2QB Things We Learned: 2016 Week 1

The first official Sunday of the 2016 NFL regular season is now in the books, and we only have two games and four teams left. … There were a few noteworthy events that took place during yesterday’s action that we can learn from to help us manage our 2QB teams in Week 2 and the rest of the 2016 season.

2QB Things We Learned: Week 1

1. You Can’t Spell TyGOAT Without GOAT

Some of us on this website spent all offseason telling you how much more we liked Tyrod Taylor than you, including me. I may not be the President of the Tyrod Taylor Fan Club, but I’m a paid member. Then there was our very own Joshua Lake who was not on the Taylor bandwagon this offseason. After looking at Taylor’s Week 1 box score you can chalk this one up as a victory for the esteemed Mr. Lake.

Below is Taylor’s final stat line vs. the Ravens in Week 1. Avert your eyes if you don’t want to cry…

15-of-22 for 111 passing yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 11 yards rushing.

That’s a grand total of 122 combined yards and 5.54 fantasy points. Heading into Monday Night Football, Taylor is the fantasy QB28. Out of 28 quarterbacks (if we forget about Drew Stanton). If you watched the game you saw a Ravens defense that attacked the Bills’ offense, sacking Taylor twice and who were credited with six QB hits. They were not the Ravens defense streamers attacked last year, who gave up seven top-12 fantasy QB performances.

The Bills’ offense wasn’t able to do much of anything, save for a rushing score from LeSean McCoy. Before we hit the panic button on Taylor though, my QB2 Experience podcast co-host Jim Sannes told me he was worried about this game prior to its kickoff because of the wind. Jim said he personally gets nervous about a game when the wind hits ten miles per hour, and the Bills-Ravens game reached 12. I’m not going to blame the wind entirely on Taylor’s performance; it’s just something I found interesting.

Something we should be worried about though is Taylor’s upcoming schedule: vs. Jets, vs. Cardinals, @ Patriots. Each of those teams are considered a tough matchup, according to Pat Thorman’s offseason QB SoS analysis (although, they did allow between 14-19 fantasy points to their respective QBs this week). I’m not going to let one bad week throw me off the Taylor train, but if you’re not willing to adapt your fantasy mentality to what’s happening in the league you will lose. With that in mind, depending on my QB depth, I’ll consider benching Taylor, like I would any quarterback, if I have a better option.

For the Taylor believers (I still am one) who didn’t draft him, a way to play this is by keeping tabs on the Taylor owners in your league in the next three weeks. If Taylor doesn’t turn things around you might be able to buy low on him and reap the rewards when his schedule clears up. The Bills face the Rams, 49ers, and Dolphins from Week 5 to Week 7. Plus, Taylor’s opponents in the ever-important fantasy playoffs are the Steelers, Browns, and Dolphins.

2. The Breaux Brees Band

The New Orleans Saints were the most fantasy friendly defense to opposing quarterbacks last season, allowing the most top-12 (10) and top-24 (16) finishes. The first quarterback they faced this season, Derek Carr, is the current fantasy QB8 (22.36 fantasy points). Making matters worse is that the team lost their best defensive player in Delvin Breaux for a significant amount of time with a broken fibula.

While fantasy owners were already salivating at the thought of starting their fantasy quarterback against the Saints each week, the Breaux injury news should make the decision even easier for you. It should also be good news for Drew Brees owners. In a Week 1 shootout loss to the Raiders, the Saints dialed up 42 pass attempts to only 22 rushes, which helped Brees turn in a top-2 fantasy day.

During the offseason, I mentioned how Brees was the one quarterback not drafted in the elite-four (Rodgers, Luck, Newton, Wilson) who could finish the season as the number one overall fantasy quarterback. While you hate to see injuries happen, they are a part of the fantasy landscape and you need to react accordingly. If your team looks pretty set after Week 1 and you have the ammunition to make the move, trading for Brees could be an early-season 2QB league-winning move. Game script should force the Saints to pass a ton.

