Drafting a quarterback in the early rounds gives your fantasy team a major advantage at that position but leaves you lacking elsewhere in your roster. Combine this with the fantasy potential of quarterbacks going as deep as the double-digits rounds and it’s hard to stomach grabbing someone like Patrick Mahomes in the second round. That leaves you waiting until late in the draft to pick up a passer and this player is going to be much more susceptible to difficult matchups. Instead of eating a handful of bad weeks by getting stuck with Jared Goff versus the 49ers defense, you can mix and match passers based on when they face easy or difficult opponents. Using Awesemo’s Strength of Schedule, we can build a patchwork set of quarterbacks based on easy opponents. Here are three Frankenstein (‘s monster) quarterback to win your league. Let’s get into some fantasy football strength of schedule analysis.
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We’ll only be looking at the lower end of the QB1 tier and deeper. If you’re paying up for a high-round passer, they have to be one that you can feel safe starting even against good defenses.
Minshew is a great quarterback to start the year off with. He starts the year off versus Indianapolis and Tennessee, two below-average defenses based on points allowed to quarterbacks last year. Then he gets Miami, Cincinnati, Houston, and Detroit. Those teams all ranked in the bottom seven last year and three of them were among the five worst defenses versus opposing passers.
Minshew’s fantasy calling is rushing production. He averaged 24.6 rushing yards per game in 14 games last year despite only starting in 12 of those contests. Minshew did this on 4.8 carries per game. He was also a natural passer, throwing 21 scores to just six interceptions as a spot-starter in place of Nick Foles. The early-season schedule makes him a must-have in the final rounds of fantasy drafts. However, he owns the hardest strength of schedule for the fantasy playoffs by a wide margin and a below-average schedule in the weeks leading up to the playoffs. That’s when you make the switch.
GARDNER MINSHEW. ESCAPE ARTIST✨#JAXvsDEN
— PFF (@PFF) September 29, 2019
Roethlisberger picks up the slack after Minshew’s schedule gets tough. He has the third-best strength of schedule from Week 10 through Week 16 including two matchups versus the Bengals, last year’s 25th-ranked defense. Roethlisberger was a 5,000-yard passer in 2018 before losing most of 2019 to an elbow injury. With 11 months to recover from his injury, he should be able to post another QB1 season on the back of an easy second-half schedule.
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2. Drew Brees & Derek Carr
Brees makes sense as a starting-level quarterback, so let’s look past him for a moment. Please keep reading after reading this next sentence. Carr is a good quarterback.
Carr was top five in completion percentage from a clean pocket (77.9%), which is the most stable way to get quarterback data. He finished 12th in fantasy points per dropback (.43) and his 8.0 adjusted yards per attempt were top-10 in the league. An improved offensive line played a big role in Carr’s success and Pro Football Focus has the Raiders’ hog mollies as the No. 11 unit heading into 2020.
Carr also received a massive upgrade in his weapons. The team added Henry Ruggs in the first round and then double-tapped on play makers in the third with Bryan Edwards and Lynn Bowden Jr. In season-long leagues, Carr is a player that could be available on the waiver wire heading into his Fantasy Championship matchup versus the Dolphins. Overall, his playoff run is the easiest in the league. Let Carr be your team’s closer in the ninth inning of fantasy football season.
Back to Brees. He showed no signs of slowing down last year, averaging 8.8 adjusted yards per attempt, top-five in the NFL. Over the past five years, the age-41 passer has been a beast at home but much more tame on the road.
Luckily for Brees, he only plays two top-10 defenses on the road. Those come in Weeks 8 and 12 when he faces the Bears and Broncos. Carr faces a below-average defense in each of those weeks.
The two share a bye week so be sure to draft a final passer in Best Ball (Minshew gets the Lions during their Week 6 bye) or be ready to pick someone up from the waiver wire in managed leagues.
Bridgewater and Jones create the inside-out strategy of matchups. Bridgewater has the third-easiest schedule when looking at the first four weeks and the fantasy playoffs combined. Bridgewater was an efficient passer last year even if the Saints chose to keep him in check. He posted 7.1 adjusted yards per attempt and even looked good on his few deep passes.
He serves as the bookends to Jones’ stretch of favorable games in the middle of the year.
Jones has the opposite strength of schedule layout. His Week 5 through Week 14 stretching is the easiest in the entire league. Jones’ Week 1 through Week 4 plus playoffs are the worst in the league by a wide margin. He finishes the fantasy season versus Baltimore’s vaunted defense. Jones has already shown his ability to go nuclear for individual games. He joined Lamar Jackson as the only passers to have multiple 30-point games last year. He should have a reasonable shot at repeating that feat with games against Cincinnati, Arizona, Washington twice.