to value opportunity, Fitzpatrick’s opportunity to succeed in 2016 represents perfect value as the current QB31.



Carson Palmer was drafted as QB17 entering the 2015 season and finished as QB5 in four point per passing TD leagues. Bortles was drafted outside of the top 20 QBs and finished as QB4. These players, at their extremely low cost, created an advantage for players willing to wait until the last rounds to round out their starting lineup. And while this year’s ADPs will likely fluctuate as we draw closer to draft season for redraft leagues, these three players stick out as early candidates to be weekly plug and play QBs at the ends of drafts. With their low initial costs to draft, the risk of failure is outweighed by each of their ceilings. So keep on drafting RBs and WRs, while your league mates panic to fill their starting lineup. These late round QB options will either act as low cost, match up dependent streamers or potentially outplay their early round counterparts.

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