One other way to react to the Breaux news is to trade for Jameis Winston. While we don’t know when the Saints corner will be back this season, if at all, Winston just torched the Atlanta Falcons for 281 yards and four touchdowns. Winston faces the Saints twice in the fantasy playoffs (Week 14 and Week 16). Breaux could be back by then, but even if he is, it is the Saints defense we’re talking about.

3. Wentz There It Is

Since 2QB and Superflex leagues aren’t mainstream, it’s hard to get accurate data on the number of owners who started a particular quarterback. Tristan H. Cockcroft of ESPN noted Wentz was in 2.7 percent of ESPN starting lineups this week. That number is tailored more towards 1QB leagues and I’m sure it would be higher if the data was geared towards 2QB leagues. Even if it was, how much higher could it have been?

While Dak Prescott was getting all of the rookie quarterback love heading into Week 1 (#Sorry), Wentz was in a favorable situation himself, squaring off against the Cleveland Browns. If you’ll recall, the Browns were bad on defense last year, allowing the second-most top-12 (9) and top-24 (15) performances to opposing fantasy quarterbacks last season. Only the Saints were worse.

Wentz dealt with an offseason rib injury, played only 38 preseason snaps, and wasn’t named starter until Sam Bradford was traded days before the start of the season. You can’t be faulted for benching him in his debut. Even if you may not have reaped his near-20 fantasy point day, the future looks bright.

When it was announced Wentz would be the Eagles’ Opening Day starter I was intrigued by his early season schedule.

Two of the above teams (PIT, WAS) have yet to play. The other three didn’t fare so well in Week 1 against QBs…

  • CLE: Wentz is the current fantasy QB10 (19.22 fantasy points)
  • CHI: Brock Osweiler is the current fantasy QB14 (16.64 fantasy points)
  • DET: Andrew luck is the current fantasy QB1 (35.5 fantasy points)

Wentz now becomes one more name we can add to the already deep pool of talented signal callers and could become an early season-difference maker. Not bad for someone who went undrafted according to our August 2QB ADP.

4. RGWelp

If you had Week 1 in the “When will Robert Griffin III get injured?” pool, congrats. The cheque (or check, for you American folk) is in the mail after Griffin suffered a late-game shoulder injury against the Eagles in Week 1. While he did finish the game, Josh McCown was seen on the sideline warming up.

For the 2QBers out there who drafted RG3, you might want to scan your waiver wire to see if McCown is available. We saw 53 different quarterbacks start at least one game in 2015. Last season also featured two teams start their second quarterback of the season in Week 2; one of those teams was the Browns. Rinse, repeat, recycle.

5. There’s Always Next Week

This isn’t a new lesson, but just a reminder that we still have 15 more weeks of relevant fantasy football left to play. Try not to overhaul your entire 2QB roster after one week.

Quarterbacks we expected to put up fantasy stats did (Andrew Luck, Drew Brees), while quarterbacks we expected nothing from gave us almost that (Trevor Siemian, Shaun Hill). Then there were quarterbacks we had high hopes for who dashed our fantasy dreams (Tyrod Taylor, Russell Wilson) and quarterbacks we believed were nothing more than scrubs who became fantasy studs (Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz).

My advice to you if you’re freaking out after Week 1:

*Stats used in this article courtesy of FantasyData, ESPN, NFL.com, and Jim Sannes

Salvatore Stefanile
Salvatore Stefanile is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and has been playing fantasy football since his high school days. He is a proponent of 2QB fantasy football leagues, and his work has been featured on XN Sports, RotoViz, and Rotoworld. His writing on 2QB fantasy football leagues earned him the FSWA award for 'Best Fantasy Football On-Going Series' in 2013. He earned a second FSWA nomination in 2015 for 'Humor Article of the Year'. You can follow him on Twitter @2QBFFB

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