Superflex and 2QB formats have become the go-to for many dynasty startups, putting a huge emphasis on the quarterback position. With many leagues going 12 teams or more, that puts even more pressure on finding depth to make it through the rigors of a long NFL season. Since the backup quarterback is often the most popular player in town, especially when a team is struggling, it makes sense some would be worth a snag in deep Superflex leagues, too.
Below are five veteran backup quarterbacks worth a snag in dynasty. First a couple disclaimers: this doesn’t include places where there’s an obvious quarterback battle or a veteran warming the seat for a rookie. Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky in Chicago, Tyrod Taylor with the Los Angeles Chargers and Ryan Fitzpatrick with the Miami Dolphins are all expected to play and being rostered. Additionally, this list doesn’t contain 2020 rookies who many are snagging as future plays anyway.
This is five veterans expected to be backups that could have value and are worth a stash.
Marcus Mariota, Las Vegas Raiders
Mariota was the second overall a for the Titans in the 2015 draft and seemed like a potential franchise quarterback. But after the five years of his rookie deal, his team let him walk. In five years as a starter, he went 29-32 with 13,207 yards and 76 TDs. While his rookie year he went 3-9 and he went 2-4 last season before being replaced by Ryan Tannehill, Mariota had three seasons with an above .500 record as a starter. He struggled with injuries and inconsistency as a passer. But his time with the Titans was not the end.
This off-season, Jon Gruden and the Raiders took a shot on Mariota, signing him to a two-year, $17.6 million deal. However, only the first year is locked in. Currently, it would be easy to write off Mariota’s value. He doesn’t have long-term security and Derek Carr is penciled in as the starter. BUT, Gruden is a collector of quarterbacks and options at the position, and I did say Carr’s name was written in pencil.
Carr is a quarterback that’s shown flashes and has some supporters, all of which helped him earn a long-term contract a few years ago. But the Raiders haven’t found a consistent level of success and there are rumblings Carr could be on shaky ground. With a player like Mariota, who was once a top draft pick, sitting behind him there could be added pressure. Mariota is looking to re-boot his career, too, which makes him an interesting player to roster.
Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints
Speaking of the 2015 draft, Winston was the top overall pick for the Buccaneers. In his five years for the Bucs, Winston went 28-42 as a starter, which isn’t great. He only had one season in five over .500. But he was fun to watch. Winston threw for 19,737 yards and 131 TDs. That included more than 5,000 yards and 33 TDs in 2019. The problem was his turnovers, as he tossed 88 INTs in five seasons, including 30 last year. So, the Bucs moved on and so did Winston.
While many thought he’d find another starting spot, Winston instead settled for a one-year, $1.1 million deal with the division-rival Saints. The Saints are a great team with a great roster that also includes two other quarterbacks—Drew Brees and Taysom Hill. Both are on two-year deals, and Brees is one of the best of all time and the entrenched starter. Still, this is a soft spot to land if you’re looking to make over your reputation. The Saints have also been good for veteran backup quarterbacks.
In 2019, Brees missed five games and Teddy Bridgewater stepped in. He went 5-0, throwing for 1,394 yards and nine TDs. That earn Bridgewater a three-year deal with the Panthers. Winston is likely hoping for a similar shot at a second chance by working with Sean Payton and the Saints. That could come in New Orleans, or it could come elsewhere. Either way, a year ago at this time Winston was a high snag and I’m not ready to give up on him just yet.
Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys
Dalton was a long-time starter for the Cincinnati Bengals until Joe Burrow was drafted to take his place in April. He was the QB1 for the Bengals for nine seasons, taking them to the playoffs in each of his first four years. But the last few seasons haven’t been great. Still, Dalton was a solid and reliable starter that turned in a winning record in his career. He went 70-61-2, throwing for 31,594 yards and 204 TDs during that time. He didn’t sit on the free-agent market long.
The Dallas Cowboys reached out and signed Dalton, bringing him back to his home state. He signed a one-year, $3 million deal and provides some security for the Cowboys. Dak Prescott is the clear starter, and figures to be a Top 10 option at the position. The Cowboys are loaded with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb at receiver, and Ezekiel Elliott at running back. Whoever the quarterback is will have a good chance to return value.
And that’s the appeal of Dalton. He’s a great injury hedge for Prescott, but he could be more. Prescott is playing on the Franchise Tag and so far, he and the Cowboys have been unable to reach a long-term deal. With the salary cap possibly falling off in 2021, and the franchise tag going up, it’s possible this is Dak’s final season in Dallas. Dalton is a veteran from the area who will have a year in the system and seems willing to play for a modest total. There’s potential value there.
Kyle Allen, Washington Football Team
Allen was the backup to Cam Newton in Carolina last season before being traded to Washington and his former coach Ron Rivera this off-season. Allen filled in for Newton to end 2018, winning his lone start. In 2019, he started 12 games and, at times, was a darling in fantasy and among NFL fans. He ended up going 5-7, throwing for 3,322 yards and 17 TDs. But with a new administration in Carolina and new quarterbacks signed, Allen was expendable.
In Washington, he’s reunited with the coaches that gave him a shot. Dwayne Haskins figures to be the starter, and as a First-Round pick in 2019, he figures to get plenty of rope. But if an injury comes, or Haskins continues to struggle, Allen provides a veteran presence who knows the system. The other impediment could be veteran Alex Smith, who is fighting his way back from a gruesome injury that led him to miss all of 2019. Allen isn’t an obvious choice, perhaps, but he’s got a decent shot to play, giving him value.
Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots
For a long time this off-season, Stidham seemed to be in line to start for the Patriots. As a rookie, he sat behind Tom Brady and learned the system. But then the team went and signed veteran Cam Newton. While Bill Belichick hasn’t officially committed to Newton, it seems clear he’s going to be the starter at the beginning of the season. He’s the best quarterback on the roster and a former NFL MVP. But, he’s hardly a sure bet to last all season.
Newton’s time in Carolina ended because he couldn’t stay on the field. Injuries limited his play and finally knocked him out to end the 2018 season, then he lasted just two games in 2019 before missing the rest of the season. Should he miss time again, Stidham could well get his shot. Additionally, Newton is only on a one-year, $1.75 million deal. Veteran Brian Hoyer is still on the roster, but it seems likely if the Patriots were thinking of giving Stidham his shot in the 2020 season he’d be the next man up after Newton. Either way, it’s a low risk pick up that could pay dividends in the next two seasons.
For more from Matthew Fox hit him up on Twitter @Knighthawk7734 or find him as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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