[sc name=”Author Chris Moore”]
Yesterday’s season-ending injury left a lot of us in a severe state of fantasy football related depression, to the extent that that’s a legitimate phenomenon (it is).
Deshaun Watson was perhaps objectively the most exciting player in the NFL in 2017 and was found-money for a lot of our fantasy teams. If you owned him, it’s likely that you were the first to recognize his potential and you seemed to have a league-winning player that you didn’t pay anything for, aside from perhaps a waiver priority or a solid chunk of FAAB dollars.
There’s no getting around the fact that losing Deshaun Watson was a devastating blow to any fantasy team, but it’s not one that’s totally unrecoverable.
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Replacing Deshaun Watson
The bright side is that the quarterback position is generally the easiest position to replace in the game. Despite a very rough looking slate of QBs for Week 9 in particular, there are still a number of promising players, available in a lot of leagues that have the potential to at least put up low end QB1 numbers ROS.
They’re not going to be Deshaun Watson, but you can still find some guys that might bring you up to par against most of your opponents.
This week is going to be tough. For a lot of us, the attractive streaming options were gobbled up over the waiver period, and the remaining guys are looking pretty grim.
Near-Term QB Streamers
Here’s a list of the streaming options available in over 40% of Yahoo leagues:
- Andy Dalton @ JAX (horrendous matchup)
- Eli Manning vs LAR (can you trust him with the diminished receiver options?)
- Josh McCown vs BUF (already played, was probably gobbled up during waivers)
- Blake Bortles vs CIN
- Jacoby Brissett @ HOU (my top Week 9 choice among these)
Longer-Term QB Options
Do what you can in Week 9, but place your focus more on the rest of the season. To that end, I recommend seeking a more ‘permanent’ solution.
Depending on how you look at it, a fortunate coincidence about Week 9 is that there are at least three high-upside quarterbacks that are either on bye this week, or had a bye last week, that have all underperformed enough that they have been dropped in a lot of fantasy leagues. Ironically, the tougher your league, the likelier one of the three big names that follow will be available, as tougher leagues tend to be made up of more of the “I’m only going to roster one QB crowd.” In any case, none of the three QBs below should cost you all that much in a trade with their stocks as depressed as they have been thus far in 2017. Look to the owner who has a more dependable QB and one of these guys and make an offer.
Though all three of these guys are owned in over 80% of Yahoo leagues (I imagine the percentages were lower yesterday before the mad dash to the waiver wire by all of the Watson owners out there), I was fortunate to find two of them on my waiver wire in the immediate aftermath of Watson’s injury, and this trio would be the first place I’d look to replace Watson:
Ben Roethlisberger (PIT)
Of course the results haven’t been there in 2017. It’s difficult to explain his decline, but he still plays with the best WR and the best RB in fantasy football. Le’Veon Bell is also an asset in the passing game. JuJu Smith-Schuster looks like he might be the real deal, and Martavis Bryant, once integrated, will increase the offense’s big play ability. There’s plenty of reason to believe that Ben can get it going after this week’s bye. He’d be my top choice.
Philip Rivers (SD)
Another guy who hasn’t yet gotten it going in 2017, Rivers is still playing with arguably the best set of receivers in his career and still has the potential to play at a QB1 level the rest of the way. Remember, they haven’t yet integrated Mike Williams into the offense, Hunter Henry is only getting better, and Travis Benjamin looks to be a different player this year, substantially healthier than his first season with San Diego in 2016.
Marcus Mariota (TEN)
I’m hoping that his hamstring injury from a few weeks ago is behind him and that this largely accounts for his disappointing start to the season. Like the other two guys on the list, Mariota is also freshly integrating a new and exciting receiver in Corey Davis who should immediately boost the potential of the offense as a whole. The fantasy community at large was very excited about Marcus Mariota heading into 2017 after he was the QB1 overall during the middle part of the 2016 season. I still believe in the ability, but a lot of the Mariota owners out there don’t.
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Teddy Bridgewater (MIN)
It might take a few dominoes falling just right; Sam Bradford likely needs to continue to be unavailable, Bridgewater needs to get up to what the Vikings consider 100%, and Minnesota needs to pull the plug on Case Keenum. Still, all of these situations might play out just right and Bridgewater would have exciting weapons at his disposal.
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF)
Again, it’s not an immediate solution. Head coach Kyle Shanahan even went so far as to say that he can’t guarantee that Garoppolo would see the field in 2017. We’re not buying it. With Pierre Garcon headed to IR, the weapons aren’t exactly exciting for Garoppolo, but he presents more upside than you’re likely to find from other bottom of the barrel options. Garoppolo has been serviceable for fantasy purposes in the snapshots we’ve seen during his New England tenure.